Becoming a Patient and Family Advisor

What makes a great Patient and Family Advisor?

Being a Patient and Family Advisor may be a good match with your skills and experiences if you are:

  • Able to share insights and information about your experiences to help evolve programs, services and hospital priorities
  • A good listener
  • Respectful of other people's opinions and perspectives
  • Able to share thoughts and opinions in a group setting
  • Able to see beyond your own personal experience
  • Able to promote the image and mission of Ontario Shores through positive interaction with staff, physicians, volunteers and the community
  • Read, write and speak English

Time Commitment

Patient and Family Advisors must be able to commit to minimum of four hours per month for a term of 1-2 years. The time commitment may vary based on area of interest. Due to the current circumstances surrounding the pandemic, the majority of meetings will be conducted virtually (e.g. Zoom).

How do I Become a Patient and Family Advisor?

Step One: Submit an Application and References

A) Application
Complete the Patient and Family Advisor application form (Microsoft Word). The Application Form is a fillable Word file and can be saved and sent via email directly to

B) References
Please have your references complete the Ontario Shores Patient and Family Advisor Reference Form (Microsoft Word). References may be from employers, teachers/professors, volunteer work supervisors or coaches. Letters from family members are not accepted.

The Reference Form is a fillable Word file and can be saved and sent via email to your references as an attachment. Once filled out, the references can then email the completed form directly to Only when both references are received will your application be reviewed.

References will be reviewed and qualifying applicants will then be contacted by our Patient and Family Engagement Leader for an interview. All applications will be kept on file for six months.

Step Two: Interview

Only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted (either by phone or by email). We will discuss your background and experience, interests, skills and reason for volunteering as a Patient and Family Advisor as well as our processes and current opportunities.

NOTE: Successful completion of the application process and participation in an interview does not guarantee a volunteer placement with Ontario Shores.

Step Three: Police Reference Check with Vulnerable Sector Search

Successful applicants who are asked to attend orientation MUST provide proof of a successfully completed Police Reference Check, including Vulnerable Sector Screening, at their own expense. Only originals or embossed photocopies are accepted and must be dated within the past six months.

The Vulnerable Sector Screening must be completed within the city/town in which the applicant resides. Ontario Shores will provide the forms necessary to conduct a vulnerable sector search for those applicants residing in the postal code area that begins with “M” (Toronto). The applicant will then have to take these forms along with a certified cheque/money order to the Toronto Police Service on College Street in Toronto. All other vulnerable sector searches for people residing in Durham, Peel, Peterborough, etc. can be requested and paid for by the applicant without the involvement of Ontario Shores.

Step Four: Orientation and Safe Management Group (SMG) Training

Successful applicants must attend a one-day General Orientation session to become familiar with the hospital’s Mission, Vision, Core Values, emergency procedures, infection control information, and policies and procedures. All Volunteers are required to wear their identification badges while on duty. Tours of the facility will be conducted depending on the current protocol.

p>>Patient and Family Advisors are also required to complete a 4 hour Safe Management Group Training session before starting their placement. This training provides a unique and proactive approach that enables staff and volunteers to manage individuals who are showing signs of escalation. Participants will learn skills most appropriate to their everyday duties.

The test at the end of the SMG session is optional for Patient and Family Advisors. Those who do complete and pass the test will receive a Certificate of Training. Registration for General Orientation and Safe Management Group Training is completed through Patient and Family Engagement Leader.

A specialized Patient and Family Advisor orientation will be provided by the Patient and Family Engagement Leader in conjunction with the program or service the PFA is working with.

Step Five: Occupational Health Requirements

For the health and safety of patients and staff, and in compliance with the Communicable Disease Surveillance Protocols for Ontario Hospitals, and the policies of Ontario Shores, Patient and Family Advisor placements are conditional upon completing a health screening, including:

  • Two-step TB skin test
  • Documentation of Immunization status for rubella, measles, mumps, chickenpox and Hepatitis B

Onsite testing is arranged through the Patient and Family Engagement Leader.

Step Six: Placement

Placements are arranged through the Patient and Family Engagement Leader and are based on the best fit considering the Patient and Family Advisor’s interests and experience. Depending on the placement, additional training/orientation may be required.

For additional questions or inquiries about becoming a Patient and Family Advisor, please contact us at 905.430.4055 ext. 6769 or