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Canadians give generously of their time

Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), marked International Volunteer Day by recognizing the millions of Canadians who give generously of their time to help others.

International Volunteer Day was established by the United Nations (UN) in 1985 in order to shine a light on the importance of volunteers and their socioeconomic contributions.

The UN invites governments to observe every December 5 as International Volunteer Day to raise awareness and encourage people from all walks of life to donate their time and skills.

Canada supports volunteers, businesses and not-for-profit organizations through investments by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the lead department on volunteerism.

Under ESDC, initiatives are put forward through the Social Development Partnerships Program and New Horizons for Seniors Program.

As a result, communities across the country are able to improve the lives of families and fund projects that involve seniors, enabling them to play an important role as volunteers or leaders in local activities.

A number of other federal departments, such as the Canada Revenue Agency, Parks Canada and Heritage Canada, run programs that rely on the dedication of volunteers, who keep Canada vibrant.

Canada also recognizes exceptional volunteers through the delivery of the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards.

The Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards program consists of 17 awards in total: two at the national level and 15 at the regional level.

Awards are presented to volunteers, innovative not-for-profit organizations and forward-thinking businesses that have made outstanding contributions to communities from coast to coast to coast.

A few quick facts:

Each year, over 13 million Canadians volunteer over two billion hours of their time and effort for others.

The value of volunteers’ time in Canada is equivalent to 1.1 million full-time jobs annually.

Thirty-six per cent of seniors perform volunteer work, with volunteers over 65 contributing about 223 hours a year, compared to the national average of 156 hours.

“International Volunteer Day is an opportunity to thank those who generously give of their time, resources and expertise,” said Minister Wong. “Many seniors are active and engaged in their community, often through volunteering. This special day highlights the impact of their efforts and contributions within Canada and around the world.”

More info at www.pm.gc.ca/awards.  

Posted: Jan 4, 2015

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