Government of Canada celebrates National Volunteer Week

Apr 22, 2013, 14:36 ET from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

OTTAWA, April 22, 2013 /CNW/ - On the occasion of the 71st annual National Volunteer Week (April 21 to 27), the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, is paying tribute to the millions of Canadians who volunteer across the country every year.

"As the Minister responsible for volunteerism, I applaud the commitment of countless Canadian volunteers who give so generously of their time and who have made a difference in improving the well-being of families and their communities," said Minister Finley. "It is so important that we take a moment to pause during National Volunteer Week and thank those who dedicate themselves to making this country a better place in which to live."

Volunteerism improves the quality of life of many, building stronger social networks, and strengthening intergenerational relations. According to the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, each year, over 13 million Canadians volunteer more than over 2 billion hours of their time to help others.

In order to further recognize the outstanding voluntary contributions made in Canada, the Government introduced the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards. Canadians can show appreciation for exceptional volunteers within their communities by nominating them for one of the 17 awards. The second call for nominations closed on April 15, 2013. More information about the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards, including the first award recipients, can be found at or

National Volunteer Week is the largest celebration of citizen participation in Canada. As part of many events taking place throughout the week, Minister Finley will participate in a reception on Parliament Hill.


National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week pays tribute to the millions of Canadian volunteers who donate their time and talents to our communities.

This special event began in 1943 to draw attention to the vital contribution women made to the war effort on the home front. Although this week was largely forgotten after the war ended, it experienced a revival in the late 1960s, when organizations stressed the importance of thanking volunteers across Canada.

National Volunteer Week was reinstated and has since grown to become the largest celebration of civic participation in Canada.

Now in its 71st year, this annual event is all about volunteer recognition. This year's celebration is taking place the week of April 21 to 27, 2013.

Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards

The Government of Canada is committed to recognizing the enormous contribution volunteers make to Canada. The Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards (PMVAs) were created as a way to annually recognize those who make exceptional contributions as volunteers, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individuals.

The PMVAs consist of 17 awards in total.

Fifteen regional awards—three awards for each of five regions across Canada (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, British Columbia and the North):

  • The Community Leader award recognizes individual volunteers or groups of volunteers who have taken a lead role in developing solutions to local challenges.
  • The Business Leader award recognizes businesses that demonstrate social responsibility in their business practices.
  • The Social Innovator award recognizes not-for-profit organizations that demonstrate innovation in addressing social challenges.

Two national awards:

  • The Emerging Leader award recognizes new volunteers who help build stronger communities through leadership, and who have made a positive difference in their community in a short period of time. This award is for those who have volunteered for no more than three years.
  • The Lifelong Achievement award recognizes individuals who have dedicated their life to volunteering and who have inspired other volunteers, led volunteer groups, or made other exceptional achievements through volunteering. This award is for those who have volunteered for a period of at least 20 years.

Information about the first award recipients can be found at or

SOURCE Human Resources and Skills Development Canada