TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/04/13 -- In the past year, Canadians have been a generous group with their time. According to a study issued today by BMO Financial Group, 70 per cent of Canadians report that they volunteered for a charitable organization in the past year.
The study, which examines volunteerism in Canada, is being released on the eve of BMO Volunteer Day, a company-wide initiative that will involve approximately 5,600 employees volunteering in more than 470 projects in communities across North America.
The study found that the top reason Canadians volunteer is a desire to give back to the community (68 per cent). Other reasons for volunteering include:
-- A sense of duty (38 per cent)-- It is a good way to meet people (35 per cent)-- It reduces stress (33 per cent)-- It is a good professional experience (24 per cent)
When asked about the causes they support by volunteering, the top categories included:
-- Local community programs (27 per cent)-- Children's charities (19 per cent)-- Health programs and disease research (17 per cent)-- Poverty (11 per cent)
"The benefits associated with volunteering include helping those in need and achieving a sense of satisfaction, community and commitment," said Eric Tripp, President, BMO Capital Markets. "Volunteering is a key part of BMO's corporate culture and a source of pride for us as an organization. Helping out with a charity or community organization provides a unique opportunity to help even the odds and improve the lives of others."
Mr. Tripp added, "Giving back, whether through volunteering or philanthropy, is everyone's duty to make society work better. We shouldn't think of it as an optional action, we should think of it as another item on our to-do list as citizens."
"We value the dedication, hard work and ongoing contributions of BMO and our other corporate partners who are active and engaged United Way volunteers," said Susan McIsaac, President and CEO of United Way Toronto, one of a number of charities BMO is supporting through BMO Volunteer Day. They give their time, talents and energy in support of United Way and our network of community agencies that provide vital programs and services to people and families. With the help of organizations such as BMO, and all our other volunteers and supporters, we are helping to make a difference in communities across our city."
Corporate Canada and Volunteerism
According to the study, there is a relationship between volunteering and the workplace. An overwhelming 90 per cent of Canadians feel it is important that their place of work encourages a culture of "community giveback" among its employees, yet only 35 per cent of those in a workplace report that their employer has a program motivating them to volunteer. Furthermore, almost a quarter (23 per cent) say they would be more likely to volunteer if their company did more to encourage it.
"Corporate Canada has a role to play in helping in the development of the communities in which we do business and live," commented Mr. Tripp. "It's clear from our study that Canadians expect their employers to take a leading role in helping foster a culture of volunteerism in our society."
BMO Volunteer Day
BMO Volunteer Day is a legacy of BMO Harris Bank in the United States which launched the event in 2001. In recent years, the initiative has expanded to include all of BMO Financial Group.
This year BMO Volunteer Day will take place on June 5th and will encompass more than 470 projects in communities across Canada and the U.S., including children and youth organizations, elder care, food banks, community housing and health care facilities, family resource centres, parks and recreational facilities, supporting military personnel overseas, relief organizations and homeless shelters. More than 5,600 BMO employees are expected to participate this year.
For more information on BMO Volunteer Day, please visit: www.bmo.com/home/about/banking/corporate-responsibility/community/volunteer-day.
To learn more about United Way Toronto, please visit www.unitedwaytoronto.com.
Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.
Survey results cited in this release are from online interviews with a random sample of 800 Canadians 18 years of age and over, conducted between May 16th and May 21st, 2013. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 4.3%, 19 times out of 20.
Amanda Robinson, Toronto
Valerie Doucet, Montreal
Laurie Grant, Vancouver