Good afternoon. Hello, everyone. It's good to be back with you. It seems like just a few days since we last met in Ottawa, and it seems like a lifetime ago. Here we are in this new normal, or new interim normal anyway, and although I'd prefer to be there with you in person, it's great that we have this technology to be able to connect by phone.
I'd like to share remarks of gratitude and appreciation for all the hard work and the long hours that all of you are putting in to make sure Canadians are safe. I hope you and your loved ones are managing well under these challenging circumstances.
Since we last met, the institute has continued to work on the family well-being index and adding in figures and bringing in data related to the pandemic and how families are managing and coping, or not. We've continued to build on the policy monitor to have it expanded to include a special section on what governments are doing related to the pandemic. Our research consortium now has over 165 active participants who are working with us to pull together new data that will allow us to monitor how individuals and families are doing as we go through this next phase of pandemic planning and preparation.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm the CEO of the Vanier Institute, which is a research and education organization that was founded by Georges Vanier back in 1965. We are a national resource, so we are here for you to be able to make informed decisions and to apply evidence to the decision-making that you're a part of on a day-to-day basis. Our primary role is to expedite research to practice, so what we've been doing in recent weeks is working with our primary partners at Statistics Canada, the Association for Canadian Studies and Leger polling, and conducting weekly research on how families are managing, what's happening with their family life, their family experiences, and their expectations and aspirations. We've been asking them how they feel about the government measures and the kinds of things they're finding particularly useful and I thought I would just take a couple of minutes to share with you some of the highlights from the last couple of weeks.
Each week we go to the field and we collect some of the same data week over week and then we add one or two questions that are variable that allow us to dig a bit deeper. We are accumulating this data so that we'll be able to look at things over time. The questions we're asking today are also linking back to some of the existing data from the general social survey on families and the general social survey on caregiving and time use, to be able to look at pre-pandemic, early COVID, mid-COVID, late COVID and then ultimately post-pandemic, so that we'll be able to learn from these experiences, and each of the other witnesses has talked about how important that's going to be as a group.
We have more data than we have expertise, time and resources to manage, so we would welcome any additional assistance that is available to be able to drill down a bit deeper. There's a hunger for this information. Just this morning I was doing 30 separate interviews from coast to coast to coast, sharing just one data point on how couples were managing living in close quarters. I want to share with you several things.
One is based on what we've done in previous years, looking at how families manage disruptions and crises. Whether it's fires in Fort Mac, tornadoes in Dunrobin or ice storms and snowstorms, etc., we know that for all systems, when under stress and strain, all strengths and weaknesses are magnified, amplified and intensified. What we want to do is to learn how the magnification, amplification and intensification of strengths can be harnessed, leveraged and built on and how the weaknesses can be managed.
I'll give just a couple of quick highlights. The good news is that most couples are doing quite well, most families are faring quite well, despite the uncertainty and lack of predictability and precariousness around finances. Eight in 10 couples said they were feeling well-supported by their partners.
We know that of those who are feeling supported, those who do not have children living at home are at a slightly higher number, but not much, and those who do have children at home are indicating that they are engaging in more meaningful conversations with their partners and that they feel their relationships are actually strengthening as a result.
That's true for men and women, but men more so, and men with children even more.
The relationships are highest and people feel closest in British Columbia, at 44%, and in Quebec it's 40%. What we're interested in finding out is whether over time—because B.C. and Quebec have had more intensity in a shorter period of time—the rest of Canada follow suit, or whether it is just a cultural issue. We'll be able to report on that in another week or two.
The good news is that only 16% are arguing more during the pandemic, although we are seeing and expecting a further uptick in family violence. If we look at some of the international experiences, we see that places like Italy are finding a 30% increase in domestic violence. We will be tracking and tracing that as well over time.
I want to share with you a couple of highlights from some of the microstudies that we've been doing, particularly on individuals new to Canada. We've divided them up between those who have been here for more than five years and those who have been here for five years or less.
The fears associated with contracting COVID are much greater for those who have been here for less than five years, but both categories of immigrants—those who have been here at least five years and those who've been here less than five years—are significantly higher in their fear factor than non-immigrants.
Fear about financial obligations among those with less than five years' residence is almost double what it is for non-immigrants. Among those who are saying they're not managing well, people are managing less well the shorter the period of time they've been in the country.
A big one that I think is important is looking at how people feel in terms of their circle of support around them. Across Canada, 90% of non-immigrants in Canada say that they have somebody they can depend on in case of emergency. That drops dramatically down to less than 76% for those who have been here less than five years.
Part of that is related to information. We know that they're not getting information, supports and resources in the same way, in part because of language barriers, so we are asking where people are getting their information in order to be able to recommend how best to target communication and how best to communicate the resources and supports that are available to them.
That's just a snapshot. We will be collecting this data week over week, as I mentioned. We do have it drilled down to provincial levels and across genders and socio-economic status and a number of other indicators. The dilemma that we're faced with is that we have more data than we have analysts, so although we're using human resources from universities and Statistics Canada, we don't have enough resources to carry on this work in a deep and meaningful way. I'm just planting that idea. If there are resources available and you're interested in getting more of this information at a more granular level, we'd be happy to provide it for you with additional resources.
Thank you so much for your time.