National Volunteer WeekPublished on 9 April 2014 Hansard and Statements by Senator Catherine Callbeck (retired)
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck:
Honourable senators, I’m very pleased to say a few words today on the subject of National Volunteer Week.
Beginning in 1943, to honour the contributions of women during the Second World War, National Volunteer Week has grown into a cross-country celebration to recognize and honour the tremendous contributions of Canadian volunteers.
In honour of this week, Volunteer Canada has established the Volunt-Hear Hotline, which is a toll-free number where people can call to leave a brief message, thanking volunteers and expressing how volunteers have made a difference in their lives. It’s a wonderful opportunity to thank Canadian volunteers personally for their hard work and dedication to their communities and to their country.
Every day, from coast to coast to coast, volunteers give of their time and their energy in service to others. They may drive people to cancer treatments or coach at a hockey practice. They may camp with the Girl Guides or teach guitar lessons at a Boys and Girls Club. They may canvass for a charitable organization or provide hospice care to an ailing senior.
All in all, Statistics Canada tells us that more than 13 million Canadians, nearly half the adult population, have volunteered to work with a voluntary organization or have helped out regularly, providing services or supports to others in their community. These dedicated people volunteer for more than 2 billion hours a year, which is the equivalent of nearly 1.1 million full-time jobs.
As I have proudly pointed out in the past, Islanders have been recognized for their dedication and hard work in the volunteer sector. Prince Edward Island has the second highest volunteer rate in the country. Fifty-six per cent of our adult population volunteer in some way in their communities and beyond. In total, all that volunteering accounts for more than 9 million hours, or the equivalent of about 4,500 full-time jobs.
Honourable senators, please join me in thanking all volunteers, both in my home province of Prince Edward Island and across the country, for their commitment, generosity of spirit and tremendous hard work. They are truly the lifeblood of our communities.