Community Service and Involvement

All students must complete community involvement activities as a requirement outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum No. 124a. These activities must be: 

  • a minimum of 40 hours of total service (community involvement may begin in the summer after Grade 8);
  • included in the list of the eligible activities;
  • completed by the end of Grade 12 in order to be eligible to graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

Community Service Hour Forms:

  • If you are a graduating student, you require 40 hours of service. Use this tracking form to record your hours. You may submit your hours as you earn them! 
  • Students over the age of 14 are able to count up to 10 hours of their paid part-time job toward their Community Service Hours. Complete this form and submit it to your Principal or Vice-Principal.

All high school students (Grades 9-12) in the province of Ontario are required to complete 40 hours of community service as a graduation requirement. This requirement helps young people develop new skills while encouraging them to develop an awareness and understanding of civic responsibility as they play a role in contributing and strengthening their communities. These goals complement academic and work experience programs that are currently taking place in schools. 

Eligible community involvement activities

Community involvement activities may take place in a variety of settings, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, public sector institutions (including hospitals and libraries). Eligible activities may include an event or activity designed to be of benefit to the community and/or supports a not-for-profit agency, institution or foundation that conforms to the ethical standards of the RCDSB and the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Students are encouraged to think about creative ways to support the community that do not put themselves or others at risk. This may include volunteer activities that can be completed at home or online. Some examples of possible activities are:

  • in the community by offering assistance to charities, service clubs, and other not-for-profit organizations.  Examples include fundraising, assisting in a senior’s residence, coaching, participating in environmental projects, organizing community events and church sponsored activities, organizing and participating in cultural activities, assisting local meals on wheels programs, participating in 4H Club activities, etc.
  • in the school by helping out in extra-curricular activities.  Examples are organizing tournaments, assisting other students, library assistants, technical crew for school productions, participating in school governance, fundraising, organizing drama, art events, etc. 
  • supporting individuals by providing assistance to people in need.  For example:  assisting local seniors, child care, assisting students with special needs, student representation on boards, advisory committees, transcribing for students with special needs, virtual tutoring to help students practice reading, communication and/or other skills, etc.

If you have any questions about Community Involvement Hours, including whether or not an activity is acceptable, please contact your Principal or Guidance Counsellor. 

Ineligible activities

The Ministry has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities. These are referred to as 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 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;

  • 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;

  • personal recreational activities;

  • involves activities for a court-ordered program (e.g., community-service program for young offenders, probationary program).

In addition, the RCDSB has determined that any activities that do not comply with the regulations made under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, the ethical standards, policies, procedures, and regulations of both the Ministry of Education and the RCDSB are ineligible.

If you are unsure about an activity’s eligibility, please contact your school’s Principal or Guidance Counsellor. 

Complete 40 hours before graduation

Students may begin collecting and documenting community involvement hours in July of the year before their Grade 9 school year. Students should plan to accumulate a minimum of 10 hours each year. However, students are encouraged to complete their hours before the start of their Grade 12 year as this is a busy year which may include part-time jobs which affect one’s ability to do volunteer work. A single activity or a series of short-term activities totalling 40 hours may be completed. A Community Involvement Record should be submitted no later than the first week of January or June to ensure completed hours can be recorded on report cards. 

*** Community service hours that have been completed will be recorded on the report cards of graduating students.

Request approval for an unlisted activity

In the event that a student would like to participate in an activity or event that is not within the eligible activities, the student will submit a letter to the school’s Principal/Guidance office detailing the proposed activity or nature of the participation and event. 

The activity can not be commenced until permission has been granted. If completed without permission and permission is subsequently denied, the activity or event will not be counted toward the student’s community involvement requirement.