Families in Canada Conference 2019

Families in Canada Conference

March 27-28, 2019 | Guelph, Ontario

The Families in Canada Conference 2019 was a two-day national, pan-Canadian conference organized by the Vanier Institute of the Family and co-hosted by various Universities at satellite locations across Canada. The Live Work Well Research Centre was fortunate to co-host a location at the University of Guelph. 

Conference themes and goals:

Building a Canada where families engage and thrive in a caring and compassionate society, with a robust and prosperous economy, in an inclusive and vibrant culture, and in a safe and sustainable environment, requires big ideas. The Conference goals were to explore big ideas that relate to families and family well-being:

  • Explore families and family life through diverse, evolving, unconventional and emerging data sources (and combination of sources)
  • Embrace new research methods and facilitate interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches for richer analysis
  • Broaden our understanding of what ‘family is’ to ensure diverse experiences and perspectives are included
  • Broaden the ways we understand and measure ‘family well-being’
  • Build research and knowledge networks necessary to support the development of evidencebased, evidence-informed, evidence-inspired policies, programs and practices while respecting and encouraging diverse ways of knowing

Connecting Big Ideas to Local Issues & Opportunities

Over the course of two days, local panel discussions at the University of Guelph explored four major themes, bringing together community members with lived experience, researchers, and practitioners who support and serve families. Browse a few panelist remarks below or download the full report.

Abbigail Wright-Gourlay, a panelist on the Care and Families Panel

Care and Families Panel

When it comes to caring relationships, community supports are essential; they shape families.

There can be issues related to 'ageing out' for those of us who are young and in care-giving or care-receiving roles. We need to make sure supports are there at all ages.

- Abbigail Wright-Gourlay, Panelist

Rohan Thompson, panelist on the Well-being and Families Panel

Well-being and Families Panel

We need to ask, who is around the table to interpret data [on well-being]? And importantly, who decides what problem we are trying to solve? How do we share power?

When sharing power, we need to remember I don't want to come to dinner, I want to plan the grocery list. 

- Rohan Thompson, Panelist

Skylar Sookpaiboon, panelist on the Work and Families Panel

Work and Families Panel

Sustainable work feels impossible to see and feel as a long-term outcome. There are so few spaces in workplaces to feel safe.

We need to work with service providers and organizations to make their spaces and services more gender-affirming. For now, I take it one day at a time.

- Skylar Sookpaiboon, Panelist

Andrew Judge, panelist on the Food and Families Panel

Food and Families Panel

Disrupting food systems starts with our own hearts. It requires us to examine how we think about food; the relationships we have with food. We are taught how to keep a home with pristine grass, but what about creating foodscapes in our own backyard? We build parks with baseball diamonds and acres of grass, but what about designing these spaces as complete food systems, as places of gathering, learning and nutrients?

- Andrew Judge, Panelist