Community Involvement Hours

Update for the 2021-2022 School Year

The Ministry of Education has announced that for students graduating in the 2021-2022 school year, the community involvement graduation requirement will be reduced to a minimum of 20 hours instead of the usual 40 hours. (Please note, the Ministry of Education has indicated that the community involvement graduation requirement of 40 hours will be restored in 2022-2023)

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. During this challenging time, safety is the priority. When volunteering, remember to follow directions from Ottawa Public Health.  

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. 

Please note that the Ministry of Education has also indicated that the following activities will be deemed eligible for all secondary students for their community involvement activities in the 2021-2022 school year:

  • Activities that take place during the school day (e.g. walking a younger neighbour or sibling to and from school, helping younger siblings with their homework, etc.)
  • Activities that include up to 10 hours of paid work. Students must complete a reflection exercise sharing how their work contributed to service for others (e.g.g grocery work during the pandemic, etc.)
  • Activities normally completed at home (e.g. students could help an elderly relative with errands, providing after-school care for a sibling, etc.)

OCDSB Guidelines for Community Involvement

Discover Volunteer Opportunities

Here are a few organizations that coordinate or are seeking volunteers in the Ottawa area. Please consult your school’s website for your local community's needs.

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

  • Sewing masks for front line workers
  • 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

Submitting your hours!

Please remember to seek your Principal's approval before starting any community involvement activity that you wish to use for the Community Involvement hours required for your OSSD.  Students will still need to submit their hours using this form. This form requires the same information as the traditional paper form.  Volunteer supervisors may be contacted to verify the hours in place of the signature that is required on the paper form.

Sharing your experiences

Share your experiences on social media using the hashtag #OCDSBVolunteers. It might give others ideas on how they can support their friends, neighbours and communities!

OCDSB guidelines for community involvement
google form to submit hours
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