VISION:  To make families as important to the life of Canadian society as they are to the lives of individual Canadians.

MISSION:  To create awareness of, and to provide leadership on, the importance and strengths of families in Canada and the challenges they face in their structural, demographic, economic, cultural and social diversity.

Information from the institute’s research, consultation and policy development is conveyed through advocacy, education and communications vehicles to elected officials, policy makers, educators and researchers, the business community, the media, social service professionals, the public and Canadian families themselves.

The Vanier Institute of the Family, established in 1965 under the patronage of Their Excellencies Governor-General Georges P. Vanier and Madame Pauline Vanier, is a national, charitable organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of Canadian families. It is governed by a volunteer board with regional representation from across Canada.

The late Governor General and Mme Vanier mandated the Institute to ensure ongoing positive change in the circumstance of the peoples of the nation that they so loved. A strong family is the one indispensable element that can assure a child’s good health as she or he grows to adulthood. It was in families that the Vaniers found hope for the alleviation of the human suffering they witnessed in society.

The Institute is an acknowledged leader on issues affecting families. It advocates on behalf of Canada’s 7.8 million families from the point of view that families are the key building block of society and that every Canadian is included in their context.

The Goals of the Institute

The Vanier Institute of the Family exists to:

  • Build public understanding of important issues and trends critical to the well-being and healthy functioning of Canadian families.
  • Foster the creation of means designed to identify and provide for the needs and aspirations of families.
  • Encourage a family perspective among policy-makers, institutions, service providers, employers, business executives, and others whose work with organizations affect the lives of Canadian families.
  • Encourage and promote the inherent capacity of families to help themselves.

The Institute’s Audience and Beneficiaries

Canadians at all levels of society, in education and health, social serving agencies, researchers, policy makers and governments, the media, and individuals, are its audience. Through the Institute’s activities, cooperation among all organizations—charitable, religious, educational, welfare, cultural and other—is encouraged, and the range of groups in Canadian society committed to supporting and improving the lives of Canada’s families is enlarged.

The Institute’s Expertise

  • Identifying and responding to social challenges from a family perspective.
  • Collecting and analyzing information on demographic trends, social change, and patterns of family formation and functioning.
  • Informing Canadians about the state of family life.
  • Reaching thousands each year through presentations across Canada.
  • Debunking myths and misinformation about families.
  • Contributing to a positive developmental vision for civic renewal.
  • Focusing on family dynamics and their context—social, technological, and cultural.
  • Advocating social changes to create more supportive environments for families.
  • Advising governments, corporations and religious organizations on matters of family policy.
  • Collaborating with others to get more done.
  • Reminding government and industry leaders that families need a strong social infrastructure. It is more practical to prevent problems than to intervene only when people get into trouble.