Community Involvement Hours

Every secondary student in Durham District School Board (DDSB) must complete a minimum of 40 compulsory Community Involvement Hours to earn their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). This is a Ministry of Education requirement.

These hours spent in the community are meant to encourage students to:

  • Develop an awareness and understanding of civic responsibility
  • Understand the role they play and contributions they can make to support and strengthen the community

This applies to students in Grades 9 to 12 (high school), but Grade 8 students can start accumulating hours in the summer before they enter high school.

Community Involvement Activity Record

Make sure you keep your Community Involvement Activity Record forms up-to-date with the proper information and signatures. You must submit your completed records to your school for data entry.

Requirements

These community activities must:

  • Be completed outside scheduled class time
  • Not be a part of a credit course
  • Be unpaid
  • Total a minimum of 40 hours
  • Be complete by the end of grade 12

Opportunities

If you're unsure what you want to do for your community hours, check out Volunteer Durham and Youth Opportunities Ontario.

Getting started

Follow these steps to begin:

Step 1

Students younger than 18 should plan an activity with the help of their parents/guardians. The activity should involve services to others. It must fall within the guiding principles DDSB has established and be identified on the DDSB list of eligible activities and examples.

Step 2

Confirm the details of the activity with the organizer responsible.

Step 3

Complete the Community Involvement Activities form. Submit the form to your school. You will need a principal's signature if the activity is not on the DDSB list of examples or if the activity is one of "school community service."

Step 4

Complete your planned activity and have your Community Involvement Activities form signed by the community organizer.

Step 5

Repeat these steps until you have 40 hours. Submit your records to your school for data entry.

Eligible activities

The Ministry and DDSB have developed a list of activities students may (eligible) or may not (ineligible) choose.

Eligible activities and examples

These guiding principles are intended to assist students and parents/guardians in determining if an activity is within an approved area:

  • An event or activity designed to be of benefit to the community
  • An event or activity to support a not-for-profit agency, institution or foundation that conforms to the ethical standards of the DDSB and Ministry
  • Any structured program that promotes tutoring, mentoring, visiting or coaching, or whose purpose is to assist others who require the benefit of that assistance
  • Participation in an event or activity that supports ethical work of a global nature
  • Participation in an event or activity that promotes positive environmental awareness
  • participation in an event or activity that contributes to the health and well-being of any ethical group that conforms to community morality and conduct, including school-based activities
  • Participation in an event or activity affiliated with a club, religious organization, arts or cultural association, or political organization that seeks to make a positive and ethical contribution in the community

If an activity does not fall within the guidelines, school principals can approve or reject the activity or event.

Examples:

The following list shows examples of activities that are suitable.

Fundraising

Includes canvassing, walk-a-thons for community benefit, celebrity games, gift wrapping, gala events, and sales for charitable purposes.

Sports/recreation

Includes coaching, helping to organize Special Olympics, track meets, summer games, or volunteering as a leisure buddy or pool assistant.

Community events

Includes helping to organize winter carnivals, parades and summer fairs.

Community projects

Includes participating in organized food drives or support services for community groups, such as 4H Clubs or Welcome Wagon.

Environmental projects

Includes assisting in a seniors' residence, such as serving snacks, helping with activities, or participating in visiting and reading programs.

Committee work

Includes participation on advisory boards, neighbourhood associations and regional associations.

Religious activities

Includes volunteering in programs for children, child–minding, Sunday School Assistance, special events and clerical tasks.

Youth group

Includes volunteer assistance with the operation of youth programs such as 4H, Scouts Canada, Girl Guides, Drop-in Centre activities, breakfast programs, March break programs, Leaders in Training, summer playground activities, and camps.

Office/clerical work

Includes volunteer activity in reception, computer work and mailings for individuals or groups providing charitable or general community benefit.

Work with animals

Includes volunteer involvement with animal care, horseback riding programs, or volunteer assistance at a local zoo or petting farm.

Arts and culture

Includes volunteer assistance at a gallery, performing arts production or program, or in a community library program.

Activities for individuals

Includes any volunteering that helps people who require assistance with shopping, tutoring, light snow removal (no use of a snowblower), housekeeping, writing letters or transcribing. This can also involve hospital visitation, voluntary involvement with chronic care, or service as a volunteer reading buddy.

School community service

May include service within the school community that takes place outside the regular school day and provides benefits to others. These activities must be approved at the local level by the school principal in advance of the commencement of the activity. Principals are not obligated to provide these approvals.

If a student wants to participate in an activity or event that is not clearly within the list of examples and does not conform to the guiding principles, the student must submit a letter detailing the proposed activity or nature of the participation and event to the school principal. The principal will forward the request to the DDSB. The student will be notified if the request is approved or not. Students should not start the activity until the student gets permission. If the request is denied or the hours are done before approval, the hours will not count toward the student's community involvement requirement.

Ineligible activities

An ineligible activity noted by the Ministry is an activity that:

  • Is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled (e.g., co-operative 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” period 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

An ineligible activity noted by the DDSB is an activity that:

  • Provides direct financial benefit or gain to the student or to the student's immediate family
  • Has any association with an organization or an organizational activity that does not comply with the ethical standards, policies, procedures and regulations of both the Ministry and DDSB
  • 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, jewellery, works of art, antiques or other valuables
  • Consists of duties normally performed in the home (e.g., daily chores) or personal recreational activities
  • Involves a court-ordered program (e.g., community-service program for young offenders or a probationary program)

Roles and responsibilities

All parties should ensure that the activities completed are not part of the ineligible activities and that they fall within the DDSB's guiding principles and are identified in the list of eligible examples.

Other responsibilities by role include:

Students

Students are responsible for selecting an appropriate activity, completing all required documentation and their 40 hours with a positive work ethic and respect for others. This includes being on time, dressing and grooming appropriately, listening to instruction, following through, and maintaining confidentiality. Students are also responsible for asking questions if they don't understand something.

DDSB

The DDSB is required to share information with students, parents/guardians and the broader community. DDSB is required to develop the list of eligible activities and the appropriate forms and protocols involved in the program, and for the collection and storage of personal information.

Principals

School principals are responsible for sharing information and documentation with students, parents/guardians and the broader community. They are also responsible for forwarding special requests to the DDSB for consideration and ensuring that completed hours are recorded on official student transcripts.

Parents/guardians

Parents/guardians should help students select an activity. They are also encouraged to get in touch with the community sponsor and principal if they have questions or concerns. If students are under 18, parents/guardians must sign the Notification of Planned Community Involvement and the Completion of Community Involvement Activity Record(s).

Community sponsors

One of the purposes of this program is to develop strong ties between students and their community, and to foster these relationships. Students may ask organizations and people to provide sponsorship. If the sponsor agrees, the sponsor must provide training, equipment and any special preparation required for the activity. Students must always be in a safe environment. The overseer must also verify the dates and number of hours completed on the Completion of Community Involvement Activity Record.

Insurance

Insurance information for students and community sponsors:

Students

Students and parents/guardians are encouraged to buy Student Accident Insurance. This is available through our schools.

Community sponsors

The DDSB expects that all community sponsors will provide students with proper instruction, put safety precautions in place, and train and supervise students. Students are covered by the DDSB's liability insurance while they are performing the required 40 hours. Community sponsors are also protected by the DDSB's liability insurance for claims that arise out of student activities for organizations. For example, if during the 40 hours a student damages or injures a third party and a law suit results, the DDSB's insurance will protect the student and the community sponsor.

Sponsors are responsible for ensuring that their liability insurances protects them for their involvement in the program. The DDSB's insurance does not provide coverage for the negligence of sponsors.