Portions of the national conference in Ottawa will be livestreamed to all satellite event locations. Plenary sessions at the conference in Ottawa will begin with a catalytic conversation on Big Data, which will set the stage for the conference and highlight this year’s theme.

Subsequent sessions will cover a variety of topics and themes on family life in Canada through the life course, from “womb to tomb.” This includes (but is not limited to) discussions on fertility, family formation, youth, adulthood, elderhood and end of life. To bookend the conference, the final plenary session will introduce the concept of “Little Data”: how do we measure and understand emotions such as empathy and love, what does this data mean and how can it be mobilized to optimize family well-being?

DAY 1: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 

Preliminary agenda – subject to change. All times listed below are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

National Conference (Ottawa)

Sections in blue marked with an asterisk (*) will be livestreamed to satellite event locations across Canada.

8:30 a.m. Ottawa Welcome and Greetings
8:45 a.m. Greetings by Elder Claudette Commanda
9:00 a.m. Panel – Work and Family
9:45 a.m. Panel – Families New to Canada
10:30 a.m. Health Break
10:45 a.m. Research Lightning Round**
11:30 a.m. Health Break – Lunch
12:15 p.m. Launch of Early Learning and Child Care Professionals and Practitioners Working with Military and Veteran Families
12:30 p.m.* • Pan-Canadian Livestreamed Welcome and Greetings
• Greetings by Elder Claudette Commanda
• Families in Canada Conference 2019 Overview by Nora Spinks, CEO, The Vanier Institute of the Family
• Opening Remarks by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos,
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
• Performance by Dandelion Dance
• Keynote Address by Anil Arora, Chief Statistician,
Statistics Canada
• National Opening Panel – Big Data Through a Family Lens
2:45 p.m. Health Break
3:00 p.m. Panel – A Family Lens on the Early Years
3:45 p.m. Panel – Family Formation
4:30 p.m. Reception (with music by OrKidstra)
6:00 p.m. Family-style Dinner
  • Presentation of the Unequivocally Family project
  • Performance by the Canadian Military Wives Choir (Uplands Choir)


The first day of the #FAM2019 conference will include a Research Lightning Round, where presenters will share information and insights on innovative research, programs and projects focused on families and family well-being. Fast-paced, engaging and inspiring, the Research Lightning Round will provide delegates with a snapshot of leading and emerging activities and initiatives under way across Canada, along with opportunities to connect and collaborate.


Work and Family
Nicola Fear, Bronwyn Ott, Andrew Brown, Rachael Pettigrew, Ada Barlatt, Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth

Families New to Canada
Liping Peng, Carl Cadogan, Jack Jedwab, Dat Tran, Hadi Wess

Big Data Through a Family Lens
Anil Arora, Jan Kestle, David Albright, Valerie Steeves, Marni Brownell, Nora Spinks

A Family Lens on the Early Years
JC Lalonde, Lesley A. Tarasoff, Chaya Kulkarni, Christian Paradis, Diane Daley, Bilan Arte

Family Formation
Natasha Bakht, Katie Wellard, LCol Suzanne Bailey, Edy-Claude Okalla Bana, Matthew Pearson, Cate Cochran

Satellite events (university partners)

Visit satellite event webpages for details on local programming.

9:00 a.m.12:30 p.m. Registration and local programming
12:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.* National conference programming
3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Local programming

DAY 2: Thursday, March 28, 2019

National Conference (Ottawa)

9:00 a.m. Welcome – Day 2
9:10 a.m. Performance by spoken word artist Maya Basudde (MayaSpoken)
9:15 a.m. Panel – Youth and Young Adulthood: Diverse Family Perspectives
10:00 a.m. Panel – Adulthood: Family Experiences of Resiliency
10:45 a.m. Health Break
11:00 a.m. Panel – A Family Lens on Seniorhood and Elderhood
11:45 a.m. Panel – Family Care
12:30 p.m. Health Break – Lunch
1:30 p.m.* • Pan-Canadian Livestreamed Welcome – Day 2
• National Closing Panel – “Little Data” Through a
Family Lens
• Conference Summary
2:30 p.m. Closing Remarks
Preliminary Discussions
  • Canadian Family Researchers Network
  • Social Policy Monitor
  • Canadian Family Well-Being Index
  • Post-conference Publications


Youth and Young Adulthood: Diverse Family Perspectives
Alisha Bowie, Kieran Drachenberg, Johnny Chavannes, Maya Basudde, Tai Young, Rayne Fisher-Quann

Adulthood: Family Experiences of Resiliency
Raj Bhatla, Farhat Rehman, Ann Douglas, Heidi Cramm, Emily Glossop, Todd Nicholson

A Family Lens on Seniorhood and Elderhood
Donna Lero, Parminder Raina, Rachel Margolis, Joanne Law, Claudette Commanda, Naguib Gouda

Family Care
Norah Keating, Yeonjung Lee, Deb Benard, Mark Stolow, Rutha Astravas, Zayn Khamis, Martine Lagacé

“Little Data” Through a Family Lens
Lisa Wolff, Bryan Smale, Mary Gordon, Simona Bignami, Susan Aglukark, Anne Hollonds

Satellite events (university partners)

Visit satellite event websites for details on local programming.

9:00 a.m.12:50 p.m. Local programming
1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.* National conference programming


Throughout the conference, researchers from diverse disciplines, backgrounds and professions will also share new research at the #FAM2019 Poster Sessions. The poster sessions provide individuals and organizations that study, serve and support families with an opportunity to connect with delegates (and each other) while highlighting research on a broad range of themes/topics related to families and family life.


In addition to the keynote, panel sessions and posters, there will be a variety of engaging and thought-provoking artistic displays and performances at the National conference (Ottawa) including dance, song, spoken word and photographic exhibits.

Simultaneous interpretation (English-to-French and French-to-English) and live captioning will be available at the conference.

There will be a bookstore on-site at the national conference featuring books by speakers, panellists and presenters as well as material related to families in Canada. Books may also be available at some satellite events. If you have a book that you would like to have made available at the conference bookstore, please contact

At the national conference, Robin Andrews and the team from Unposed will be on-site photographing the event. At satellite events, university photographers may be on-site. By entering the venue, delegates are consenting to be photographed or filmed for use in Vanier Institute social media and promotional materials.

All presentations will be recorded. Edited recorded material will be available following the conference. Personal audio or video recording is not permitted at the  national conference or at the satellite events.