Employer-supported volunteerism on the rise in Canada



    Corporate leaders from across Canada converge in Ottawa for summit

    OTTAWA, Sept. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Senior executives from The Home Depot
Canada, UPS, Microsoft Canada, and over a dozen more companies from across the
nation will join the Board of Directors of Volunteer Canada today to
participate in the first Canadian Corporate Council on Volunteering Leadership
Summit in Ottawa.
    "The summit will give us the opportunity to discuss the value of
volunteerism and how it positively impacts organizations," says Ruth
MacKenzie, President of Volunteer Canada. "Companies that support employee
volunteerism are realizing that it's a win-win situation that benefits the
company, the employees and the community."
    The Canadian Corporate Council on Volunteering was formed by Volunteer
Canada in 2005 to promote the benefits of employer-supported volunteerism
(ESV). CEOs and senior executives of some of Canada's largest corporations
will meet for the first time today to share best practices as part of the
newly formed Centre for Excellence in Employer-supported Volunteerism.
According to Volunteer Canada, ESV contributes to an overall business strategy
in the following ways:

    
    - Provides leadership opportunities for employees outside of the
      workplace;
    - Improves morale of staff, allowing them to contribute to a larger
      community effort;
    - Creates ambassadors for the company on an international scale;
    - Contributes to a stronger culture within the workplace, and employees
      who take part in ESV are more likely to stay at the company;
    - Makes the company more attractive for potential employees to begin or
      continue their careers there.
    

    Since the formation of the council, there has been steady growth in the
number of paid hours employees are given to dedicate to volunteering in just
the council member companies alone. In 2005, 15 companies contributed
150,000 hours. In 2007, over 475,000 volunteer hours were donated by employees
of 23 companies. Today, with 24 members, the Council is the largest corporate
volunteerism initiative in Canada.
    "The Home Depot's involvement with the Corporate Council on Volunteering
is an important part of our commitment to giving back, as it is for all the
participating companies," says Annette Verschuren, Co-Chair of the Council and
President, The Home Depot Canada and Asia. "We're always looking for new
companies and organizations to join the cause of volunteerism across Canada."
    Centre for Excellence partners like Microsoft Canada have been active in
engaging employees to dedicate time to worthy causes. "Our employees are
incredibly passionate about giving back to their communities. With programs
like I Volunteer, Microsoft Canada has contributed almost 20,000 volunteer
hours to help organizations in Canada and abroad," says Gavin Thompson,
Director of Citizenship, Microsoft Canada. "I would strongly encourage
Canadian corporations that are considering engaging their employees as
volunteers to join us."
    Through the Centre of Excellence, Volunteer Canada's Canadian Corporate
Council on Volunteering is currently working with academic institutions and
non-profits to research and promote the value of ESV.
    This morning, summit participants are on site at a children's garden in
Ottawa to assist students from Lady Evelyn Alternative School in building
several structures, including a fence and a gathering area.

    About Volunteer Canada

    Volunteer Canada is the national voice for volunteerism in Canada. Since
1977, the organization has been committed to increasing and supporting
volunteerism and civic participation through ongoing programs, special
projects and national initiatives, by developing resources and by engaging in
research and training across the country. Working with volunteer centres,
community and national organizations and businesses, Volunteer Canada actively
leads national dialogues on how volunteerism relates to citizen engagement and
civil society and provides leadership on issues and trends in the Canadian
volunteer movement. To learn more about Volunteer Canada, please visit
volunteer.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Jung-Suk Ryu, Manager of Communications,
Volunteer Canada, (613) 266-9427, jryu@volunteer.ca; Francesca Iacobelli for
Microsoft Canada, Media Profile, (416) 342-1812, francesca@mediaprofile.com


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