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Volunteer Guidebook

(as adopted on August 2nd, 2009)

For purposes of this document, the following references may be used interchangeably where and as appropriate: RTM/LVL; Right to Move; La voie libre; “the shop”.

All of these terms refer to the whole of the space allocated to Right to Move/La voie libre, and to the operations occurring in that space relative to the organization “La voie libre/ Right to Move”.

Admission into the shop

  • The shop is open to the general public.
  • Right to Move/La voie libre is a non-racist, non-sexist, queer-friendly and non-discriminatory space.

Definition of “Member”

  • Any member of the public who pays the yearly $20 membership fee
  • Volunteers are also classified as members, and must also pay the yearly membership

Rights of Members

  • Use the shop during its opening hours
  • Buy used or new parts, provided they install the parts on their own bikes in the shop
  • Store one project bike or wheel, for a limited time, provided they are actively working on the project
  • Freely use lubricants, tube patches and glue for the purpose of fixing and maintaining their bicycles

Responsibilities of Members

  • Those wishing to use the shop are asked to first become members.
  • Membership costs $20 and, which must be paid in full, in cash, upon registration. We do not accept partial payment
  • Membership is valid for one year and may be renewed yearly
  • If someone wants to use the shop and, for whatever reason, cannot register as a member that day, we allow them to use the shop but request that they pay a donation and buy a membership the next time they visit.
  • Upon registration, members are asked to read and respect the Code of Conduct.
  • Members are asked to put away any tools they use, put any recyclables or garbage they generate in the appropriate container, and generally clean up after themselves
  • Members/shop users are asked to respect the direction of the volunteers, esp. on such matters as safety, proper use of particular tools, priority access to stands/space, and storage space

Prospective Volunteers

Membership in the organization as a volunteer shall be limited to General Members interested in furthering the objectives of RTM/LVL. If someone expresses interest in becoming a volunteer, we ask that they first:

  • Attend an orientation (if possible)
  • Make him/herself acquainted with the other volunteers, the workings of the shop and its tools, and read the RTM/LVL Guidebook
  • Show up to different shifts so they can meet different volunteers before committing to a regular shift
  • Read the document on volunteering at the shop
  • Ask other volunteers to orient him/her on matters not mentioned in the guide

Rights of Volunteers

  • Each volunteer is allocated $2 each per shift to purchase coffee, or equivalent. This also applies to those who do paid work in the shop 
  • Volunteers may accept tips from members, so long as the member makes it clear that it is not a donation to the organization as the whole

Established Volunteers

  • Every new volunteer has a probationary period of three months.
  • This three month period can be bypassed in certain cases, but only if there is consensus among the other volunteers
  • After three months of regular shifting, and with the approval of other volunteers at a meeting, the new volunteer becomes an established volunteer and has the same privileges as other established volunteers

Privileges of established volunteers

  • May be added to the key list kept at Concordia security and/or attain a key to the cash box and apply to the university to attain a personal key to the front door if there is consensus among the other volunteers, established volunteers
  • May use the shop during hours when it is not open to the public
  • Applicable for paid work (see policy on paid work)
  • May purchase merchandise at cost from our suppliers. This only applies to special orders, not to merchandise already purchased for sale in the shop
  • May store one bicycle and one wheel in the mechanics' space, where the rule is one bicycle or wheel per hook

Responsibilities of Volunteers

The duties/responsibilities of volunteers, individually and severally, taking a shift on a regular basis include, but are not limited to:

  • Keeping the log, journal, or equivalent for their shift according to the prevailing standards for such record-keeping;
  • Maintaining, updating, and securing the membership database and other computer files specific to operations of the shop
  • Maintaining the shop, as infrastructure, as a clean and safe working environment;
  • Helping with basic upkeep of the shop including cleaning, organizing, taking out trash, etc.
  • Attending monthly meetings
  • Representing RTM in person-to-person communications in a reasonable manner.


  • Only members may purchase bicycles or bike parts,
  • The base price for a used frame is $25
  • The price varies depending on the quality of the frame and its condition
  • The total cost of the bike will include the cost of the frame, and any new or used parts that are on the bike at the time that the bike is sold
  • New parts must be paid for up-front immediately upon being received, regardless of whether the bicycle is ready to leave the shop
  • So as not to compete with local bicycle shops, we charge 100% mark-up on all new parts, with the exception of parts donated by companies for us to sell. In the case of such donations, the parts are sold at slightly above cost
  • This does not include helmets, which are always sold at cost, in order to encourage safety
  • Prices for new parts are written on the parts themselves or can be found in the supplier’s catalogue

For used parts, consult shop's price guide.

Garbage disposal and recycling

  • Garbage does not go into the dumpster in the alley, as this dumpster is not maintained by the university, or RTM/LVL.
  • Instead, garbage and recycling goes in the basement of the Hall building.
  • All members (especially volunteers) are responsible for the appropriate disposal of garbage and recycling.

Administration of the shop

  • RTM/LVL is “volunteer-run”
  • Right to Move/La voie libre is non-hierarchical
  • All decisions pertaining to the mandate, image, and fundamental structure and administration of the shop are made by consensus by the volunteers
  • If the decision does not meet the above criteria, the decision can be made by “majority rule,” or, in the case of trivial matters, or emergency situations in need of immediate attention, by individual volunteers. However, volunteers are always encouraged to consult the group before taking action.

Consensus can be reached in one of two ways:

  1. Through email: A volunteer can make a proposal through the mechanics' mailing list along with a reasonable time limit for other volunteers to respond. If, during this period of time, there are no objections, and the proposal has approval from a good percentage of volunteers, the proposal passes.
  2. At a volunteers' meeting (preferable): For a decision to pass, all volunteers present at the meeting must agree (as per the voting regulations described in RTM/LVL's constitution) on the proposal for it to be passed.

Relationship between the volunteers and the board

  • RTM/LVL has a board for legal purposes, but the directors do not hold extra “decision-making power” in considering proposals that directly affect the fundamental structure, mandate and image of the organization
  • However, if a liability issue is at stake, volunteers must defer to the board, since it is the board that is ultimately liable for what happens at RTM/LVL


  • RTM/LVL can hire staff (such as coordinators)
  • Staff are considered employees of RTM/LVL, and are answerable to the volunteers, not vice versa
  • Staff do not hold extra “decision-making power”
  • Like all major decisions affecting the image and running of RTM/LVL, the decision to hire staff must be made by consensus at a volunteers' meeting

In-shop principles:

  • The aim of RTM/LVL is to instruct and empower people to fix their own bicycles themselves.
  • Members do all the work on their own bicycles.
  • Volunteers should not handle tools for other members, except in order to demonstrate.


  • Volunteers must do everything they can to encourage safety in the shop
  • Members must wear safety glasses and gloves when appropriate
  • Volunteers must habitually inform members that they should not leave the shop without showing their bicycles to a volunteer for safety-inspection
  • Volunteers must inspect every bike that leaves the shop to ensure it is safe, using the criteria posted in the front of the shop
  • No bike leaves the shop without working brakes and reflectors and/or lights
  • If the member is not wearing a helmet, volunteers must encourage him/her to buy one, or take one of the “emergency” used helmets on-hand at the shop

Volunteer Meetings

  • Volunteer meetings typically happen on the first weekend of every month, alternating between Saturday and Sunday to accommodate different people’s schedule
  • Every meeting has a facilitator and a minute-taker. At the end of each meeting, a facilitator and minute-taker are selected for the following meeting
  • In addition to facilitating the meeting, the facilitator must inform the mechanics of the meeting a week in advance, both through the mechanics’ mailing list and through a written poster for the shop, and start an agenda thread on the mechanics' mailing list
  • Facilitators should bring a typed list of agenda topics and a few copies of the last meeting’s minutes to the meeting
  • Minute-takers must type and send out the minutes to the volunteers by email as soon as they can, and before the next meeting
  • At each meeting, the minutes from the previous meeting must be vetted
  • Each meeting attendee is allotted $30 in the budget to spend on food or drinks
  • All members (including volunteers) may attend volunteers’ meetings, but only established volunteers can participate in the consensus-based decision process

Occasional and Subcontracted Work

  • Pricing, inventory, trips to supplier, accounting and other major paperwork are paid at a rate of $10/hour
  • If a member wishes to be paid for work that doesn't meet these criteria, he/she must first present a written proposal at a meeting. If the proposal is passed (by consensus), the volunteer member will be paid
  • Anyone who does occasional or subcontracted work must invoice RTM/LVL before receiving payment

"No retail" policy

  • Anyone seeking to purchase a bike or frame must first become a member
  • Prices for new parts are written on the parts themselves or in the catalogue
  • For used parts, consult shop's price guide
  • No trades/exchanges“ policy
  • No trades or exchanges, either on used or new parts

Storage Policy

  • In the donations room, mechanics' space and claimed bicycles room, the rule is “one bicycle per hook.” Bicycles left on the floor will not stay there and may end up in the recycling
  • Only established volunteers may keep bicycles in the mechanics' space, which is to be used for active projects, not storage
  • Other members may keep active projects in the “claimed bicycles” room, with the permission and signature of a shifting volunteer, for a maximum of 30 days, provided there is space available and that they fill out a “claimed bike” form that includes the starting date
  • If a bicycle is still in storage after 30 days, volunteers are encouraged to phone or email the owner of the bike and ask them to take their bike home
  • Bikes with expired forms can be removed at any time from the claimed bicycles room if more space is needed. These bicycles can be stored in the courtyard until their owners come for them
  • If the owner of the stored bike has still not picked up his/her bike after a reasonable period of time, the bike belongs to RTM/LVL and it is up to individual volunteers to decide what to do with it (sell as fund-raiser for shop, put it in recycling, donate to another organization, etc.)

Locking bicycles outside of RTM/LVL

  • If there are no available hooks in the “claimed bikes” room, members are asked to lock their bicycles in front of RTM/LVL
  • Bicycles cannot be locked to the rails leading down the stairs. Any bicycles locked there will be removed by the university
  • If a bicycle is left locked in front of the shop for one week or more, volunteers will break the lock and claim the bike, without compensation to the owner
  • If a bicycle is blocking the fire escape, volunteers will break the lock and claim the bike, without compensation to the owner


  • RTM/LVL accepts donations in the form of bikes, bicycle parts and cash. We cannot accept donations by cheque, credit card or bank card
  • RTM/LVL welcomes donated bicycles, so long as there is available space, and so long as the bicycles are of reasonable quality
  • RTM/LVL can issue receipts for cash donations, but these are not tax-deductible receipts, since RTM/LVL is not a charity

Code of Conduct

  • All volunteers must respect both the Code of Conduct for the shop and the Code of Conduct for the mailing list
  • If a volunteer feels another volunteer has violated the Code of Conduct, he/she should first approach that volunteer with their concerns
  • If this does not resolve the situation, the concerned volunteer is encouraged to ask other volunteers for support

Shop Conduct

  1. No physical or verbal abuse (e.g., yelling) at another volunteer, or a member, on shift.
  2. No intimidating behaviour, or use of language that is condescending or disrespectful, towards another volunteer, or a member. 
  3. Respect the ‘nine things you should know’ posted at the shop entrance
  4. Respect that the regular mechanics on a shift have priority (e.g., concerning letting people start late in the shift).  The exception is to call other mechanics either on the above points, or on matters of established shop policy/consensus decisions made at meetings.  If so, this should be done tactfully.
  5. Any volunteer or member can call a volunteer on these points.

Code of Conduct for the Volunteers mailing list

  1. Aim to minimize traffic (e.g., e-mail individuals instead of the list where possible)
  2. No personal attacks, and try to keep comments positive.  Individual (or group) accusations should be brought up at a volunteer's meeting.
  3. No threats, even jokingly or metaphorically
  4. No back-and-forths between individuals (see point 1.- do this off-list)
  5. No power-tripping by invoking differing levels of experience and expertise.
  6. The subject line should reflect the topic of the message.

Suspension of Volunteers

  • If a volunteer feels another volunteer should be suspended, he/she should state her/his case at a meeting
  • If there is consensus within the group, the problematic volunteer will be suspended for an amount of time determined by those present at the meeting
  • If a volunteer commits physical abuse or severe verbal abuse and there have been several witnesses, that volunteer is suspended immediately
  • If the volunteer refuses to respect her/his suspension and enters the shop regardless, other volunteers may ask him/her to leave. If he/she still will not leave, the other volunteers may call security
  • If, after the allotted amount of time, the suspended volunteer wishes to return, he/she must first present their case at a meeting
  • The suspended volunteer will be admitted back into the shop only with full consensus of those present at the meeting
  • Once the volunteer returns to Right to Move, she/he will be considered a “probationary volunteer,” and will not receive the privileges of established volunteers until three months have passed without any major incident
  • Suspended volunteers who do not follow this procedure, cannot be admitted back into the shop  

Dismissal of Non-Volunteer Members

  • In certain cases, it may be necessary to suspend and/or dismiss members permanently
  • These situations will be dealt with in a similar manner as dismissal of volunteers, on a case-by-case basis
volunteer_guidebook.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/01 10:40 by morganr