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Blog > Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement, Part 1

Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement, Part 1

posted on Aug 30, 2017

by Maria Lahiffe

The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement (CCVI) has been developed by Volunteer Canada in collaboration with the Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada, to provide a framework for organizations to strengthen not only their volunteer engagement strategy, but also the organizational capacity to meet its mandate and contribute to a stronger community. [1]

The Code outlines numerous ways in which volunteer involvement is valuable. Volunteer involvement:

  • is fundamental to a healthy and democratic society in Canada
  • is vital for strong, inclusive, and resilient communities
  • builds the capacity of organizations
  • promotes personal and interpersonal wellbeing
  • strengthens relationships.

The Code makes explicit the guiding principle that volunteers have both rights and responsibilities. They have rights to be involved effectively in fulfilling the organizational mandate where they volunteer, in a safe and supportive environment. They have a responsibility to act with integrity and respect for the organization’s cause, its stakeholders, and its community.

The Code specifies 14 organizational standards for volunteer involvement, describing an organization with an excellent volunteer program. It can be used as the basis for an audit, to identify your own organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing these, you can develop plans to capitalize on your strengths and improve your areas of weakness.

This post will explain the first seven standards. The remaining standards will be outlined in a future post.

Standard 1: Mission-based Approach

Volunteer roles are clearly linked to the organization’s mission. Volunteers are recognized to be vital to the organization’s success, by everyone in the organization including the Board of Directors and senior staff.

Standard 2: Human Resources

Volunteers are welcomed into the organization, and treated as integral parts of the team. The organization has a planned and integrated approach for volunteer involvement, including appropriate resources.

Standard 3: Policies and Procedures

The organization adopts a policy framework which defines and supports volunteer involvement.

Standard 4: Volunteer Administration

There is a clearly designated individual, or individuals, with appropriate qualifications who are responsible to support volunteer involvement. Examples of appropriate qualifications include the Certificate of Volunteer Administration or completion of the Volunteer Ottawa Volunteer Management training program.

Standard 5: Risk Management and Quality Assurance

There are two parts to this.

  1. The organization has risk management procedures in place to assess, manage, or mitigate risks to volunteers and all other stakeholders.
  2. Every volunteer role is assessed for risk level as part of the screening process.

Standard 6: Volunteer Roles

Volunteers are involved in meaningful ways that are directly linked to the organization’s mission, and which reflect each volunteer’s skills, needs, interests, and background.

Standard 7: Recruitment

A board range of strategies, both internal and external, are used to reach out to a diverse range of volunteers.

Click here to read about the remaining standards.

Want to learn more? Come to an upcoming workshop.

Click here for more information, and to register.

Volunteer Ottawa is a leader in professional development training for volunteer managers. Click here to see our full course listing, and to register.

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[1] Volunteer Canada, "The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice," 2012. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 22 August 2017].
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