VOLUNTEER PROGRAM – Policy and Procedures



Policy and Procedures

Created: February 18, 2014

Revised: November 2015

Summit Housing and Outreach Programs has established a volunteer program policy for all employees and volunteers. This policy sets minimum standards and Summit Housing & Outreach Programs may supplement this policy from time to time as needed.


SHOP is committed to providing a professional and efficient service in supporting volunteerism in Halton Region. We recognize that in order to achieve our goals we need to involve volunteers in our own work too. We regard volunteers as a valuable resource and encourage them to get involved at all levels of the organization and within all appropriate activities. We aim to train, support and supervise our volunteers to the best of our abilities, and to act quickly and fairly if difficulties arise.


The purpose of this internal document is to provide guidance on all aspects of volunteering at SHOP. It does not constitute a binding contract. It supplements other SHOP policies and procedures, as well as our mission and vision statements. These procedures apply to all non-elected volunteers who undertake

tasks on behalf and at the direction of SHOP.

Created: 2014

Reviewed: November 2015



Person Responsible


The Coordinator of Volunteers is responsible for ensuring that the policy and the procedures in this document are implemented efficiently and effectively.


All other staff and volunteers are expected to facilitate this process.

Coordinator of Volunteers




All staff and volunteers

Recruitment and eligibility

Volunteers are recruited on a pro-active basis by SHOP using public avenues that are suitable for the roles that need to be filled. Potential volunteers may also apply independently. Volunteers are recruited in accordance with SHOP’s Board of Director’s Cultural Competence Statement. All volunteers are required to complete an application form. If necessary, applications are short listed and suitable candidates are invited to attend an informal interview or information session with the Coordinator of Volunteers, to ascertain their interest in and suitability for the role.


SHOP will consider involving anyone as a volunteer. Individuals must, however, be able to demonstrate a commitment to the aims of the organization and may only be placed if their needs as volunteers match the needs of the

Coordinator of Volunteers and volunteers




organization. In accordance with SHOP’s Conflict of Interest Policy, no person who has a conflict of interest with any aspect of the organization will be accepted as a volunteer. All volunteers will be expected to complete the following prior to volunteering at SHOP:

  • Application form
  • Interview (via phone or in person)
  • Provide a Vulnerable Sector Criminal Background check
  • Provide references
  • Orientation and designated training
  • Provide a Drivers Abstract and a copy the volunteer’s driver’s license (if applicable)
  • Other checks may also be completed (for example, ascertaining professional qualifications, as needed).

For certain “one off” volunteer events or assignments, some of the above steps may be waived at the discretion of the Coordinator of Volunteers. Volunteers are always warned in advance of the intention to make any of the checks listed above. Volunteers reserve the right to refuse a check, however doing so may result with SHOP declining the

volunteer’s application.


Staff and volunteer relations

Volunteers are appointed to enhance the capacity of paid staff, not as a substitute for them. Conversely, SHOP does not accept the services of its paid staff as volunteers. Clear roles are established to differentiate between paid staff and volunteers to foster mutually beneficial and complementary


Sr. Management Team

Working conditions

Volunteers are treated as full members of SHOP team. They are treated as equally and fairly as paid staff and are included in the organization’s functions and decision-making processes wherever practical. Volunteers have the

right to a healthy work environment and

Volunteers, Coordinator of Volunteers, and the Sr.

Management Team



safe working conditions. They have the right to refuse a task that could compromise their personal safety.

Volunteers are provided with appropriate work sites and have access to the space, equipment and facilities necessary to volunteer effectively and comfortably. Working times are negotiated between the Coordinator of Volunteers and the volunteer. Voluntary time commitment is never expected to match that of full-time paid staff, but unscheduled absences can create organizational problems. When expecting to be absent, volunteers should inform the Coordinator of Volunteers as soon as possible, so that alternative arrangements can be made.


All volunteers receive mandatory orientation when they begin voluntary work with SHOP. This consists of a general introduction to the organization, as well as a specific training on the purposes and requirements of their volunteering role. Volunteers may be offered one-time or ongoing, on-the-job training to provide them with the information and skills necessary. The training must be appropriate for the demands of the position and the capabilities of the volunteer. Staff will also receive training regarding working with volunteers.


Like paid staff, volunteers require a clear and accurate description of the tasks and responsibilities they are expected to undertake. Prior to any volunteer assignment or recruitment effort, a role description must be developed for each voluntary opportunity. The role description may be amended in joint agreement with the volunteer and the Coordinator of Volunteers. A copy of the final version must be given to the volunteer before commencing voluntary

work, as it will be used in supervision




and evaluation sessions.


Appropriate behaviours

Volunteers are expected to work within the policies and procedures of SHOP. As representatives of the organization, they are responsible for presenting a positive image of SHOP to the outside world.

Volunteers are prohibited from undertaking anything that might affect the organization, including, but not limited to, statements to the press, joint initiatives with other agencies, and agreements involving contractual or financial obligations.


Volunteers must follow the SHOP Volunteer Code of Conduct and the Volunteer Agreement


Volunteers working in a Peer Support role must maintain specific boundaries and while sharing of lived experience is encouraged when appropriate, it is not required. Peer support volunteers are encouraged to promote self-advocacy, wellness, life skills, goal setting and decision-making skills. Peer support volunteer services are provided in a location that meets the needs of the person served. They support engagement, personal recovery based on goals or building resiliency, community networking, bridging/navigating, mentoring and advocacy.


Any voluntary service is at the discretion of SHOP. SHOP may, at any time, and for whatever reason, decide to terminate

volunteer’s relationships with the organization. Similarly, volunteers may at any time, and for whatever reason, decide to terminate their relationships with SHOP. Notice of such decisions should be communicated at the earliest

opportunity, preferably in writing.


Supervision, complaints and termination

Volunteers receive regular appraisals of their work, based on their role descriptions. Evaluation sessions take

Volunteers, staff, and the Coordinator of Volunteers



place at least annually between the volunteer and the Coordinator of Volunteers. These review the performance of the volunteer, suggest any changes in work-style, seek suggestions from the volunteer on

means of enhancing the volunteer’s relationship with SHOP, convey appreciation to the volunteer and ascertain the continued interest of the volunteer in serving in his or her role. The sessions also serve as an opportunity to plan future tasks.


If appropriate, corrective action may be taken following evaluation sessions.

Examples include the organization of training for an identified training need, the reassignment of a volunteer, or the dismissal of a volunteer. Volunteers who do not adhere to the organization’s rules or who fail to perform their volunteer assignments satisfactorily may be subject to dismissal. No volunteers’ involvement will be terminated in writing until the volunteer has had an opportunity to discuss the reasons for possible dismissal with the Coordinator of Volunteers. Grounds for dismissal include, but are not limited to, the following: gross misconduct, being under the influence of drugs (including alcohol), theft, misuse of equipment and materials, abuse of clients and co- workers, breaches of confidentiality, failure to abide by SHOP policies and procedures and failure to complete duties to a satisfactory standard.


Where possible, informal exit interviews are held with any volunteers who are leaving the organization. The session should ascertain why the volunteer is leaving, how they found the volunteering experience and what suggestions they offer to improve the way the organization operates. The offer of a personal reference for future




employment, volunteering, etc. is made to each volunteer.


Volunteers will also be asked to complete anonymous surveys regarding their experience volunteering at SHOP. Clients and staff that interact with volunteers may be asked to provide feedback in the same manner.


Volunteers are encouraged to provide feedback to the Coordinator of Volunteers at any time. If they are dissatisfied with the response, they are able to submit a formal complaint in accordance with SHOP’s Complaint Policy and Procedures, using the

Comments/Complaint Form.


Support and recognition

SHOP endeavours to provide the support necessary to encourage and empower volunteers to make meaningful contributions and gain significant benefits from their voluntary work. Support forms part of the regular supervision sessions and gives volunteers a safe setting in which to express themselves, let off steam and discuss how they feel about volunteering. The Coordinator of Volunteers will always try to be available to volunteers who require support in other areas that are affecting their performance.


Volunteers provide a unique service to SHOP, the benefits of which are difficult to quantify. It is essential that their efforts are recognized and rewarded.

SHOP staff members are responsible for welcoming and thanking all volunteers informally on a regular basis for the valuable contribution that they make to the organization. The Coordinator of Volunteers responsible for ensuring that more formalized recognition takes place

at least annually.

All staff


Volunteers give their time and skills free

of charge, so it is essential that the SHOP

Volunteers, Coordinator of

Volunteers, and the Sr.



offers to reimburse certain out-of- pocket expenses they may incur in the course of undertaking voluntary work for the organization. The costs of volunteering should never be allowed to discourage those with limited funds. All expenses must be pre-approved by the Coordinator of Volunteers or they will not be reimbursed. Criminal Background Checks, gas, mileage and insurance may be reimbursed at the discretion of the Senior Management Team. Driver’s Abstracts will be reimbursed. Funds will be available for pre-approved group expenses.


Insurance is provided by SHOP to cover all volunteers working on behalf and at the direction of the organization.

Volunteers willing to transport clients will be required to show proof of insurance, a current driver’s license and a driver’s abstract prior to driving clients.


SHOP endeavors to provide a safe environment for staff, clients and volunteers, however SHOP assumes no liability for injury or damage to an individual or their property while

volunteering at SHOP.

Management Team

*Special thanks to www.OurSharedResources.org for resources to assist in the creation of this document.



Signature of Volunteer: _____________________________________________


Signature of Volunteer Coordinator: ___________________________________


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