The Vanier Institute of the Family’s 2016–2017 Annual Report is now available to download, featuring an overview of highlights from our publications, projects, partnerships and other activities over the past year.
As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, many families across Canada – whether newly arrived or firmly rooted for generations – are reflecting on the past, contemplating and discussing the present, and envisioning our future together. While much has changed since Confederation, one thing that has remained constant is the unique and vital role that family has played as the cornerstone of society and the engine of the economy.
Canada 150 is a particularly important time to acknowledge that there is no single story to tell; families are diverse, complex and evolving, and by recognizing and exploring this reality we can understand families in Canada.
Data from the 2016 Census highlights growing family diversity in Canada – whether it’s measured by family structure, ethnicity, immigration status, mother tongue or family living arrangements, this diversity is increasingly apparent not only in urban centres, but in small towns and communities across the country. As new data is rolled out throughout the rest of 2017, the Vanier Institute will continue to work closely with individuals and organizations to enhance the national understanding of Canada’s family landscape.
Exploring families through partnerships and collaboration
The Vanier Institute couldn’t do it alone: partnerships and collaboration have always played an essential role in our exploration of families and family life. By working together, we can strengthen our reach, relevance and rigour, and that’s exactly what we have done over the past year.
We’ve worked with Statistics Canada to mobilize knowledge and share emerging insights about families from the 2016 Census with researchers, educators, students, journalists, policy-makers and more. In addition to sharing data and research through visually engaging resources, we’ve also shared the “stories behind the stats” at public events organized by Statistics Canada such as at the Telling Canada’s Story in Numbers speaker series.
We continued to work with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, co-hosting a roundtable in February 2017 on human rights, workplace diversity and inclusion, and leading and promising workplace policies and practices across Canada. As the number of couples working full-time continues to increase, and as employees manage multiple responsibilities at home, at work and in their communities, these discussions will play an important role in strengthening practices moving forward.
With the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle now in its third year, the scope and depth of our impact on military and Veteran families in Canada continues to grow. In addition to the success of the third annual meeting in January 2017, which saw more than 60 individuals from over 50 organizations gather to share progress, the Leadership Circle published two resources to enhance military literacy among those who study, serve and support military and Veteran families.
Our On the Move Partnership is now in its fifth year, with new research and data continuously being released to inform the national dialogue about employment-related geographic mobility in Canada. Researchers from this initiative published a number of articles through the Vanier Institute over the past year, highlighting the experiences of mobile workers in Quebec and Alberta.
Enhancing understanding through diverse resources
We’ve continued to enhance our reach with resources including articles, infographics, book reviews, policy briefs and fact sheets that capture and convey the diversity and complexity of families, as well as those not captured in the Census (e.g. military and Veterann families, families experiencing incarceration, polyamorous families).
Our new Statistical Snapshots series examines family life in Canada in a bright, visually engaging, multi-page format that mobilizes knowledge and organizes data from diverse sources. Launched in September 2016, these publications have covered a range of topics, including grandparents, mental health, military and Veteran families, family caregiving, work and family and intergenerational relationships.
We collaborated with Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle partners to produce two important evidence-based resources: Family Physicians Working with Military Families and School Counsellors Working with Military and Veteran Families. These military literacy publications provide evidence-based insights to professionals to help them foster inclusion, provide support and optimize services for children and youth growing up in military and Veteran families.
Measuring what matters to families in Canada
Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue working with our stakeholders: those who study, serve and support families in Canada. In addition to what’s already under way, we’re thrilled to embark on new projects such as an initiative with UNICEF to create a National Child Well-Being Index that will measure well-being and explore what it truly means to be healthy.
We look forward to continuing to share 2016 Census data as it’s released throughout the rest of the year, and to learn about trends in family caregiving as the new General Social Survey on Caregiving is released in 2018. As this data is released, we’ll be highlighting and sharing emerging insights in new and exciting ways.
As family diversity grows, inclusiveness will be increasingly important in the design, delivery and evaluation of policies, programs, practices and procedures that affect them. The Vanier Institute will continue to inform these conversations and provide evidence-based insights about families, family life, family experiences, expectations and aspirations. As we do so, our partnerships will continue to help us learn and leverage the knowledge we gain.
We are fortunate to have connections to so many talented contributors, staff members, Board members and volunteers who allow us to fulfill our mandate of learning about families and sharing what we know about family life as it evolves. We look forward to continuing our mission, and to continue modelling agility in our approach in the year ahead.
Board Chair, The Vanier Institute of the Family
CEO, The Vanier Institute of the Family
Published on October 27, 2017