Community Involvement Hours

Volunteer graphic

Volunteer hours form

All students must complete community involvement activities graduation requirement as outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum No. 124. These activities must be:

  • a minimum of 40 hours of total service (community involvement may begin in the summer after Grade 8);

  • included in the list of the eligible activities;

  • completed by the end of Grade 12 in order to be eligible to graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

We know that many students want to volunteer and support their community in any way that they can. The OCDSB supports our students in their never-ending generosity in supporting local and broader community needs.

Why do we engage in Volunteering?

The purpose of engaging in community involvement is to encourage students to develop an awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities. There has never been a time of more need in our community.

Community Involvement hours must fall into one of these categories:
  • Not-for-profit: includes voluntary activities for any not-for-profit institution or foundation that would not displace a paid worker.

  • For-profit: includes voluntary activities that are charitable-based for any business or organization that would not displace a paid worker. If volunteers are enhancing a product/service being sold/provided by a for-profit business designed to make it more attractive and/or a better experience for clients, then it is not in keeping with the spirit of community service and would not be an approved activity.

  • Other: community support that you feel warrants consideration. In this case, please submit a brief written summary that explains how this experience meets the spirit and expectations of Community Involvement as identified above.

If students are considering any of the activities that would fall into the second or third category above, approval by the principal or a designate at your high school is required.

OCDSB Guidelines for Community Involvement 

The following pandemic related approved community service/involvement hours will no longer be considered - they were considered during the pandemic only:

  • hours earned during instructional time on a school day;

  • hours earned through duties normally performed at home (e.g., helping an elderly relative with an errand or a sibling with homework);

  • hours earned from paid employment for students 14 years and older (to a maximum of 10).


Discover Volunteer Opportunities

Here are a few organizations that coordinate or are seeking volunteers in the Ottawa area.

Volunteer Ottawa

Volunteer Canada

Ontario Volunteer Centre Network

Youth Employment Strategy

Charity Village

Oxfam Canada

The Boys and Girls Club of Canada

Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)

Prosperity Project

Here are some suggested ways of engaging virtually with your community:

  • Writing letters of support for front line service workers
  • Writing letters to people in seniors residences
  • Engaging online with seniors residences and child centers
  • Providing virtual academic and/or language development support in an online environment for students
  • Supporting neighbours in need by cutting grass, shovelling snow, running errands
  • Virtually teaching others a skill you’ve learned during this time at home
  • Online Reading Buddies for younger students or students practicing their English or French language skills
  • Virtual faith based activities


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