Volunteer Training

Our volunteer training program is conducted twice annually.   Watch for the Fall dates!

All are welcome and it’s free!

The following is an example of our Volunteer Training Program.



Orientation to Circles of Support and Accountability

Saturday, 10am-11am OR Monday, 5:30pm-6:30pm

(attend only ONE Information Session)

Facilitated by CoSA-Ottawa Staff

  • The impetus, history and mandate of CoSA
  • Goals and principles
  • Community collaboration
  • Volunteer opportunities, roles and expectations
  • Research demonstrating how and why CoSA works

After attending the one-hour INFORMATION SESSION, participants are welcome to sign up for Basic Training. At any point during the training, prospective volunteers can choose to discontinue the training. Attending all or a portion of the training does not obligate participants to become a CoSA volunteer.  A certificate will be issued to participants who complete all training sessions.


  1. Fundamentals of Circles of Support and Accountability

Saturday, 10am-3pm

Presenters: CoSA-Ottawa staff

  • The ‘life of a circle’ & circle functioning; volunteer expectations and responsibilities
  • Volunteer code of conduct; confidentiality; group dynamics; boundaries and self-care
  • Tracking and reporting
  • CoSA video

   2. Victims’ Perspective

Monday, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Presenter: Rick Goodwin, Clinical Director, Men & Healing www.menandhealing.ca

   3. Healthy Sexuality and Sex Offending; Sex Offender Treatment and Programs

Saturday, 10am-3pm

Presenters: Rebekah Ranger, Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, Sexual Behaviours Clinic and Dr. Geris Serran, Psychologist, Correctional Services of Canada

   4. Legal Controls for Sex Offenders

Monday, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Presenter: Det. Ron McCarthy, Ottawa Police Service (High Risk Offender Unit)

  • Police Controls (810 Orders, Public Notification, Sex Offender Registry)
  • Community Supervision (for those on Long Term Supervision Order)

Following the Basic Training (sessions #1-4), we will conduct our volunteer screening  process including an interview with the coordinator and two Board members, references will be checked and successful applicants will be asked to obtain a Police Check (cost covered by CoSA).  Approved volunteers will then proceed to the final session.

   5. Practical Applications of CoSA (with active and new, approved volunteers)

Monday, 5:30pm-7:30pm

Facilitated by CoSA-Ottawa Staff

  • Mock Circle meeting role play (with experienced volunteers)
  • A core member’s story
  • Discussion and Q&A (common challenges, what works, working intentionally with a core member, etc)