Theme 1: Family

Abstracts and Speaker Bios


Julie Gosselin and Ashely Balsom, “Mothers’ experience with mobile work and family planning in NL”

Mobile work is essential to Newfoundland and Labradorean life. Many individuals rely on this work to provide for their families. Although this type of work is prevalent in this population, little is known about how mobile work has impacted family planning, fertility and the families themselves. This study will examine a large population of Newfoundland and Labrador moms and examine the impact that mobile work has had in various facets of their lives. Particularly we will explore how mobile work has influenced their family planning and fertility concerns as well as completing comparison between mothers who are involved in a mobile work relationship, single mothers and coupled mothers who aren’t involved in a mobile work relationship. In our sample of 821 mothers we had 318 respond that they were currently in a mobile relationship. Of the mothers who were involved in a mobile relationship and experienced fertility difficulties 45% believed that mobile work impacted their family planning and 54% of mothers believed that mobile work impacted their conception process. Further analysis will be completed to understand the relationship between mobile work and its effects on families. To our knowledge, this study is unique to the province and has the potential to guide policy and programmes aimed at better supporting households of mobile workers. It is hoped that the results of the research could help Newfoundland and Labrador health services to better adapt to the reproductive needs and maternal health services of working couples engaged in employment.

Pam Moores, Holly Ledrew, Trudy Read and Moira O’Regan-Hogan, “He’s Here and He’s Gone”

Employment related mobility (ERM) is a complex phenomenon which impacts family life. The focus of this presentation is to share qualitative research findings about the lived experience of new mothers on the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador, whose partners worked away for extended periods of time.  As families transitioned to new parenting roles, they were further challenged with the expectation that new mothers managed home and family life while their partners were absent.  While many women felt overwhelmed with balancing family life, and often experienced loneliness, others described a smoother adaptation to an ERM lifestyle. There was constant disruption within the households. Themes emerged from the data related to the adjustment to the fathers’ cyclical work schedules; the reality of mothers being alone, and often ‘solo’ parenting; challenges associated with self- care and maintaining a routine, and finding ways to make it work. Through sharing the personal stories of participants, the researchers hope to inform health care professionals, educators, and decision-makers of some of the unique needs of families impacted by ERM.  

Pam Moores has worked in many community settings over the span of 20 years as a Community Health Nurse. She also worked in acute care in NL and BC prior to the time spent in community nursing. Currently she teaches community health nursing at Western Regional School of Nursing in the Bachelor of Nursing Program. Pam has participated and published research related to health promotion in children and community health nursing practice. Her volunteer activities include the Newfoundland Public Health Association, Tobacco Free Network, local Family Resource Centre and Blow Me Down Cross Country Ski Club. She is the proud mother of two adult daughters. Pam spends a lot of time enjoying the NL outdoors with her husband including; hiking, kayaking, camping, snow-shoeing and skiing.

Holly LeDrew is the Regional Manager for Communicable Disease Control in Eastern Health, St. John’s NL. Over the span of her career, she has practiced as a nurse educator, community health nurse, critical care nurse, manager, director and clinical consultant.  Holly brings many years of community health experience to her current role. She has also conducted research related to community health nursing practice.  Holly’s volunteer and community work involve the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Association, the Committee on Family Violence and the Canadian Cancer Society.  In her spare time, Holly likes to be active, to travel and to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Newfoundland and Labrador!  

Bernadine Mullin-Splude, “The Emotional Cycle of Deployment”

Throughout their careers, military personnel are required to serve away from their families for a variety of reasons and for various lengths of time. Each separation requires the member and the family at home to adapt. The “Emotional Cycle of Deployment” is a model that describing the 7 stages of deployment and the common reactions and feelings that are associated with those work-related separations. Breaking down the process helps the family to understand and normalize those feelings and reactions. The model is adaptable to many applications. It is usually accompanied by The Mental Health Continuum model. It is a tool that helps families to monitor the intensity and effects of their feelings and behaviors, with suggestion and strategies for
developing positive coping skills.

Bernadine Mullin-Splude B.HEc. MAHE, claims Mt. St. Vincent University as her Alma Mater, graduating with a Master of Arts in Human Ecology in 2004. Her thesis “The Experience of Community in Canadian Military Families; a female partners’ perspective” evolved from her work with the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre where she worked from 2001-2014. Bernadine moved home to Prince Edward Island in 2014 to take a position as the program coordinator with the PEI Military Family Resource Centre. Her work is focused on deployment services, community engagement and outreach.

Nicole Snow, “Mental Health of Migrant Workers and Their Families – A Narrative Inquiry”

The term “migrant worker” refers to individuals who travel for work for brief or long periods of time- a concept that is not new in the colonized history of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). For some migrant workers, this employment comes with considerable challenges such as deleterious impacts on the family unit, occupational health and safety issues, ill effects on personal health, economic pressures, and stress.  The proposed study will use narrative inquiry to explore the everyday life stories of those involved with migrant work (i.e. workers and families) in NL. The goal is to present the “story” of an aspect of a person’s life and to explore why these experiences happened in the manner they occurred. Through the methodical examination of the stories of migrant workers and their families, it is anticipated that a better understanding of their lives will be garnered.

Dianne Looker, “Youth, families and mobility: Exploring Family Impacts and Evolution”

Youth are mobile. Beyond their social mobility into adulthood, they are often geographically mobile. They move for work, to obtain education to prepare themselves for work, and they move in response to family demands. The proposed paper uses a longitudinal survey of youth at 17 (N= 1,201), 22 (N=985) and 28 years of age (N=736) to explore the ways family relationships affect various geographic moves youth make. In addition to extensive quantitative data from surveys at the three time periods, the data set includes qualitative details of when and where the youth moved and why they say they made each move. This detail, recorded verbatim from open ended questions and qualitative interviews, provides critical insight into the role of families in supporting and constraining these moves.  Preliminary results show that a key role that families play is to be a “safety-net” for youth when they are between jobs or in low paying or precarious jobs. Families sometimes facilitate employment options for youth, but also create constraints in terms of expectations placed on young adults. The results are relevant to those wishing to provide supports to youth and their families as the youth seek to move into the full-time labour market.

Laura Tejada, “Intergenerational Patterns in Long-Distance Relationships”

This segment will discuss the findings of a qualitative dissertation study focusing on (1) intergenerational patterns present in the family histories of LDR partners; (2) the importance of family ties on the decision to initiate or continue an LDR; and (3) the perceptions of participants on how intergenerational family patterns around long-distance family life interact in their current relationships.

Laura Tejada, PhD, LMFT, LCPC, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. She has experience as an elementary classroom teacher, K-5 school counselor, and marriage and family therapist, including training as a play therapist. Areas of expertise include play therapy and family therapy with families and children in lower SES brackets, particularly in rural areas, with an affinity for mobile families. Dr. Tejada has a family history on both sides of work-related mobility and has been in a long-distance relationship for 26 years.

Steven High, “Employment Mobility and Family Fixity in Three Gentrifying Neighbourhoods of Montreal”

Inner-city neighbourhoods like these ones are not necessarily where one expects to find mobile workers, but, as Michael Haan, Deatra Walsh and Barbara Neis (2014) have argued, employment-related geographic mobility “is becoming more complex and nuanced.” According to their statistical analysis of the 2006 census returns in Canada, more people are regularly commuting to work over longer distances than ever before. While attention has been lavished on suburban commute times, relatively little attention has been paid to other geographic flows. Here, shifting gender roles, and the rise of dual-income households, has proven critical, placing working women’s lives on the research agenda in urban studies. Despite the burgeoning scholarship on locational decision-making, there is surprisingly little that explores the explicit connection between inner-city gentrification and employment-related mobility. This paper explores the relationship between employment mobility, family fixity, and gentrification in the lives of thirty-six residents of Little Burgundy, Saint-Henri and Point Saint-Charles. Our place-based approach to mobile work enables us to capture a wide-spectrum of experience, ranging from extended daily commutes to those whose work takes them away from home for days, weeks, or months at a time. One parent’s mobility often leads to the relative
immobility of other family members. To understand these knotted issues, we conducted interviews with life-partners as well as their children, ages 5 to 7. Nearly everyone we interviewed were in-migrants to the area, most being new to Montreal as well. The link between migration and employment mobility deserves more attention. Our interviewees were also middle-class, most owning their homes, and had a university education. There is therefore a clear connection to gentrification, with the concept of “family gentrification” seeming to apply best.

Paola Soto and Eliza MacLauchlan, “The transnational parenting experience of Mexican and Filipino women that live in Prince Edward Island under the Temporary Foreign Worker program”

Every year, around 75,000 temporary foreign workers come to Canada. 12,000 of these workers are women and a significant portion of these women are also mothers. While they stay in Canada, these mothers have to keep long-distance relationships with their children. Cooper Institute is an education and community development centre that works on local and international development issues and conducts research and popular education projects on different level. Since 2010, we have been working on temporary foreign worker issues in Prince Edward Island (PEI). Throughout the years, the understanding of the problems and challenges that temporary foreign workers face each day has evolved. The need for a greater understanding of the experience of mothers in transnational parenting relationships has also grown. A group of women from Mexico and the Philippines that work in rural PEI under the temporary foreign worker program have shared their experience about transnational parenting with Cooper Institute in a pre-investigation work with the hope that this will contribute to greater knowledge exchange around transnational parenting for temporary foreign workers.

Paola Soto is a psychologist and social worker from Chile with a Masters degree in Primary Health Care from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. For the last 15 years, Paola has alternated between her work in Hospitals and community primary health, and her work in organizations dealing with social justice, mental health, and family. Currently, she works as the outreach coordinator of the migrant worker program at Cooper Institute in PEI, Canada

Eliza MacLauchlan has a BA in Psychology from the University of Prince Edward Island and has been involved in Cooper Institute’s volunteer team working with migrant workers for the past three years.

Jill Bucklaschuk, “Reunification after separation: How families cope with temporary migration and navigate permanent settlement in Manitoba”

When temporary migrants are hired to work in Manitoba, many expect to, and do, become permanent residents through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and settle in Canada with their families. Becoming a permanent resident is often a goal of migrants who endure physically demanding work, precariousness, and loneliness to pursue a two-step immigration process that enables family reunification and the achievement of a better life. In this way, temporary migration becomes not just a form of employment-related geographical mobility, but also a migration strategy.
Drawing from ongoing research on the experiences of temporary migrants hired to work in the hog processing industry in rural Manitoba, this presentation will explore the question of how temporary migration impacts family members, specifically in a context where reunification and permanent settlement can be anticipated. Many families endure long separations and uncertain futures as they await successful applications to the PNP only to then navigate a complex settlement process upon reunification. This presentation will discuss how families cope with temporary migration and how they then negotiate reunification in a new home.


Jill Bucklaschuk recently completed a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Guelph and has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Manitoba.  Currently, she is a community-based researcher, specializing in collaborative community-engaged research on immigration and settlement in Manitoba. Her academic work focuses on investigating how non-permanent legal status impacts the social and workplace experiences of temporary migrants and their families as they negotiate settlement in Canada.

Panelists, Melissa Ralph, Kevin Ryan, Marie Antoinette Pangan, Julie Bouchard, Don Avery and others TBA

Melissa Ralph is the founder of ‘NL Families Separated By Work’. Her husband works offshore NL, she also works full time and they have 2 small children.

Kevin Ryan, from South Pinette, PEI, formerly worked as geophysical line helper, otherwise known as a “seismic jughound” before entering the human resources department of the largest geophysical acquisition company in Canada as a recruiter. He drove a crew bus in Alberta during his son’s first year, and continued to travel with the HR department throughout North America until deciding to pursue his BScN at UPEI and now works as a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department at Kings County Memorial Hospital in Montague PEI. Kevin is married with two children, Seamus (8) and Emmylou (7).

Marie Antoinette Pangan came to Canada from the Philippines in 2010.  Up until 2014 when Marie became a permanent resident,  she worked as a fish plant worker and in the hotel and fast-food industries.  Marie, along with her child, now call PEI home and is currently pursuing a degree here at UPEI in Nursing.

Julie Bouchard is a semi-retired job developer for persons with disabilities. As a military spouse, she brings with her more than 30 years of experience dealing with service exigencies.  Over the years her spouse has left the family unit to complete taskings and training, including an almost nine-month absence in support of Canada's mission in Afghanistan. Julie has first-hand experience being the one left behind to care for children and the household, while managing own career.