Mandatory Community Service hours
Effective September 1, 1999, every student in Ontario will be required to complete 40 hours of community involvement in order to receive a diploma. The purpose of this requirement is to encourage students to develop an understanding of the various roles they can play in their community and to help them develop a greater sense of belonging within the community.
Effective July 1, 2011, Grade 8 students will be allowed to start counting community involvement hours in the summer prior to Grade 9 to meet their 40-hour requirement for graduation. Find out what you need to graduate.
Roles and Responsibilities of Principals
Principals are required to provide information, forms and a list of approved activities from which to choose. After a student completes the 40 hours of community involvement and submits all documentation of their completion to the school, the principal will decide whether the student has met the community involvement requirement and, if so, will record it as completed on the student’s official transcript.
Roles and Responsibilities of Students
In consultation with their parents, students will select an activity or activities from the list of approved activities. If the activity is not on the list of approved activities, the student must obtain written approval from the principal before beginning the activity.
Before beginning any activity, students will provide the principal with a completed Community Involvement Activities Form indicating the activity or activities that they plan to do. This form must be signed by the student, and by his or her parent if the student is under eighteen years of age. More than one such form may be submitted when additional activities are planned that were not included on a previously submitted form.
A Community Involvement Activities Form must be completed by the student, the student’s parent (if the student is under eighteen years of age), and the community sponsor (that is, the person or organization that provided the community involvement opportunity for the student). The student must submit the form to the principal upon completion of the 40 hours or at appropriate intervals determined by the principal.
Roles and Responsibilities of Parents
Parents should provide assistance to their child in the selection of their community involvement activities. Parents are also encouraged to communicate with the community sponsor and the school principal if they have any questions or concerns.
Roles and Responsibilities of Sponsors in the Community
One of the purposes of the community involvement requirement is to develop strong ties between the students and their community, fostering valuable and long-term relationships. Persons and organizations within the community may be asked by the student to sponsor a community involvement activity. Any training, equipment, or special preparation that is required for the activity should be provided by the person or organization. It is crucial that students are able to fulfill their community involvement requirement in a safe environment. The person overseeing the student’s activity must verify the date(s) and the number of hours completed on the Community Involvement Activities Form.
The Ministry’s List of Ineligible Activities
The ministry has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities and that are therefore 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 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 the student’s lunch breaks or “spare” periods 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 jewellery, works of art, antiques, or other valuables;
- consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e., daily chores) or personal recreational activities;
- involves a court-ordered program (e.g., community-service program for young offenders, probationary program).
* source: Ministry of Education website Policy/Program Memorandum No. 124a