Saanich Volunteer Services Society


Featured News


  • Saanich Volunteer Services has been operating its Community Volunteer Income Tax Program for over ten years.
  • In 2019, 640 Income Tax returns were completed by SVSS Income Tax Volunteers.
  • SVSS has 10 Income Tax Volunteers who prepare, and file returns electronically at no cost to the client.
  • Income Tax Volunteers are registered and screened by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provided training.
  • Income Tax Volunteers can file taxes up to 10 years back.
  • You should file taxes even if you have no income. If you do not file your taxes you are not entitled to receive many government benefits or credits such as GST/HST, Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and the BC Low-Income Climate Action Tax Credit.

  • The Income Tax Program is designed to help modest income recipients who qualify under the following:
     Single person up to $35,000 annual income
     Couples up to $45,000 annual income
     The tax situation must be simple.

    START DATE: Tax filing for 2020 returns starts Monday, March 1, 2021. Most tax slips are mailed no later than February 28, 2021, although T3 and T5013 forms do not need to be mailed out until March 31, 2021. Please ensure you have received all your slips before filing.

    DEADLINE: Tax filing for 2020 ends April 30, 2021.


    Annual General Meeting

    SVSS Helps Deliver Groceries to Seniors During COVID-19 - Chek News

    COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan

    Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program SVSS is part of the Better At Home program and we have partnered with other local BAH organizations to participate in the provincial COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan, Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program. Volunteer services that the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities program will provide seniors include:

    • Phone and or Virtual Visits
    • Wellness Check-in Calls
    • Grocery Shopping and Delivery
    • Prescription Pickup and Drop-off
    Would you be available to help provide these services? If so, please call (250) 595-8008 we would very much appreciate hearing from you.

    Breaking News: Dealing with COVID-19 as a Community

    Saanich Volunteer Services Society is committed to act in ways that protect the health and well-being of our staff, clients and volunteers, doing so in a manner which is consistent with information provided by Island Health, BC Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

    SVSS has suspended existing client services and programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. SVSS will ensure our client reassurance phone calls and food hamper delivery services are continued during this time of uncertainty.  

    Thank you for your understanding as we do our best to serve our clients and community during these unprecedented times.

    Please Review Our SVSS COVID-19 Plan and Protocols

    SVSS COVID-19 Plan and Protocols

    SVSS Risk Assessment & COVID -19 Prevention Plan

    Risk assessment is currently LOW, following Public Health Agency of Canada's assessment.
    Action taken:
    1. SVSS one on one direct volunteer services will be suspended indefinitely
    2. SVSS client reassurance phone calls and food hamper delivery services will continue
    3. SVSS programs, OTGA and AMD support group gatherings will be suspended indefinitely
    4. SVSS grocery shopping bus will suspended indefinitely SVSS Volunteer Advisory Council meetings will be suspended for March and April.

    COVID-19 Prevention Protocols

    1. Begin or continue a hygiene protocol
        * frequently wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand ru
        *avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
        *cover cough and sneezes with a tissue or put your face into your elbow, discard tissue in the garbage
         *avoid contact with others through handshaking and hugs or anyone who appears sick  
     2. Connect with your physician and or pharmacy to ensure you have an ample supply of medication.
    3. Purchase non-perishable food and cleaning supplies to keep on hand.
    4. If you have recently traveled and have signs of illness (cough, fever, runny nose, etc.) evaluate your need to be around those most vulnerable to viral infections and or take precautions by self-quarantining.
    5. If you or a member of your household is experiencing virus-like symptoms, evaluate your need to be around those most vulnerable to viral infections and or take precautions by self-quarantining.  
    6. Have a plan with family, friends and or neighbours who are available to support you should the virus become active in the community and you require assistance.
    7. If you feel unwell and cannot care for yourself, call for assistance:
        *Your personal doctor
        *HealthLink BC 811 (24 hours a day)
         *Island Health (250) 388-2273

    COVID-19 Updates
    SVSS will do our best to communicate changes to service delivery as the days and weeks unfold. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (250) 595-8008.

    Income Tax Clinic

    Income Tax Clinic with Dee and Jean

    • Our trained volunteers file simple, uncomplicated returns for SAANICH residents
    • All returns are e-filed to make the process efficient 
    • Single person limit = $35,000
    • Couple limit = $45,000
      • Both spouses need to be present to file
      • If children 17 years & under living at home, bring their birthdates & legal names
    There is no charge for this service.
 For more information call 250 595–8008

    2019 President’s Appeal

    Dear Friends and Neighbours,

    Saanich Volunteer Services Society supports and promotes the wellbeing of Saanich residents through coordinated volunteer services and connections to community resources. For over 27 years, Saanich Volunteers have fostered and supported a truly unique and genuine community of neighbours helping neighbours. Saanich Volunteers provide support services to residents of our community to live independently. One of our most popular services is...

    Our Drivers Change Lives …one ride at a time!

    The story of Gisele and Roberto is one example from many that tells how truly vital volunteer drives are in the lives of our seniors.

    It began many years ago over a traffic argument on a busy boulevard in Mexico City. Gisele was following Parisian road courtesy rules when merging into a lane of traffic. This did not work for Mexican drivers as Roberto tried to explain. They still laugh over their versions of how they met but this year Gisele and Roberto celebrated 67 years of marriage.

    After an active and vibrant life...

    G and R 2

    2019 Annual General Meeting

    Thank you to all of our volunteers and guests for attending SVSS 27th Annual General Meeting.

    Meet 15 Year Volunteer Service Award Recipients

    15 Yrs - Chuck Neilsen, Haji Charania, Acting Mayor Colin Plant

    Haji Charania and Chuck Neilson
    Haji retired in 2013 and one day while out for a walk he past McRae House and saw the Saanich Volunteer Services Society (SVSS) sign. He decided he would like to volunteer and give back to his community so he joined SVSS. For 7 years Haji was on the SVSS board serving as secretary, vice president, president and past president. Haji is fondly known as the income tax and special event volunteer. He helps at community events and is known to attend Saanich Council meetings taking every opportunity to proudly speak on behalf of SVSS.

      Chuck had a friend who was a driver for SVSS so after retiring he decided to give it a try. Chuck drove for 12 years when he had to stop following major cardiac surgery. But he didn’t give up on volunteering. He started volunteering with the SVSS Food Hamper program – bundling food hampers for our clients at St. John Divine.


    Current News

    Festive Season Open House

    It was three afternoons of good food and great company at our annual festive season open house.
    Thanks to all our clients, volunteers and community partners for joining us. A special thank you to our carollers the Victorian Choir and the South Island Harmony. They truly added to the spirit of the festivities.
    Happy Holidays to Everyone!

    Volunteer Appreciation BBQ

    Celebrating SVSS Volunteers! SVSS Volunteers enjoyed mingling with each other and SVSS staff at a BBQ on Friday, September 13! The food catered by Little Piggy Catering was delicious.

    SVSS Volunteers provide drives, companion visits, minor home repairs, light yard work, income tax filing and much more to hundreds of residents in the Municipality of Saanich.

    We cannot thank our SVSS Volunteers enough for the services they provide to brighten the lives of our clients each day.   

    Saanich Volunteer Drivers

    Story by Norman, SVSS Volunteer and Volunteer Advisory Council member

    Larry Reed and client

    For more than 25 years, SVSS has organized volunteer drivers to carry people to medical appointments, shopping trips, the bank and hairdresser, as well, as social outings around town.

    “I have enjoyed doing it. I’ve met a lot of nice people.” Says Norah McQuiggan, who has a dozen years behind the wheel for SVSS. “It’s worked out really well.” She is one of 50 drivers who record a total of 63,000 kilometers a year – equal to an amazing 9 one-way trips across the country from Pacific to Atlantic. Read more of Norman’s story about the wonderful Volunteer drivers in our June edition newsletter found below under Newsletters.

    Friends Stay Healthy Program

    Registered dietitian Jenneke is presenting dietary workshops on healthy eating for the ladies at On The Go Again. Some of the topics for the workshops include fall prevention, brain health, happy/depression and when you are healing. At the end of each presentation Jenneke provides a healthy snack for the ladies to enjoy. We are grateful to Island Health for sponsoring these workshops.

    Receptionists and Drivers Workshop

    Drivers and receptionists have a long distance relationship!
    They talk on the phone or communicate through email but rarely get to meet each other.

    The first of two receptionists and drivers workshops brought them together. Receptionists, Ellie and Marie through role playing showed everyone what working on the front desk is like.

    Drivers shared their experiences driving clients to appointments. It was a great workshop!

    Next Receptionists and Drivers Workshop is Friday, March 29th at SVSS McRae House from 10am to 12 noon.

    Celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year

    Our OTGA group celebrated Chinese Lunar New Year. Thanks to Barbara, the OTGA ladies had a delectable feast from Sun Wah Chinese Restaurant. Barbara and Marguerite brought homemade pig designed cookies and custard tarts for dessert. Only one of the OTGA ladies was born in the year of the pig. According to the Chinese New Year website: ‘Earth Pigs are social butterflies with friends from all walks of life.’ All the OTGA ladies enjoyed the Chinese New Year celebration!


    Click the image to view our previous newsletter for July 2018 - October 2018

    July 2018- October 2018

    Click the image to view our previous newsletter for July 2018 - October 2018

    July 2018- October 2018

    Click the image to view our previous newsletter for May 2018 - July 2018

    May 2018- July 2018

    News Reports


    Saanich Volunteers Offer Free Tax Prep for Older Adults

    Volunteer society connects Saanich residents with services

    Saanich Volunteer Services Society – Answering the call of duty

    Planning another 25 years of aging in place