Our team

CSPS is a dedicated and diverse team. Our responders and supervisors come from all backgrounds and experiences, reflecting the communities we service. The one thing we share is the highest quality of training and ongoing education, and a commitment to supporting people affected by suicide.

CSC Board of Directors

Our board is comprised of a diverse group of service providers, researchers, administrators, policy makers and survivors from across Canada. They all share the same vision for a comprehensive and compassionate national strategy to prevent death by suicide and to assist, educate and comfort those who have been impacted by suicidal behaviours.

Alison Caird, President of the Board, CSC

Executive Director, Toronto Distress Centres & Chair, DCO

Alison has dedicated her career to the non-profit and public sectors where she began as a literacy coordinator with the North York Public Library and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, and then held progressively senior positions in volunteer management with the University Health Network, (i.e., Toronto General, Toronto Western, and Toronto Rehab hospitals). In 2009 she became Executive Director of Serve!, a charity that worked with youth from the priority neighbourhoods of Toronto.

In 2013 Alison was hired as Executive Director to operationalize the merger between Distress Centre Peel and Telecare Brampton, renamed Spectra Helpline, and in the spring of 2017 she was recruited as Executive Director for Distress Centres Toronto. 

Last year, Alison and colleagues published Measuring the Impact of Volunteers: A Balanced and Strategic Approach, which won The 2016 Terry McAdam Book Award. The results of Alison’s work have been acknowledged several times with awards and best practice designations in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, standards and service development. 

Jerilyn Dressler, BA Psychology, MSW, RSW, Vice President of the Board, CSC

Executive Director, Distress Centres Calgary

Jerilyn Dressler is the Executive Director at Distress Centre Calgary. Jerilyn began her work with Distress Centre as a crisis line volunteer from 2001-2003; she rejoined the team as an employee in 2007 after graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Jerilyn also holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Calgary, with a specialization in Leadership in Human Services, and serves as Vice-President on the InformCanada board.

Susan Dineen, BA, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board, CSC

CEO, Legacy Next Strategies

Susan Dineen is the Chief Executive Officer of LegacyNEXT Strategies, a consulting company focused on IT Strategy and skills gap advisory services. Previously, Susan was EVP at Fox Group Technology Consulting, COO at Apptitude Inc. an IT cloud and managed services company, EVP at Stornoway Communications, a digital broadcaster, VP at Arius3D, a high-tech 3D imaging company and SVP, IT, New Media & Strategic Marketing at Sony Music Entertainment. Susan is on the board of Immigrant Women in Business (IWB) and on the curriculum advisory boards for Centennial College, Operations Management and Georgian College, IT & Interactive Media. Susan graduated with a B.A. from the University of Windsor.

Ralph Mahar, BA History, Community Director, CSC

Executive Officer, RCMP Veterans’ Association

Ralph Mahar is the Executive Officer of the RCMP Veterans’ Association. The Association works to promote the physical, social and economic welfare of its members and additionally provides support to worthy community services and organizations of a charitable or benevolent nature. Ralph has worked in the field of law enforcement, national security and public safety for over 40 years with the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Special Investigation Unit of Ontario. He served two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor supporting the Canadian Army. Ralph graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (History) from Carleton University in 1993.

Karen Letofsky

Board of Director

Karen Letofsky is Board President of The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP), an organization that provides information and resources to communities to reduce the suicide rate and minimize the harmful consequences of suicidal behaviour. She brings her extensive experience and  relationships to help CSC expand its member network and programs as CSC continues to grow.

Lynda Poirier, MSW, Director, CSC

General Director, Centre prévention suicide de Québec/présidente du Regroupement des Centres de prévention du suicide du Québec

Lynda Poirier is the Executive Director of Centre de Prévention du Suicide de Québec. She spent most of her career among non profit organizations and as a university teacher. Trained in administration, she has a Masters Degree in Social Work, with an interest in public health, harm reduction, prevention and intervention. Sitting on many committees, she is also the active President of the Regroupement des Centres de prévention du suicide du Québec. She represents the RCPSQ on the Board of SCPS.

Charles Laframboise, MA, Director, CSC

Executive Director, Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region

Charles Laframboise is the Executive Director for the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region. Charles began his career working for national governing bodies. He has a long association supporting the Canadian Distress Line Network before joining the Board of Directors of Crisis Services Canada. Charles graduated with a Master’s Degree from the University of Ottawa.

Sheila Levy, BA, M.ED, Director, CSC

Executive Director, Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line

Sheila Levy is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line. Previously, Sheila was the Guidance Counsellor at Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She is a former President and Board Member of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. She is a former President, and current Vice-President, of the Nunavut Embrace Life Council, which coordinates and works on suicide prevention activities in Nunavut. Sheila has a BA in Sociology from Carleton University and a M.ED in applied psychology focusing on counselling and guidance from the University of Toronto.

Elizabeth Newcombe, BA Rec Admin, Director, CSC

Executive Director, Vancouver Island Crisis Society

Elizabeth Newcombe is the Executive Director for the Vancouver Island Crisis Society. Previously, Elizabeth was a training officer with the Atomic Energy Control Board in Ottawa and the Program Coordinator for the Military Family Support Centre pilot program. She is currently the treasurer and was the past president of the Crisis Line Association of BC. Elizabeth degree with a degree in Recreation Administration from Dalhousie University.

Kelly Mitchell

President, K W Mitchell Consulting Services

Kelly is a Director of G52, a company focused on helping municipal governments find and advocate for municipal grants from the federal and provincial governments. In addition, Kelly is the President of K W Mitchell Consulting Services, a government relations consulting company.

We rise by lifting others.

Our People

CSC has a dedicated core team that bring years of experience in crisis support, suicide prevention, responder training, and IT/ telephony systems, to deliver the Canada Suicide Prevention Service. We are committed to best practices and share a common set of core values. With our volunteers, supporters, advocates and Board of Directors, we are leveraging our collective strengths, local knowledge, resources, experience, information and technology to support the needs of all people in Canada.

Roberta J. Fox

Chief Technology Advisor, former founding CEO

In her more than 30 year corporate and technology career, Roberta has brought to bear her unique ability to help organizations develop complex business strategies and services that deliver sustainable results to the public, government, enterprise and non-profit organizations across Canada, the US and internationally.

During the past year as the Chief Technology Advisor (CTA) and founding CEO, she provided board and senior management guidance for the development of the CSC environment. This included the architecture, design and development of the innovative CSC virtual voice, text and chat national contact centre solution. She also provided senior project management and integration support with the eleven vendors and over one hundred and twenty participants in the development of this state of the art national virtual distress centre.

In her ongoing CTA role, Roberta will be responsible for enhancing and expanding the CSC system capabilities to enable social media, video and next generation technology solutions to be added to meet the changing public communication needs. The organization will also have extensive reporting and analytical capabilities to provide program enhancement information as part of its quality management practices.

What is unique about the CSPS Distress Centre Solution? First of Its Kind in the world!

The CSC virtual technology solution provides the first pan-national multi-media virtual contact centre providing sophisticated routing, tracking, and reporting to the CSC members and various stakeholders involved in suicide prevention and distress support to the people of Canada.

Jason Chare, BSc, MA

Director of Clinical Operations

Jason oversee the day-to-day operations of CSPS’s 24/7 suicide prevention service. He leads the continuing development of service and evaluation standards, through policies and procedures that are culturally appropriate, evidence based, allow for equitable service delivery, and evolve to support additional onboarding and development of additional distress centre services.

Karen VanderSluis, BSc, BA

National Training and Quality Assurance Manager

Karen is responsible for the development and implementation of the national training and quality assurance strategy based on best practices and meeting nationally recognized accreditation standards.  She is responsible for identifying and developing the training needs and supporting material including responders, supervisors, administrators and CSPS clinical staff.  

She is also responsible for monitoring the ongoing developments in suicide prevention and crisis intervention to ensure that the CSPS training programs continue to lead in best practices and superior suicide prevention and support results.

Paul Yu, Social Worker Program Diploma, Computer Programming and Internet Application Professional Diploma

Production Services Manager

Paul is responsible to ensure the smooth deliver of CSPS technology and case management services. With optics across the network he responds to scheduling needs, troubleshoots and solves network issues, anticipates and assists in future technology, reporting and operational developments.  He works with the various technology vendors to ensure that the virtual contact center provides voice capabilities for the professional responders to enable them to provide suicide prevention and support to the people of Canada.

Kate Kuehn, BA Honours, Psychology, BA Honours, East Asian Studies

Administrative Assistant and Marketing

Kate is responsible to provide administrative, marketing/creative, office management and executive support to the leaders, board and member committees of CSC to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the CSC national distributed virtual organization.

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