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Volunteer Ottawa is home to the Ottawa office of the award-winning DiverseCity onBoard program.

There are more than 170,000 not-for-profit organizations in Canada, many of which are headquartered in our urban centres. All are governed by boards of directors, drawn from members of the public. In addition, municipal, provincial and federal governments appoint thousands of citizens to serve the public good on their many agencies, boards, and commissions. However, a disconnect remains between who sits on these boards and the demographic make-up of the population.

Canadian communities, particularly in large urban centres, are becoming hyper-diverse, reflecting a diversity of ethnicity, countries of origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and ability. There are more than 1.4 million Aboriginal/Indigenous People of Canada. Yet, while our cities and urban regions are becoming increasingly diverse and are home to many of Canada’s Indigenous population, the leadership of our not-for-profit sector is not a reflection of our demographic reality.

DiverseCity onBoard directly addresses this challenge with a board matching service that identifies, trains and facilitates the placement of qualified individuals in governance roles on not-for-profit organizations and public agencies, boards, and commissions. We provide affordable online governance training that is available to everyone, anywhere, including individuals who are not part of our matching program.

Given the constantly evolving immigrant population, cultural diversity has become and will continue to be a key feature of the City of Ottawa. Ottawa has welcomed over 12,000 immigrants in 2012 (Ottawa Municipal Immigration Strategy Report). The immigrant population in Ottawa is only expected to grow, with its growth rate twice the rate of the general population. We thus need to ensure diversity is reflected in the city’s decision-making bodies.

Our Services:


Governance training for anyone, anywhere, interested in acquiring board governance training.

Board matching for individuals who belong to at least one of the groups under-represented in governance and who are interested in serving as directors of a not-for-profit organization or agency of the municipal, provincial, or federal government.


Governance training and board matching for not-for-profit organizations and public agencies, boards and commissions looking for qualified candidates and who have an interest in embedding principles of inclusion and diversity into their governance processes, policies, and approaches.


Governance training for businesses looking to provide professional development opportunities for their employees.


mayorjimwatson “We have seen time and time again the value that diversity adds to organizations of all different kinds. A variety of perspectives is critically important and I am thrilled to see Ottawa as a part of the DiverseCity onBoard program. This is an initiative with great potential and I know that both the volunteers and the organizations will benefit from it.”  – Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa
 mppmadeleinemeilleur “I am very pleased that Ottawa has joined the DiverseCity onBoard Program. This initiative will help bridge the diversity gap in governance in our city by ensuring better representation of our community on non-profit and charitable boards. I join DiverseCity in celebrating Ottawa’s multicultural mosaic.” – Madeleine Meilleur MPP, Ottawa-Vanier

News & Events


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