Today, Canadians are courageously volunteering in the midst of one of the largest health, economic and social challenges of our lifetime. Recently released statistics from Statistics Canada on volunteering can shed some light on volunteering trends pre-pandemic, and can provide insight to industry leaders faced with filling gaps created due to COVID-19.
In 2018, over 12.7 million Canadians engaged in formal volunteering, with a total of 1.6 billion hours of their time given to charities, non-profits and community organizations—this is equivalent to almost 858,000 full-time year-round jobs!
One challenge facing volunteer organizations during the pandemic is that Canada’s most dedicated volunteers are also among those most vulnerable to COVID-19. In 2018, it was the baby boomers and those of their parents’ generation who were most likely to contribute their time. A second challenge during the pandemic is that many of the activities people volunteer for are no longer occurring. Hospitals have suspended most volunteer programs to protect the health of those involved. Religious gatherings, sport and recreational events, and cultural gatherings have also been cancelled, with some activity moving online.
Despite these challenges, it is still important to recognize and celebrate inspiring volunteers.
Canada’s Volunteer Awards is now accepting nominations until September 30, 2020 in five categories and five regions of Canada. Award recipients receive a $5,000 or $10,000 grant to direct to a not-for-profit organization of their choosing. Recipients are also invited to participate in a facilitated discussion with fellow and past recipients, to share their experiences and best practices.
Visit to Canada.ca/volunteer-awards to nominate a volunteer and to learn more about Canada’s Volunteer Awards.