Volunteers are at the heart of Canoe Kayak Canada. As a volunteer you create opportunity for others to experience the many benefits of sport. Some volunteer as a means to give back or simply to try something new. Whether it’s the friends you make, skills you acquire or memories you create, volunteering in Canoe Kayak is sure to be a rewarding experience.


Officials ensure fair and high-quality competitions. They run the competition according to the rules to produce accurate results. There are specific official roles for each discipline. For sprint and dragonboat races, there’s a starter as well as line judges in the finish tower and on-water referees. Slalom requires timing officials and gate judges to call penalties. Referees and time keepers are needed in canoe polo. In freestyle judges score tricks based on set criteria. Marathons have officials stationed throughout the course, especially at turning points and portages to ensure the race runs smoothly.

Canada has a highly comprehensive officials programs. Every year Canadian officials travel to competitions all over the world to proudly volunteer. Becoming an official starts at the local club level. Many begin by casually volunteering to with a competition and learn from other officials. Divisions and provinces have their own officials training program. Most programs have exams and evaluations to pass at each stage. Canoe Kayak Canada manages the National Officials Program. The International Canoe Federation manages the international certification program and Canoe Kayak Canada plays a role in nominating officials. Officials who achieve their proper certifications become part of the pool to be selected for National and International Competitions.

Sprint Officials Manual

Boards and Committees

It takes great people to build a great organization. Canoe Kayak Canada is a volunteer-governed and staff-driven organization. Board and council members give their time and expertise to set the direction for the organization and its disciplines. High Performance Committees help to set up fair selection processes and choose teams. Other committees work hard to find ways to grow the sport at the grassroots level, implement standards for coach certification or foster heritage by maintaining historic trophies and awards. A call for nominations goes out in advance of Canoe Kayak Canada’s Annual General Meeting. The Board is voted in by the membership. Councils and committee chairs are appointed by the Board based on nominations. Committees are assembled with the leadership of the committee chair. If you are interested in serving on a board or committee be sure to express your interest to a current board, committee or staff member, so your name can be put forward to the nominating committee before the next Annual General Meeting.

Club Volunteers

Most clubs wouldn’t exist or even have started without dedicated volunteers. From hammering together boat racks to planning fundraisers and socials, volunteerism is at the core of the club system. Volunteering with a club is a great way to be involved in your community and this can open up exciting opportunities at the provincial/division and National level. Contact your local club to find out how you can dig in.

Event Volunteers

Volunteers are needed at every event. Volunteering for an event-day role like a runner or safety person is a great way to get involved. Your experience might even inspire you to take on a position like sponsorship coordinator or committee chair for a future event. View the Events Calendar and contact the Host Organizing Committee of a particular event to find out how you can get involved.