Newcomers are critical to strengthening and growing Canada’s volunteer ecosystem. Here are four common barriers and how to make newcomers feel welcome.

The Canadian government encourages newcomers to volunteer, but many find it difficult to participate.

Why It Matters

Two-thirds of volunteer-served organizations do not have enough volunteers to operate effectively, and volunteerism can help newcomers build a sense of community in Canada.

Smita Akale’s first volunteer position, at the age of 16, involved working with the children of sex workers in Mumbai’s Kamathipura red-light district. Her job was to give these children food, play with them, and eventually help them enroll in school. 

Akale is a model volunteer. Her resume includes stints at nursing homes, mental health clinics, a life coaching institute, and with special needs children as a school councillor. She speaks English, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, and Gujarati, and says she understands Punjabi, Kashmiri, Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu. When she arrived in Canada in 2019, on a visitor’s visa, she was determined to pitch in right away. None of the Canadian organizations she contacted wanted her. 

“If you are on a closed work permit, that’s OK,” Akale says. “If you are a student, that’s OK. But if you are on a visitor visa, t

Our social impact coverage and insights enrich thousands of change makers like you everyday. Sign up for a free account with Future of Good to continue reading this series.