Volunteer in Canada


Canada is a land of astonishing beauty from the old world charm of Quebec to the rugged Rocky Mountains. Spanning six time zones and bordering three major oceans, it is the world’s second largest country. The combination of a rich volunteer network and outdoor lifestyle offers many opportunities to help others on your gap year, either at outdoor camps, in schools or through a well-established local caring organisation. Start your working gap year in Canada today!

Canda Placement Details

Outdoor Activities Instructor

Placements are usually based in permanent camps run by the YMCA/YWCA which are situated in beautiful locations in the Canadian countryside. Volunteer duties are varied, ranging from leading groups in activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, orienteering and fencing to life saving skills, first aid, counselling and general camp maintenance. There are opportunities for those with relevant skills to coach campers in horse riding, tennis, drama and sailing.

As a volunteer you would also be responsible for caring for visitors to the camp, which may include support, supervision and personal care of more vulnerable residents. On average you will work around 40 hours per week, with core hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm. This is a challenging but worthwhile placement which in the past has led volunteers to form deep and long-lasting friendships.

Departure dates and duration tend to vary depending on opening times of the camps:

January-August (7 months, winter, spring and summer)

January-October (9 months, winter, spring, summer and fall)

March-September (6 months, late winter/early spring, spring and summer)

March-October (8 months, late winter/spring, spring, summer and fall)

April-August (4 months, spring and summer)

April-October (6 months, spring, summer and fall)

April-December (8 months, spring, summer and late fall)

Please call to discuss May & June departures.

September-December (4 months, fall & early winter)

September – August (12 months, fall, winter, spring & summer). N.B. This camp has a long break (about 6 weeks) from early December to late January, when volunteers will be responsible for their own food and accommodation.

Outdoor Activities Instructor with Caring

Some outdoor camps Lattitude Global Volunteering work with cater specifically for disadvantaged youths, or for young people with mental or physical disabilities. The environment and activities are the same at these camps to all other camps throughout Canada, but volunteer duties within these camps include an additional caring component.

Caring Camps tend to open May to August and require volunteers to have a panel medical (recognised by Canadian Officials) which can cost around £300, to submit with Visa.

School Assistant

School Assistants in Canada assist school staff with a number of duties which may include classroom teaching assistance, lab preparation, tutoring, playground supervision, games/sports coaching, outdoor education, field trips and excursions, music, art and drama, supervision in residence and administration work. The roles are varied and allow volunteers to get involved with many aspects of school life on their gap year in Canada.

Volunteers at this placement assist with middle and senior school classroom duties, and could also take part in extra-curricular activities such as sports coaching. You will also have the opportunity to take part in school camps and field trips, and would assist with discipline and pastoral care.

School placements in Canada require volunteers to have a panel medical (recognised by Canadian Officials) which can cost around £300, to submit with Visa.

What To Expect

Accommodation, food and allowance

Accommodation is provided by the host organisation, whether that is in the staff quarters, in a residential home, your own room in a school boarding house or shared accommodation in an outdoor camp. Many camps are situated in incredibly beautiful places beside lakes and in the woods.

Please note volunteers are responsible for their own food and accommodation during the long December – January break in the September – August Outdoor placement.

While some placements provide food, others set up a system of self-catering for volunteers.

All placements provide a weekly allowance of approximately CAN$100 (this differs from placement to placement).

Volunteer Outdoors in Canada

Is it for me?

If living close to nature, working in a team and inspiring young people sounds exciting, then camp life is for you! As an Outdoor Activities Instructor, you will work within stunning scenery assisting young people to learn and develop their outdoor skills, some of whom may have a disability. Enriching placements are also available in schools to befriend and mentor students at a crucial stage in their education. This is perfect for anyone thinking of going into a teaching career and want some international experience.

Need to know

  • Pre departure briefing – all volunteers are invited to a group briefing prior to departure.
  • On arrival – volunteers will take part in a Lattitude orientation in Vancouver with the rest of their cohort. Accommodation and food is provided for this. Some volunteers at outdoor placements have onsite orientations run by their camp. These people will  travel straight to their placement.

Free Time & Travel

In terms of evening and weekend activities, what you do will largely depend on where you are placed. Many of our outdoor education roles are placed in areas of spectacular beauty, and you will be able to take advantage of your surroundings in your free time.

Outdoor volunteering in Canada

If you are placed in the foothills of one of Canada’s many mountains, for example, you and your fellow volunteers could stretch your legs climbing to the top. Alternatively, if you are placed near a lake, you could try getting involved in water sports or take a dip during the summer months. If your host placement is in a more urban setting, you can spend your weekends exploring what the nearby town or city has to offer.


Most people have heard of Canada’s world-class skiing resorts, Niagara Falls and, of course, the iconic moose. But these highlights are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Canada has to offer its visitors.

Volunteer outdoors in Canada

For outdoor enthusiasts, Canada is a gift that keeps on giving, and you will have lots of opportunities to make the most this during your placement. Hikers can explore snow-capped mountains and even sample a stretch of the vast Appalachian Trial, while fans of water sports might choose to spend a day kayaking down the South Nahanni River. If winter sports are more your cup of tea, why not spend your free time during holidays snowboarding in Whistler or ice-skating on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal? Aside from these activities, Canada is renowned for having a calendar packed full of exciting festivals all year round.


Volunteering in Canada

From Okanagan’s ice wine festival in January and Regina’s powwow in March, to Montreal’s jazz fest in June and Toronto’s film festival in September, you’ll have lots of excuses to travel around Canada during your stay.


Lattitude Global Volunteering fees for all departures:


As part of the placement the following is provided:

What’s included?

  • In depth matching process to align your skills and interests with a placement that really suits you
  • Assigned Volunteer Coordinator to help with all your pre-departure information, advice and guidance
  • Links with returned volunteers
  • Relevant DBS/police check fees
  • Advice on obtaining a Visa
  • Pre-departure briefing
  • Airport pickup on arrival
  • In-country orientation as part of country programme network of international Lattitude volunteers
  • Accommodation for the duration of stay in Canada (this may not be included during holidays)
  • Food (or monetary allowance to cover the cost of food) provided by the host. This may not be included during holidays.
  • Day to day support from your placement host and a member of staff as your mentor
  • Weekly allowance (provided by your placement)
  • 24/7 support from Lattitude, including in-country support from local reps and the Lattitude Country Manager
  • Focus on your personal volunteer learning and development
  • Returned Volunteer follow up and Debrief Event
  • Opportunity to join the Lattitude Alumni Association
  • Certificate of completion and references (on request)

Other costs:

  • £30 application fee
  • Cost of Panel Medical for School & Caring Camp roles
  • International Flights
  • Onward travel to placement (if applicable)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa
  • First Aid/Lifeguarding Course (needed for some Outdoor placements)
  • Pocket Money for weekends/ holidays/post-placement travel
  • Accommodation and food during holiday periods


As a charity we always recommend our volunteers fundraise to help meet the costs involved in volunteering overseas. In many ways it is part of the whole experience. For more information and fundraising ideas please click here.

Planning your trip

We always recommend applying as early as possible in order to secure your place.

Please note that the application deadline is the last possible time allowed to get an application form in that allows us enough time to match volunteers and begin sorting out visas.

Please contact regarding availability for departure dates within the next 3 months to avoid disappointment

Volunteering outdoors in Canada

“Camp Elphinstone is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Majestic pine trees, a gorgeous stretch of water and a mass of snow-capped mountains - it’s breathtaking!”

Mark, Outdoor Activity Instructor