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Student Community Service

Community Involvement Guidelines for Diploma Requirements


In order to fulfill the requirements for Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) each student must complete a minimum of 40 hours of Community Involvement.

Guiding Principle

Community service provides Catholic students a valuable opportunity to respond to the Christian call to serve others, especially those “who are least among us” (Mt 25:35-36, 40), all the while fulfilling their graduation requirements, 40 hours of community service. Alongside learning the teachings and traditions of the Catholic faith, it is vital that students have opportunities to witness their faith by reaching out to help others through Christian service.

General Information

Students may complete the requirement at any time starting in the summer before entering grade 9 and preferably finish prior to January of their graduating year. Students may complete one activity of 40 hours or several activities which add up to a 40 hour time commitment. The requirement must be completed outside of the scheduled class time.

  • During the lunch hour or spare(s)
  • In the evening
  • During the summer
  • On the weekends
  • During school holidays

Students under the age of 18 years should plan and select their activities in consultation with their parents. Early completion of the 40 hours of Community Involvement is strongly recommended.

Roles and Responsibilities


  • Plans activity with parents/guardians
  • Secures placement(s)
  • Hands in planning report to principal / principal designate
  • Gets involved
  • Obtains parent signature upon completion
  • Submits documentation to principal designate (Guidance Counsellor)


  • Provides assistance in placement selection
  • Communicates with the school and placement about concerns
  • Signs Notification and Completion forms if student is under 18

THE SECONDARY SCHOOL: (Guidance Counsellor)

  • Approves activities before placement
  • Receives documentation from student
  • Records completed activity on Ontario Student Transcript
  • Provides accommodation recommendations for special needs


  • Provides for student liability coverage
  • Provides planning forms through the school
  • Provides reporting forms through the school

Eligible Activities

Eligible Activities which take place in non-profit organizations, such as:


Canvassing, walk-a-thons, celebrity games, gift wrapping, gala events, famine week-ends, and sales


Coaching, track meets, summer games, working with a buddy, working at a recreation centre, score keeping and organizing Special Olympics


Helping to organize winter carnivals, parades, summer fairs

Community Projects

Participating in food drives, support services for community groups, 4H Clubs, Welcome Wagon, Meals on Wheels St. Vincent de Paul and Food Banks

Environmental Projects

Participating in community clean-up, flower/tree planting, recycling and beautification activities

Religious Activities

Programming for children, child-minding, helping with Sunday School, special events, and clerical tasks, alter serving, music ministry, assisting with liturgy

Office and Clerical

Reception, computer work, and mailings for volunteer/not-for-profit agencies

Youth Program

Helping to run youth programs such as 4H, Scouts, Guides, drop-in-centres, breakfast, after school and March Break programs, Leaders in Training, Summer playground activities, and camps

Work with Animals

Working with animal care in a non-profit organization

Arts and Culture

Assisting at a gallery, performing music, involvement with a non-profit community theatre program, or involvement in a library program

Activities for Individuals

Assisting seniors shop, read prepare letters, shovel snow, rake leaves, garden, cut lawn, chronic care hospital visits or tutoring, transcribing, and/or reading buddies

School Community Programs

Helping out with a non-credit extracurricular activity such as: student governance, organizing school activities (i.e.: sports meets, music production, theatre production) and assisting in school activities (i.e.: ushering, parents night, fundraisers)


  • Being a member of a committee, club or organization of itself is not an eligible activity, although services provided by that committee, club or activity may be eligible, if they meet the criteria stated.
  • Where an activity does not clearly fall within the guidelines, principals have the discretion to approve areas of involvement on a case-by case basis.
  • A principal is not obligated to approve an activity.

List of Activities that are Ineligible


  • Student activities are not to displace paid workers.
  • Profit earning companies are not eligible placements.

The Ministry has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities. These are referred to as ineligible activities. An ineligible activity is an activity that:

  • Is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled (e.g.: Cooperative Education, any portion of a course, job shadowing, work experience);
  • Takes place during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day. However, an activity that takes place during a student’s lunch breaks or “spare” period(s) is permissible;
  • Takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under sixteen years of age;
  • Takes place in a factory, if the student is under fifteen years of age;
  • Takes place in a workplace other than a factory, if the student is under fourteen years of age and is not accompanied by an adult;
  • Would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace;
  • Involves the operation of a vehicle, power tools, or scaffolding;
  • Involves the administration of any type or form of medication or medical procedure to other persons;
  • Involves handling of substances classed as “designated substances” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  • Requires the knowledge of a tradesperson whose trade is regulated by the provincial government;
  • Involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewelry, works of art, antiques, or other valuables;
  • Consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e.: daily chores) or personal recreation activities;
  • Construction before 16 years of age;
  • Involves the activities for a court-ordered program (i.e.: community service) program for young offenders, probationary program);
  • Involves simple membership in a school or community club;
  • Is part of a Community Service Day during regular scheduled class time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I babysit for the neighbour or help a relative?

A. Only if there is evidence of a serious need, e.g. a Special Needs child, no money to pay a babysitter, or other services etc.


Q. Can I coach for a hockey/swimming/basketball club?

A. Only if it is for a non-profit organization.


Q. Can the hours spent on the pilgrimage, March for Life, Thinkfast, Relay for Life or mission trips be considered for volunteer hours?

A. Yes, check with your principal for the allotted hours.


Q. Can I volunteer to teach dance at a local dance studio?

A. Only if it is for a non-profit organization.

How to Get Started

1. In consultation with your parents, CHOOSE a community involvement activity (parent signature is not required if the student is eighteen years of age or older)

2. Contact the person or organization to explore the possibility of a volunteer activity.

  • Volunteer fairs are hosted periodically by the city
  • Contact public institutions
  • Contact regional or local governments i.e.
  • Check volunteer opportunities in Guidance departments
  • Contact service clubs to assist with some of their projects
  • Contact local library and Information Centres for a list of agencies in the community.

3. Ensure that no activities from the list of ineligible activities appear on this form

4. Complete the Notification and Completion of Activities section in the Community Involvement Activity Record.

5. Submit the form to Student Services at the requested date (specific times will be announced at your school).

Check the “Completion of Graduation Requirements” form is attached to your final report card and accurately reflects the community hours completed.

6. Be responsible. You are responsible for the management of this document; know where it is kept and keep it updated.

7. Please keep a copy for your records.

Insurance Notice


The program is mandated by the Ministry, and managed by the principal, with school board involvement on the types of activities and the forms to be completed for the program. This meets all the criteria for the board’s liability insurance to apply in the same way as it does for Co-op or “Take Our Kids to Work” programs.

The board’s liability insurance will protect the students and the community sponsors for liability lawsuits that may arise from the students’ activities in the community involvement program for the 40 hours required.

As with programs such as “Take Our Kids to Work”, the board’s insurance does not cover the sponsors for lawsuits that arise from their negligence, or for student injuries in the work place. The liability insurance of the community sponsors would be expected to respond to cover the sponsors for suits arising out of their negligence.

Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (OSBIE) will not be issuing certificates of insurance for community sponsors. Coverage falls within the liability policy terms and conditions. Certificates would be redundant. For those community sponsors who are looking for a statement about the school board’s insurance, a copy of this memorandum may be provided. As an alternative, we have also provided a guideline of a statement on the back of this memorandum.

The Ministry has provided a list of ineligible activities. School boards are asked to review the list and add to it, if they wish. In addition, school boards are asked to draw up an approved list of activities. This is to be attached to the information that is provided to the student, parents and community sponsors. We would encourage boards to share their list of approved and ineligible activities with OSBIE. We will initial the lists and return them to you, with our comments or concerns.

Liability Insurance for Community Involvement Diploma Requirement

The Community Involvement program can be a positive experience for the students and the sponsor organizations. Clear information, good communication, and a “safety first” attitude will ensure the success of this new program.


The Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board is pleased to advise our Community Sponsors that students who are performing volunteer work for your organizations are protected by the school board’s liability insurance, while they are performing their required forty hours of community involvement service. Community sponsors are also protected by the board’s liability insurance for claims that arise out of our students’ volunteer activities for your organizations.

For example, if a student, in the course of his/her volunteer duties, causes damage or injures a third party, and this results in a lawsuit against the student and the community sponsor, the board’s insurance will protect both the student and the community sponsor.

Community sponsors will be responsible for ensuring that their liability insurance will protect them for their involvement in this program. As with other programs, such as “Take Our Kids to Work”, the school board’s insurance does not provide coverage for the negligence of the community sponsors.

Community sponsors should also be aware that, like job shadowing and other similar work-experience programs, students do not have accident insurance, nor Workplace Safety Insurance coverage through the school board. It is recommended that students involved in the program purchase Student Accident Insurance. The school board expects the community sponsors to ensure that student volunteers are provided with safety instructions, and are trained and supervised to ensure a safe and mutually beneficial volunteer experience.