Volunteer Now

Volunteer Orientations

Every volunteer must attend one or more orientations before the start of a volunteer placement. If you are volunteering at a special event, you will be required to participate in an on-site orientation at the beginning of the event.

How staff decide to conduct orientations may differ, but volunteer roles, benefits and expectations, along with legislative information will be outlined.

ExpandVolunteer Expectations

Volunteers are expected to:

  • Demonstrate good leadership and interpersonal skills, while positively engaging with participants, staff and other volunteers
  • Act in a professional, respectful and appropriate manner
  • Demonstrate a willingness to learn, take direction, follow instructions and report to City staff. (Volunteers will never be left alone with participants)
  • Be dependable, punctual, notify staff of absence and sign in and out to ensure volunteer hours are accurately recorded
  • Remain vigilant, attentive and alert at all times
  • Abstain from using electronic or gaming devices while volunteering
  • Conduct themselves ethically, honestly, with integrity and diligence

Dress Code

Volunteers must dress in a manner that is appropriate to their assigned responsibility, taking safety and weather into consideration. 

  • Wear the volunteer shirt or name tag if provided (worn only during volunteer hours)
  • Wear clothing without offensive logos, slogans or images, ripped or unkempt clothing, or clothing that may be considered too physically revealing for a business environment.
    • Wear appropriate aquatic attire professional in appearance if required
    • Wear closed-toe or deck-appropriate footwear where applicable

Note: Staff reserve the right to deem what is appropriate attire.

Unacceptable Behaviours

The City of Toronto expect volunteers to act in a manner that is within the law. Criminal activity based on prohibited grounds includes, but is not limited to:

  • The purchase or sale of alcohol, tobacco or drugs while volunteering
  • Vandalism of any kind
  • Viewing, producing, or exhibiting lewd, illegal or offensive materials
  • Theft of any kind
  • The use of weapons
  • The use of verbal or physical abuse
  • Committing acts of hate against a person, a group or a property if motivated by hate

ExpandGeneral Information

Code of Conduct

PFR promotes a safe, welcoming, positive, inclusive environment where people are valued and respected.  Staff, volunteers, participants, park and facility users, are expected to be considerate, to respect people and their rights and to show proper care, as well as regard for City property and the property of others.

Benefits and Insurance

Volunteers at no time shall receive remuneration, salary, wage, payment, any employee benefit or be covered by Workers’ Safety and Insurance Benefits (WSIB).

The City of Toronto does not provide Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance.  Volunteers are not covered if injured or harmed while performing volunteer duties. Depending on your situation, you may want to obtain this insurance for yourself. 

Feedback and Recognition

Volunteers may receive feedback from staff on an ongoing basis, however staff would also like to hear from you. If you would like to provide feedback on your experience or simply want to make suggestions for improvement, please speak with staff. You may also provide feedback directly to the Coordinator of Volunteer Management – PFR at pfrvolunteers@toronto.ca. All comments received will remain confidential.  All volunteers will receive recognition. If you require a record of volunteer hours, please let staff know in advance. 

ExpandPolicies and Legislation

Photo/Video
Speaking with the Media
Washroom Guidelines
Health and Safety
Smoke Free Ontario Act
Child and Family Services Act
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)
Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy
Accessibly for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Photo/Video

As a volunteer you may be photographed, be part of a video/audio recording or be interviewed. Recordings may be used for marketing, promotional, informational or social media channels. Please inform staff when appropriate if you do not wish to be recorded. 

Speaking with the Media

Sometimes members of the media take interest in Parks Forestry and Recreation activities and programs. At no time should you speak to members of the media. This includes bloggers, those representing online publications and YouTubers. Direct any of these inquires to supervisory staff right away.

Washroom Guidelines

As a volunteer you should never take a child to the bathroom (even with another volunteer) or be alone with children in change rooms or bathroom

Health and Safety

Volunteers must always follow the direction of staff. If you are unclear about an assigned task or feel that the task puts your own health and safety at risk, Volunteers reserve the right to refuse. 

Reducing Risks

  • Voice any concerns you may have and report to staff any incidents, emergencies or injuries.
  • Refuse tasks if you feel it endangers personal health or safety
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick
  • Dress in a manner that is appropriate (i.e. closed-toe shoes, warm clothing during cold weather)
  • Do not engage with individuals who may be committing illegal acts
  • Follow all emergency and security procedures and avoid workplace hazards
  • Drink lots of fluids, wear sunscreen SPF 60+ and bug repellent when necessary

Smoke-Free Workplace

Smoke-free laws are in place to: protect people from being exposed to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke; help smokers reduce or consider quitting and reduce visibility making it less socially acceptable. This bylaw is also applicable to e-cigarettes.

If you are a smoker, a friendly reminder that you must never:  

  • Smoke within 9 metres of an entrance or exit of any building that is used by the public
  • Smoke on any public square such as Nathan Phillips Square or Mel Lastman Square
  • Smoke within a 20 metre radius of a playground, sporting area and adjacent spectator area

Please refrain from wearing items that may identify you as a volunteer (i.e. shirt, name tag if provided) while smoking. 

Child and Family Services Act (Child Abuse Reporting)

Parks Forestry and Recreation volunteers have a duty to report any suspected or disclosed child abuse or neglect to a children's aid society and must not rely on any other person to report on his/her behalf. It is not necessary for you to be certain that a child is or may be in need of protection to make a report.

There are four main types of child abuse:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Emotional abuse
  4. Neglect

No one should advise you not to report your suspicions or stop you from reporting. 

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)

As a volunteer, you may be in receipt of, or have access to personal information including but not limited to: client identities, materials, records, memoranda, data and results containing personal information. Under MFIPPA Section 32, disclosure of this kind of information is illegal.

You shall not at any time, even after your volunteer placement has finished, disclose to anyone such personal information you have encountered in your role as volunteer with the City of Toronto, except as may be required or permitted by law.

Human Rights and Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy

The Ontario Human Rights Code, better known as “the Code” provides for equal rights and opportunities and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario.

  • All volunteers are entitled to a discrimination-free volunteer environment based on human rights grounds
  • At no time should a volunteer discriminate based on the following prohibited grounds:

Race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex (including breastfeeding), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, political affiliation, level of literacy or disability

The Ontario Human Rights Code also includes the right to "reasonable accommodation" to ensure that people can access, participate in and enjoy services and programs by making necessary and appropriate modification where needed.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a law passed by the Ontario legislature in 2005, which allows the provincial government to develop specific standards of accessibility and to enforce them. The goal is to make Ontario fully accessible for people with disabilities by 2025.

All volunteers are required to comply with the Customer Service Standard of AODA (Ontario Regulation 429/07). The purpose of this standard is to remove barriers for people with disabilities so they can access goods and services. Barriers can be both visual and invisible.

Providing great customer service can be as simple as asking "How may I help you?" People living with disabilities know if, when and how they need help. Wait until you receive per­mission when offering assistance or when in doubt direct all inquiries to staff.

Remember to never:

  • Shout or use disrespectful language such as the word ‘handicapped disabled, physically challenged, lame, crippled’
  • Touch your customer, service animal or their assistive devices without first asking permis­sion
  • Assume what a person can or cannot under­stand or do


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