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Families on the Move, Families in Canada 2019
On March 27-28, Memorial University participated in the pan-Canadian Vanier Institute of the Family’s Families in Canada 2019 Conference by co-hosting a satellite conference called Families on the Move. The Families in Canada 2019 Conference, was entitled “THINK BIG: How can we use “Big Data” to inform and inspire big ideas to optimize family well-being in Canada.” It allowed delegates from across Canada to: a) connect people who study, serve and/or support families in Canada in the government, research, non-profit and private sectors; b) collaborate to share interdisciplinary research and cross-cultural/cross-sectoral insights on families in Canada; c) create and cultivate new resources for those who study, serve and support families in Canada, including a Canadian Family Researchers Network. The Families on the Move Satellite Conference engaged individuals with lived experiences of mobility-related challenges as mobile workers, immigrants, Indigenous Peoples, military personnel, veterans, public safety personnel, survivors of domestic violence, and people with disabilities. It also engaged those who study, serve and support these groups and their families. The rationale for Families on the Move was that geographical mobility is an integral part of daily life for all families and that synchronizing the diverse and divergent mobilities of individual family members related to work, school, community involvement, recreation, and other activities can be challenging. It is, however, particularly challenging for families with members with disabilities who face mobility challenges, those with members who currently or in the past have had to access work far from home (as with mobile workers, military, veterans), families that move frequently for work (as with military and some police-engaged families and those fleeing domestic violence), those who access education or health care far from home (as with Indigenous, and rural families), and for recent immigrants and refugee families seeking to settle in new places like Newfoundland and Labrador. Given this, Families on the Move sought to spark conversation on commonalities and divergences in the mobility experiences of these groups based on lived experience, research, and observations by those who serve and support them. The hope was to begin to identify potential policy issues – including those shared across these diverse groups -- and to identify new areas for research and collaboration in the future.