In the summer of 2002, Robert Glossop, Executive Director of Programs and Research for the Vanier Institute of the Family in Ottawa, contacted sociologist Reginald Bibby of the University of Lethbridge, to explore the possibility of carrying out a collaborative national survey. Glossop maintained that, as a result of the data generated by Statistics Canada and researchers across the country, we know a fair amount about the changing nature and functions of families—the forms families have been taking and how people have been adapting.
However, Glossop contended that our information base on families lacks an up-to-date reading of family aspirations—what Canadians hope to experience and are encouraged to experience. Such a reading, he maintained, is essential to clear perception, policy formulation and practical responses. In short, there would be value in carrying out a national survey that would offer a clear understanding of what people actually want from family life.
Bibby too felt that such a survey might have considerable worth and agreed to oversee the project, including the data analysis, and summary report. Planning for the survey began in the fall of 2002.