eSchool Community Involvement Information
As stated in Ontario Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12: Policy and Program Requirements, Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as part of the diploma requirements. The purpose of the community involvement requirement is to encourage students to develop 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.
Students in Grade 8 will now be able to start accumulating community involvement hours in the summer before they enter Grade 9 (Ontario Schools, 2011).
Types of Community Involvement Activities
Community involvement activities may take place in a variety of settings, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, public sector institutions (including hospitals), and informal settings. Community Involvement activities proposed by students shall be approved by Canada eSchool on a case by case basis.
Procedures for Students
Before beginning any community involvement activity, each student must complete and submit an “Application Form”, along with the “Waiver Form” form. A processing fee of $99 must also be submitted, which can be found here. The student will select an activity (or activities) from the school’s list of approved activities, or an activity that is not on the list, provided that it is not an activity that is on the ministry’s list of ineligible activities (see “Ineligible Activities” below). If the activity is not on the school’s list of approved activities, the student will have to obtain written approval from the principal or another school contact designated by the principal (for example, a Student Success Coordinator). A student under the age of eighteen must complete the form in consultation with his or her parents, and must also have one parent sign the form. The student will sign the form and submit a copy of it to the principal or school contact designated by the principal. More than one such form may be submitted when additional activities are planned that were not included on a previously submitted form.
- Download Application Form
- Download Waiver Form (student liability insurance is not provided by eSchool)
When the activity is completed, the student must present the form to the sponsor of the activity. The sponsor of the activity – that is, the person or organization that provided the community involvement activity – will complete the appropriate sections of the form to verify that the activity has been completed, and will sign the form. The student must submit the original form to the principal or other school contact upon completion of the 40 hours, or at appropriate intervals determined by the principal.
Students will provide their parents with a copy of the document “Information on the Community Involvement Diploma Requirement”, which they will be given by the school. Students will also give a copy of this document to the sponsor of the community involvement activity.
Students may complete the 40 hours of community involvement activities at any time during their secondary school program. They may also complete any number of activities, as long as those activities result in the completion of 40 hours of community involvement. Students under the age of eighteen years will plan and select their community involvement activities in consultation with their parents.
Sample Eligible Activities:
- Fundraising – includes canvassing, walk-a-thons, celebrity games, gift wrapping, gala events and sales for charitable purposes;
- Sports/Recreation – includes coaching, helping to organize winter carnivals, parades and summer fairs;
- Community Events – includes helping to organize special meets and games, and volunteering as a leisure buddy or pool assistant;
- Community Projects – includes participating in organized food drives, or support services for community groups;
- Environmental Projects – includes participating in community clean-ups, flower/tree planting, recycling and general beautification projects and activities;
- Volunteer Work with Seniors – includes assisting at seniors’ residences (e.g. serving snacks, helping with activities or portering, or participating in visiting and reading programs);
- Committee Work – includes participation on advisory boards, neighbourhood associations and regional associations;
- Religious Activities – includes participation as a volunteer in programs for children, child minding, Sunday School assistance, special events and clerical tasks;
- Youth Programs – includes volunteer assistance with the operation of youth programs such as 4H, Scouts, Guides, drop-in centres, breakfast programs, March Break programs, Leaders in Training, summer playground activities and camps;
- Office/Clerical Work – includes volunteer activity in reception, computer work and mailings for individuals or groups providing charitable or general community benefit;
- Work with Animals – includes volunteer involvement with animal care, horseback riding programs, or volunteer assistance at a local zoo or petting farm;
- Arts and Culture – includes volunteer assistance at a gallery, performing arts production or program, or in a community library program;
- Activities for Individuals – includes any volunteer activity that assists someone who requires assistance for shopping, tutoring, light snow removal (no use of snow blower), housekeeping, writing letters or transcribing, or involves; hospital visitation, voluntary involvement with chronic care, or service as a volunteer reading buddy;
- School Community Service – may include service within the school community that provides benefit to others that takes place outside the regular school day. The school Principal in advance of the commencement of the activity must approve these school-based activities in advance.
The ministry has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities. These are referred to as ineligible activities. An ineligible activity is an activity that:
- is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled (e.g., cooperative education portion of a course, job shadowing, work experience);
- takes place during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day. However, an activity that takes place during the student’s lunch breaks or “spare” periods is permissible;
- takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under sixteen years of age;
- takes place in a factory, if the student is under fifteen years of age;
- takes place in a workplace other than a factory, if the student is under fourteen years of age and is not accompanied by an adult;
- would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace;
- involves the operation of a vehicle, power tools, or scaffolding;
- involves the administration of any type or form of medication or medical procedure to other persons;
- involves handling of substances classed as “designated substances” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
- requires the knowledge of a tradesperson whose trade is regulated by the provincial government;
- involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewellery, works of art, antiques, or other valuables;
- consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e., daily chores) or personal recreational activities;
- involves activities for a court-ordered program (e.g., community-service program for young offenders, probationary program).