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Vision and Values
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National Volunteerism Initiative Joint Table Vision and Values

Vision and Expected Impacts


Volunteerism and citizen engagement form the foundation of a cohesive civil society, particularly in Canada, where our Canadian identity and citizenship respect and celebrate inclusiveness and diversity. To sustain and nurture our civil society, Canada has a national strategy to support people coming together, bringing their hearts and minds, to create relationships that sustain partnerships in communities, between all sectors, between citizens and which, in the end, will engage all Canadians, including those who are now the most disenfranchised, the most impoverished, among us


A society in which volunteerism is an integral part of life:

Where people seek out opportunities to contribute to the growth and development of their community through voluntary work and where volunteerism is acknowledged as the foundation upon which the community thrives.

A society in which voluntary work is highly valued:

Where organizations in the public and private sectors have developed policies and procedures that promote and support contributions to the community through voluntary work. Where they provide flexibility in work schedules to accommodate voluntary commitments, and work side-by-side with voluntary organizations to improve community life for all.

A society in which individuals consider voluntary work a necessary component in their personal development and where they seek out opportunities to volunteer. Where training and education resources are readily available and serve to build individual and community capacity.

Assumptions, Values and Principles

The work of the NVI Joint Table is guided by a number of assumptions, values and principles which have enabled its members to come together with a common language and to work toward a shared commitment.


About Volunteering:

Volunteering is the rent we pay for space on earth. Its value infuses the spirit, gives personal satisfaction to the individual, transcends purely economic contributions, and is intrinsic to the citizen engagement that strengthens society. Volunteering can not be mandated or imposed. By definition, volunteerism is an act of self-motivation.

About Opportunities to Support and Enable Volunteering:

Given the impact of volunteering upon personal and societal health, there is a need to increase volunteering in Canada over time. However, this increase will not occur spontaneously - there are barriers such as cynicism in the sector, organizational costs to ensure best practices in volunteer screening and management, and resourcing challenges that need to be addressed. These barriers can be overcome, permitting improvements in our collective quality of life, providing the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors can find ways to collaborate effectively.

About the Role of Governments:

The federal government is committed to supporting policies and programs that will increase and contribute to volunteerism. But ultimately, success will require the engagement and commitment of all levels of government.

Both formal and informal volunteering is promoted in Canada because volunteering has value for individuals and communities and is integral to effective civil society enables the participation in active citizenship of all who are able and interested; and, contributes to the economy without competing with paid employment


About Choice:

Volunteering cannot be imposed or mandated. It is an individual act of self- motivation to make a difference, to have an impact, and individuals bring their own reasons to the contributions they make.

About Inclusion:

This initiative will engage people in all sectors in collaborative effort to enable outcomes that have meaning for, and improve the life of, all Canadians. Our multicultural society requires that any strategy to increase volunteering be inclusive and culturally sensitive. Inclusion means respecting, welcoming, and celebrating diversity.

About Consultation:

This initiative will be sensitive to the danger of consultation fatigue by building upon existing information and previous or tangential consultation activities (e.g., by other Joint Tables) and will seek, through the Joint Coordinating Committee, to coordinate consultation mechanisms and initiatives. Any consultation will have a clear purpose and will be undertaken as a dialogue around what can be done and how. Consultation will consciously be a two-way communication process.

Given the importance of volunteering to an effective civil society and sustained high quality of life in Canada, this initiative will position Canada for a dynamic, inclusive and productive future by:

  • identifying sustainable strategies that have sufficient flexibility to over time;

  • best using existing capacity, and, where needed, increasing the capacity of the voluntary sector to provide meaningful experiences, through the effective management of volunteers (screening, placement, leadership, and motivation);

  • sharing best practices, monitoring results, and building upon successes and,

  • engaging people in all sectors in initiatives to support and enable volunteerism in Canada.


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Last Updated: 2019-11-21