Virtual volunteer lounge

Greetings from Unity Health Toronto and welcome to the virtual volunteer lounge! We have created this online space to keep our absent volunteers engaged and informed. Please explore and check back for new content!

COVID-19 Updates from Unity Health

Get the latest COVID-19 information for the three Unity Health sites, including visitor guidelines and the current state of COVID cases.

See a list of health-related supports available through the City of Toronto  – a list of community resources for everyone to access during this time.

Volunteering Updates

December 2020

December update

On December 10, Volunteer Services held a ZOOM-based holiday event to gather our volunteers, provide an update and extend our best wishes for the holidays.  It was so great to see everyone and special thanks to our guests Carole Burton (new Manager of Retail and Gift Shops) and President and CEO Tim Rutledge.

Quick summary

  1. Network update

COVID-19 cases continue to rise across Ontario and Toronto.  We have had unit outbreaks and ED outbreaks and visiting is still restricted.  This prolongs our inability to have volunteers back onsite although we continue to plan hopefully and we are ready to welcome you back when it is safe again.

But in the midst of COVID-19, Unity Health continues to provide world class treatment to our patients and residents as well as quickly shifting to virtual appointments and visits. ADP has also recently launched virtual programs with over 100 “visits” to date. Unity Health has also been a hub of cutting edge research into the impacts of COVID, with our researchers running over 200 studies with grants valued at over 28M. And we also find time to support and recognize our amazing teams during this time!  A corporate employee wellness team was formed and manages a series of programs and activities.

  1. Stay up-to-date

We want to make sure you keep up with the latest information, so please check our website and all our social media esp. Instagram.  Please see below some extra links to keep you connected:

  1. Favourite Christmas recipe!

Share your favourite Christmas recipe. It can be something Sweet, Savoury, Cocktail or Mocktail!  Email your recipe to and we will share them.

September 2020

Volunteer Fall Update

Unity Health remains in a more restrictive phase of our pandemic response plan so we will not be able to bring you back just yet. But we are busy making plans for that day!

And when we do welcome you back, we will have done a number of things to adapt to our new circumstances. This will include:

  • volunteer assignments that have been reviewed for safety and risk
  • changes to our lounges and public areas
  • creating new safety training sessions for you
  • updated information for you on screening and other changes to the environment

When we are ready to start inviting you back, you will receive a detailed letter from us explaining what has changed and what the new volunteering will look like.

Then, it is up to you to decide if the time is right.  Part of your decision to come back will also be considering your own readiness (personal health, family you live with, travel to the hospital, wearing a mask). You may also stay on leave – it is up to you.

But for now: Stay home, stay well and stay safe.

August 2020

ZOOM Town Hall

On August 11, more than 100 volunteers joined in our first ever volunteer virtual Town Hall. It was so nice to see so many friendly faces again!  During the course of our hour together, we were able to reconnect and offer volunteers a series of updates on what is happening across our network.

Please click here for some highlights!

Ballons (clipart)Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Week

Unity Health is known for its’ compassion and caring and our volunteers are an important part of that reputation.  And volunteer week is traditionally the time when we take time to really celebrate your special contribution to our patients and families. We cannot all be together at this special time this year, but we can all celebrate the power of volunteering!

Happy Volunteer Week 2020!!!

A Special Volunteer Week Message from our CEO, Tim Rutledge

Dear Unity Health Toronto Volunteers,

These are extraordinarily challenging times, and we are all doing our best to keep our communities safe. For all of us who work in health-care settings, we are being called upon like never before. Our communities are counting on us to care for them and their loved ones, and to be at our best during this time of crisis.  Through all of this, it’s been so inspiring to see staff and physicians continue to keep Unity Health Toronto’s mission at the forefront, by continuing to care for the mind, body and spirit of everyone who comes to us in need.

We must also remember to take time to reflect and celebrate what makes Unity Health such a special place. This is National Volunteer Week across Canada.  I thought it would be fitting to take a moment to connect with you because of what our volunteers mean to us and how you all best exemplify our legacy of compassion and courage.  Although we have had to cancel our volunteer appreciation events this month and I will therefore be unable to thank you in person, I want you to know that we are thinking of you. Your absence may have even served to make us even more appreciative of your service.  We miss having you here alongside us and we very much look forward to your return.

Best wishes during this “virtual” volunteer week!

Yours sincerely,

Tim Rutledge
President and Chief Executive Officer

Special thanks from our staff to you (pdf file)

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, and we know this is true because of how much we all miss having our volunteers alongside us.

Volunteering: The Year in Numbers

2019-20 saw another year of amazing dedication by our Unity Health volunteers:

Volunteers: the year in numbers graphic

Text version of infographic

Celebrating the volunteers of Unity Health Toronto

1439 volunteers serve within Unity Health Toronto

  • 908 adults
  • 368 students
  • 148 co-op students
  • 15 therapy dogs

Across the network, volunteers donated 144,238 hours of service to our patients, residents and supporters.

In 2020, 282 volunteers will be recognized for reaching a service milestone (hours or years of service.)

Who do volunteers serve? (by percentage of volunteer time)

  • Inpatients/HoP residents: 28%
  • Outpatients/clinics: 20%
  • Visitors/families/greeting: 21%
  • Gift shop/café: 16%
  • Specialized services: 15%


100 Years of Volunteering at St. Michael’s (photo album) (pdf file)

2020 marks 100 years of volunteering at our St. Michael’s site. Click on the link above to take a walk through history as we look back!

Keeping in Touch

We know that we miss you, and we hope that you miss us too!  Here are a few additional ways to stay connected to us while you are not here.

Send a note of encouragement and support to our staff

Click on the link above to send a kindness card!  They will be printed and forwarded to the staff, unit or team you wish to recognize. (To fill out card, open using Internet Explorer, or download card and open with Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

Join us in keeping our staff and patients in your prayers

In our Mission Statement, one of the things Unity Health commits to is providing compassion spiritual care to all in need.  And we recognize that during this extraordinary time that ‘those in need’ would include our staff and physicians.

And so, members of the Unity Health Spiritual Care team are devoting one minute daily (at 12 noon) in silent prayer for everyone at Unity Health for the duration of this pandemic.  We invite all of our Unity Health community, including our absent volunteers, to join us, in their own faith tradition or in whatever way they may find comfortable.

Sample language:

We pray for all victims of the coronavirus, their loved ones, and all health care workers and first responders tasked with the treatment and care of those who are ill. 

 You who are Comfort, be with all those who are ill, afraid, or in isolation.

In their loneliness, be their consolation.

In their anxiety, be their hope.

In their darkness, be their light.

Fill our hearts with Compassion that we might care for ourselves and for others in ways that bring goodness and connection in the midst of distance.

Grant your wisdom and grace in each moment.   [Amen]

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