Study: Employer support of volunteering, 2010

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In 2010, 57% of employees in Canada who did volunteer work reported that they had received one or more formal means of support to do so from their employer. This proportion was unchanged from 2004.

Employer support varied by region. In Ontario, 62% of volunteers with jobs had formal employer support, compared with 54% in British Columbia, 51% in Quebec, 50% in Manitoba and 49% in the Northwest Territories.

Certain types of employer support were more common than others. About 34% of volunteers who worked said their employers helped by approving changes to their work hours or reducing their work activities, the most common type of support.

Somewhat less common was the use of facilities or equipment for volunteer activities (29%), receiving recognition or a letter of thanks from the employer (24%), and paid time off or time to spend volunteering while on the job (20%).

Employer support of volunteering also differed from industry to industry. In 2010, volunteers were more likely to report receiving employer support when they worked in the public administration and utilities industries (70%), and in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (66%).

Lower levels of support were observed in industries related to management, administrative and other support (45%), and to manufacturing and wholesale trade (47%).

Employees were more likely to report having gained work-related skills from volunteering if their employers had provided formal support. For instance, 51% of employer-supported volunteers reported gaining organizational or managerial skills, such as how to organize people or money, be a leader, or plan or run an organization. This compares with 35% of those without support.

Younger employees were more likely to report that improving job opportunities was a reason for volunteering. About 54% of employees aged 15 to 24 who volunteered said that one of their motivations was to improve job opportunities. This compares with 23% of those aged 25 to 34 and 11% of those aged 35 and over.

Note to readers

This article is based on data from the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, which was conducted on a sample of people aged 15 and over, totalling 15,482 respondents in 2010. This analysis was restricted to the 4,926 respondents aged 15 and over who volunteered and were employed in a paid job in the previous 12 months, excluding self-employed respondents.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number4430.

The article "Employer support of volunteering" is now available in the May 2012 online issue of Canadian Social Trends, no. 93 (Catalogue number11-008-X, free), from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

Also in this issue of Canadian Social Trends is the article "Giving and volunteering among Canada's immigrants." Using the 2010 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, this article examines donating and volunteering among immigrants in Canada: their reasons for doing so or not, the amounts of money and time they give, and the types of organizations that they support.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; or the Media Hotline (613-951-4636;