Virtual Award Centres FAQ

Our VACs are for participants who don’t have access to doing the Award through a local Award Centre; we will always advocate for you to do your Award through an Award Centre should you have the opportunity to do so as this provides the best all-round Award experience. For more information and support on championing an Award Centre, please visit: https://www.dukeofed.org/resources-and-tools/participant-resources/ 

The Award Canada focuses on helping local community organizations and schools to become licensed Award Centres and supporting the Award ourselves is not our main or preferred delivery approach. However, we know that there are instances where participants don’t have access to licensed Award Centres and therefore, we have created a way to allow these participants to still undertake their Award in order to fulfil our Founder’s vision.  

If there are no Award Centres delivering the Award in your area and no appetite currently in place for establishing one, then our VACs may be an option for you.  

The short answer is No! The Award was created to be delivered through Award Centres using Award Leaders to guide participants and groups through the process alongside their peers and with guidance from a community leader. We always recommend that you undertake your Award through an Award Centre in your community if this is possible for you as this provides the best all-round Award experience and is how the Award was meant to be delivered. 

We’ve established the VACs as a way of replicating how an Award Centre delivers the Award, in a virtual way. Our VACs do not provide an enhanced Award experience but are available as a final option for young Canadians to be able to do their Award, when there are no other options available. 

Resources and materials which are developed to be used in the VACs will also be shared with Award Centres through the Award Leaders Portal in due course so participants will have access to the same resources regardless as to how they access the Award. 

All Award participants doing their Award via the VACs will have access to paid staff as virtual Award Leaders in our Support Centre. These Award Specialists who speak both official languages, are available five days a week and are there to help answer your queries. 

We offer courses to teach participants how to start their Award, masterclasses on Award requirements and sharing of skills. We will be providing regular virtual ‘walk-in’ office hours, a VAC participant newsletter with tips, common questions, information on grants and opportunities, and Award Leader guidance and mentorship. We also have a Virtual Francophone Award Centre. 

You should only consider doing your Award through the VACs, if you don’t have the option to join a local Award Centre. Whilst we are developing our VACs to simulate providing a community experience in a virtual way, we will always advocate doing your Award through an Award Centre as this is how you will receive the most all-round Award experience. 

In order to create a sustainable delivery model with paid members of staff in place to support participants through their Award in the VACs, we have increased our participant fees as follows:
  • Bronze level registration $250
  • Silver level registration $350
  • Gold level registration $450

Our previous $50 registration fee (which was last reviewed in 2017) covered the basic cost of Online Record Book fees, the certificate and pin, and shipping those to the Award recipients. However, it costs us significantly more than this to deliver the Award, whether that is through working with Award Centres or through our VACs and we cannot keep delivering the Award at the $50 per participant fee. The Award Canada is completely funding its staff, training, development of resource materials and general operations of the Award across Canada, including the establishment and continued delivery of our Remote Support Centre and ongoing maintenance and development of our Online Record Book (ORB). 

While we do significant fundraising every year in order to keep the registration fee as low as possible, our previous model was not sustainable to the long term continued delivery of the Award by staff. This is why we have increased the participant registration fees in the VACs. 

 

We are proud to be a Service Organization / Payee of Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart. The application is available on their websitePlease make sure to read eligibility, requirements, and details carefully before applying. You can also find additional information on their FAQ webpage 

Jumpstart will take extenuating circumstances into consideration. Please make sure to add these in the application process.  

Please visit the Jumpstart FAQ webpage for additional information on their bursary requirements and timelines.  

Transferring an Award in progress is subject to the VAC registration fees or part thereof. Please see the VAC fees information with regards to admin and transfer fees. Please contact the Support Centre who will talk you through what you need to do in order to transfer onto the VACs: https://www.dukeofed.org/contact-us/ . 

Registration fees for the Virtual Award Centres and for individual events must be paid in full at time of enrolment.  

If your registration for the Virtual Award Centre is accepted (registration approval date), The Award Canada adheres to the standard 30-day refund policy, allowing for refunds within 30 days of an individual’s registration approval date. All refunds are subject to a $50.00 administration fee. After 30-days from acceptance, registrations are non-refundable unless:

  • The Online Record Book account is cancelled by administrators, 
  • If the young person cannot participate within a reasonable amount of time (more than 6 months) due to medical reasons, substantiated by a medical certificate, or extenuating circumstances. 

In these two situations, the refund is still subject to a $50.00 administration fee.

If your registration is not accepted for any reason, a full refund will be given. Some examples of cancelled or unaccepted registrations are: participants outside of age requirements, incorrect event or level, duplicate registrations, etc.

There are no refunds for bursary or scholarship paid fees.  

With more than 60 years’ experience equipping young people to be ready for the world, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is here to help. The Award is a development framework, used by organizations who work with young people aged 14-24. The Award empowers young people to learn and grow through non-formal education, all while working towards a globally recognized accreditation.  

For more information, please see Who We Are and How the Award Works on our website. 

Part of the Award experience in an Award Centre is meeting with your Award Leader to receive the mentorship and information for starting your Award. Crucial information and requirements include how the Award works, setting up in the Online Record Book, picking your activities and assessors, SMART goals, resources, and more. We have created a course to provide you with all the information you need to get started and work through to completion successfully.