Consider Before Engaging Volunteers

    Departments of the University may be approached by individuals or organizations who wish to provide volunteer services. While volunteers can obtain valuable experience and the University recognizes the value of volunteers, it is important that departments and volunteers are aware of the following considerations. It is the responsibility of the Department to assess the benefits and the risks associated with the volunteer arrangement, and determine whether the arrangement should proceed.

    • Volunteers can not be engaged in activity normally done by an employee or that would be seen as bargaining unit work.
    • Volunteers are not employees of the University. They are not covered by any of the University’s benefit plans and cannot receive payment of any type.
    • Volunteers must be qualified to be engaged in the activities they undertake and must, under no circumstances, be exposed to hazardous materials, tasks, or environments. A high degree of supervision of the volunteer is required by the department.
    • Volunteers are not covered by worker’s compensation coverage.
    • There can be potential and possibly large liability issues for the University in relation to volunteers.
    • Volunteers are not allowed to drive University owned vehicles or non-owned vehicles ‘on behalf of the University’.

    In some situations, organizations that have specific work placement programs develop their own contracts which outlines the rights and responsibilities of the parties.

    The onus is on each department to ensure that the appropriate forms have been completed prior to the volunteer beginning their activities. Risk Management and Insurances Services maintains the Memorandum of Understanding and release forms which must be completed and signed by the parties. For copies of these documents, or for more information relating to insurance and liability issues, contact Risk Management and Insurance Services.

    If the volunteer is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, contact Human Resources at prior to engaging in a volunteer arrangement.