This Friday (May 15) is International Day of Families, a time to recognize and celebrate the role family plays in the lives of individuals, communities and society at large. Families in Canada are increasingly diverse and complex, and a solid understanding of this evolving social institution is necessary to build a society in which they can fully engage and thrive. This understanding, and the knowledge mobilization required to develop it, will be the focus of an upcoming conference hosted by the Vanier Institute of the Family.

On June 10 and 11, 2015, the Vanier Institute will host the Families in Canada Conference 2015 at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel, a fully bilingual event that will mobilize research, build knowledge networks, foster connections and inspire minds from across the country during the Institute’s 50th Anniversary.

“Families are the cornerstone of society and the engine of our economy, yet the ‘family lens’ is rarely applied to conversations about many important topics at the national level,” says Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks. This event will provide just such an opportunity, as the Institute will bring together a variety of speakers, researchers, leaders from business, labour and government, and delegates from every province and territory to explore the diversity and complexity of families and the reality of family life.

Through a series of catalytic conversations, speakers and panellists at this event will discuss the stories and statistics behind a wide spectrum of topics such as modern caregiving, families and the law, diversity and difference, families at a distance, LGBTTQ families, multigenerational trauma, families of choice, Aboriginal families, the power of empathy and changing family relationships.

Conference panels will feature a diverse group of leaders and researchers who study, serve and support Canada’s families. Speakers and panellists will include best-selling author Andrew Solomon, former senator the Honourable Landon Pearson, Canadian Child Care Federation CEO Don Giesbrecht, former Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine, On the Move Project Director Barbara Neis, singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau, researcher and author Andrea Doucet, musician and child advocate Raffi Cavoukian, and many more.

“Families are at the front line, the first institution in our lives to react to social, economic, cultural and environmental change – their resilience and adaptability is key to managing the diverse and evolving responsibilities they face,” says Spinks. “The variety of conference speakers, and the conversations they will have, will be accordingly diverse.”

For media enquiries, stories or interviews leading up to or during this event, contact Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks at, or call 1-800-331-4937, ext. 213.

Conference website:
Vanier Institute website:
Twitter: @vanierinstitute