Volunteer Policy

Adopted September 2016

Reviewed Feb 1, 2018

Intent

LOFT Community Services is committed to providing a professional and respectful environment for Board and non-Board volunteers, staff and clients.

It is recognized that LOFT is only able to fully realize its Mission and Vision with charitable financial and in-kind contributions from its community of supporters. This includes the contribution of time and talent provided by volunteers. Volunteers help in furthering the mission of LOFT by providing or helping to obtain resources not otherwise available. In addition, volunteers show by their involvement that the wider community values the health and well-being of LOFT clients and in this way, volunteers help to instill and support the sense of hope that is essential to recovery.

LOFT strives to support and recognize volunteers for their valuable contributions.

Purpose of this policy

The purpose of the LOFT Volunteer Policy is to provide guidance on all aspects of volunteer participation at LOFT. This policy should be read together with other LOFT policies and procedures as noted, as well as our Mission, Vision and Values.

These policies apply to all non-elected volunteers who undertake tasks on behalf of and at the direction of LOFT Community Services.

Definition of a Volunteer

A volunteer is a person who by choice and without financial compensation contributes time and service to assist LOFT Community Services in fulfilling its mission.

Volunteers under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Recruitment:

The LOFT Volunteer Program is open and inclusive of all individuals interested in participating. Individuals must be able to demonstrate a commitment to the aims of the organization and may only be placed if their needs as volunteers match the needs of the organization. The recruitment of a volunteer is at the discretion of the staff member responsible.

Equity and Diversity:

LOFT addresses diversity and equity in all facets of the organization as set out in more detail in the Diversity Policy available online.(www.loftcs.org/policy-manual).

LOFT welcomes diverse individuals as volunteers reflecting our diverse client population. LOFT policies, procedures and programs demonstrate respect for the values and diversity of all people, and all programs are developed acknowledging the diversity of the persons served by LOFT.

Volunteers are asked to engage all people with respect for their uniqueness and dignity, and to treat all people with fairness and courtesy. Volunteers are asked to be sensitive to diversity and to avoid discriminating on any grounds as set out in the Diversity Policy.

Relationship between Volunteers and Paid Staff

LOFT engages volunteers to enhance the role of paid staff, not as a replacement. Each volunteer will have an assigned Contact Person who is a member of the paid staff with responsibility in the area, program or project in which the volunteer is working.

The Contact Person is responsible for on-the-job training and supervision of the volunteer, and will be available to offer support and advice as needed. The Contact Person will also be responsible for scheduling the volunteer and logging volunteer time.

The volunteer is responsible for providing the Contact Person with accurate information about availability for working and for making the commitment to the work schedule agreed upon. The volunteer should check in with their Contact Person at the beginning and end of each work shift. If the volunteer is unable to attend for an agreed upon shift, they are responsible for letting their Contact Person know as far in advance as possible.

The Development Director or designate administers the volunteer program for the downtown office. Program volunteers are managed by Program Directors or a designated staff person.

Orientation and Training:

LOFT recruits new volunteers on a continuous basis. Initially, an appointment time is set for each volunteer during regular working hours. This meeting includes an overview of LOFT’s work, a discussion of the individual volunteer’s interests and motivations, and an outline of the volunteer opportunities available. Volunteers are given an information package including contact information and relevant documentation which they are asked to complete and bring with them on their next visit.

Each volunteer receives thorough training in his or her role. This training is provided by the Contact Person or another designated person either “on-the-job” or in a dedicated training session, depending upon the specific volunteer role.

Supervision and Support

Volunteers are assigned a named LOFT staff member as their Contact Person and supervisor. It is the responsibility of the assigned Contact Person to ensure an ongoing dialogue with the volunteer, and to provide advice and guidance as needed.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

Respecting the privacy of our clients, donors, staff, volunteers and of LOFT Community Services itself is a basic value of LOFT.

LOFT is bound by the Personal Health Information Privacy Act (PHIPA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). LOFT policies with respect to both Acts are available at www.loftcs.org/policy-manual. (for PHIPA see “Privacy Policy” and for PIPEDA see “Donor Privacy Policy”)

In addition, volunteers are required to review and adhere to the LOFT Confidentiality Policy for volunteers, provided in the orientation package.

Occupational Health and Safety

It is our mission to ensure that LOFT Community Services maintains a safe and healthy environment for our employees, clients and volunteers.

LOFT Community Services’ Health and Safety program is governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), the Workplace Safety Insurance Act (WSIA), and LOFT’s own policies and procedures. LOFT follows the Internal Responsibility System, wherein everyone involved within LOFT is responsible to identify and report any actual or potential hazard/incident.

Basic Health and Safety policies and procedures will be provided by the Contact Person at the commencement of volunteer services. In addition, the complete LOFT Health and Safety Policy is available at each program site.

Problem Solving and Complaints Procedure

LOFT values the contribution made by its volunteers and does not expect there to be any problems. This procedure is provided to ensure that any problem that may arise is handled in a fair and consistent way.

If a volunteer has a problem with a task, a member of the staff or another volunteer, they should first discuss it with their Contact Person.

If the issue is not resolved, or the complaint is about the Contact Person, it should be taken to the Development Director or the relevant Program Director, or designate.

The complaint should be investigated and a decision reached within 14 days.

Where a problem can be solved informally, the Contact Person or other designated staff person will meet with the volunteer to discuss the issue and decide on appropriate action.

If a problem or complaint is of a more serious nature, the Contact Person or other designated staff person will work with the volunteer to initiate a formal complaint or reporting process in accordance with LOFT’s Complaints Policy as found in the LOFT-wide Policy Manual.

Expenses

Volunteers may be eligible for reimbursement of pre-approved, actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred while engaging in volunteer service for LOFT. Approval must be obtained by the volunteer from their Contact Person before the expense is incurred. The volunteer is then required to track and submit receipts for actual out-of-pocket expenses using the LOFT Expense Claim form. Reimbursement for expenses paid by credit card must be accompanied with a detailed receipt. The credit card slip alone is not sufficient.

LOFT may reimburse for travel upon request by the volunteer. LOFT does not normally reimburse for regular travel to and from the LOFT office or program site where volunteer activity takes place. Travel done in order to fulfil volunteer responsibilities, for example, Speakers Bureau volunteers who travel to their speaking engagement, may be reimbursed at the request of the volunteer and with pre-approval by the supervising staff person.

Travel by personal car will be reimbursed for mileage at the current approved LOFT mileage rate. Travel by TTC will be reimbursed with tokens.

If regular travel represents a financial hardship for the volunteer, it may be reimbursed at the discretion of the Contact Person. Because the only money paid by LOFT to volunteers is reimbursement for actual out-of-pocket expenses, these payments have no impact on social assistance entitlements.

Screening and Police Reference Checks

LOFT will work with each volunteer to determine his or her goals and needs as a volunteer and to match them as closely as possible with available volunteer opportunities.

LOFT requires that all volunteers who will have ongoing direct contact with residents or clients complete a Police Reference Check (PRC) as part of the selection process. LOFT recognizes and appreciates the level of trust that our residents and clients place in our staff and volunteers. The requirement for a PRC is part of our commitment to protect the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals within the community we serve, and to comply with the requirements of government funders.

All new volunteers whose role will place them in ongoing direct contact with residents or clients will be required to consent to a Police Reference Check under the Vulnerable Sector Screening Program. The volunteer is responsible for the cost of this screening. Specific details on the cost of methods of payment will be provided at the first orientation meeting. This fee will be reimbursed to the volunteer once service formally begins.

Additional Volunteer Policies

These policies have been developed to enhance LOFT’s relationship with its valued volunteers, and to provide clarity and guidance on important topics. The following specific policies are also provided to new volunteers at their initial orientation, and volunteers are required to sign and return them to LOFT at their next visit.

1. Confidentiality Policy for Volunteers

2. Volunteer Code of Conduct

3. Volunteer Conflict of Interest Policy

4. Volunteers whose role involves the use of a LOFT computer will also be asked to sign and return the Computer Use Policy.

5. Specific roles may require that the volunteer sign additional LOFT policies relevant to that role, eg: Mobile Communications Device.

The LOFT-wide Policy Manual is available online at www.loftcs.org/policy-manual, or by going to the LOFT website at www.loftcs.org, clicking on About Us and selecting Policy Manual from the drop-down menu.

Volunteers will be asked to review the following policies, which will be provided in printed form for volunteers who do not have ready access to the internet.

  • Diversity
  • Human Rights
  • Privacy
  • Donor Privacy
  • Confidentiality
  • How to Make a Complaint
  • Workplace Violence & Harassment Prevention
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Social Media