HBSPCA relies on the dedication of volunteers to achieve its impactful mission. Without their support, the positive difference we make in the lives of animals would not be possible.You will never meet all the animals you will help by getting involved but it will warm your heart knowing you did!
Become an HBSPCA volunteer in 4 easy steps!
1. Please visit each available volunteer position
2. Fill out the online application form.
3. Complete screening call with our Volunteer Services department.
4. Complete required orientation & training
We appreciate your interest in volunteering and are thrilled to announce the availability of new volunteer opportunities, with more on the way. To explore our current volunteer roles, please visit the following link:
Please note that we receive a high volume of applications, and we kindly ask for your patience as we review them. Rest assured, applications are prioritized based on the positions that are most needed at the time.
Thank you once again for considering volunteering with HBSPCA. Together, we can create a brighter future for animals in need.
Why Volunteer at the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA?
We strive to provide a best-in-class volunteer experience for all those that choose to support Hamilton/Burlington SPCA with their time, treasure and talent. Our volunteer program includes many perks, including:
- We appreciate our volunteers with various events throughout the year that encourage socializing with people and pets
- We provide training and development education and workshops in the animal welfare area, either at-cost or free
- We salute and appreciate various milestones when it comes to hours of service contributed by volunteers to the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA.
- We provide awards, nominations and certificates for those that continually inspire and influence with their belief and advocacy in animal welfare
- Additional opportunities to give back to your community is also something we pride ourselves in. We partner with many like-minded community organizations that intersect with the good work we do. As a volunteer, you’ll be invited to help support other organizations during community days
How often do you accept Volunteers?
We constantly evaluate the needs of the organization and recruit new volunteers when needs arise. All positions will get posted on our website at hbspca.com
How long do I have to commit to my volunteer experience?
A minimum commitment of one shift a week for one year is required to volunteer. Shifts will vary depending on the Volunteer Role.
Do you accept all volunteers?
Unfortunately, not everyone can volunteer with us. Potential volunteers must be a minimum of 15+-years-old. Note there are limited positions for those under 15 years but they MUST volunteer with a parent or legal guardian.
We are also looking for people with very specific skills. For instance, to help with data entry, volunteers must have experience with computers and have an extremely high accuracy rate. As a not-for-profit organization, we do not have the resources to offer extensive training and we rely heavily on the skills and experience of volunteers to support HBSPCA’s animals. If there is not a specific role where your talents can be used, we encourage you to keep looking for a position that matches your skills.
Do Volunteers do more than one thing?
Absolutely. We have volunteers working in our offices, walking dogs, assisting with special events, supporting our outreach programs, and more. We encourage volunteers to help out in programs that they are passionate about and best suit their skill set and availability. The volunteer department will work closely with volunteers to ensure that the volunteer opportunity is a match. Visit our volunteer page to read more about our current volunteer opportunities!
Do I need previous experience working with animals to volunteer at the HBSPCA?
Previous experience is not necessary for all volunteer roles but will be beneficial especially for roles working with animals. Experience does not need to come from working with animals through a job but can also come from having pets.
Why must I obtain a criminal record check before beginning my volunteer duties?
Volunteers play a strong role within the HBSPCA. They are working in a variety of capacities, and many include working with vulnerable populations. We work hard to ensure the safety of the HBSPCA community, which includes the animals, volunteers, staff, and the community. Criminal record checks are a measure in place to uphold this high level of safety and are a non-profit best practice.
I want to try volunteering once or twice to see if I like it. Is that okay?
We ask our volunteers to make a commitment of at least one year. Due to limited resources, we do not have the ability to provide training to volunteers who are unable to commit for at least one year. While we rely heavily on the skills and experiences that volunteers bring to the organization, we also train new volunteers. As a result, the training and experience gained in an HBSPCA volunteer role is invaluable to the organization. It is very difficult to sustain well-trained and experienced volunteers if they are leaving frequently.
Is it okay to volunteer so I can adopt an animal?
An important part of volunteering at the HBSPCA is a personal commitment to the animals. One of the forms this can take is fostering and adopting the animals in our care. While it is important to support volunteers in this, it is important to recognize that volunteering at the HBSPCA can be emotionally overwhelming and can lead to an unrealistic urge to save every animal through an over commitment or ill-considered fostering and/or adoption commitment. It is equally important that we are accountable for our decisions and the disposition of animals.
Can I bring my dog to volunteer at the shelter with me?
As much as we would love to have everyone bring their dogs to the shelter for a visit, we do have to ask you to leave your dog at home. We do not have the resources to care for your pet while you are volunteering. It is also a bit of a risk health wise as we deal with a variety of animals, some may have parasites or disease that we don’t know about right away.
What if I can’t join your team but would still like to help?
We encourage you to assist the organization in other ways such as attending special events, following us on social media and donating to help the animals at the HBSPCA.
Do you have any virtual opportunities?
At various times we may post virtual volunteer opportunities however most opportunities are onsite.
I don’t have a computer- can I just fill out a paper form?
We ask that all volunteers have online access and a current email address, so we can communicate with applicants. Our web-based database is a self-scheduling system which you will use to manage your schedule and record hours.
What is involved in being a driver?
Volunteer drivers follow the same process as our general volunteers. Drivers are using our fleet vehicles must be 25+ years of age, must complete HBSPCA driver policy review, hold a valid drivers licence, and are require to submit a driver’s abstract. Please note, driver’s abstracts must be clear in order to drive our vehicle. Mileage reimbursements are not available at this time.
Can I complete my high school community service hours with HBSPCA?
We do not offer any opportunities for students under 15 years of age to complete their community service hours. Once students are 15 years of age, they are able to apply for our general, in-shelter volunteer roles depending on availability.
Does HBSPCA require its volunteers to be vaccinated again Covid-19?
For in-person roles, volunteers must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or approved medical exemption. An individual is defined as fully immunized ≥14 days after receiving their second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or their first dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine series that is approved by Health Canada. The only acceptable proof of vaccination is the receipt provided by the Ministry of Health/Public Health, or equivalent out-of-province health body to the person who was vaccinated. Once vaccination status has been verified and documented, the record will be destroyed.
I need a reference letter. Will HBSPCA provide me with one?
We are happy to provide reference letters for volunteers who have been volunteering with HBSPCA for longer than six months. We will only be able to offer a reference letter within one year of a volunteer leaving the HBSPCA. Volunteers asking for a reference letter after being absent for one year will, unfortunately, not be able to obtain a reference letter from the HBSPCA.
Can I volunteer if I have limited mobility?
Absolutely! At HBSPCA, we strive to create inclusive volunteer opportunities for individuals with limited mobility. While some roles may require physical activity, we have other positions that can accommodate individuals with limited mobility. Please contact our Volunteer Services department to discuss your specific situation and explore suitable volunteer options. We value the contributions of volunteers from all walks of life and are committed to providing an inclusive environment.
Become a Foster Caregiver/Parent
We are currently recruiting foster caregivers to provide a temporary home and care for our felines, canines, and small species such as rabbits and guinea pigs.
- Foster Parents must be 18 years of age or older.
- Foster Parents with their own animals must ensure their pets are spay/neutered and fully vaccinated.
- Foster Parents ideally has access to a separate room or space to isolate a foster animal if needed.
- Foster Parents must have time to care for foster animals.
- Foster Parents must have access to reliable transportation.
- Foster Parents must abide by the foster caregiver agreement signed upon joining the program.
- Foster Parents must complete all pertinent species-specific training PAWdules and completion of application/screening call.
- Foster Parents must have access to the internet and have an active email address.
How to Become a Foster Parent:
Step 2: Complete screening call with our volunteer services department
Step 4: Allowed access to online placement dashboard and line up your first foster!
Questions? Call us at 905-574-7722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Foster Caregiver/Parent FAQ’s
Can I foster if I have my own pets at home?
In most cases, your resident pet will need to be separated from your foster pet either in a sanctuary room or area of the home. If you can accommodate this, then we are more then happy to accept volunteers who have resident pets already. In some situations, your foster pet may be able to interact with your resident pet if noted and approved by the foster department and proper introductions are facilitated.
It is required that your resident pet be up to date on all vaccines as well as be spayed and neutered.
What supplies will I need to provide?
Upon Pickup of your foster pet, you will be provided with a “Care Pack” that includes everything from food, medications, towels, blankets, and toys. If you run out or require any specific supplies during your foster term, our team is more then happy to provide it to you upon request.
What are the time requirements to be a foster parent? What If I work all day?
Even if you work all day, you can still be a fantastic foster parent and asset to our organization!
However, this may just affect the types of fosters you can confidently care for. Most felines can be left alone for long durations of time in the home without supervision but animals who require more monitoring or have special needs may not be the best fit. We still encourage you to apply and we can match you with an animal that would do well with your work schedule.
Can I foster if I live in student housing with roommates?
Ensuring all roommates are onboard for the responsibility of fostering is important. We recommend having a conversation with all those in the home before applying. Discussing the time and resources you can feasibly provide to a foster animal and that you meet the basic requirements. Such as transportation for pickups, drop offs and appointments at the shelter. We recommend having an alternative to public transit, as some of our animals cannot travel via this method.
What do I do if my foster animal gets sick in my care?
If at any time you feel that your animals are not doing well, you can call or email to speak to one of the Foster Care team members. They will advise you whether you should bring the animals in for an examination or not.
If it is after regular shelter hours, we have an after-hours emergency care hospital that you can bring your foster animal to; along with many support resources to help you determine what the best next step is based on the symptoms your foster pet may be experiencing.
Do I need prior fostering experience?
Training is provided during the onboarding process, but we do prefer foster applicants to have some degree of experience as it pertains to care of domestic animals. The more experience you have the more variety of animals you may be able to help! The Foster department is always here to guide you and help you navigate the process and make recommendations for you if you are unsure about anything.
Do you have any virtual opportunities?
At various times we may post virtual volunteer opportunities however most opportunities are onsite.
How often will I need to come back to the shelter for appointments etc.?
Appointment requirements are dependent on the animal. Some may require rechecks or appointments every week and some less frequent. This will be outlined to you to the best of our ability prior to pickup. Foster parents are required to get the animal to all scheduled appointments at the shelter. If the animal becomes unwell at any point, the foster parent should contact the Foster Department and be prepared to seek medical attention on short notice if it is required.
What if I want to adopt my foster pet?
Foster parents are more then welcome to adopt their foster pets. We do request that if interested in adopting, you let us know ASAP and note that the regular adoption process will have to be followed. (Fees, application & Interview)