News Release

REF NO.: 31

SUBJECT: Memorial University event to highlight research on community and family impacts of mobility for work

DATE: December 1, 2017

Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians travel long distances and are away from home for extended periods of time because of where or how they work. Some are away for weeks or even months at a time before returning home, before the cycle repeats again.

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, researchers and community members will gather to participate in a public forum titled On the Move: Community and Family Impacts of Mobility for Work.

Presented by the Harris Centre and the On the Move Partnership, the event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation, on the St. John’s campus. The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in lot 15B, near the School of Music. Everyone is invited to attend. For those who cannot attend in person, the event will be webcast live.

The On the Move Partnership is a national research project headquartered at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Memorial sociologist Dr. Barbara Neis heads up On the Move, now in its sixth year of operation.

Extended mobility for work is widespread in Newfoundland and Labrador and in many other parts of Canada. The forum will present an overview of findings from across Canada on different patterns of extended mobility for work, as well as their impacts on source and host communities (both rural and urban) and on mobile workers and their families.

“Family and social networks enable and sustain employment-related mobility,” said Memorial anthropologist Dr. Sandrine Jean, a co-investigator with On the Move and one of the evening’s presenters. “This type of work impacts not only mobile workers and their immediate families, but also relatives and extended family members, neighbours and whole communities.”

Dr. Jean will explore the struggles of those who are left behind as well as those who leave; impacts on spouses, children and relationships; and impacts on well-being and health, including mental, physical and reproductive health.

Drs. Kelly Vodden and Heather Hall will focus on the community impacts in both the host and source communities, including housing availability and affordability, infrastructure and services, economic and community development, and the impacts on local spending and the volunteer sector.

Community panellists will include Joe Bennett, executive director, Long Harbour Development Corporation, and Melissa Ralph, co-creator, N.L. Families Separated by Work, a Facebook group dedicated to supporting families with a spouse or partner working away.

The On the Move Partnership includes more than 40 researchers from 17 disciplines and 22 universities working with more than 30 community partners to design the research, interpret the results and disseminate the findings to diverse stakeholders. The partnership is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Innovate NL.

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