Volunteer Canada

Volunteer Canada

April 24, 2008 14:00 ET

Volunteer Canada: Volunteers Across the Country Thanked for Their Compassion and Action

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - April 24, 2008) - Volunteer Canada kicked-off National Volunteer Week, Canada's largest annual celebration and recognition campaign of volunteers, today in Winnipeg. From April 27 to May 3, organizations and individuals across the country will thank the 12 million volunteers that help make their work possible and our communities better.

"Much of what we take for granted is delivered to us by volunteers - community health care, arts and culture, green space maintenance, disaster relief, volunteer firefighting, minor sports, the list is endless," says Ruth MacKenzie, president of Volunteer Canada. "The work of volunteering is essential to our communities, to our social fabric. This year's campaign theme, "Volunteers. From compassion to action.", encompasses the inspiration that drives volunteers as they donate their time, energy and skills to better their communities and their country."

MacKenzie was joined by Murray Taylor, president and CEO of Investors Group - the exclusive corporate sponsor of National Volunteer Week - to launch the nationwide campaign.

"Volunteers are a precious and valuable resource that deserves support and recognition," said Mr. Taylor. "Investors Group has been working with Volunteer Canada for over a decade on initiatives that boost capacity within the voluntary sector, enhance the volunteer experience, raise awareness around corporate volunteerism and ensure that volunteers receive the accolades they have earned."

Canada boasts over 161,000 registered charitable organizations within which volunteers play a key role. According to the 2004 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, the largest survey ever completed that examines how Canadians support each other and their communities, volunteers contribute two billion hours, the equivalent of one million full-time jobs. While at first glance these numbers may seem impressive, they are deceiving: only 11 percent of Canadians accomplish 77 per cent of the volunteer work that is done.

Also on site to help launch National Volunteer Week was Jean-Marie De Koninck of the Coaching Association of Canada, an organization that recognizes the power of volunteering. Over 20 per cent of those who volunteer in Canada are involved in the sports and recreation sector, with 1.8 million of those working as volunteer coaches.

National Volunteer Week was first proclaimed in 1943 as an initiative to draw the public's attention to the vital contribution of women to the war effort on the home front. In the late 1960s, the focus was revived and broadened to include all community volunteers.

Volunteer Canada hosts a website dedicated to the National Volunteer Week campaign at volunteer.ca/nvw.

About Volunteer Canada

Volunteer Canada is the national voice for volunteerism in Canada. Since 1977, the organization has been committed to increasing and supporting volunteerism and civic participation through ongoing programs, special projects and national initiatives, by developing resources and by engaging in research and training across the country. Working with volunteer centres, community and national organizations and businesses, Volunteer Canada actively leads national dialogues on how volunteerism relates to citizen engagement and civil society and provides leadership on issues and trends in the Canadian volunteer movement. To learn more about Volunteer Canada, please visit volunteer.ca.

Contact Information

  • Volunteer Canada
    Elizabeth Gray-Smith
    Manager of Communications
    613-231-4371, ext. 226 or 613-266-9427