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Q&A - Court Ordered Volunteers
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"What is the responsibility of an organization to accept someone as a volunteer who has been ordered by the court to do ‘community hours’?"


A court order requiring an individual to complete a certain number of community hours does not impose an obligation on an organization to ‘hire’ that person.

The Community Service Order (CSO) Program, established by the Ontario Court of Justice, allows judges the option of ordering an individual to complete a certain numbers of hours working in the community to compensate for the offence they have committed.

The judge has determined, given the nature of the offence, that community involvement is an appropriate part of the sentencing.

The organization’s responsibility is to follow their regular screening process for an applicant based on the nature of the position and the information required to assess suitability. This may include requesting information about the applicant’s offence.

An individual serving a CSO must complete the hours within a certain period of time. It may, therefore, not be practical to place the person in a position if a Police Records Check (Vulnerable Sector Check) is a valid requirement of the screening process for that position, due to the time needed to get the PRC results.

The organization should take care not to exclude someone simply because they are serving a CSO unless the nature of the offence raises concerns due to the role to be played, the clients to be served or other relevant elements of the position.

Engaging someone on a CSO as a volunteer will involve completing some paperwork but, in the interests of social justice, nonprofit organizations should support this alternative sentencing program when possible.


  * All answers are for information purposes only.

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