Volunteer (Community Service) Hours

Limestone Learning Foundation

All students in Ontario secondary schools are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement in order to graduate and receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The purpose of this requirement is to encourage students to develop an understanding of the various roles they can play in their community. The community involvement requirement as one of many positive experiences young people will have to apply their education to community life in practical ways.


The purpose of the community involvement requirement is:

  • to foster an understanding of civic responsibility;

  • to develop a student's sense of worth as they play a role in their community; and

  • to help young people develop their skills.


These volunteer activities must be:

  • completed outside scheduled class time;

  • not be part of a credit course;

  • unpaid activities;

  • total a minimum of 40 hours; and

  • completed by the end of Grade 12.


The work to fulfill the requirement can begin at any time after the student completes Grade 8 (starting in the summer before they enter Grade 9). A single 40-hour activity, or a series of shorter-term activities totalling 40 hours may be completed. The student must submit a Completion of Community Involvement Activity Record of his or her completed activities.

Getting Started

Step 1: Students under the age of 18 should plan an activity in consultation with their parent(s)/guardian(s). The activity should be one that involves service to others. The activity must fall within the guiding principles the Board has established, and should be identified on the Board's list of examples.

Step 2: Students should confirm the details of the activity with the community organizer who will be responsible for the activity.

Step 3: Students must complete the Notification of Planned Community Involvement and submit it to their school. A Principal's signature is required if the activity is not on the Board's list of examples or if the activity is one of School Community Service.

Step 4
: Students are to complete their planned activity and should have the Completion of Community Involvement Activity Record signed by the community organizer.

Step 5: These steps should be repeated until the 40-hour requirement has been fulfilled. Students must submit their Completion of Community Involvement Activity Record to their home school for data entry. 

Eligible Activities

The Ministry of Education and Training has developed a list of activities that are considered eligible and may be chosen as community involvement activities. Eligible activities might include:

  • An event or activity designed to be of benefit to the community;

  • An event or activity to support a not-for-profit agency, institution or foundation that conforms to the ethical standards of the Board and the Ministry of Education;

  • Any structured program that promotes tutoring, mentoring, visiting or coaching, or whose purpose is to assist others who require the benefit of that assistance;

  • Participation in an event or activity that supports ethical work of a global nature;

  • Participation in an event or activity that promotes positive environmental awareness;

  • Participation in an event or activity that contributes to the health and well-being of any ethical group that conforms to community standards of morality and conduct, including school-based activities;

  • Participation in an event or activity affiliated with a club, religious organization, arts or cultural association, or political organization that seeks to make a positive and ethical contribution in the community.

Events or activities that may be based on or with a particular interest group must conform to the ethical and principled standards of the Board and the Ministry to ensure that they are intended to promote a positive contribution to the community in general. Where an event or activity does not clearly fall within the guidelines, the Principal of the student's school has the discretion to approve or reject any activity or event that does not conform to the guiding principles and ethical standards for approved areas of involvement for students.

The following list provides examples of activities that, if within the intent and spirit of the applicable guidelines and ethical standards, are suitable for completion of the community involvement requirement:

  • Fundraising: includes canvassing; walk-a-thons for community benefit; celebrity games, gift wrapping, gala and sales for charitable purposes.

  • Sports/Recreation: includes coaching, and helping to organize special Olympics, track meets and summer games, or volunteering as a leisure buddy or pool assistant.

  • Community Events: includes helping organize winter carnivals, parades, and summer fairs.

  • Community Projects: includes participating in organized food drives; or support services for community groups such as 4H clubs or Welcome Wagon.

  • Environmental Projects: includes participating in community clean-up flower/tree planting, recycling, and general beautification projects and activities.

  • Volunteer Work with Seniors: includes assisting in a seniors' residence, 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 Program: includes volunteer assistance with the operation of youth programs such as 4H, Scouts, Guides, drop-in centre activities, 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.

  • 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 volunteer activity that assists someone who requires the assistance with shopping, tutoring, light snow removal (no use of snowblower), 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. These activities must be approved at a local level by the school Principal in advance of the commencement of the activity.

In the event that a student would like to participate in an activity or event that is not clearly within the Board’s list of examples, and does not conform to the guiding principles as set out, the student will submit a letter detailing the proposed activity or nature of the participation and event to the student’s Principal. The Principal will forward the request to the Board and the student will be duly notified whether the proposed activity/event is suitable, or not. The activity or event should not be commenced until permission has been granted. If completed without permission and permission is subsequently denied, the activity or event will not be counted toward the student’s community involvement requirement.

Please note that a Principal is not obligated to approve a project at the local level.

Ineligible Activities

The Ministry of Education and Training has developed a list of activities that are considered ineligible and may not be chosen as community involvement activities. An ineligible activity is an activity that:

  • is a requirement of a class in which the student is enrolled (e.g., co-operative 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" period is permissible;

  • takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under 16 years of age;

  • takes place in a factory, if the student is under 15 years of age;

  • takes place in a workplace other than a factory; if the student is under 14 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 classes as "designated substances" under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;

  • requires knowledge of a trades person whose trade is regulated by the provincial government;

  • involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewelry, works of art, antiques or other valuables;

  • consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e. daily chores) or personal recreational activities;

  • involves a court-ordered program (e.g. community-service program for young offenders, probationary program);

  • involves activities that promote discrimination, harassment, or puts the safety of the student or others at risk.

The Limestone District School Board has determined that the following are also ineligible activities, in addition to those that the Ministry has listed as ineligible:

  • any activity that provides direct financial benefit or gain to the student or to the student's immediate family;

  • any association with an organization or an organizational activity that does not comply with the ethical standards, policies, procedures and regulations of both the Ministry of Education and the Limestone District School Board. 


Students and parents are encouraged to purchase Student Accident Insurance which is available through the schools. Boards expect that all community sponsors will provide students with appropriate instructions, put in place safety precautions, and train and supervise student volunteers.

Roles Responsibilities


Students are responsible for selecting an appropriate community involvement activity and for completing all required documentation according to the Board requirements. Students also are responsible for completing their community involvement hours in a manner that demonstrates a positive work ethic and respect for others. The following checklist of behaviours is recommended:

  • punctuality;

  • appropriate dress and grooming;

  • the use of good manners;

  • a willingness to listen to instructions;

  • the ability to follow through on commitments;

  • a willingness to clarify instructions if in doubt;

  • attention to performing duties in a safe and responsible manner; and

  • the ability to maintain confidentiality.


Parents/Guardians should provide assistance to their child in the selection of their community involvement activity. Parents also are encouraged to communicate with the community sponsor and the school Principal if they have any questions or concerns. A parent must sign the Notification of Planned Community Involvement Activity and the Completion of Community Involvement Activity Record if the student is under the age of 18.

School Boards

School Boards are required to share information with students, parents and the broader community. Boards are required to develop a list of approved activities. Boards are required to develop appropriate forms and a documentation protocol. Boards are responsible for ensuring the collection and storage of personal information.

School Principals

Principals are responsible for sharing information and documentation with students, parents and the broader community. Principals are responsible for forwarding special requests to the Board for consideration. The Principal is responsible for ensuring that completed community involvement hours are entered on a student's official transcript, according to the Board protocol.

Community Sponsors

One of the purposes of the community involvement requirement is to develop strong ties between students and their community, and to foster valuable and long-term relationships.

Persons and organizations within the community may be asked by the student to sponsor a community involvement activity. Any training, equipment, or special preparation that is required for the activity should be provided by the person or organization. It is crucial that students are able to fulfill their community involvement activities in a safe environment. The person overseeing the student's activity must verify the date(s) and the number of hours completed on the Completion of Community Involvement Activity Record.

Community sponsors should ensure that the activities completed by student volunteers are not on the Ministry of Education's or the Limestone District School Board's list of ineligible activities, and that the activities fall within the Board's guiding principles and are identified on the Board's list of examples.


The Limestone District School Board is pleased to advise its community sponsors that students who are performing volunteer work for organizations are protected by the Board's liability insurance, while they are performing their required 40 hours of community involvement service. Students are covered to a maximum of 40 hours. Community sponsors are also protected by the Board's liability insurance for claims that arise out of our students' volunteer activities for organizations.

Community sponsors will be responsible for ensuring that their liability insurance will protect them for their involvement in this program. As with other programs, such as "Take Our Kids to Work," the School Board's insurance does not provide coverage for the negligence of the community sponsors.

Community sponsors also should be aware that, like job shadowing and other similar work-experience programs, students do not have accident insurance, or Workplace Safety Insurance coverage through the School Board. It is recommended that students involved in the program purchase Student Accident Insurance. The School Board expects the community sponsors to ensure that student volunteers are provided with safety instructions, and are trained and supervised to ensure a safe and mutually beneficial volunteer experience.

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.