Volunteers: The Bedrock of an Association

The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) would not exist without volunteers. The generous time and effort donated by industry professionals is as important today as it was 91 years ago when the association was founded.

PDAC was originally formed to oppose an Engineers Bill proposed by the Ontario Government that would require prospectors filing a work assessment to have the report signed by a mining engineer. The bill was never implemented. 

From these humble beginnings, the Association quickly grew and became involved in other issues involving prospecting and the mineral exploration industry in Ontario. All the while, efforts were being carried out on a volunteer basis. 

The first membership fees – $1 per year – were introduced in 1942. However, for the most part the Association had no sources of revenue. Even the convention – which began as a one-day event in 1942 – didn’t generate significant funds until the 1980’s. 

The Convention, which expanded to a three-day affair by 1945, was organized by industry professionals who went entirely unpaid. This commitment to bringing the mineral exploration and mining community together each year was an opportunity to share ideas and information and the challenges being faced. It was also a chance to educate one another and learn about evolving trends and technologies. This essentially built the foundations of the four-day International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange that is known around the world today (with the exception of PDAC 2021 and 2022 Convention). 

PDAC has established itself as an iconic brand and has earned a highly-respected reputation in Canada and internationally. It represents up to 8,000 individual and corporate members, acting as the greater voice of Canada’s mineral exploration and development industry to ensure a responsible, vibrant and sustainable sector. 

Throughout the years, PDAC has come a long way, evolving with the demands of the industry. Most modern developments, such as membership growth, events and reaching financial stability became prominent from the 1980’s onward. From here, the Association needed to expand beyond volunteers to seize new opportunities. 

Today, PDAC employs around 30 staff, a conservative number that surprises many given the incredible reach of the PDAC brand. Even now, with a solid body of staff, the successes of the Association could not be achieved without the guidance and commitment of volunteers.

Its Board of Directors consists of 24 members who generously volunteer their time and expertise to guide the the direction of PDAC and its overarching strategic plan.


It is not uncommon to see the same board members sitting on — or even chairing — one or more of PDAC’s 16 committees that are categorized into specific areas of focus, including: Audit, Awards, Convention Planning, Executive, Finance & Taxation, Geosciences, Health & Safety, Human Resources Development, Indigenous Affairs, International, Lands & Regulations, Membership, Nominating & Governance, Public Affairs, Securities and Sustainability. 

Through these committees, more than 200 volunteers bring their intricate, industry-specific knowledge and understanding of Canada’s mineral exploration and development industry to the centre of the Association. PDAC's prestige and guidance could not be achieved without them.

At least one permanent staff member supports each committee, which are considered the backbone of PDAC. It is this behind-the-scenes strategizing that ultimately guides the direction of the association on behalf of its members, much like it did 90 years ago, but now with more man-power, preparation and influence.

This National Volunteer Week, we thank those who have shared their time and knowledge with PDAC on behalf of the greater Canadian mineral exploration and mining industry. Present or past, you have played an integral part of shaping the sector into the world leader that it is today.