The Centre for Global Social Policy has the privilege of partnering with researchers who are leaders in their field and whose research interests align with the mission of the Gender, Migration, & Work of Care Project. As newly hired policy interns, our goal this summer is to bring together the extensive research done by the Project Leaders, in order to create materials that will inform the public on the changing nature of migration and care work. In short, we are here to help further the Centre’s goal of “knowledge mobilization.”
The concept of knowledge mobilization is often tossed around academic circles. Its general goal is to transform academic research into something impactful and to assure information reaches the most relevant individuals. The fundamental question is, how can we translate important and timely research findings into real life action and change?
An intimidating and complex task, to say the least.
As policy students, we are taught the importance of knowing your audience prior to preparing and presenting material. If you are briefing a Minister, your research will look one way; if you are preparing a paper for submission to an academic journal, you research will look entirely different. This summer, we need to figure out how to produce material that is informative and interesting to a variety of audiences. How can we make different groups — with different experiences, interests, priorities, and areas of expertise — care about the experiences of migrant care workers, and the consequences (both positive and negative) of government policies on both care workers and care recipients? These are the challenges that we are taking on as policy interns.
The research from this Project matters, or is going to matter, to everyone at some point. The Canadian government will have to pay up to $1.185 trillion in long-term care over the next 35 years as demographics continue to change and our population ages. The implications and effects of any policy changes are evident – for individuals who require care, for a family member or loved one of someone who requires care, or as a formal or informal care worker. However, informal care costs approximately $25 billion annually, and formal care workers experience labour insecurity and precarity. How do we combat these issues? Thousands of individuals come to Canada under various Caregiver Programs to support various aspects of care. However, changes to the Live-In Caregiver Program in 2014 have left the fate of these workers uncertain, and has placed a cap on the number of individuals coming in.
These are issues we all need to think about.
Working with the research, we will be making concrete policy recommendations that are mindful of the complexities that inhere in policymaking, but at the same time accessible to those outside the confines of academia and government. In doing so, we are thrilled at the opportunity to use our policy knowledge to create briefings and presentations to inform the policy community, the general public, and all those involved in the processes associated with care giving and receiving.
We look forward to the opportunity to communicate with the public about why we need to care more about care work.