“Mobility Has Always Been a Part of My Life”: Work-related Mobility and Families in Canada


An estimated 17% of the Canadian labor force engage in complex/extended employment-related geographical mobility ranging from extended daily commutes to regional, interprovincial and international mobility. The opportunities and challenges of particular types of mobility for family lives have been studied most often in isolation (i.e. daily commutes, fly-in/fly-out or international migration), and attention to mobility is largely absent from the work-family literature. Drawing on presentations and discussions at two recent conferences with a focus on families, work and mobility in Canada, this Research Note highlights some of the gaps in existing knowledge about families, work and mobility and some family-related challenges associated with extended/complex mobility for work from the standpoint of those living it, those studying it and those striving to serve and support these workers and their families. Examples discussed here encompass families where members are employed offshore, in other provinces and in the military. The impact of mobility on the family lives of temporary foreign workers is also discussed. We conclude with a few policy recommendations related to helping workers and their families deal with extended/complex mobility.

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The On the Move Partnership: Employment-Related Geographical Mobility in the Canadian Context is a project of the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health & Safety Research at Memorial University.


On the Move is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council through its Partnership Grants funding opportunity (Appl ID 895-2011-1019), InnovateNL, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and numerous university and community partners in Canada and elsewhere. The Families and Mobility in Atlantic Canada Symposium was funded in part by a Connections grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Appl ID 611-2017-1030) and the Families on the Move Conference was partially funded by the Vanier Institute of the Family.

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Correspondence to Barbara Neis.

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Neil, K.C., Neis, B. “Mobility Has Always Been a Part of My Life”: Work-related Mobility and Families in Canada. Can. Stud. Popul. 47, 111–118 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42650-020-00020-0

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  • Employment-related geographical mobility
  • Families
  • International migration
  • Commuting
  • Mobile workplaces