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AODA - Context For Nonprofits
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Many Ontario Nonprofit organizations using this workbook will benefit from working within Volunteer Canada's Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement available at

CCVI or "the Code" provides a consistent framework for working with and supporting volunteers. All Nonprofits will engage volunteers, if only at the governance level of the Board of Directors, so the Code will be a helpful tool to ensure that best practices are being adhered to in the engagement of volunteers. Your organization's endorsement of the Code is a public demonstration of a commitment to fair and equitable engagement of volunteers. The companion document, "A Guide for Cultural Competency Application of the Canadian Code" (the Guide) provides practical steps to ensure service delivery is culturally competent. It is a tool to support organizations in increasing the accessibility and inclusiveness of volunteer programs.

The model of Cultural Competency provides the baseline that every person is the expert in their own lives and is the most suitable to identify and articulate needs and requirements. Each person has a personal history and life experience that informs and responds to current situations. We all have our own culture and it is from this point of view that we experience the world, and the world experiences us. Cornerstones of being culturally competent are not to make assumptions, to ask direct, respectful questions and be prepared to provide nonjudgmental responses and services. As you review your organization's compliance with the requirements of the AODA, Volunteer Canada's frameworks are a useful resource. The following set of questions will help inform and frame your assessment.

Cultural Competence in Organizations

An organization that is culturally competent will be well placed to address the Customer Service Standard requirements. Points to consider in assessing your organization's degree of compliance include:

  • Does the mission statement specifically reflect the organization's commitment to equity, diversity and/or accessibility?
  • Do all communication materials and mechanisms reflect the organization's commitment to equity, diversity and/or accessibility?
  • Are there concrete, measurable goals to increase the diversity of the Board, staff and volunteers to reflect the community?
  • Is there an equity/diversity/anti-harassment statement/policy/philosophy in place?
  • Is this equity/diversity/anti-harassment statement/policy/philosophy up-to-date with current legislation?
  • Is this equity/diversity/anti-harassment statement/policy/philosophy proactive?
  • Are the organizational systems and procedures consistent with this policy and the legislation?
  • Are the organizational systems and procedures consistent with each other?

What It Means to Me

As organizations move forward with review and compliance work, the following may add further guidance:

  • Informal and formal practices and procedures have been developed to ensure the provision of the best possible customer service for persons with disabilities.
  • Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies are in place.
  • Staff and volunteers are comfortable serving customers/clients with disabilities and services can be provided in different ways.
  • Staff and volunteers are respectful of people's diverse needs in a way that supports their access to services.
  • Every effort is made to ensure that communication is done in a manner that takes into account all persons with diverse needs.
  • The website is designed to be user friendly this includes the option of customizing font size for ease of readability.
  • Reports, announcements and other written materials use respectful and inclusive language, and there is a concerted effort to use clear language in all communication.
  • Advertising and publicity materials portray communities in a representative manner without stereotyping.
  • The use of guide dogs , personal assistive devices and the use of support persons for people with disabilities is permitted at all offices and sites.
  • Emergency plans are in place for all staff, volunteers, clients and visitors, including those with disabilities.

The Act


1: Nonprofits and The Act

2: Overview

3: Core Principles

4: Requirements

5: Context for Nonprofits





Key Terms

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