Host a Charitable Volunteer
HOST A CHARITABLE VOLUNTEER
Experience Education operates two charitable volunteering programs - the Voluntern Program, and the Wilderness Volunteer Program. These programs bring young, international students to Canada for 4-16 weeks of full-time volunteering in order to get an understanding of North American culture, improve their languages skills, and give back to their host communities.
Students in both of these programs are placed with federally registered charities, NGO's, or First Nations and other indigenous organizations that have a charitable focus.
These are rapidly expanding programs, and we are always looking for new host organizations to partner with. As a host, you benefit from gaining pre-screened, committed, full-time volunteers who will be at your organization reliably every day, for the full work term. Most students register for the program far in advance, giving you up to a year's worth of predictability in your volunteer staffing.
VOLUNTERn vs Wilderness Volunteering
When you sign up to host an intern or co-op student, you access students from all three programs. These programs, their duration, and the expectations on you differ significantly:
These are full-time charitable volunteer placements with charities, NGOs, or First Nations organizations in major cities. Volunteers work on community service projects, environmental conservation projects, or wildlife protection projects. Duties can vary from placement to placement, but they cannot be entirely administrative due to visa restrictions.
Wilderness Volunteering placements are done far from major cities, and expose students to the Canadian wilderness. Students volunteer full time on hands on projects serving the community, improving parks, helping animals, or preserving the environment. Placements are varied but all are remote, come with accommodation provided by the host, and are rewarding.
Experience Education hosting guidelines are set by federal and provincial regulations, and in part by our partner institutions. To be eligible to host a charitable volunteer, your organization must meet the following minimum requirements, and be open to a site inspection by an Experience Education staff member:
- Your organization must have been in operation for at least 1 year
- The organization cannot be in a private residence or mixed-use 'live-work' building
- The primary language of the work site must be English (or French if in Quebec)
- The organization must have a website that shows your current address
- The organization must be a federally registered charity, or an NGO with a charitable focus, or a First Nations organization that performs charitable work
- The organization cannot be a for-profit business
- The organization must be prepared to register their placement with Immigration Canada's Employer Portal (this is a 10-minute process, and is done online)
Basic host requirements for both of our volunteer programs are set by federal immigration regulations. These state:
- the duties performed by the individual must be of a charitable or religious nature that help to relieve poverty, or benefit the community, educational or religious institutions;
- the organization or institution which is sponsoring the foreign worker will not, itself, receive direct remuneration from any source on behalf of, or for, the services rendered by the foreign worker; and
- the work goes above and beyond normal work in the labour market, whether remunerated in some manner or not
These form the basic requirements of a charitable placement in the Voluntern and Wilderness Volunteer Programs. Each placement must meet these requirements. In addition, there are program-specific requirements:
Voluntern Program Requirements
- The placement must be located in one of these metropolitan areas: Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal
- The work site must have at least 1 other person on site, and be transit accessible
- If applicable, the organization must have current workplace insurance
- Hosts in Voluntern are not required to provide students with a living allowance, accommodation, transportation, or any other perks
Wilderness Volunteering Requirements
- The organization must be able to pick the student up from the nearest coach/train/bus station on their arrival in Canada
- The organization must provide accommodation for the duration of the placement - this can include campers, cabins, lodges, and in some rare cases, tents (though these must have access to washroom, shower, and cooking facilities)
- The organization must provide the student with internet or phone access at least once per week
Full-time volunteers typically require work permits for their time with a host organization. These permits are different from others in that there are no fees involved, no advertising requirement, and they are obtained at the port of entry. Experience Education assists host organizations with detailed information on the work permit application - it is a simple, easy, 10-minute long process.
How can I host a Charitable Volunteer?
We want to make it easy for you to host a volunteer. Here's the process from start to finish:
- Read the eligibility and placements requirements on this page to make sure you qualify to host a student
- Fill out the form at the bottom of this page
- EE staff will review your form, research your organization, and schedule a call with you to discuss hosting students. In some cases an onsite visit will be required.
- When we have a student that matches your organization's profile, we will contact you with their resume. If you're interested in the resume, we will arrange an interview between you and the student. Interviews are typically done on Skype, with a small number done in person.
- If the student passes the interview, we work with you to draft a Placement Agreement describing the placement and we will help you to prepare your visa documentation on the government's Employer Portal.
- The student starts their placement.