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. 124. 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).

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.

Community Service Hours:

  • The purpose of the community involvement graduation requirement is to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities. By being involved in their communities and serving others, students develop transferable skills and explore different sectors and potential career opportunities.
  • Community involvement activities help to prepare students for work and civic life in a globalized, digital age. Community involvement is an important educational opportunity that allows students to develop skills and experiences gained to become successful and contributing members of society now and in the future.

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. Some examples of possible activities are: 

  • Assisting Non-Profit Organizations with fundraising (i.e. canvassing, organization of walk-a-thons), awareness campaigns, sports/recreation (i.e. coaching, helping to organize Special Olympics, track meets and summer games), office/clerical work (i.e. volunteer activity in reception, computer work);
  • Community Events & Projects including helping to organize carnivals and parades, participating in organized food drives or support services for community groups such as 4H Clubs or local community service clubs;
  • Environmental Projects including community clean up, flower/tree planting, recycling, and general beautification activities;
  • Assisting Seniors including serving snacks, helping with activities, or participating in visiting and reading programs;
  • Committee Work such as participation on advisory boards and neighborhood associations;
  • Religious Activities including participation as a volunteer in programs for children, Sunday School assistance and special events;
  • Youth Programs including the assistance with the operation of youth programs such as 4H, Scouts Canada, Girl Guides, Drop-In Centre activities, breakfast programs and camps;
  • Work with Animals such as involvement with animal care, horseback riding programs or volunteer assistance at a local petting zoo;
  • Arts & Culture such as organizational assistance at an art gallery, performing arts production, cultural celebration, or in a community library program;
  • Activities for Individuals by providing assistance to people in need such as with shopping, tutoring, light snow removal (no use of snowblower), housekeeping, writing letters, hospital visitation;
  • School Community Service by helping out with extra-curricular activities such as organizing tournaments, assisting other students, library assistance, being a member of the technical crew for school productions, participating in school governance, fundraising, organizing drama and art events;

If you have any questions about Community Involvement Hours, including whether or not an activity is acceptable, please contact your Principal or designate. Please note that a principal is not obligated to approve a project at the local level.

Activities not identified on the Board’s list of Approved Activities must obtain pre-approval and signature from the Principal or designate on the student's Community Involvement Activity Record before starting the activity. If completed without permission and permission is subsequently denied, the activity or event will not be counted toward the student’s community involvement requirement.

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, course, or program in which the student is enrolled (e.g., cooperative education course, experiential learning activities);
  • 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;
  • contravenes the minimum age requirements to work in or visit a workplace stated in regulations made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  • contravenes any other applicable legislation, regulation or policy;
  • contravenes the policies and procedures of the organization that is supervising the student’s community involvement activities;
  • 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, the handling of securities, or the handling of valuable items such as jewellery, works of art, or antiques;
  • consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e., daily chores) or personal recreational activities
  • involves activities for a court-ordered program (e.g., community-service program for young offenders, probationary program);
  • involves activities that promote discrimination, harassment, or puts the safety of the student or others at risk.

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 designate. 

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 must obtain approval from their Principal or designate before starting the activity. If completed without approval, and permission is subsequently denied, the activity or event will not be counted toward the student’s community involvement requirement. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

Other responsibilities by role include: 

  • Complete eligible activities to fulfill the graduation requirement (40 hours). 

  • Demonstrate a positive work ethic and respect for others. This includes being on time, listening to instruction, following through, and maintaining confidentiality. 

  • Ask questions if they don't understand something.

  • Submit their completed community involvement hours Activity Record to their principal or to another school contact designated by the principal at appropriate intervals as determined by the principal.

  • Share information with students, parents/guardians and the broader community. 

  • 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.

  • Share information regarding the community involvement graduation requirement and an outline of the policies on, and procedures for, completing the requirement.

  • Review students’ proposed activities.

  • Record completed hours and confirm when a student has met the graduation requirement. 

  • Provide assistance to their child in the selection of their community involvement activities.

  • Communicate with the individual or organization supervising their child's community involvement activities and the school principal if they have any questions or concerns.

  • Verify their child's community involvement hours using the school board’s approval and verification processes for students who are under the age of 18 years.

Community Sponsors
  • Provide any training, equipment, or special preparation that is required for the activity. It is crucial that students are able to fulfill their community involvement requirement in a safe environment.

  • Verify the dates and number of hours completed by the student.

  • When supervising a student with disabilities and/or special education needs, ensure that the student receives any necessary accommodations and support to participate in the activities fully. Consult with the parents/guardians and any relevant professionals as required.


Insurance information for students and community sponsors: 

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

The RCDSB expects that all community sponsors will provide students with proper instruction, put safety precautions in place, and train and supervise students. 

The RCDSB’s liability insurance will protect the students and the community sponsors for liability lawsuits that may arise from the students’ activities in the community involvement program for the 40 hours required.

The RCDSB’s insurance does not cover the sponsors for lawsuits that arise from their negligence, or for student injuries in the workplace. The liability insurance of the community sponsors would be expected to respond to cover the sponsors for suits arising out of their negligence. Sponsors are responsible for ensuring that their liability insurance protects them for their involvement in the program