Volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to use your talents and to gain new skills and experiences in a culturally diverse environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
OCISO is willing to provide references for volunteers who have completed a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service.
This depends on your academic institution and must be organized through your school. Students may wish to apply for a student placement with OCISO, however, students are encouraged to apply in advance and arrange a placement before the start of the semester.
If transportation is a concern for you please contact the volunteer coordinator to arrange reimbursement. Volunteers that choose to use their own vehicle can receive reimbursement for travel when volunteering by filling out the mileage log form. Volunteers that use bus services can make a request for bus tickets.
Some volunteers like to have a fixed appointment with their service user, but others arrange appointments on a week by week basis, for example, if they work shifts. This is fine, as long as the volunteer is reliable and consistent, and keeps the volunteer coordinator updated.
A volunteer is asked to provide a minimum of one to four hours per week on average. A commitment of three months minimum is expected of all volunteers who join OCISO in order to make this a worthwhile experience for all persons involved. A successful volunteer experience requires commitment on the part of both OCISO and the individual volunteer.
The schedule for most volunteer work at OCISO is generally between 9-5 and 5-8 pm. On rare occasions, for example special events or private tutoring, there may be some work scheduled for weekends. However, this is generally the exception not the norm.
Yes. Depending on your area of interest and your past experience, you can be assigned to work with children, youth, newcomer adults, or seniors groups. For example, experience in early childhood education can likely be a great match for parents needing childcare assistance while they are involved in learning English language instruction through the LINC.
Yes. The volunteer position is flexible according to your schedule, although advance notice of absences is appreciated. The only exception is for childcare and classroom assignments. Commitment and punctuality are very important when working in coordination with families and teachers.
Yes. OCISO always strives to make the best possible match between volunteers and clients. Any attributes or skills that enhance the match between volunteer and newcomer client are taken into consideration during the volunteer assessment process.
Volunteers can contribute a variety of skills to the work at OCISO. Of course, some volunteer opportunities are more specific and may require some specific skills and experience. For instance, teaching English may require language fluency or administrative support may involve working with software programs, spreadsheets, databases and word processing. The best OCISO volunteers are reliable, committed and passionate about helping newcomers in our communities.
Volunteers provide support for the staff working at OCISO. There are a variety of programs that volunteers can participate in, including:
- Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)
- Mentoring Programs – career and youth
- Youth Program
- Homework Tutor – for children, youth, and adults
- Seniors’ and Women’s Programs
- Conversation and social group activities
- Reception/Administrative Assistance/Office Support
- Tax Clinic
- Seniors’ and Women’s Programs
- Conversation and social group activities
- Translation and Interpretation
There are enough activities available to match the unique interests of all volunteers who want to devote their talents, skills and time.
Please read the descriptions of our various volunteering opportunities on https://ociso.org/volunteers/volunteer-opportunities/ to explore the many volunteer opportunities we offer. Please fill in an application form online and upload your resume. A volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you.
OCISO operates as a non-profit organization in Canada and relies on funding from Canadian funding sources at the federal, provincial, and municipal level. Some of OCISO’s funders include:
- City of Ottawa
- Community Foundation of Ottawa
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
- Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
- Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
- Ontario Trillium Foundation
- Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB)
- Status of Women Canada
- United Way/Centraide Ottawa
Over 12,000 immigrants and refugees a year are supported through the programs and services offered at OCISO.
OCISO staff work at three different locations across Ottawa. These locations include offices at:
• 959 Wellington St. (Settlement and Integration, Counselling, and Peers Programs)
• 945 Wellington St. (Administration, Community Economic Development, Multicultural Liaison Coordinators, YOCISO)
• YOCISO and LINC-Ottawa South at 1800 Bank St.
All OCISO offices are easily accessible by OC Transpo.
OCISO currently employs approximately 120 staff in a variety of departments. Our team come from many different parts of the world and speak many languages.
OCISO offers a range of programs and services to help newcomers settle into their new life in Canada. These programs include:
- The Settlement and Integration Program (SIP) provides multilingual and multicultural services in order to facilitate successful adaptation and integration process for immigrants and refugees.
- The Community Economic Development (CED) program delivers career mentoring and networking programs to support newcomers to obtain employment in their field.
- The Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Program provides free English classes for adults.
- The Counselling Program provides supportive guidance for persons who have experienced trauma and upheaval in leaving their homelands.
- The Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLO) Program provides integration services in schools to newly arrived children and youth and their parents.
- YOCISO programs assist immigrant youth, ages 13-24, with their settlement and integration process in Canada.
Thank you for your interest in supporting community projects and making Ottawa an inclusive city in which all immigrants contribute their gifts, skills, values and culture.
We welcome all who share our mission and want to become a part of our OCISO team of over 500 volunteers across numerous programs and activities.
HOW TO APPLY:
- Please read the descriptions of our various volunteering opportunities, check all that you are interested in.
- Fill in the application form.
- Upload your resume.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOU HAVE SUBMITTED YOUR APPLICATION
If your skills and availability match our current needs, you will be contacted to attend an interview to go over the position and expectations.
Should you be accepted as a volunteer, you will be asked to
1. Complete a Police Record Check (PRC)
If you have already obtained a police record check within the past 12 months, please provide it to the volunteer coordinator. Thank you in advance!
If you do not yet have a police record check, please contact your volunteer coordinator to receive a Volunteer Fee Waiver Letter which you can attach to your application when you apply for your police record check in person OR online.
The Ottawa Police Service now offers an online police record check application. Online applicants can expect to receive their results faster than they would in person. We require the level 3 Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC). Please follow this link to apply for your PRC:
2. Sign the OCISO Code of Ethics and Conduct, Confidentiality Agreement, and Abuse Reporting Pledges.
3. Complete a mandatory online training for OCISO volunteers.
This Customer Service Standard module covers the requirements for providing customer service in ways that are accessible to people with disabilities.
This training will take you approximately 45 min. The module is unable to keep track of your progress, so the training must be completed in one sitting. Please ensure that you have saved the results on your computer and email us the certificate once you have finished. The training module can be found at the following link:
After orientation and training by the volunteer coordinator, you will be able to start volunteering at OCISO.
Thank you for connecting with us!