Families are the cornerstone of society, the engine of our economy and, in the words of Dr. Elise M. Boulding, an “instrument for imagining futures.” As a research and education organization dedicated to understanding the diversity, complexity and ongoing evolution of families in Canada, the Vanier Institute has been guided by this idea across generations and it remains central to our work.
This has been a year of collaborative growth and momentum, as we progressed on our strategic priorities by leveraging our unique partnerships with stakeholders who study, serve and support families to facilitate research to practice and strengthen the national understanding of families in Canada.
Through our publications, research initiatives, media engagement, events, presentations and social media, we have continued to share information and insights on how families engage and interact with social, economic, environmental and cultural forces, as well as how these dynamics impact family life and family experience, expectations and aspirations across Canada.
In March 2019, we held the Families in Canada Conference 2019 – a national, pan-Canadian conference that brought together key stakeholders to explore ideas and innovation, share diverse perspectives and research, translate and mobilize knowledge, and engage in catalytic conversations focused on our conference theme, THINK BIG: How can we use “Big Data” to inform and inspire big ideas to optimize family well-being in Canada?
Held in Ottawa and at satellite events co-hosted by our university partners across the country, this unique series of events served as a springboard for three significant conference outputs: the Canadian Family Well-being Index, the Canadian Family Research Network and a Canadian Family Policy Monitor.
Throughout the year, we continued to work in close partnership with Statistics Canada on the release of new research on families from the 2017 General Social Survey (GSS), providing the “family lens” in preparation of all key releases. At the Statistics Canada: 100 Years and Counting conference, we facilitated constructive dialogue between researchers, civil society actors and policy-makers on the challenges and innovations related to measuring Canada’s increasingly diverse society. As a result of their exceptional and sustained contributions to the work of the Vanier Institute, Statistics Canada was recognized with this year’s Mirabelli-Glossop Award for Distinguished Contribution.
As Canada’s national resource on families, we provided the “family lens” in our new positions at the National Seniors Council, Veterans Affairs Canada’s Advisory Group on Families and the Expert Panel on Early Learning and Child Care Data and Research to support evidence-informed decisions, evidence-based policies and programs and evidence-inspired innovation.
An exciting year awaits ahead! Join us as we continue to “imagine futures” for families in Canada while working toward our vision: a Canada in which all families engage and thrive in a caring and compassionate society, with a robust and prosperous economy, in an inclusive and vibrant culture, in a safe and sustainable environment.
Larry Nestman, Chair
Nora Spinks, CEO
Published on December 11, 2019