The Longitudinal Study of Separated Parents and Stepfamilies in Quebec is a large-scale study examining the experience of separated fathers and mothers – whether or not they have custody of their children – and their new partners, when applicable. At the first time point (2018-2019), 1700 parents and 90 new partners in Quebec participated in the survey. These parents and their partner were interviewed again two years later.

In winter of 2023, parents and partners will then be invited to participate again to help us understand how their family situation has evolved in the past two years.

Why participate in this research?

Fill out the questionnaire online!

If you have received an invitation by email to participate in the third phase of data collection, use the Fill out my questionnaire link in that email.

Thank you for your participation, and taking the time to share your experience with us.

The third and last time point of the study is about to begin!

In winter 2023, the parents who participated in the first time point of 2018-2019 will  be invited to participate again. If needed, their partner could also participate in the study.

By sharing your experience, you will be able to help improve the experience of other parents and children going through this important transition.

Start of data collection – September 2018
Start of analyses – November 2019
Preparing for Time 2 – Winter 2020

Start of data collection – September 2020
Start of analyses – Fall 2021
Preparing for Time 3 – Winter 2022

Start of data collection – January 2023
Start of analyses – Winter 2024

About the study

Who is leading the study?

This study is being led by Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques, PhD, professor in the School of Social Work and Criminology at Université Laval. The research team brings together 28 researchers from 13 universities and 18 partner organizations.

What is being studied?

The study aims to better understand how parents and their children in Quebec experience separation and, when applicable, life with a new partner. It also aims to find out what designated services separated parents are using and gain insight into the legal and public policy issues involved. Here is a summary of the themes that will be explored.


  • How adults adjust
  • How children adjust
  • Parenting after separation
  • Relationships within the family and with the other parent
  • Raising children
  • Roles played and tasks shared
  • The couple relationship in stepfamilies
  • The desire to have children
  • Managing finances
  • The role of step-parents


  • The needs of separated parents and their children
  • Their use of services
  • Their level of satisfaction with these services
  • The services or support they would have liked to receive

Legal and Public Policy Issues

  • Legal protections put in place (life insurance; will; cohabitation agreement or contract; etc.)
  • Agreements worked out following the separation or once the stepfamily was formed
  • Opinions on laws dealing with the family, separation and divorce
  • Opinions on the roles and responsibilities of step-parents
  • Financial repercussions of separation

Who will participate in the study?

Close to 1,700 separated parents took part in the first time point and close to 90 partners. Unlike many other studies dealing with family matters, this study gives a voice to both mothers and fathers, whether or not they have custody of their children.

What will your participation involve?

This is a longitudinal study, aiming to understand how the participants’ situation evolves over time. Therefore, the research team will collect data at three time points, in 2018, 2020 and 2022. The participants will be invited to fill out a questionnaire each time. The data will be collected from their online questionnaires. Those who prefer can fill out the questionnaire through a telephone interview. In 2022-2023, the parent questionnaire will take about 60 minutes and the questionnaire for new partners about 40 minutes to complete.

Your participation is important

The Longitudinal Study of Separated Parents and Stepfamilies in Quebec is the first large-scale study focusing specifically on these questions in Canada. We need to hear from important people like you. Because you have lived through this situation, you can help us better understand the lives of parents who have separated or formed a new couple after separating. By sharing your experience, you can help other fathers and mothers and their children be better supported as they go through this important transition and benefit from services and policies that suit their needs.

To thank you for your participation, you will receive a monetary compensation upon completion of the questionnaire. The monetary compensation is $45 for parents (50$ for those in a couple and who completed the questions about being a part of a stepfamily) and $30 for partners. 

The compensation will be sent to you by interac transfer.

How are the participants chosen?

The mothers and fathers invited to participate in this research project were randomly selected from among parents in Quebec with a child under the age of 14 in 2018. New partners will be referred by participating parents.

About the online questionnaire

Why an online questionnaire?

We want to make it easy for parents to share their experience with us. Filling out the questionnaire online will allow you to complete it when it’s most convenient for you and will ensure your anonymity.

How long will it take to fill out the questionnaire?

The time it takes to fill out the questionnaire will vary depending on each person’s situation, but it should take about 60 minutes for parents and about 40 minutes for partners to complete.

The questionnaire can be filled out in stages. You can interrupt it and save your answers until you get back to it.

I would like to participate in the study but don’t want to fill out the questionnaire online

If you don’t have Internet or prefer not to fill out the questionnaire online but would still like to participate in the study, you can fill out the questionnaire over the phone.


How did you get my contact information?

The mothers and fathers participating in this study were randomly selected from Quebec parents with a child under age 14. Your contact information was sent to us by the Régie de l’Assurance-maladie du Québec (RAMQ), with the authorization of the Commission d’accès à l’information (CAI). Only the research team at Université Laval and employees of BIP, the firm that recruits participants, have access to this information.

How did you know I was separated?

When we first contact parents, we don’t know whether or not they are separated. You were contacted because the RAMQ, authorized by CAI, indicated that you have at least one child under age 14. Once we contact these parents, we then quickly check to see whether or not they are separated.

Quebec has many separated parents and, as a society, we need to better understand their realities. If you are separated, your participation in this study is very important.

This study gives you the chance to have your voice heard.

Why will my data be linked to my partner’s data?

Linking this data reduces the number of questions that your partner will be asked and allows us to compare your respective points of view on various aspects of your family situation.

Why am I being asked for three types of consent?

By filling out the questionnaire, you are consenting to participate in the project.

But we also ask for two other separate types of consent: your consent to having some information extracted from your Revenu Québec tax file; and your consent to having your data transferred to a databank. You can participate in the project and later decide to not give either of the additional types of consent. Please keep in mind that this is a scientific study. The researchers must follow very strict rules that protect your privacy and the confidentiality of your information.

Why am I being asked to consent to having my answers combined with information from my Revenu Québec tax file?

It’s simpler for the respondents. This is how other major surveys operate, for example, those conducted by Statistics Canada. It’s less work for respondents, who are asked fewer questions, and it improves the quality of the research data. With your agreement, this operation will be carried out by the fiscal and statistical studies department at Revenu Québec. It will in no way affect your previous, present or future tax files.

What information in my Revenu Québec tax file will be passed on to the research team?

The following information in your tax file will be used:

  • Your conjugal situation on December 31 and the date of change, if applicable;
  • Your province of residence, if different from Quebec, and your date of arrival or departure, if applicable;
  • Any information used to calculate your total income;
  • Deducted amounts used to determine your net income;
  • The amount of additional contribution for subsidized educational child care that you have paid;
  • Tax credits for child care expenses and the work premium;
  • The solidarity tax credit.

Why am I being asked if I want to have my data transferred to a databank?

Quebec parents will provide us with extremely rich, important information. It is crucial that this information not be destroyed at the end of the study. By agreeing to have your data transferred to a databank, all your responses can be used. We will transfer the data only after we are sure that it does not contain any personal information (name or postal address, for example) that would make it possible to identify you. This databank is under the responsibility of Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques, Scientific Director of the study. Its use is regulated by a strict data management framework and approved by the Research Ethics Committee of Université Laval.

Does my ex-partner have to participate in the study too?

No. We ask many questions about the child’s other parent (your ex-partner) so as to better understand how roles and relationships change over time in separated families. However, what we want is your point of view. Your ex-partner does not have to participate.

Why do several questions focus on only one of my children?

Some questions focus on only one of the children. This child was randomly selected from the children under age 14 you had with your ex-partner. This was done to avoid asking all these questions for all your children, which would have made the questionnaire much too long. You may feel that you would have answered differently if the software had selected one of your other children. That’s normal! But by doing it this way, we can document a wide variety of family situations (e.g., children who mainly live with one parent, children of different ages, children with or without difficulties, etc.). It also allows us to follow up on youths who will still be minors when the data is collected for a third time in 2022.

Are my data kept confidential?

Absolutely. The study has been approved by the Research Ethics Committee of Université Laval; it thus meets the very high ethical standards of research involving human subjects.

Your data are kept strictly confidential and will never be used in any way that would make it possible to identify you, your children or your family. Several measures are in place to ensure that your data will be kept confidential.

Why am I being asked for details on where I can be reached?

This is a longitudinal study, which means that we want to understand how the situation of the participants changes over time. The research team will collect data three times—in 2018, 2020 and 2022. We would like to contact you in two years, and then in four years from now. That is why we would like to have your contact information.

These details will allow us to send you updates on the study and highlights of the important findings that will result from your participation. If you move or your contact information changes, please let us know by filling out the study’s online form at, calling us at 418 656-2131 ext. 404721, or sending us an email at

Can I change my mind?

Your participation is really important. It will help us to better understand the experience of  separated parents and stepfamilies in Quebec and their needs. However, your participation in the study is completely voluntary. You can withdraw from it any time without giving a reason. So, even if you agree to participate now, you can decide not to participate in two or four years’ time. If so, all of your personal information will be destroyed.

Is it worth it to me to participate in this study?

This scientific study is being conducted by 28 researchers. It is not a survey; nor is it market research. It is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which funds only high-quality research. Your responses will help advance scientific knowledge. In turn, this will help to better support children, mothers and fathers who separate or choose to form a new union. Your participation is of the utmost importance.

Confidentiality of the data

The Longitudinal Study of Separated Parents and Stepfamilies in Quebec is being funded by the SSHRC, Canada’s main funding agency for research in the humanities and social sciences.

This study has been approved by the University Research Ethics Committee of Université Laval. It thus meets the very high ethical standards for research involving human subjects.

Once you have completed the questionnaire, the data contained in it will be added to a file stored on a secure server. Any information making it possible to identify you (names, contact information) will be removed and stored in a separate and highly protected file.

Any information that you provide will be kept strictly confidential and will never be used in any way that would make it possible to identify you, your children or your family. In addition, no information that would make it possible to identify you will be sent to any government agency.

Your participation in this research is entirely voluntary. You can withdraw from it at any time if you so choose, without giving a reason. If so, all personal information pertaining to you will be destroyed.

Important discoveries thanks to you

Your participation in this large-scale study will lead to discoveries that will enable us to help improve the experience of other families going through this important transition and develop services and policies that meet their needs.

Come back and visit us again! The results will be presented starting in Fall 2020.

Contact information

Moving or about to move? Got a new phone number or email address?

Update your contact information so you can stay informed!

1 418 656-2131, ext. 404721                

Or simply fill out the form below!