Federal Government Falls Short in Supporting and Enhancing the Role of Canada's Volunteers

    OTTAWA, Jan. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - While focusing on critical components of
our nation's infrastructure - from environmental sustainability and community
support to skills training for the unemployed and Aboriginal Canadians, the
federal government's Budget 2009 has fallen short in recognizing the
overarching role that volunteers play in implementing these goals and driving
our nation's economy.
    "While the government has recognized the need to better use the skills
and talents of Canadians in responding to this unprecedented economic crisis,
it is not enough" said Ruth MacKenzie, president of Volunteer Canada. "An
investment in Canada's voluntary sector and its 12 million volunteers would
not only create new jobs and added economic stimulus, but it would address the
needs of those who are most vulnerable during these difficult times."
    With the government announcing new funding initiatives to bolster arts
and culture, including sport, more volunteers will be called upon to help
deliver various programs in their local communities. However, the government
needs to recognize that volunteerism doesn't just happen, said Elizabeth
Specht, Chair of Volunteer Canada's Board of Directors. "The process of
promoting, recruiting, training, recognizing and mobilizing volunteers to
deliver these initiatives will require support and expertise, but the 2009
Budget has overlooked this important aspect by not investing in the voluntary
    Since 1977, Volunteer Canada has provided national leadership to
front-line voluntary organizations and continues to develop standards and
benchmarks that allow these organizations to respond to changes in
volunteering. This leadership also allows front-line organizations to focus
entirely on their own missions and mandates - providing quality direct service
to Canadians.
    As our federal government continues to steer our country through this
economic crisis, volunteers and Canada's voluntary sector will be under
increased duress to deliver essential services and maintain our country's
social and economic fabric. Volunteer Canada will continue to look to our
government in supporting the sector and Canada's volunteers, as well as
promoting and encouraging the necessary leadership in volunteerism in Canada.
    Volunteer Canada is best positioned to provide this leadership.

    ABOUT Volunteer Canada www.volunteer.ca

    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 is related to citizen engagement
and civil society and provides leadership on issues and trends in the Canadian
volunteer movement.

For further information:

For further information: Jung-Suk Ryu, Manager of Communications,
Volunteer Canada, (613) 231-4371 ext. 226, Cell: (613) 266-9427,

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Volunteer Canada

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