Our Strategic Plan

A Note from the Director

While every strategic plan has goals and actions -- and in that regard, this plan is no different -- this plan is authored by many. While it is me writing the welcome message, it is a collective of many who are the true authors of our plan for the next few years.

In the fall of 2017, I arrived new to Guelph and for three months went on a listening tour. I spent hours listening to those deeply connected to the Centre and those who wished to be. They talked about their work and the ways that it intersected, informed and affected diverse families, work and well-being. I heard about “all my relations” Indigenous ways of knowing; integrating care into our families and livelihoods; the systematic ways that individuals and families are affected by displacements and various types of structural change:  economic, climate, social, among others. I also learned more about sexual and gender diversity, and disabilities, accessibility and inclusion. The theme running through all these conversations was consistent: In order for us to understand diverse forms of families, work and well-being, we need to begin from the margins. We reimagine our work to consider the complex ways that families are formed, interrupted, joined and separated; how work comes in many forms paid, unpaid, voluntary, contractual, among other complex and creative ways that people sustain themselves, their families and their communities; and that well-being includes all of our deep connections living and not, past, present and future.

These meaningful conversations led us to reimagine families, work and well-being and to reconsider the Centre’s name. We embarked on a collaborative and inclusive visioning exercise and agreed on a shared vision of work and values for the future of the Centre. In 2018, not only do we celebrate the Centre for Families, Work and Well-being and its 20 years of accomplishments and research impact, we also celebrate its new name and promise: Live Work Well Research Centre, committed to nourishing families, livelihoods and living environments.

Our Proud History

The Centre for Families, Work and Well-Being was founded in 1998 as an educational centre to respond to challenges and changes in family patterns, paid work and broad economic, political and social structures. Its founding mission was to direct research and promote family and individual well-being, responsive workplaces, and sustainable communities. The Centre created a space to bring together faculty, graduate students and undergraduates to engage in policy analysis, research, knowledge mobilization and best-practices development.

Over its 20-year history, the Centre led and collaborated on significant projects that influenced policy and programs, motivated workplaces and communities to adapt to the changing needs of individuals and families, fostered interdisciplinary research and provided new ways of learning for students and communities. With an emphasis on policy and practices, the Centre looked beyond work-life balance and addressed the challenges of family diversity with paid and unpaid caregiving, father involvement, precarious work, and the effects of rural locations on economic and social livelihoods.

We celebrate the Centre’s many local, national and international achievements and the researchers, students and partners who made them happen. Many of the key publications and a more detailed history are available for download.

Our Vision, Our Work and Values

Our Vision: 

Through our research and Centre activities, we cultivate and connect with communities where all families, livelihoods, and living environments flourish.

Our Work:

Anticipating and responding to the changing needs of families, livelihoods, and living environments through research, teaching, and knowledge sharing, which include policy-relevant and community engaged activities.

Our Values

In addition to the values identified in the 2017 College of Social and Applied Human Sciences’  (CSAHS) Strategic Plan, the Centre values: 

  • Recognizing the persistent and unequal effects of colonization on Indigenous peoples and all living in North America
  • Pursuing reconciliation and decolonization through our works
  • Situating our disciplinary and interdisciplinary research within feminist, Indigenous, disabled, queer, critical race, and intersectional scholarship and community work, among others
  • Engaging in research that centres lives and communities
  • Modelling and strengthening equitable, respectful and reciprocal relationships near and far
  • Advancing opportunities for students and interested communities to grow, share and collaborate
  • Supporting the well-being of our members
  • Reflecting on where we have been and where we want to go together
  • Celebrating our collective successes

How we Work:

Managing Circle

The Centre is led by a Managing Circle, comprised of the Director, Managing Director, Research Cluster Leads and Co-Leads, CSAHS Associate Dean (Research), a Member-at-Large and a Graduate Student. The Circle is responsible for matters of regular management, reports to the Dean of CSAHS through the Director. The Managing Circle is responsible for reviewing Centre goals, activities, budgets, financial statements, and the annual report, and leads the strategic planning and visioning work of the Centre.


The Director, appointed by the Dean of CSAHS, in addition to providing intellectual direction and support to many research activities, is responsible for maintaining and supporting a vibrant, inclusive and supportive culture where opportunities for personal and professional growth are actively encouraged through mentorship, knowledge sharing, community-engagement, and other ways of discovery and learning.

Managing Director

The Managing Director is appointed by the Managing Circle and reports to the Director. They provide the Centre with leadership and support of day-to-day activities especially in research development and implementation, and knowledge mobilization.

University and Community Partners

The Centre provides a vibrant atmosphere of learning and sharing, offering opportunities for faculty, staff, students, and community partners to participate fully in Centre planning and activities. In addition to the Centre offices in MacKinnon, the Centre will also share in work and space of the Interdisciplinary Hub.

Research Clusters

We organize our work at the Centre around Research ClustersIn line with the overall theme of this Strategic Plan Beginning from the Margins: Re-examining families, work and well-being, the Centre’s research agenda is initiated through five intersecting Research Clusters: Sexual and Gender Diversity; Disabilities, Access and Inclusion; “All my Relations” Indigenous Ways of Knowing; Integrating Care and Livelihoods; and, Displacements, Emergence and Change.

The work of each Research Cluster examines the unique and diverse intersections between their themes (ie Sexual and Gender Diversity; Disabilities, Access and Inclusion…) and the relationships between families, work and well-being.

Learn more about Research Cluster work.

Research Cluster Leads and Co-Leads:

The Research Cluster Leads or Co-Leads are appointed by the Managing Circle and are responsible for the functioning and viability of the Research Cluster.

Goals and Actions

Centre Goals and Actions 2017-2022
Goal Goal Description Actions
Research Activities Research Clusters will initiate cluster-based and cross-cluster research activities. The Centre will support these through knowledge mobilization, grant administration and coordination in consultation with the CSAHS and University research offices.

Establish intersecting Research Clusters based on key themes with Cluster Leads who will:

  • Ensure the vibrancy and functioning of the Cluster;
  • Recruit Cluster members and, with them, set the priorities and develop goals of the Cluster for 2017-2022 in line with the values and mission of the Centre and CSAHS; and
  • Bring clusters together annually to collaborate and share.

Student Engagement and Development

The Centre will create opportunities for students to develop research and collaboration skills, support and learn from peers, and engage in Centre activities, in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Hub and the PhD in Social Practice and Transformational Change, and other programs.

Invite graduate and undergraduate students to:

  • Engage in and contribute to Research Cluster work;
  • Incubate their ideas, share their strategies, and provide support and feedback to colleagues;
  • Apply for small research and engagement grants (available no earlier than 2019) for projects that fall within Centre themes; and
  • Present research at a Centre event or through the Centre’s website and social media.

Community Engagement

The Centre will develop and implement a community engagement process to extend its relationships with relevant local, national and international communities, in collaboration with the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI).

Grow the Centre’s capacity for partnership and collaboration by:

  • Working collaboratively with CESI to identify possible community-driven research partnerships; establish and strengthen relationships through Centre events and support local community events that relate to the Centre’s work; and
  • Pursuing national and international partnerships that model and strengthen equitable, respectful and reciprocal relationships. 
Communities of Practice To extend our circle of knowledge across a wide spectrum of disciplines and scholarly and lived experiences, the Centre will develop communities of practice among members of the Centre’s community including faculty, students and community partners. 

Develop opportunities to develop communities of practice by:

  • Initiating an Early Researchers mentoring program, in collaboration with the CSAHS Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies), to share or gain knowledge in identified areas (such as ethics, field research, etc).
  • Hosting an annual Early Researchers’ Conference;
  • Organizing, in collaboration with the CSAHS and University research offices, Strengthening Research Workshops for Early Researchers and Faculty, which offer the opportunity for researchers to build their networks, workshop early ideas, and learn grant-making skills.
Knowledge Mobilization The Centre will share knowledge from current and past activities widely, in multiple and accessible formats, reaching diverse audiences. We will work with partners inside and outside the University to regularly assess and evaluate our relationships and effectiveness of our knowledge translation and sharing.

Create a new name and vision for the Centre, and launch this and a new website at the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Centre;

Build and implement a knowledge mobilization plan and evaluation components, with the support of CESI, including:

  1. Create and maintain new, vibrant and accessible website, featuring past and present research work, and resources for those inside and outside the University;
  2. Establish and maintain a social media presence to support the work of the Centre, its partners and community members;
  3. Ensure the Centre is following best practices and continues to mobilize knowledge in innovative and accessible ways;
  4. Implement research framework to help guide knowledge mobilization initiatives;
  5. Build linkages with and support for key workshops and conferences (in and outside the University), creating and sharing knowledge resources that highlight Centre research;
  6. Host Centre events and workshops; and
  7. Create and share knowledge toolkits and resources, which are grounded in our research framework.