Canada’s Volunteer Awards program

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Call for nominations

The call for nominations is now open until March 4, 2022. closed

For more information on the nomination process, please visit the Guidelines for nomination page.

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, social enterprises and businesses make to their communities through volunteering. This aligns with the Government of Canada’s interest in promoting innovative solutions to local problems. The goal of the awards is to inspire Canadians from all walks of life to find new ways of making a difference in their communities.

Check out the names and biographies of the 2020 Canada’s Volunteer Awards’ recipients announced on August 13th, 2021.

Regional reviewers

Regional reviewers play an important role in assessing eligible nominations of volunteers, businesses and not-for-profit organizations. They identify the top-ranked nominations for assessment by the National Advisory Committee.

We are recruiting regional reviewers to assess the 2021 nominations. Please inform us of your interest by contacting the Canada’s Volunteer Awards Unit.

National Advisory Committee

Members of the National Advisory Committee play a leading role in assessing top-ranked nominations. They advise and assist the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on all matters related to the selection of award recipients and support the promotion of the program throughout their term.

Consult the biographies of the National Advisory Committee members

National award

The Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award is the national award category.

Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award

Nominees in this category are dedicated individuals who have volunteered for at least 20 years and have inspired other volunteers, led volunteer groups or made other exceptional achievements through volunteering. Their contributions may have been made through ongoing commitments to one organization or cause, or separate commitments to a variety of organizations or causes.

Examples of nominees

(All examples are fictitious)

  • When he was 35 years old, Arthur started a shelter when a friend confided in him about the years of abuse she suffered as a child. The shelter, which accommodates up to 16 children, provides short-term services to boys and girls between 10 and 17 years old who have suffered abuse. Now 58 years old, Arthur continues to run the shelter and works tirelessly to educate others in his community about how they can protect children from abuse
  • Millie makes weekly visits to residents at the local seniors' home, volunteers at special events that raise funds for development projects and sits on the board of directors for a community not-for-profit organization. She also babysits, lends her car and offers a place to stay to people who need help
Award recipients

Regional awards

The categories of the regional awards are:

One nominee will be selected per category in each of the 5 following regions:

  • Atlantic (Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick)
  • Quebec
  • Ontario
  • Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta)
  • British Columbia and the North (Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon)

Community Leader

Nominees in this category are outstanding individual volunteers or groups of volunteers who have taken a lead role in developing solutions to social challenges in communities. This category does not include not-for-profit organizations or registered charities.

Examples of nominees include

(All examples are fictitious)

  • Lorne, a Nunavut resident, saw hockey as a way of giving local children an opportunity to have fun and learn together. By getting local businesses to chip in with support, he was able to create a hockey league for kids in his community and provide them with new equipment
  • Hélène is a retired social worker who volunteers her time by sitting on the board of a small community organization that helps young people at risk. In this role, she organizes workshops in high schools and provides advice and shares best practices with employees of the organization
  • Gail and other members of her community realized that several of them knew elderly men and women who were having a hard time getting to medical and other appointments. Seeing a real need in their community, the group set up a driving service to transport elderly people to their appointments
Award recipients

Emerging Leader

Nominees in this category are volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 who have demonstrated leadership and helped to build stronger communities.

Examples of nominees include

(All examples are fictitious)

  • Inspired by her family's experience, Lucy collaborated with a local university, fellow students and a not-for-profit organization that works with new immigrants. Together, they organized a volunteer youth–senior matching program that helps immigrants adjust to life in Canada
  • James has given up teaching in southern Ontario to teach and volunteer in a northern community. He works with others to develop and implement a variety of social programs, including initiatives to help local high school students overcome their addictions and to help all high school students in the community graduate
Award recipients

Business Leader

Nominees in this category are businesses that demonstrate social responsibility in their practices, including promoting and facilitating volunteerism locally, regionally, or nationally, as well as, for-profit or not-for-profit social enterprises dedicated to creating social, cultural or environmental benefits for their communities.

Examples of nominees include

(All examples are fictitious)

  • As a business with a charitable workplace campaign, Easy Lawn Care encourages its 20 employees to contribute to the United Way every year, and supports each employee to volunteer up to 5 days a year with local charities
  • JKR Vintage Clothing Boutique loans suits to women with low incomes to wear to job interviews. It also offers sessions to help women advance their careers
  • Recycling Inc. is a local business that has a program to hire and train people with disabilities
Award recipients

Social Innovator

Nominees in this category are not-for-profit organizations, including not-for-profit social enterprises that find and use innovative approaches that address social challenges in their communities.

Examples of nominees include

(All examples are fictitious)

  • A local food bank started a social enterprise catering business that employs users of the food bank
  • A youth organization named Yes uses social media to recruit young people to volunteer for the local elementary school's breakfast program. It also hires young people to give them valuable work experience
  • A number of small volunteer-based community organizations reduced their overhead costs by sharing office space, a reception area and accounting services
  • Grandma's House is a small not-for-profit organization that coordinates volunteers from churches across the country to provide shelter, meals, clothing and counselling to homeless single mothers and couples with young children
Award recipients

Award ceremony

The award recipients will be recognized at an award ceremony, where they will receive a pin and a certificate signed by the Prime Minister.

In addition, regional award recipients will be eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $5,000 grant. The national award recipient will be eligible to identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a $10,000 grant.

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