Birth and Parent Companion Program

Birth and Parent Companion Program

The Birth and Parent Companion Program (BPCP) is an award-winning prenatal and parenting support program designed to help build healthier families and stronger communities.

Our goal is for  families to feel empowered, informed and confident throughout, labour and delivery, and parenthood.

We provide one-on-one prenatal, labour/delivery, postnatal and parenting support to marginalized and at risk families in the Ottawa area. Our support increases the knowledge of additional support services in our community, provides referrals where necessary, helps to build confidence and self-efficacy in parenting, and provides opportunities for families to connect with one another.

Our clientele includes but is not limited to families who are new to Canada, young parents, single parents, those living in the shelter system, receiving financial assistance, those with mental health and substance use challenges, abuse survivors and many more. An extensive telephone intake is conducted with program staff to determine eligibility based on the family’s income and level of support.

BPCP volunteers are extensively screened and trained to provide non biased information and referrals, as well as nonjudgmental, culturally sensitive, physical and emotional support to the families we serve.


The Birth Companion Program receives generous community support and is funded in part by the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Early Years Centre and the United Way.

Birth Companion Program: a support system for pregnant women

Volunteer Opportunities

Birth Companion Program

Birth Companion Program Volunteers are women over the age of 18, who are trained to provide our clients with reassurance, comfort, support and guidance as well as linking them with community resources and support services.
Birth Companion training takes place twice a year (spring/fall) and may be a combination of both in person and virtual learning.  It is 20 hours in length, at 2.5 hours a week for 8 weeks, (1 evening a week OR Saturday mornings) and includes but is not limited to the following topics: anatomy and physiology, stages of labour, comfort measures, working with marginalized populations,  support during the postpartum phase and perinatal mental health.  If accepted into the program, you are committing to taking a match within 6 months of training and being a volunteer for a minimum of 1 year.

*Please note, the Birth Companion program is not a Birth Doula certification program.

For information on our next training, please contact

Step 1: Read the Program Description and fill out the application form.

Step 2: Selected applicants will be invited for an in person or virtual  interview.

Step 3: Volunteer paperwork, (including a personalized letter to obtain a Police Records Check for the Vulnerable Sector at a reduced cost of $20-to be paid by the volunteer) must be read, signed and returned by the date specified.  Professional references will be contacted.

Step 4: Applicants will be notified by email if have been chosen to take part in the training.

Step 5:  After successful completion of the whole Birth Companion training, a Post Training Interview will be conducted to determine the volunteer’s understanding of the role, level of confidence providing support and their availability moving forward.

Parent Companion Program

Birth Companion Program Volunteers are women over the age of 18, who are trained to provide ongoing support, encouragement and advocacy to vulnerable families with children under the age of six.
Successful candidates are rigorously screened and participate in an intensive training program.  Ongoing professional development is encouraged and provided throughout the year.  Classes are small and interactive to prepare volunteers for their role as Volunteer Parent Companions.
For information on our next training, please contact

Feel like you can help?

The Birth and Parent Companion Program is often looking for volunteers to contribute to the program in different capacities, i.e. translation services, maintenance and organization of the clothing donation closet, donation drop off, assistance at special events, etc. Please contact us at if you are interested in volunteering in this capacity.

The Birth and Parent Companion Program depends on the support of the community to continue its valuable work with vulnerable families within our community. We accept new and gently used clothing. We are often looking for the following items:

  • Infant clothing size 0-3 months;
  • Receiving blankets;
  • Sanitary napkins;
  • New nursing pads;
  • New nursing bras.

The Birth and Parent Companion Program is a registered charitable organization (charitable # 10686 4325 RP 0001), if you wish to make a financial contribution please contact us at

Box with donations for kids

Frequently Asked Questions

A Birth Companion’s role is to provide support in the form of information, referrals, emotional and physical comfort measures, reassurance and companionship to the expecting family.  This support spans prenatally from the 3rd trimester, throughout the labour and delivery and up to 6 weeks postpartum. Companions are not responsible for the medical management of the pregnancy, labour or delivery.
The Companion is expected to arrange 2-3 prenatal and postnatal visits with the family they are matched with.  If more or less support is required, arrangements can be made at the discretion and availability of the Companion.  Companions are encouraged to have regular contact with their match in the form of phone calls, texts, emails and visits.
Companions are unfortunately not permitted to offer any transportation to their clients. Instead, they can help to create a travel plan or explore alternate options with the families they support.
Companions are not permitted to stay overnight for any reason.  They can help with postnatal tips, suggestions and referrals for additional support if necessary.
While the needs of each family is unique, the program expectation is 2-3 prenatal and 2-3 postnatal visits scheduled at a time that is mutually convenient for both you and the family.
Matching is often done in the 3rd trimester and the support continues as needed up to 6 weeks postpartum.  At that time, the family’s file is closed and referrals for additional supports are made if necessary.
No. Once accepted into the BPCP, you will complete a comprehensive, 20 hour training which will provide you with the skills, knowledge and resources to become a Birth Companion.
Yes. Before accepting a match, we ask that you have the flexibility both personally and professionally to attend a birth two weeks prior to the estimated due date and two weeks after the estimated due date.

Need more information about the programs?

Contact us at or reach out to:

Courtney Holmes 613-728-1839   ext. 227