Backgrounder: Canada’s Volunteer Awards


Canada’s Volunteer Awards

The objective of Canada’s Volunteer Awards is to recognize volunteers and bring national prominence to the contributions individuals, not-for-profit organizations, and businesses make to their communities through volunteering. This aligns with the Government of Canada’s interest in promoting innovative solutions to local problems.

This year’s call for nominations for Canada’s Volunteer Awards is open from April 17, 2018 to June 15, 2018.

There are a total of 21 awards, both at the regional and the national levels.

There are 20 regional awards, four for each of the five regions across Canada (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies and British Columbia and the North):

  • Emerging Leader (for young volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30);
  • Community Leader (for individual volunteers or groups of volunteers);
  • Business Leader (for businesses); and
  • Social Innovator (for not-for-profit organizations).

There is also one national award:

  • Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award (for those who have volunteered for at least 20 years).

Recognition package for recipients:

Award recipients are invited to attend a ceremony, held each year on December 5, where they are recognized by the Government of Canada. In addition, regional award recipients are eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $5,000 grant, and the recipient of the Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award is eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $10,000 grant.

Recipients are selected through a three-step assessment process

  1. Department officials screen nominations to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria.
  2. Regional reviewers (volunteer representatives from across the country) assess eligible nominations based on the assessment criteria and develop a list of top-ranked nominations for the National Advisory Committee.
  3. A National Advisory Committee comprised of 11 volunteer members from various regions across Canada assesses the top-ranked nominations, and advises the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on final decisions.


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