canada gap year

Gap Year Canada! Canada is a land of astonishing beauty from the old world charm of Quebec to the rugged Rocky Mountains. Spanning six time zones and bordering three major oceans, it is the world’s second largest country. The combination of a rich volunteer network and outdoor lifestyle offers many opportunities to help others on your gap year, either at outdoor camps, in schools or through a well-established local caring organisation. Start your working gap year in Canada today!

Canda Placement Details

Outdoor Camp Assistant

Placements are usually based in permanent camps run by the YMCA/YWCA which are situated in beautiful locations in the Canadian countryside. Volunteer duties are varied, ranging from leading groups in activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, orienteering and fencing to life saving skills, first aid, counselling and general camp maintenance. There are opportunities for those with relevant skills to coach campers in horse riding, tennis, drama and sailing.

As a volunteer you would also be responsible for caring for visitors to the camp, which may include support, supervision and personal care of more vulnerable residents. On average you will work around 40 hours per week, with core hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm. This is a challenging but worthwhile placement which leads volunteers to form deep and long-lasting friendships.

Outdoor Camp Assistant with Caring Component

Some outdoor camps Lattitude Global Volunteering work with cater specifically for disadvantaged youths, or for young people with mental or physical disabilities. The environment and activities are the same at these camps to all other camps throughout Canada, but volunteer duties within these camps include an additional caring component.

School Assistant

School Assistants in Canada assist school staff with a number of duties which may include classroom teaching assistance, lab preparation, tutoring, playground supervision, games/sports coaching, outdoor education, field trips and excursions, music, art and drama, supervision in residence and administration work. The roles are varied and allow volunteers to get involved with many aspects of school life on their gap year in Canada.

Volunteers at this placement assist with middle and senior school classroom duties, and could also take part in extra-curricular activities such as sports coaching. You will also have the opportunity to take part in school camps and field trips, and would assist with discipline and pastoral care.

What To Expect

Accommodation, food and allowance

Accommodation is provided by the host organisation, whether that is in the staff quarters, in a residential home, your own room in a school boarding house or shared accommodation in an outdoor camp. Many camps are situated in incredibly beautiful places beside lakes and in the woods.

While some placements provide food, others set up a system of self-catering for volunteers.

All placements provide a weekly allowance of approximately CAN$100 (this differs from placement to placement).

Lattitude gappers & staff at stunning Camp Jubilee
Lattitude gappers & staff at stunning Camp Jubilee

Is it for me?

If living close to nature, working in a team and inspiring young people sounds exciting, then camp life is for you! As an Outdoor Activities Instructor, you will work within stunning scenery assisting young people to learn and develop their outdoor skills, some of whom may have a disability. Enriching placements are also available in schools to befriend and mentor students at a crucial stage in their education. This is perfect for anyone thinking of going into a teaching career and want some international experience.

Need to know

  • Pre departure briefing – all volunteers are invited to a group briefing prior to departure.
  • On arrival – volunteers will take part in a Lattitude orientation in Vancouver with the rest of their cohort. Accommodation and food is provided for this. Some volunteers at outdoor placements have onsite orientations run by their camp. These people will  travel straight to their placement.

Free Time & Travel

Free time

In terms of evening and weekend activities, what you do will largely depend on where you are placed. Many of our outdoor education roles are placed in areas of spectacular beauty, and you will be able to take advantage of your surroundings in your free time.

Volunteer in Canada for stunning views
Volunteer in Canada for stunning views – Medicine Lake

If you are placed in the foothills of one of Canada’s many mountains, for example, you and your fellow volunteers could stretch your legs climbing to the top. Alternatively, if you are placed near a lake, you could try getting involved in water sports or take a dip during the summer months. If your host placement is in a more urban setting, you can spend your weekends exploring what the nearby town or city has to offer.


Most people have heard of Canada’s world-class skiing resorts, Niagara Falls and, of course, the iconic moose. But these highlights are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Canada has to offer its visitors.

Gap Year Canada

For outdoor enthusiasts, a gap year in Canada is a gift that keeps on giving, and you will have lots of opportunities to make the most this during your placement. Hikers can explore snow-capped mountains and even sample a stretch of the vast Appalachian Trial, while fans of water sports might choose to spend a day kayaking down the South Nahanni River. If winter sports are more your cup of tea, why not spend your free time during holidays snowboarding in Whistler or ice-skating on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal? Aside from these activities, Canada is renowned for having a calendar packed full of exciting festivals all year round.

From Okanagan’s ice wine festival in January and Regina’s powwow in March, to Montreal’s jazz fest in June and Toronto’s film festival in September, you’ll have lots of excuses to travel around Canada during your stay.


Lattitude Application Fee – $150

The application fee covers the cost of processing applications and conducting interviews.
Whenever possible, we like to travel to your area to interview you in person, but if not possible, video conferencing using Skype is an alternative.
All applicants are guaranteed an interview. This fee is non-refundable.

Lattitude Placement Fee – $3945

The Lattitude placement fee covers your preparation & support prior to departure as well as in-country support whilst on placement. This is payable in two installments:
Upon acceptance to the Lattitude programme, a non-refundable $1000 deposit is payable within 7-10 days.
The balance of your Lattitude fee is payable 60 days prior to departure.

Orientation – $650

Volunteers receive an informative group orientation upon arrival in their placement country.
This includes accommodation, safety & security briefings, an overview of the local culture & customs, language skills (where relevant), and other handy tips. Teaching skills courses may also take place where relevant.

What’s included?

• In depth matching process to align your skills and interests with a placement that really suits you
• Assigned Volunteer Coordinator to help with all your pre-departure advice and guidance
• Links with returned volunteers
• Advice on obtaining police checks
• Advice on obtaining a Visa
• Pre-departure briefing seminar
• Airport pickup on arrival
• Arrangements for SIM cards & bank accounts
• Accommodation for the duration of stay (either with a host family or on placement site)
• Food provided by host (may not include every meal, but you will know what to expect before your arrival)
• Day to day support from your placement host and a member of staff as your mentor
• 24/7 support from Lattitude, including in-country support from local reps and the Lattitude Country Manager
• Focus on your personal volunteer learning and development
• Returned Volunteer follow up and Debrief Event
• Opportunity to join the Lattitude Alumni Association
• Certificate of completion and references (on request)

What’s not included:

In addition to the Lattitude fees above, volunteers will be required to pay for their own international flights, travel insurance and any visa costs. Lattitude staff will assist you in making these arrangements.

• International Flights
• Travel Insurance
• Visa

• GP medical clearance
• Travel doctor consultation (recommended)
• Vaccinations (if applicable)
• Onward travel to placement (if applicable)
• Pocket Money for weekends/ holidays/post-placement travel
• Accommodation and food during holiday periods


As a charity we always recommend our volunteers to fundraise to help meet the costs involved in volunteering overseas. In many ways it is part of the whole experience. For more information and fundraising ideas please click here


gap year canada - outdoor camp assistant

Placement Availability – 2020

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Outdoor Camp AssistantApril 20206 - 8 MonthsSpaces Available
School AssistantJanuary 202012 MonthsFull

Placement Availability – 2021

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Outdoor Camp AssistantJanuary, February or April 20216 - 10 monthsSpaces Available
School AssistantJanuary 202112 monthsSpaces Available

“Camp Elphinstone is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Majestic pine trees, a gorgeous stretch of water and a mass of snow-capped mountains - it’s breathtaking!”

Mark, Outdoor Camp Assistant