Your Connection to Canada’s Volunteering Community

Response to Budget 2009 - Federal government falls short in supporting and enhancing the role of Canada's volunteers

Jan 28, 2010

While focusing on critical components of our nation’s infrastructure — from environmental sustainability and community support to skills training for the unemployed and Aboriginal Canadians — the federal government’s Budget 2009 has fallen short in recognizing the overarching role that volunteers play in implementing these goals and driving our nation’s economy.

“While the government has recognized the need to better use the skills and talents of Canadians in responding to this unprecedented economic crisis, it is not enough,” said Ruth MacKenzie, president of Volunteer Canada. “An investment in Canada’s voluntary sector and its 12 million volunteers would not only create new jobs and added economic stimulus, but it would address the needs of those who are most vulnerable during these difficult times.”

With the government announcing new funding initiatives to bolster arts and culture, including sport, more volunteers will be called upon to help deliver various programs in their local communities. However, the government needs to recognize that volunteerism doesn’t just happen, said Elizabeth Specht, Chair of Volunteer Canada’s Board of Directors. “The process of promoting, recruiting, training, recognizing and mobilizing volunteers to deliver these initiatives will require support and expertise, but the 2009 Budget has overlooked this important aspect by not investing in the voluntary sector.”

Since 1977, Volunteer Canada has provided national leadership to front-line voluntary organizations and continues to develop standards and benchmarks that allow these organizations to respond to changes in volunteering. This leadership also allows front-line organizations to focus entirely on their own missions and mandates — providing quality direct service to Canadians.

As our federal government continues to steer our country through this economic crisis, volunteers and Canada’s voluntary sector will be under increased duress to deliver essential services and maintain our country’s social and economic fabric. Volunteer Canada will continue to look to our government in supporting the sector and Canada’s volunteers, as well as promoting and encouraging the necessary leadership in volunteerism in Canada.

Volunteer Canada is best positioned to provide this leadership.