The impetus for the Canadian Symposium began in the spring of 1990 when Dr. Linda Peterat of the University of British Columbia invited Colleen Grover, a teacher for the Calgary School Board, to come to UBC and share what was happening in home economics education in Alberta with home economics educators in Vancouver. Feedback from those in attendance was very positive and they recommended that home economics educators meet on a yearly basis and invite other home economics educators to join the discussion. Peterat and Grover began to formulate plans for the next meeting, and decided on the Symposium format; “We believed that if we were to meet again that we needed some guiding questions for the talks and that we should provide an opportunity for others by making available proceedings after the Symposium” (Grover, 1997).
It was planned to invite home economics educators from the universities, the ministries of education, school system supervisors, and presidents of home economics councils of teachers associations from British Columbia and Alberta. It was proposed that Manitoba and Saskatchewan could also be invited. Then Peterat and Grover arrived at the idea that if the Symposium was held in Manitoba, all of the people who were targeted from every province could be invited. A local committee was formed and the first Canadian Symposium: Issues and Directions for Home Economics/Family Studies Education was held in March 1991 in Winnipeg with approximately 40 home economists in attendance.
Several beliefs guided this Symposium from the beginning: 1) that all in positions of leadership, including teachers, should be invited to attend; 2) that most attending will also present so the symposium will consist of talking and listening to each other, not outside experts; 3) that the cost of attending and registration be kept minimal by seeking sponsors for the Symposium and using medium priced accommodation; 4) while the numbers of those in attendance may be low, proceedings should be published soon after the Symposium and made available to all for discussion; 5) that action planning to address issues be part of the Symposium so there is some follow through from the discussions.
Symposium I – March 1991, Winnipeg
Symposium II – March 1993, Calgary
Symposium III – March 1995, Toronto
Symposium IV – March 1997, Edmonton
Symposium V – March 1999, Ottawa
Symposium VI – February 2001, Winnipeg
Symposium VII – March 2003, Vancouver
Symposium VIII – March 2005, Halifax
Symposium IX – March 2007, Toronto
Symposium X – March 2009, Saskatoon
Symposium XI – March 2011, Winnipeg
Symposium XII – February 2013, Vancouver
Symposium XIII – February 2015, Winnipeg
Following each Symposium, each registrant has had access to the Proceedings. The symposia continue to be organized as long as people feel the need to meet and believe that good things happen as a result of the meetings. Human ecology has been added to the title of the Symposium to reflect a new bent in home economics/family studies education.
Grover, C. (1997). About the Canadian Symposium. Home Economists in Education [HEIE] News, June, p.2.