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Ontario Launches New Online Resources for Volunteer Sector

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Ontario Launches New Online Resources for Volunteer Sector

New Tools to Increase Volunteerism and Job Opportunities

Pan Am and Parapan Am Games

As part of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, Ontario has launched two new volunteer initiatives to help increase volunteerism and job placement opportunities in Ontario.

PREB-Ontario's web-based volunteer certificate program will help volunteers transition to paid employment, continued education or future volunteer positions. The certificate, completed online by participating organizations, outlines activities performed, skills acquired and special achievements or training received during the volunteer placement. The certificate will further recognize the work of volunteers by providing a professional reference. Volunteer sector training on the web-based program starts today and Games-time volunteers will be the first in Ontario to receive the certificate this September.

SPARK Ontario, Ontario's first bilingual online volunteer database, will support province-wide volunteer recruitment by compiling volunteer opportunities and other resources into a single, accessible website. The online database will also provide post-Games opportunities for the more than 23,000 specially trained Games-time volunteers and resources to support volunteer management in Ontario's not-for-profits.

Supporting Ontario's volunteers is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

Quick Facts

  • April 12-18th is National Volunteer Week.
  • Ontario is investing $5 million over three years as part of the province’s Promotion, Celebration and Legacy Strategy to support volunteerism and launch the certificate and gateway initiatives. This is part of the $40 million strategy designed to ensure everyone in the province benefits from the Games.
  • Ontario is waiving the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) pre-study contribution for new and returning college and university students as well as extending the interest-free grace period for recent graduates who volunteer during the Games.
  • Games and Games-related investments are on track to create more than 26,000 jobs and grow the province’s real GDP by $3.7 billion from 2009 to 2017.
  • In Ontario, the not-for-profit sector generates some $67 billion in annual revenues. The sector includes over 55,000 organizations and employs almost one million people in Ontario – about 13% of the workforce.
  • The Ontario Volunteer Centre Network is an unincorporated network of 25 Volunteer Centres that promote and develop volunteerism in Ontario.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“One of the major benefits of hosting the TORONTO 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games is the lasting legacy it will leave behind. Games organizers will train 23,000 volunteers who will continue to use their skills and experience long after the last medal is awarded, joining millions of dedicated volunteers across the province. SPARK Ontario and the new PREB-Ontario Certificate program will enhance and transform volunteerism in Ontario while increasing opportunities for employment.”

Michael Coteau

Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games

“Over 23,000 volunteers will benefit from the training and experience they received from participating in the TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games. The legacy initiatives will give not-for-profit organizations access to qualified volunteers, and will give volunteers an opportunity to use their skills and experience to be competitive in the workplace.”

Michael Chan

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade

“We greatly appreciate that the Province of Ontario’s investment in the TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games is leaving an enduring legacy of enhancing volunteerism. These projects, providing online access to volunteer opportunities and ushering in a new era of skills-based recognition, significantly strengthen the volunteer sector while enhancing the benefits and impact of volunteering.”

Cody Palmer-Almond

PREB-Ontario, Ontario Volunteer Centre Network

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