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Dr. Pat Armstrong


Dr. Armstrong's work focuses on the fields of social policy, of women, work and the health and social services.


Pat Armstrong held a Canada Health Services Research Foundation/Canadian Institute of Health Research Chair in Health Services, is a Distinguished Research Professor in Sociology and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Focusing on the fields of social policy, of women, work and the health and social services, she has published widely, co-authoring and co-editing such books as Troubling Care: Critical Perspectives on Research and Practices; Shaping Academia for the Public Good; Thinking Women and Health Care Reform in Canada; Women’s health: Intersections of Research, Policy and Practice; They Deserve Better: the Long-term Care Experience in Canada and Scandinavia; A Place to Call Home: Long-term Care in Canada; Critical to Care: the Invisible Women in Health Services and Wasting Away; The Undermining of Canadian Health Care. Much of this work makes the relationship between paid and unpaid work central to the analysis. She was Chair of Women and Health Care Reform, a group funded for more than a decade by Health Canada, and was acting director of the National Network for Environments and Women’s Health. She is currently co-director at York of the Ontario Training Centre, a member of the Board for the York Institute for Health Research and has served as both Chair of the Department of Sociology at York and Director of the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton. She is also a board member of the Canadian Health Coalition and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. In addition, she has served as an expert witness in more than a dozen cases, heard before bodies ranging from the Federal Court to federal Human Rights Tribunals on issues related to women’s health care work and to pay equity. She has been a co-investigator and principal investigator on a large number of grants, primarily focused on women’s work, women’s health and health care. Funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, she is Pincipal Investigator on "Reimagining Long-term Residential Care: An International Study of Promising Practices" and on the CIHR funded "Healthy Aging in Residential Places"


Seniors Calling. Public or Private Pursuit in Long-Term Care

October 25, 2016

Dr. Pat Armstrong — Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology, York University and Principal Investigator, “Reimagining Long-Term Residential Care: An International Study of Promising Practices.” and contributing author of aforementioned study, Dr. Hugh Armstrong — Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Social Work & Political Economy, Carleton University will be speaking at an upcoming Ontario Health Coalition Conference. ‘Reforming Long-Term Care Homes in the Public Interest’ Conference gets underway in Toronto Friday, October 28th, 2016.

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Nursing homes don’t have to be grim, depressing places: Goar
Toronto Star

January 15, 2016

The harder the Ontario government beats the drum for home care, the more worried York University sociologist Pat Armstrong becomes.“We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can care for everybody at home. There will always be people who need 24-hour nursing care. We can’t neglect them.”

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The Threats of Privatization to Security in Long-Term Residential Care
Ageing International

2016This paper argues that privatization, especially in the form of for-profit, chain ownership, undermines security in old age. Using data from research in Canada and focusing on the specific case of long-term residential care, this paper examines four aspects of security; security of physical access, security of financial access, security of quality and security of employment for those providing care.

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Liminal and invisible long-term care labour: Precarity in the face of austerity
The Journal of Industrial Relations

2016Using feminist political economy, this article argues that companions hired privately by families to care for residents in publicly funded long-term care facilities (nursing homes) are a liminal and invisible labour force.

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Liminality in Ontario’s long-term care facilities: Private companions’ care work in the space ‘betwixt and between’
Competition & Change

2015Nursing, personal care, food and cleaning are publicly funded in Ontario’s long-term care facilities, but under-staffing usually renders all but the most basic of personal preferences superfluous. This individualization of responsibility for more personalized care has resulted in more families providing more care and opting to hire private, private companion care.

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“Careworkers don't have a voice:” Epistemological violence in residential care for older people
Journal of Aging Studies

2015Drawing on feminist epistemologies, this paper attends to the way the reductionist assumptions have shaped the organization of nursing home carework in manners that are insufficient to the needs of relational care.

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Structural violence in long-term, residential care for older people: Comparing Canada and Scandinavia
Social Science & Medicine

2012Canadian frontline careworkers are six times more likely to experience daily physical violence than their Scandinavian counterparts. This paper draws on a comparative survey of residential careworkers serving older people across three Canadian provinces (Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario) and four countries that follow a Scandinavian model of social care (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) conducted between 2005 and 2006.

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Area of Expertise

Decent Work for All

Feminist Political Economy

Health Care

Health Policy

Long-Term Care

Women and Work


Re-imagining Long-term Residential Care project: Principal Investigator

Royal Society of Canada: Elected 2011


Health and Wellness

Public Policy



Carleton University : Sociology

Carleton University : Canadian Studies

University of Toronto : Sociology

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