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Volunteer and make a difference

Volunteer to make a real difference in your community as we work to reduce loneliness and isolation one person at a time.

In Ottawa 300 people with disabilities are waiting an average of 4 years for a volunteer.

As a friend to someone with a disability you can have a profound effect on their life by reducing loneliness and isolation; helping to achieve hopes and dreams; developing personal networks and relationships; decreasing vulnerability; and increasing self-confidence, mental and physical health.

As a volunteer, you need to be over the age of 18 and make a minimum commitment of 12 months to this role [Note: your status in Canada may affect your ability to make this commitment e.g. visitor visa, student visa, refugee claimant]. Preparation and ongoing support are provided.

Looking for a Senators and Redblacks fan (Bayshore)

Dave, is in his mid-60s and has recently retired from a job with the federal government. He has been lonely ever since his wife died four years ago. He is looking for a volunteer Advocate who he can meet up with each week. Dave likes to go out to the mall, walk his dog, get a coffee and watch movies and TV. He also likes to play golf and attend both the Senators and Redblacks games when he can

Volunteer to reduce one woman’s loneliness and isolation (Manor Park)

Chris has a number of disabilities that affect her mobility and mood and as a result she finds herself lonely and isolated. She would really enjoy meeting with a volunteer advocate each week to shop, hang out, chat or for the occasional meal.

A meaningful way to make a difference in one person’s life (Orleans)

Ron is in his early 30s and he has a wide variety of interests. He is a kind and talkative man but he needs a reason to get out of the house. Do you have an hour or two a week to spend with Ron? He is open to any experience that is fun including tennis, biking, visiting the library or the mall.

Volunteer with one of your neighbours (Kanata)

Erica is in her early 40s but because of the case she needs due to multiple sclerosis she lives in a seniors’ residence. She would love to spend time with someone who can meet her outside of the home for conversation, coffee and the occasional movie.


The first step to becoming a volunteer advocate is to attend an 80-minute volunteer information session at our office, 312 Parkdale Ave. There are many times to choose from:

  • Friday July 28, 12:30 pm
  • Monday August 14, 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday August 29, 10:30 am
  • Thursday September 14, 6:00 pm
  • Monday September 25, 6:00 pm

To let us know if you would like to attend an information session, contact our Community Engagement Coordinator:

Maria Redpath 613-761-9522 Ext. 222 or


After you have attended an information session and learned more, consider if Citizen Advocacy is a fit with your volunteering interests. If you’d like to continue you must complete the following:

a) fill out the volunteer application form and submit it.

b) apply for a Police Records Check for Service With the Vulnerable Sector (it’s free with a letter from us saying you’re applying to volunteer). Once you’ve done this please contact our Community Engagement Coordinator, Maria Redpath 613-761-9522 ext. 222 to let us know you this is underway.

c)  attend a mandatory one-day session to prepare you for your role as an advocate. This training will cover:

  • The role of an Advocate
  • The impact that an intentional friendship can have on someone with a disability
  • Learning about different disabilities
  • Learning about available sources of help and support
  • Learning about common issues and strategies to help

In addition, it will give you an opportunity to meet other new Advocates and Citizen Advocacy staff and together share ideas.

There are many dates and times to choose from:

Friday, September 15, 2017 – 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Tuesday October 10, 2017 – 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday October 28, 2017 – 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

To let us know which session you will be attending please contact our Community Engagement Coordinator, Maria Redpath 613-761-9522 ext. 222.

Once we have confirmation your vulnerable sector check is underway, have a copy of your volunteer application form and you have attended the onboarding session you are ready for your learning conversation. We will send you the contact details of the social worker so you can both arrange a mutually convenient time to meet.

Remember to let us know if you decide not to continue the process to become a volunteer advocate.


Step 2 must be completed before you will be booked for your learning conversation. This is an in-person discussion with a social worker, lasting 90 to 120 minutes. We’ll get to know you, your personality, hobbies and interests. This helps us narrow down the entire waiting list to those that are possibly the best match for you.

After your learning conversation the social worker will contact your references. Please notify them to expect this call.



You will be invited by your social worker to a one-hour meeting where they will present a number of potential Friends. You will participate in choosing the person with a disability you would like to be matched with.



You will be sent a link, user name and password to complete the following training sessions online. The training needs to be completed before your first match meeting with your Friend. Please bring your completion certificates to that meeting and give them to your Social Worker.

  • AODA Customer Service Training (condensed content) (32 minutes)
  • Understanding Human Rights (AODA Edition) (28 minutes)

At the onboarding session you are given the following policies and asked to read them before your first match meeting.

  • Health & Safety
  • Violence & Harassment

Please bring your completed acknowledgement form to your first match meeting and give them to your Social Worker.


Your social worker will facilitate the first meeting between you and your potential Friend. After the initial meeting the social worker will contact both party to confirm that each of you would like to continue with the match. If you are both happy with the match you can now start doing fun activities together!

Volunteer Now!

Before completing our application form, please ensure that you have read about our Matching Programs or attended an information session.

Volunteer Application Form

The recent playoff games between the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators provided another opportunity for Tim McCarthy and Jason Tierney to try to convert the other to support their favourite team. They have been matched for four years now and despite their team allegiances have many things in common. Tim says “We both contribute to each other’s lives, and we learn lots from each other.  We share work experiences, life experiences and work things out together.  It is a positive experience for both of us and it truly is a great friendship.”

Tim McCarthy & Jason Tierney

Everyday Champions Match

Contact Information

For more information please contact
Maria Redpath
Community Engagement Coordinator

613-761-9522 ext. 222

Send email


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Tel/Tel. 613-761-9522
TTY/ATS: 613-725-6175

Toll Free/Sans Frais: 1-866-222-2138
Fax/Télécopie: 613-761-9525


312 av. Parkdale Ave.,
Ottawa, ON, K1Y 4X5


Charitable Registration Number/Numéro d’enregistrement d’organisme de bienfaisance
13036 2817 RR0001