Crisis Services Canada Announces Inaugural National CSC Alison Caird Award for Distress Centre Excellence

Crisis Services Canada, (CSC) ( is pleased to announce the establishment of The National CSC Alison Caird Award for Distress Centre Excellence. The award will recognize one person each year who has made an outstanding contribution to Canada’s distress centre movement.


The award is named in honour of Alison Caird, a founding member of the Canada Suicide Prevention Service and one of Canada’s most accomplished distress centre thought leaders and executives.


We created the National CSC Alison Caird Award for Distress Centre Excellence not only to recognize the leadership excellence of Alison Caird, but also to have a chance to shine the spotlight every year on those who are making a difference in the vital work done by distress centres,” said CSC CEO Stephanie MacKendrick.  “Distress centres are the heart of the Canada Suicide Prevention Service and are the front-line of suicide prevention efforts; they are one of the keys to Canada’s future success as we work to lessen the impact of suicide,” she said. “Every day, outstanding work is being done to meet the needs of Canadians who are experiencing distress or suicide-related concerns.”


Alison has spent her entire career in the not-for-profit and public sector. She began her career with the North York Public Library and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto as a literacy coordinator, and then held progressively senior positions in volunteer management with the University Health Network, (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 appointed as Executive Director, to operationalize the merger between Distress Centre Peel and Telecare Brampton. The new organization was renamed Spectra Helpline. In the spring of 2017, she was recruited as Executive Director for Distress Centres Toronto and has been working on consolidating the Toronto and Spectra Distress Centres into a single Greater Toronto Area Distress Centre serving the Toronto area.

Alison is a lifelong learner with studies in human resources management with Ryerson University, executive leadership with the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and fundraising with the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In addition, Alison has published numerous articles and is the co-author of “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 with awards and best practice designations in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, standards and service development.

Crisis Services Canada (CSC) is the umbrella non-profit organization that runs the Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS). CSPS is a national collaboration of distress and crisis centres from across the country, offering 24/7, free-to-user, confidential suicide prevention and support via voice and text for the people of Canada. This suicide prevention service is available from anywhere in Canada to individuals who are in crisis, considering suicide or affected by suicide.

The National CSC Alison Caird Award will be presented annually to a person who has made a significant difference to and demonstrated excellence and/or innovation in the field of suicide prevention and crisis support. A call for nominations, including award criteria, will be announced later in the year.


For more information please contact:

Kate Kuehn

Crisis Service Canada

Administration and Marketing

Office: 289-315-0682

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