Government of Canada launches Call for Nominations for Canada’s Volunteer Awards

News release

December 5, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

Every year volunteers across the country dedicate their time and resources to positively impact their communities. On this year’s International Volunteer Day, we celebrate their countless contributions and honour those who paved the way before the pandemic, as well as those who stepped up during the most uncertain of times, by nominating them for a Canada’s Volunteer Award.

Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Honourable Karina Gould, launched the 2021 Call for Nominations for the 2021 Canada’s Volunteer Awards. From December 5, 2021, until March 4, 2022, individuals, non-profits, social enterprises or businesses can be nominated. In addition to national recognition, award recipients can identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a grant. Regional award recipients can identify not-for-profit organizations to receive a $5,000 grant and the national award recipient can identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $10,000 grant.

Nominations are being accepted in the following categories:

●       One national award – Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award  for an individual who has volunteered for at least 20 years;

●       Five regional awards – Emerging Leader for young volunteers between    the ages of 18 and 30;

●       Five regional awards – Community Leader for individuals or groups of volunteers;

●       Five regional awards – Business Leader for businesses and social enterprises; and

●       Five regional awards – Social Innovator for not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises.

Canada’s Volunteer Awards highlights community leadership and aims to encourage Canadians from all walks of life to make a difference in their communities through volunteering, while developing innovative solutions to tackle social challenges.

Nominate an individual or group of volunteers, a not-for-profit organization, a social enterprise or a business today! For more information and to submit a nomination, visit


“As we celebrate International Volunteer Day, and recognize those who work tirelessly to better our communities, I am honoured to announce the launch of the Call for Nominations for Canada’s Volunteer Awards. Over the past two years, as Canadians faced unprecedented challenges linked to the pandemic, we have all come to appreciate even more the incredible strength and support volunteers offer to members of their community in times of need. I encourage all Canadians to nominate those who provide this critical service to others in their community.”

– The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick facts

  • Canada’s Volunteer Awards consist of 21 awards; with 20 awards at the regional level and 1 award at the national level. 

  • The 2020 award recipients will be honoured during a ceremony on December 7, 2021.

  • The Call for Nominations is open from December 5, 2021, to March 4, 2022. 

  • 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. This year, more than 60 regional reviewers from across the country volunteered to assess all nominations, and identify the top-ranked nominations to the National Advisory Committee members to be further assessed.

    3.        A National Advisory Committee comprising of up to 15 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.

  • International Volunteer Day is a global celebration of volunteers established by the United Nations and held each year on December 5.

  • In 2018, 79% of Canadians age 15 and older reported volunteering.

  • The annual volunteering time commitments in Canada equalled more than 2.5 million full-time jobs in 2018. 

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:
Margaret Jaques
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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