Frequently Asked Questions

Before contacting our sites, we ask that you read through some of our frequently asked questions and answers.
How do I become a volunteer?
Please visit our volunteers page and click on the link for the site you are interested in volunteering at to fill out an online application form. It is only necessary to fill out one application form for all Providence Health Care sites as if there are no opportunities available at your first choice site, your application will be forwarded to your next choice.
Who should I use as a reference?
Examples of suitable people to provide references for you include: instructors, supervisors, coordinators of volunteers, teachers, employers or coaches. Please include reference email addresses and telephone numbers on your application.
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
You must be at least 16 years old to volunteer in elder care. You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer at St. Paul’s Hospital and with selected programs at our other facilities.
How long is a typical volunteer shift?
Generally, shifts are two to three hours long and are once-a-week. The maximum length of a shift is four hours. The majority of shifts are Monday to Friday during work/school hours but some sites do have opportunities on evenings and weekends.
How long a commitment do I have to make?
Volunteer positions require a minimum of a four-month commitment, depending on the assignment.
How long does the process take to become a volunteer?
Depending on the requirements of the volunteer position, the application review, interview, orientation and training generally take approximately three to four weeks, but may take longer. Also, due to the high volume of volunteer applicants, it is not possible to interview all interested candidates. We only hold applications for six to eight weeks from the time of submission. If you are still interested in volunteering after that, we encourage you to reapply. Please note, we ask that you are physically present/living in the Lower Mainland at the time of your application.
Why does the application process take so long?
We have a legal, moral and ethical responsibility to protect the patients and residents in our care. Our goal is to find an appropriate placement for you and to ensure that you are fully informed and prepared for your volunteer responsibilities.
I am a foreign trained health care professional. Can I volunteer at your organization?
We are pleased to accept your application. Please note that volunteers with Providence Health Care are involved in the social and recreational aspect of the patients / residents lives. Any tasks or responsibilities that only a member of a licensed or regulated profession (physician, nurse, pharmacist, physiotherapist, laboratory technician, etc.) can legally perform are not included in any volunteer role descriptions. Volunteering will not allow you the opportunity to practice or develop your clinical or technical skills, nor are our volunteer roles designed to be professional internship opportunities.
Do I need a criminal record check?
Yes, you must complete a criminal record check. The form will be given to you by the coordinator of volunteer resources.
Do I require any vaccinations to volunteer?
Public Health requires all volunteers to have two COVID-19 vaccinations before volunteering. Effective October 12, 2021 for all long term care volunteers and effective Oct 26,2021 for all acute care volunteers. Flu shot: It is highly recommend that all volunteers get a flu shot every year during the flu season (December to March). The flu shot is widely available and free of charge for volunteers. .
Do you provide parking?
We encourage volunteers to use public transit. While most of our sites do provide volunteers with free parking, at times it can be limited and hard to find.
Is there an opportunity to move from one volunteer role to another?
Yes, upon completion of your initial four-month placement, you can come and see us about new opportunities and challenges. Volunteers are also able to switch between Providence sites without needing to reapply.
Can I request a reference?
Volunteers can request a reference after 30 hours of volunteer service at our residential sites and 75 hours at our acute sites.
Is there a dress code?
All PHC volunteers are required to wear the volunteer t-shirt uniform and their name ID badge. Volunteers must wear close-toed footwear. Clothing must be clean, comfortable and appropriate for a health care setting. Providence sites are scent-free, so please refrain from using perfumes and colognes while volunteering.
If my availability changes from time-to-time (i.e. classes, work days) is there flexibility in changing placement?
Yes, there is some flexibility in changing your volunteer placement, depending on the availability of opportunities.
Will I have fun?