5 Things to Do Before Volunteering in Canada
Canada has amazing nature and by volunteering here you will get to experience the best of the country, meet new people and pick up experience which will look great on your CV too. If you are thinking about volunteering abroad then why not consider Canada.
Here are some helpful tips and things you should consider before volunteering in Canada.
1. Decide if Canada is the Right Destination
Canada isn't your traditional destination, most people tend to opt for volunteering in Mexico or joining volunteer programs in South America when looking at this continent. So why choose Canada then? Well this country is full of history and character with friendly people and a laid-back lifestyle. With many opportunities being based outdoors you will have the benefits of the fresh air and experience incredible varied landscapes.
Whether you are thinking about moving abroad, are keen on the idea of taking a gap year in Canada or would just like to travel with purpose and give back then this experience will appeal to you. You will learn a lot, get a taste for the culture and also get to explore more of the country. Volunteering in Canada is an excellent idea. As well as improving the quality of life for others you will gain valuable experience and develop new skills.
2. Choose a Project
Being a volunteer is a national pastime in Canada, however the country welcomes international volunteers too. It is a great way to explore Canada’s rich diverse culture, landscapes, and the history. Are you wondering what can you do when volunteering in Canada? Most popular programs are either community or conservation based.
A popular option is to help on a ranch, looking after horses and maintaining farms. Teaching English to children and helping out community projects is also recommended. Also, you can help wildlife here, there are shelters and rescue centres located thoughout the country. What you do really comes down to personal preference.
3. Check Visas
All visitors will need a Visa to enter Canada however if you are resident in certain countries you can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation or ETA from ETA Canada. The UK and the United States are two of the many countries included in this program. The great thing about this is once your ETA is approved it is valid for 5 years. This means you can visit Canada without reapplying as long as your ETA and passport are valid.
4. Apply for a Work Permit
You may not have considered this, however if you want to volunteer in Canada YES you do need a work permit. This is the case even if you are unpaid and volunteering at a charity.
You should know that all employment opportunities go to Canadians first and before you can apply for a permit, you will need a specific job offer from an employer. This employer or organisation must also have been granted permission from the government to give the position to a foreign national. You can then file your application at a visa office of a Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country.
If you book with a volunteering company you may be able to get the C50 Charitable Worker Permit which is available at the airport upon your arrival to Canada. Your agency will tell you if you are eligible and will provide you with the documentation you need.
5. Decide How Long to Stay
Although volunteer programs vary in length, you can find 12-month volunteer work in some places in Canada. However most organised ones tend to be between 6 and 12 weeks. As long as you have your Visa and work permit covering you the choice of duration is yours! Get those bags and packing cubes out and get ready for your next volunteering trip.