The Right Honourable David Johnston, PC CC CMM COM CD FRSC FRCPSC, former Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston

Welcome Message, Families in Canada Conference 2019 (March 27, 2019)

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We were delighted to receive an invitation to the Vanier Institute’s Families in Canada Conference 2019, though our schedules unfortunately did not allow us to be present with all of you over the past two days.

When we participated in the 2015 Conference, we had the pleasure of listening to the keynote address by renowned author Andrew Solomon. Andrew inspired us all to celebrate family diversity through his own lived experiences. He shared stories of difference, acceptance and love, but, most of all, he spoke about family.

Families are fundamental building blocks of our society, traditionally providing love, care and support. As professionals who study, serve and support families, we commend you for your commitment to strengthening families and improving the lives of children, youth, adults and seniors all across the country. Your contributions are endless, and we believe this conference has inspired you to “imagine and create a smarter, more caring nation and contribute to a fairer, more just world.”

We would also like to applaud the many speakers at the conference who shared their stories, their experiences and their unique perspectives. To understanding research, especially Big Data, your stories give a voice to the statistics. You are the stories behind the statistics.

Conversations like the ones that have taken place onstage and among all of you are crucial to understanding families, celebrating diversity and inspiring research to action.

Wishing you all the best as you continue the important work that you do to improve the lives of Canada’s families.

 

Edited for publication. Reprinted with permission by the Vanier Institute of the Family.

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Published on April 18, 2019