In Canada, registered charities and not-for-profit organizations work to improve the lives of others and help build stronger communities. Many build relationships with other not-for-profit organizations and businesses to find local solutions for social issues.
Businesses contribute to Canadian families and communities in a number of ways as well. Through socially responsible activities, businesses create shared value by working with others to address social challenges in their communities. They also donate time or resources to these organizations, and encourage employees to volunteer or make a donation to a charity.
Corporate donations also contribute to giving. The vast majority of businesses (88%) give financial donations to charities to address social challenges.
The Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards consist of 17 awards in total - two at the national level and 15 at the regional level. The awards are as follows:
Two national awards:
- Lifelong Achievement recognizes individuals who have dedicated their lives to volunteering and have inspired other volunteers, led volunteer groups or made other exceptional achievements through volunteering. This award is for those who have volunteered for a period of at least 20 years.
- Emerging Leader recognizes new volunteers who help build stronger communities through leadership, and who have made a positive difference in their community in a short period of time. This award is for those who have volunteered for no more than three years.
- Community Leader recognizes individual volunteers or groups of volunteers who have taken a leadership role in developing solutions to local challenges.
- Business Leader recognizes businesses that demonstrate social responsibility in their business practices.
- Social Innovator recognizes not-for-profit organizations that demonstrate innovation in addressing social challenges.
Recipients of the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards are selected through a three-step assessment process:
1. Eligibility Screening: The PMVA Secretariat screens nominations to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria.
2. Regional Reviewers: Volunteer representatives from across the country assess nominations based on the established criteria and develop a list of top-ranked nominees for assessment by the National Advisory Committee.
3. National Advisory Committee: Up to 15 volunteer committee members are selected by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Members are from various regions in Canada. The National Advisory Committee assesses the top-ranked nominees and makes recommendations to the Minister of ESDC.
The selected recipients will be presented with medals, certificates and lapel pins. As part of their recognition package, each recipient will identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a one-time funding grant in their honour. Not-for-profit organizations identified by the 15 regional award recipients will each receive $5,000, and those identified by the two national award recipients will each receive $10,000.
Created in January 2011, the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards fulfill a commitment in the 2010 Speech from the Throne. This annual event is aimed at inspiring Canadians from all walks of life to find new ways of making a difference in their communities. The call for the 2014 nominations will be launched following the announcement of the second round of award recipients and will run from February 27 to May 9, 2014.