Canadian Government Urged to Actively Support Volunteering

OTTAWA, Oct. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian government should make an investment in supporting volunteering throughout the country, during this time of economic distress. That is the main message of a presentation the President of Volunteer Canada, Ruth MacKenzie, will make to the House of Commons Finance Committee, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, October 28th.

"There are thousands of organizations that depend on volunteering in Canada, to do everything from providing essential community services to coaching teams," she says, "And many are struggling because they need staff and resources to recruit and train volunteers. Volunteers do not come free."

In her presentation, MacKenzie reports that the current recession has created serious difficulties for many of Volunteer Canada's member organizations. In many cases, their funding has suffered causing them to let go of staff - often staff responsible for managing volunteers.

Volunteer Canada is proposing that the Government of Canada make an annual investment of five million dollars in a Canadian Volunteer Support System. It would provide community level volunteer recruitment, training and management resources to organizations, large and small, that depend on the energy of volunteers. Volunteer Canada suggests the federal government should set a goal of increasing Canada's volunteer rate to 60 per cent, from the current 46 per cent, over four years. The proposed support system would be one important means of achieving this goal.

"Volunteering is a basic feature of citizenship in a free and democratic society," MacKenzie argues, "There is a legitimate and useful role for government in promoting and fostering volunteering, and strengthening that citizen engagement. We believe there is untapped volunteer potential in Canadian communities. We just have to find a way to link that potential to the many organizations that depend on them."

MacKenzie will make her presentation at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 in Room 269, West Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa.

Volunteer Canada is the national voice for volunteerism in Canada.

SOURCE Volunteer Canada

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Karl Nerenberg, Manager of Public Policy, Volunteer Canada, (613) 231-4371, x288; Elizabeth Gray-Smith, Manager of Communications, Volunteer Canada, (613) 231-4371, x226

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