ARCHIVED - Harper Government promotes volunteer training to keep our streets and communities safe

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WINNIPEG, April 12, 2013 — Today, the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, accompanied by Paula Speevak Sladowski, Interim President and Chief Operating Officer of Volunteer Canada, announced that over 120 volunteer centres have received important training thanks to a partnership between the Government of Canada and Volunteer Canada.

"Our Government is committed to the safety and security of all Canadians, including those who are most vulnerable – like children and the elderly," said Minister Toews. "Through the training provided in conjunction with Volunteer Canada and the volunteer screening handbook, our Government is responding to a call from organizations to help them better screen volunteers and provide community service organizations invaluable tools to improve the safety and quality of programs whose volunteers and employees are in trusted positions."

"Effective volunteer screening is vital to the health of Canada's voluntary sector. It helps organizations achieve better volunteer matching, improved safety and quality of programs, and reduced risks and liability," said Paula Speevak Sladowski, Volunteer Canada's Interim President and Chief Operating Officer. "Volunteer Canada is very pleased to collaborate with the Government of Canada on this initiative, and we are grateful for the commitment of our partners who have received the training – local volunteer centres and national non-profits alike."

In October 2012, Public Safety Canada launched the volunteer Screening Handbook and partnered with Volunteer Canada to develop training materials and to offer "train the trainer" sessions based on the volunteer Screening Handbook for national, provincial and community volunteer organizations.

Through its training, Volunteer Canada has reached over 700 community organizations and made an outstanding contribution in helping to prevent abuse, and build safe and resilient communities. The Volunteer Canada training sessions were held in volunteer centres across Canada throughout February and March 2013, and were designed to help organizations better screen volunteers. Volunteer Canada's commitment to providing leadership and resources across the country is supported by organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Victorian Order of Nurses.

This partnership is another example of the Government's commitment to building safe communities and to strengthening the resources available to the voluntary sector. In February 2011, the Government of Canada also announced improvements to the vulnerable sector verification process. More than 175 police associations across Canada have now introduced RCMP-developed technology to speed up vulnerable sector checks. This includes making use of state-of-the-art live-scan machines for faster electronic processing.

Follow Public Safety Canada on Twitter @Safety_Canada.

See also:

Julie Carmichael
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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