Volunteering in Ontario
Find information on how to get involved and volunteer in Ontario.
Organizations can find information on recognizing skills and experiences gained through volunteering, along with ways to attract, manage and retain volunteers.
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Volunteer in your community
Volunteers are welcomed and valued in every Ontario community. You can find a volunteer opportunity near you by:
- contacting a volunteer centre affiliated with the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network
- contacting a not-for-profit or charitable organization in your community
Achieve Ontario certificates
Find out if the organization where you volunteer offers Achieve Ontario certificates. These certificates provide a record of your skills and achievement from your volunteer experience, and may be helpful when you prepare a resume or look for a job.
Your safety and well-being during volunteer activities is important.
Learn how to stay safe while volunteering, whether your volunteer activity has any age restrictions, and what to do if you are injured.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission considers volunteers to be covered under section 5 of the Human Rights Code. Make sure you know your rights when volunteering.
Secondary school students in Ontario must complete 40 hours of community hours to receive their diploma.
Recognize volunteers’ skills and experiences
Volunteering is a great way for people to gain and develop skills, knowledge and experience.
If your organization manages volunteers, you can consider offering Achieve Ontario certificates that provide a record of skills and achievements demonstrated through volunteer work. The certificates are based on Employment and Social Development Canada’s National Occupational Classification system and can be useful when people apply for jobs or other volunteer opportunities.
If you are an employer, you can look for and consider volunteer-based skills and experiences on resumes and applications.
Attract, manage and retain volunteers
To help attract and recruit volunteers, organizations can:
Recognition is also important for managing and retaining volunteers. Learn about:
- Achieve Ontario certificates to recognize volunteers in your organization
- Ontario’s honours and awards for volunteering
Organizations are responsible for making sure the services provided by volunteers follow Ontario’s accessibility standards.
Volunteers in your organization can learn about accessibility tools and practices through the Volunteering and Accessibility interactive online training video.
Research on volunteering
Statistics Canada provides data on volunteering in Canada through the General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating. Explore the 2013 survey results and read the summary report on volunteering and charitable giving.
Ontario’s State of the Sector research provides insight into the province’s not-for-profit sector, including the role of volunteers.
Ontario’s Volunteer Action Plan
Ontario’s Volunteer Action Plan is a commitment to partner with the not-for-profit (NFP) and corporate sectors to strengthen volunteerism across the province.
The plan aims to promote the value of, and reduce barriers to, volunteering. It:
- raises awareness of the benefits of volunteering
- promotes volunteer opportunities for people across the province
- encourages the use of employee volunteer programs
- enhances the volunteer experience by promoting consistent standards for volunteer work, raising the profile of volunteer management practices and supporting efforts to recognize volunteers for their contributions
- supports research to identify trends and issues in volunteering
Ontario’s Volunteer Action Plan activities and initiatives include:
- Collaborating with other ministries, and engaging corporate and NFP sectors to promote awareness of volunteerism and action plan initiatives.
- Hosting a volunteerism summit in June 2017 to gather the community to share best practices and forge linkages.
- Promoting standards for volunteer involvement, using Volunteer Canada’s existing Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement.
- Building on the Partnership Grant Program volunteer management stream to ensure continued sector capacity development.
- Launching a public engagement campaign encouraging Ontarians to volunteer.
- Promoting volunteer management by launching the Excellence in Volunteer Management category of the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism, in collaboration with the Ontario Honours and Awards Secretariat of the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.
- Supporting and leveraging partnerships with key research organizations to address issues facing the NFP sector.
- Promoting the Achieve Ontario volunteer certificate program to recognize volunteer experiences, skills and accomplishments. The certificate provides a meaningful way to validate volunteer’s experience in an organization, and can be useful in the search for employment and other opportunities.