Training & Screening
Why are 4-H Ontario Volunteers "engaged and screened"?
The Volunteer orientation and screening processes are designed to create and maintain a safe environment, while ensuring volunteers are matched to tasks they find meaningful. 4-H Ontario provides programs to youth and therefore has a moral and legal responsibility to screen all volunteers to help protect 4-H youth, 4-H volunteers and the organization as a whole.
New Volunteer Orientation
The New Volunteer Orientation (NVO) is a requirement for volunteer candidates. NVO’s provide a “Learn To Do By Doing’ experience. This two-hour orientation provides hands-on experience and information in order to equip volunteer candidates with the necessary skills and knowledge they will require to volunteer with 4-H.
Topics covered include: what is 4-H, club management, risk management, local association roles and responsibilities and programming opportunities for members. These sessions are designed for those who have not previously volunteered with 4-H, including Youth Directors.
In person sessions will be held the second Thursday of the month from February to May from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (except Region 1). In addition NVO sessions will be held in the morning at each Volunteer Symposium.
Click here for a full list of dates and times
Existing 4-H Volunteer Re-engagement
Our “Learn To Do By Doing” philosophy is true for 4-H Ontario volunteers as much as it is for youth.
Re-engagement is a two part process: Re-engagement learning opportunities are required every two years. Beginning in 2017 police checks are required every three years andm ay be completed on line.
4-H Ontario offers a wide variety of learning opportunities for volunteers throughout the year. The volunteer re-engagement process serves as a check-in with fellow volunteers and staff. It is part of an on-going education and support of volunteers to ensure the safety of all the youth participants, as well as the quality of the 4-H program. This process includes taking part in a learning style workshop. Volunteers have their choice of re-engagement workshops offered throughout the year, including:
Local 4-H Association’s Annual General Meeting, if this includes a staff-led re-engagement workshop. (Check with your local 4-H Association or Coordinator, Volunteer Support);
- Regional Volunteer Symposium;
- 4-H Ontario Volunteer Conference;
- Local Association requested learning session on a topic of interest to volunteers in that 4-H Association, as determined by the local 4-H Association Board of Directors (Associations can request any topic. Contact your Coordinator, Volunteer Support to arrange this, or
- Web-based learning options offered by 4-H Ontario
- For more information contact your regional Coordinator, Volunteer Support:
How long does the Volunteer Screening Process take?
As soon as 4-H Ontario receives your Application Form, a letter is mailed directly to your home with instructions on how to proceed with your Police Records Check. The length of time it takes to receive your Police Records Check once it has been requested will vary depending on your local Police Agency’s timelines. In many cases, this can take several weeks.
Training sessions are offered through 4-H Ontario bi-monthly. The timing of your interview and reference checks will vary slightly depending on the schedule of your Volunteer Screening Committee. All volunteer candidates should complete the entire screening process within 3 months of applying with 4-H Ontario.
What is a Volunteer Recruitment and Screening Committee?
Every 4-H Association has a Volunteer Recruitment and Screening Committee. One person from each committee is designated as the Volunteer Screening Contact and acts as the key contact for new volunteers. The role of the Volunteer Recruitment and Screening Committee is to:
Set up and conduct and interviews
Make recommendations to 4-H Ontario in regards to accepting the volunteer applicant
Ensure confidentiality of all information collected
Is the 4-H screening procedure the same across the province?
Yes. While different 4-H Associations have different local police services and the procedure of completing the Police Records Check may vary, the process leading up to that point and all forms and applications are standard.
Is the information collected on the individuals kept confidential?
The Volunteer Screening Contact and Volunteer Screening Committee are all required to sign an Oath of Confidentiality. They are only to discuss information on applicants in a confidential and professional manner, and only for the purposes of making recommendations.
Are there any requirements after the Volunteer Screening Process has been completed?
Yes, there are requirements of volunteers after they have successfully completed the Volunteer Screening Process. Every two years, all 4-H volunteers are required to submit a current, original Police Records Check and attend a bi-annual Renewal Training to maintain their Volunteer status.
Does the local police service keep Associations updated on any changes in the person’s criminal record status?
No. This would be an overwhelming task for the local police services. Volunteers, when agreeing to a Police Records Check, also acknowledge that a Police Record Check will be done on an ongoing basis. 4-H Ontario policy states current volunteers are to be re-screened every two years.
What happens if the 4-H Volunteer Screening Committee finds an applicant with a clean Police Record Check, but has concerns as a result of the application, reference checks and interview?
If the committee feels the safety of 4-H Members may be jeopardized, they should recommend to 4-H Ontario that the applicant not be accepted. If safety is not the concern, the committee might recommend acceptance with conditions. Perhaps the committee questions the applicant's ability due to lack of experience working with young people. The committee might recommend the Volunteer’s acceptance with the condition that the applicant works with an experienced volunteer. In addition to the concern for safety, if the selection committee has other concerns about the person (i.e. appropriate role model, known substance abuse etc.) those concerns must be documented and forwarded to 4-H Ontario attention: Manager, Volunteer Support and Development.
Our Association has volunteers who do not work directly with members, such as Directors on our local Association. Do they need to be screened?
Yes, every volunteer needs to be properly screened. 4-H Ontario’s insurance policies offer coverage for screened, registered volunteers. For this reason we need to screen all volunteers.
Will 4-H Associations have to release or deny any 4-H Volunteers?
4-H Volunteers are put in a 'position of trust’ with our young people. If the 4-H Association has reason to believe that a Volunteer may jeopardize the safety of 4-H Members, an information investigation will be conducted. Pending the investigation’s outcome, the 4-H Volunteer may be released. Criminal convictions for sexual offenses, offenses against children, offenses involving violence against persons or property and drug or alcohol offenses of a serious and repeated nature would be grounds to deny a Volunteer. Where a 4-H Volunteer is currently charged with an offense, his/her 4-H Volunteer responsibilities will be suspended and on hold, and will not be reinstated until all legal proceedings are finalized.