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Q&A - Visitors to Canada
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"Are visitors to Canada allowed to volunteer?"


Yes, visitors to Canada are allowed to volunteer in Canada, with one stipulation: that they will not fill a practicum position that is intended to be part of a student’s course of study.

Any other limitations on the role that a visitor to Canada can fill as a volunteer will be determined by the needs of your organization and the length of time that the person will be in Canada.

A short-term or event volunteer position is most likely the best option for someone who will be visiting Canada for a month or so. It’s a commitment that they can honour and increases the likelihood that their volunteer experience will be satisfying.

Positions that require extensive screening are not a good choice for visitors staying a short time. An assessment of the time needed to conduct personal interviews, reference checks, police records checks, orientation and training sessions will usually make it clear that this is not a good investment of limited resources.

The steps that are part of your organization’s screening process are determined by the needs of the position, not by the status of the individual applying to volunteer. A visitor to Canada may not be able to provide all the information or meet all the requirements.

If, for example, the requirements for a position include personal references and a police records check, then applicants need to complete those screening steps to be considered by the organization for that position. Position-based requirements are not intended to exclude applicants, but to ensure the safety of clients by taking all reasonable precautions.

Responding respectfully when someone offers to volunteer for your organization is always appropriate. The decision to actually engage someone as a volunteer, including visitors to Canada, is about determining that the applicant is a ‘good fit’ for the position. 

The Screening Handbook is an excellent resource on the volunteer screening process. It is available on Volunteer Canada’s web site at

  * All answers are for information purposes only.

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