Reimagining Care/Work Policies

Care/Work Portrait Project: A Qualitative Research Study Exploring How Diverse Canadian Families Organize, Strategize, and Manage Paid and Unpaid Work

As a follow-up to the international Familydemic survey and our Canadian version of this survey, we developed a qualitative research study with a selected group of participants from our Angus Reid Panel. Between June 2022 – March 2023 we have interviewed (via Zoom) individuals and couples about their care and work lives with a view to understanding key contemporary issues and challenges for diverse Canadian families on paid and unpaid work. We interviewed a total of 155 participants (67 interviewed in couple interviews and 21 in individual interviews) living in 88 households across Canada. 

Our study focuses on diverse families, including Indigenous, new immigrant and racialized, LGBTQ+, rural, low-income families, families with disabilities, and families with particular configurations of paid and unpaid work (i.e., one partner working in the care economy, and households where fathers took parenting leaves and/or flexible/remote work).

For our interviews, we developed a method and digital app, the Care/Work Portrait, to explore paid and unpaid work, and gender divisions and relations of household and care work. Interviews have been conducted by all team members, working in pairs. We have also conducted team data analysis sessions, using an adapted version of the Listening Guide data analysis approach. We are also using ATLAS.ti qualitative management software. 

Our research team of Co-investigators have worked with diverse populations and/or distinct case study foci: 

  • Andrea Doucet working across multiple sites
  • Janna Klostermann (University of Calgary): “Double Duty” Care Workers
  • Kim de Laat (University of Waterloo): Fathers, Remote Work, Parental Leave 
  • Karen Foster (Dalhousie University): Rural Families
  • Eva Jewell (Toronto Metropolitan University): First Nations Families
  • Margaret (Meg) Gibson and bridget livingstone, (University of Waterloo): 2SLGBTQ+ Families
  • Umay Kader (University of British Columbia) and Andrea Doucet: New Immigrant Families
  • Karen Foster and Meg Gibson: Families with Disabilities

Our strong student and research associate team includes: Jenna Cooper, Jessica Falk, Laura Fisher, Umay Kader, Michele Martin, Henry Stine, Kenya Thompson, and Brianna Urquhart.

Our Project Manager is Jennifer Turner. Our Angus Reid team includes Laura Joedicke, Krista Johnson, and Sal Rustom.

To date, we have published two peer reviewed articles that lay out the methodological and conceptual underpinnings of this project. 

Doucet, A. and Klostermann, J. (2023) What and How are we Measuring when we Research Gendered Divisions of Domestic Labour? Remaking the Household Portrait Method into a Care/Work PortraitSociological Research Online. Online First 

Doucet, A. (2023). Care is Not a Tally Sheet: Rethinking the Field of Gender Divisions of Domestic Labour with Care-Centric Conceptual Narratives. Families, Relationships and Societies, 12(1), 10-30.

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Families’ Care/Work Lives and COVID-19

Parental Leave