Theme 3: Communities

Abstracts and Speaker Bios


Doug Lionais and Christina Murray, “Understanding Professional Perceptions of Labor Mobility and its impact on Families and Communities”

The Tale of Two Islands project is a multi-faceted, multi-year, SSHRC funded, narrative inquiry research study that explores how labor mobility is impacting individuals, families, professionals and communities in two regions of Atlantic Canada; Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island. This presentation will reveal how labor migration has impacted source communities and the professional sectors that provide care to mobile families. Drawing upon data obtained from key informant interviews conducted with spiritual advisors, teachers, mental health/addictions workers, health care providers, family therapists, business owners, airline workers, and government officials, valuable insights have been gained regarding how labor mobility is impacting families, practitioners and communities. Specifically addressed were the challenges experienced by various sectors that strive to provide supportive care for mobile families while also dealing with limited resources and a systemic lack of knowledge regarding the unique needs of this mobile families.

Doug Lionais is an Associate Professor in the Shannon School of Business at Cape Breton University where he teaches within the MBA in Community Economic Development (CED) program. He received his PhD in Economic Geography from Durham University (UK) after earning a BBA from Cape Breton University. Dr. Lionais’ research focuses on understanding processes of uneven development and the production of depleted communities, local and regional economic development, and forms of alternative economic practice that respond to depletion.

Christina Murray,  BA, RN, PhD is an Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Prince Edward Island.  Her nursing practice has been grounded in population health promotion, and community development.  Christina’s research examines family experiences of labor migration and how this impacts the health of individuals, families and communities.  She is currently the Principal Investigator for a SSHRC funded project exploring the intergenerational family stories of labor migration in rural Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island. 

Michelle Porter, “Children, Work, and Mobility: Childhood and the Decision to Work in Rural NL”

The paper draws upon interviews with women and families in rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador that were part of two research projects: a doctoral research project that examined women’s narratives of mobility, place, and home, and the On the Move partnership research on employment-related geographical mobility with employees and families working in the nickel-processing sector in Long Harbour, NL (part of On the Move: Employment-Related Geographical Mobility in the Canadian Context project). This paper investigates the ways shifting notions of (rural) childhood can impact mobility patterns and residential choices and describes the key changes identified by informants and their impacts on work, family life, and residential choices. Further, this paper suggests that policy makers interested in providing positive supports to families who have experienced or are experiencing changing mobility and work patterns should examine and respond to parents’ narratives of changing patterns of childhood and parenting.

Michelle Porter is the editor of The Independent. She holds a BA in Journalism, an MA in Folklore, and a PhD in Geography. During her PhD studies, she became a student trainee with the On the Move project and worked as an RA with the project, doing research and other work. Her doctoral work explored narrated tensions and contradictions in rural women’s experiences of place, home, and mobility in Newfoundland and Labrador. When she was offered a place in the graduate creative writing program at MUN, she  focused her work at the intersection of mobility, arts-based research practice, and creative nonfiction. Her current research focuses on mapping the mobility patterns of her Métis ancestors in Western Canada. 

Dana Howse, “Work Injury and return to work in the context of work mobility: Implications for Families”

Research shows that work injury and related return-to- work (RTW) experiences and processes (including workers’ compensation) can adversely affect injured workers. Consequences include deteriorating physical and mental health, chronic disability and unemployment, and financial hardship, which have been linked to disrupted familial relationships and home lives. Little research has examined the mediating effect of ‘work mobility’ – extended or complex travel to and within work – on this relationship. This presentation will review the literature on the consequences of work injury and RTW for injured workers and their families and present relevant findings from three ongoing studies that are exploring RTW policy and practice related to work mobility and work disability: 1) a national SSHRC- CIHR partnership development grant with components in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador entitled ‘Policy and Practice in Return to Work’ (Cherry, Haynes, Lippel, Neis, MacEachen, Howse, Senthanar); 2) the policy component of the On the Move Partnership, which is examining the application of various policy frameworks to employment-related geographic mobility (Lippel); and 3) Howse’s postdoctoral research ‘Mobility to and within Work with a Physical Disability’. Particular implications for injured mobile workers and their families that will be discussed include unsettled family and at-home routines due to changes in work scheduling, absence of family support during recovery, few to no resources or facilities in workers’ home towns and related extensive travel to meet RTW requirements, failed attempts at new forms of work, substance abuse issues and marital/familial problems.

Dana Howse is a Postdoctoral Fellow funded by the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP). Her postdoctoral research is examining the ways in which existing work disability policyframeworks and programs support and/or hinder Canadians with physical disabilities who are engaging (or trying to engage) in travel to and from place to place within work, or ‘work mobility.’ Dana is also the research assistant for the NL component of the “Policy and Practice in Return to Work” partnership development grant, which is a qualitative study of return to work experiences for injured mobile workers and their families. Dana is an affiliated trainee with the On the Move Partnership and the Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease (CREOD). Her research interests include the social relations of work and health, workers’ compensation and return to work, work mobility, disability policy, OHS systems, and critical qualitative methodology.

Delphine Nackache, “Temporary foreign workers and the right to family accompaniment: A case for family rights in Canada”

International human rights instruments provide for protection of the family as the fundamental unit of society. However, a consequent right to family accompaniment, which can be defined as the right of migrants to bring their family members to the destination state, is not sanctioned and continues to be resisted. My presentation will briefly present the international and regional legal framework regarding migrants’ family rights. Using Canada as a case study, I will explain why labor migration, as currently developing in the country, requires Canada to implement appropriate family accompaniment policies for migrant workers. One key argument is that is in the interest of Canada, as of every state of destination, to facilitate ‐ rather than hinder ‐ migrant workers’ family unity.

Delphine Nackache teaches courses in the areas of public international law, immigration and refugee law and human rights law. She has researched and published on issues related to the human rights and security-based implications of migration, citizenship and refugee laws and policies, both in Europe and Canada.  Her main focus is on issues surrounding the protection of migrant workers, asylum seekers, and non-status migrants.

Panel, Rosalie Blanchard Paola Soto, Bernie Mullin-Splude, Jessica Dorgan-Trail, Jennifer Cheeks, Jessica Dorgan Trail

Bios to come.