The organizational structure of OPIRG Toronto, and PIRGs in general, function by way of non-hierarchical relations between its permanent staff, board of directors, volunteers, and action groups. The particular environmental and social justice issues that are chosen to be the organization's focus each year are selected not by the Board of Directors or the staff, but are determined in a bottom-up approach by the interests of its volunteers and action groups. One of the most important objectives for PIRGs is to train students and community members who are interested in becoming activists. Members of OPIRG are given the space and training to utilize and further develop the skills, tools and analysis they need/want to complete their work around issues of social and environmental justice more effectively. By providing new activists with the opportunity to involve themselves in the work of action groups, volunteering, and the Board of Directors, these new activists emerge from their time at OPIRG with a strong foundation to conduct meaningful social justice work within the larger Toronto community.
Action groups (also referred to as working groups) are formed by a collective of people who voluntarily agree to work together on a shared issue towards a common goal while ensuring that the responsibilities and decisions involved in this work are distributed equally among its members.
Prominent past action groups have included the Environment Working Group, No One is Illegal, the First Nations Solidarity Action Group, and Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors are elected each year during OPIRG Toronto's Annual General Meeting. Unlike the volunteers participating in the action groups, the Board does not attend to specific social justice or environmental issues and instead focusses on the long-term viability of the organization by making decisions regarding activist training for volunteers, finances and yearly budget, overall planning and programming, the hiring of staff, and the allocation of funds and resources to support the action groups in their work.
The permanent staff ensure continuity and sustainability throughout changes to OPIRG's Board of Directors. They carry out daily tasks that contribute to the overall maintenance and integrity of the organization's operations, such as bookkeeping, training the Board of Directors, coordinating volunteers, and providing connections to other activist and grassroots organizations within the larger community.