Canada’s Volunteer Awards Program

From Employment and Social Development Canada

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Application deadline

The call for nominations is now closed.

We wish to thank you for your interest and support to the Canada’s Volunteer Awards.

The name of the Awards Recipients will be announced at a ceremony this Fall.

Canada’s Volunteer Awards Program

Canada’s Volunteer Awards (CVA) program is about recognizing the enormous contributions that volunteers, not-for-profit organizations and businesses across the country make to help people and their communities. The Awards are about people working in partnerships to find new solutions to strengthen our country.

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 2016 Canada’s Volunteer Awards recipients that were recognized at a ceremony held in Ottawa on June 9, 2016!

Regional Reviewers

Regional reviewers play an important role in assessing the nominations of volunteers, businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

Please inform us of your interest by contacting us at Info-cva-pbc@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca or 1-877-825-0434

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 volunteer 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.

Refer to the biography of the 2016 recipient of the Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award.

Regional awards

The categories of the regional awards are:

  • Community leader
  • Emerging Leader
  • Business Leader
  • Social Innovator

The following regions will receive one award per category:

  • 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.

Refer to the biographies of the 2016 recipients of the Community Leader Award.

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.

Business Leader

Nominees in this category are businesses that demonstrate social responsibility in their practices, including promoting and facilitating volunteerism locally, regionally, or nationally.

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 five days a year with local charities.
  • JKR Accounting is a small firm that provided start-up financing and mentors a local vintage clothing boutique. Aside from its for-profit activities, the store loans suits to women with low incomes to wear to job interviews. The accounting firm 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.

Refer to the biographies of the 2016 recipients of the Business Leader Award.

Social Innovator

Nominees in this category are not-for-profit organizations that address social challenges in innovative ways.

Examples of nominees include (all examples are fictitious):

  • A local food bank started a social enterprise catering business that employs street kids and clients 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.

Refer to the biographies of the 2016 recipients of the Social Innovator Award.

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.

Award recipients

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