Leading scholars of work and care have identified the current epoch as “globalizing financialized capitalism” (Fraser, 2016) and a “fourth industrial revolution” (Howcraft and Rubery, 2018) in which “crises of care” (Fraser, 2016) have profoundly altered the ways people live, work, and care for significant others, especially young children. We maintain that at this historical juncture, Canada’s social policy architecture is failing many families. Three interrelated critical pillars of this social policy architecture—parental leave, child care services, and workplace policies—are receiving growing research and policy attention, yet this has occurred mainly on parallel, rather than overlapping tracks. Moreover, there is insufficient dialogue between theoretical debates on these issues and social movement advocacy on how to translate scholarly insights into policy interventions that could benefit diverse Canadian families.
This panel aims to bridge the divide between research and advocacy through intellectually engaging conversation and debate. It will take up theoretical, methodological, conceptual, and policy questions about what it means to reimagine, on the cusp of the third decade of the 21st century, fields of work and care policies and practices in Canada. The panel will also explore how decision makers (federal, provincial, and municipal, and local governments and governing bodies), workplaces, and communities can support people’s efforts to craft meaningful, sustainable, and habitable lives. Reflection on how “crises of care” affect diverse Canadian families (including, for example, Indigenous families, LGBTQ families, families of children with special needs, single parent families, new immigrant families, rural families, and families across social classes) and key issues facing these families will emerge from the panels as well. Leading and emergent scholar panelists with diverse theoretical, methodological, and empirical interests will make a case for the need to consider several critical issues within this broad research area.