Transnational, Multi-Local Motherhood: Experiences of Separation and Reunification among Latin American Families in Canada

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By: Bernhard, Judith, Patricia Landolt, and Luin Goldring
Date: 2005

This paper (CERIS Working Paper Series #40) explores the experiences of Latin American families who have faced separation and reunification during their migration process to Canada. It examines the particular situations of 40 mothers. In particular, it focuses on how mother-child relationships and family networks are transformed by transnational, multi-local family structures, and it highlights several barriers to the mothers" utilization of social services.

The research project was set up to address the following research questions:

  1. What are the common configurations of transnational families with members inCanada?
  2. How are bonds and emotional connections maintained, and what are the impacts on children before and after migration and reunification?
  3. What are the pressures on and changes in the role of mothers?
  4. What are the patterns of change of authority in transnational, multi-local families, and what are their effects on children?
  5. What do the mothers" experiences suggest about their awareness of services and their ability (and willingness) to utilise them?

The report calls for recognition of the needs of transnational families in Canada, and offers concrete recommendations to policy makers, service providers, and families with an aim to easing the difficulties of separation and reunification. The authours urge that service-providers and policy-makers come to understand the situation and begin to bring people negatively affected by transnational, multi-local family relationships into full citizenship.

This report is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (760 KB, 43 pages).