I'm a new immigrant

The Volunteer Bureau of Montreal wishes you a warm welcome to Montreal!

Volunteering can be an excellent way to adapt to local culture while contributing to society. We encourage you to read the following pages to learn more about how you can get involved. If you have more questions, feel free to contact us by phone at 514.842.3351.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is volunteering?
Volunteering is a commitment of time and energy doing something to benefit society and the community (individuals, groups, or a particular cause) without being paid.

Where can I volunteer?
All of our volunteer opportunities come from registered non-profit organizations (also called NGOs) in the Montreal area. We represent over 1000 such organizations which provide services in the arts, health, education, social services, sports, the environment and more.

What will I do as a volunteer?
There are many different volunteer positions. A volunteer may assist an organization's clients directly or help with administrative duties (examples - serving meals at a drop-in centre, visiting the elderly, editing content for an agency newsletter, helping to organize a special event). Volunteers do not replace paid staff.
Volunteering can be done in many different sectors. Click here for a full list.

How much time do I need to Volunteer?
Most volunteer positions ask for two to four hours a week and a minimum three-month commitment. There are also positions that are more flexible where you can volunteer for shorter periods, or, on an "on call" basis, or for special events. (Click here to see the short-term offers).

Will volunteering help me find a paid job?
Volunteering can provide a chance to gain work experience in Montreal, if you are new to the city, which is often required by future employers; it may help you obtain references; it will often encourage you to practice your language skills and will provide opportunities to meet interesting people. But it will not generally lead to a job in the organization for which you are volunteering.
Other reasons for volunteering include broadening your network, making new friends, working for a cause you care about , discovering new passions and, why not, changing the world around you!

What is the difference between volunteering and an internship?
An internship is normally linked to an academic program and related to a specific profession, for a defined period of time. It can be offered by both non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. It has a greater chance of leading to a paid job than volunteering.

Can I get volunteer experience in my field or profession?
It will depend on your field or profession. We only work with non-profit organizations and thus do not offer volunteer positions in for-profit businesses. Many professions are governed by Professional Orders with strict practice regulations or which require specific local knowledge (health professionals, engineers, lawyers etc) making it difficult to volunteer in these fields. There may however be ways to volunteer in a position that is related to your field to give you valuable local experience.

We encourage you to look at volunteering in an activity, for a cause or with a clientele that allows you to pursue an interest, hobby or passion, whether it is related or not to your normal work experience. The closer your volunteering is to your personal interests, the more likely it is to be a positive experience both for you and the organization.

Do I have to speak French or English well?
Depending on the type of volunteer work you choose, you will need to be able to communicate and follow directions in English or French. Some positions, such as those that require communication with the general public, or answering the telephone, will require a fluency in both English and French. There may also be limited positions where you can use your first language (if it is not English or French) or where a good command of English or French is not required. 

What are the responsibilities that come with volunteering?
Once you have been accepted as a volunteer, the organization will expect you to be:

  • Punctual and Reliable - that you arrive on time on the day you have committed to.
  • Committed - that you will stay the required duration of time for the particular project or task you are involved with. 
  • Professional - that you will keep information confidential about the clients at the organization, follow the rules of the organization and represent it appropriately. 
  • Enthusiastic - that you are interested in the cause and that you share your skills and experience with the organization. 
  • Willing to learn - that you will attend all training, ask for help, help others, discuss any problems you have with the person you report to, and continue to learn about the organization. 
  • Respectful - that you will respect differences in volunteers, staff, and clients, and work as a team player. Remember that an organization's main goal is to fulfill its clients' needs, not those of the volunteers.


How to choose?
There are many volunteer positions that may fit your interests, needs and schedule.
To find a volunteer position that is right for you, you may want to consider:

  • How much time am I able to commit?
  • Would I like a long-term position or a short-term position? 
  • What are the skills, interests and experience that I would like to share? 
  • What experience am I looking to gain? 
  • What issues in the community do I think are important (e.g. environment, arts, health, etc) and how would I like to help? 
  • What location do I prefer - do I want to volunteer in my community or close to my workplace?


Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to refine your search for a volunteer position.
Good luck!




How do I get started?

Ready to start looking for a volunteer job?
Here are two options :

  • You can meet a counsellor here in our offices : he or she will sit down with you and look at the different volunteering possibilities that fit with your needs and interests. To make an appointment, all you have to do is call 514.842.3351.
  • You can also click here to start your research by yourself on our web site. The volunteer job postings are updated every week.


Other links and resources


Helpful job search programs


Club de recherche d'emploi du Centre-Ville
Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi
Centre Génération Emploi
Fondation ressources-jeunesse


French and English courses

French courses

For an overview of the existing government programs, please click here. For more info, you can also call Immigration-Québec, 514.864.9191.

English courses
Classes are given by the English Montreal School Board and their 6 affiliated schools. For more info: 514.488.4636.




Immigrant-serving organizations
(by neighbourhood)

 

Ahuntsic-Cartierville
Carrefour d'aide aux nouveaux arrivants (CANA)
Centre d'appui aux communautés immigrantes de Bordeaux-Cartierville (CACI)

Côte-des-Neiges et Notre-Dame de Grâce
Projet Genèse
PROMIS (Promotion - Intégration - Société nouvelle)
Regroupement des organismes du Montréal ethnique pour le logement

LaSalle
Centre P.R.I.S.M.E. Promotion, référence, information et services multi-ethniques

Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Accueil liaison pour arrivants (ALPA)

Montréal-Nord
Centre d'action bénévole de Montréal-Nord, Programme d'accompagnement des nouveaux arrivants

Pierrefonds-Roxboro
Centre d'Intégration Multi-services de l'Ouest de l'Île (C.I.M.O.I.)

Plateau-Mont-Royal
Centre communautaire des femmes sud-asiatique
L'Hirondelle, services d'accueil et d'intégration des immigrants

Rosemont-La Petite Patrie
Collectif des femmes immigrantes du Québec
Service d'aide et de liaison pour immigrants La Maisonnée

Saint-Laurent
CARI St-Laurent

Saint-Léonard
Accueil aux immigrants de l'est de Montréal

Sud-Ouest
Centre d'éducation et de développement interculturel (CEDI)

Verdun
CASA-CAFI (Centre d'aide aux familles immigrantes)

Ville-Marie
AMPE-CITI clef pour l'intégration au travail des immigrants
Centre des femmes de Montréal
Service à la famille chinoise du Grand Montréal inc
Union française

Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc Extension
CLAM (Carrefour de liaison et daide multi-ethnique)
Maison d'Haiti