Canadian Down Syndrome Society Board of Directors


2016 – 2017 Board of Directors

Back row: Kirk Crowther (Executive Director), Dewlyn Lobo, Caroline Pearce (Vice Chair), Ben Tarr, Nichole Kennard, Jackie Charchuk
Front row: Sean Wiltshire, Ed Casagrande (Treasurer), Sonya Billard (Secretary), Laura LaChance (Chair), David Fischl Missing: Elaine Willcock

About the CDSS Board of Directors

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society Board of Directors is made up of volunteers from across Canada who are committed to the vision and mission of the society. Currently the Board is made up of ten individuals who have a personal or professional relationship to people with Down syndrome. Each year nominations are accepted for vacant Board positions and new Board members are elected at the Annual General Meeting.

The primary accountability of the Board is to the members of the CDSS. The Board will govern the organization utilizing available financial resources to ensure the best possible services for the membership.

In the fulfillment of its mandate as the governing body of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, the Board of Directors will:

  • Be accountable to the membership and to the community at large of persons with Down syndrome and their families for the accomplishment of its responsibilities.
  • Conduct itself in an ethical and responsible manner.
  • Ensure the financial viability of the society through active participation in fund development.
  • Focus on the mission, vision and values of the organization.
  • Educate itself regarding issues affecting the society in order to make informed decisions concerning the future of the organization.
  • Establish policies to provide guidelines and limitations to staff, Board and volunteers in implementing the goals of the society as set by the Board.
  • Work in collaboration with the Executive Director and administrative staff.
  • Conduct itself as a deliberate decision-making body, speaking with one voice in matters which have been decided by the Board; and
  • Discipline itself in matters such as attendance, compliance with Board policy, respect of roles, confidentiality and conflict of interest.
  • Protect the society and its assets by considering risk and risk minimization when making decisions.

Nomination Process for the CDSS Board of Directors

CDSS Board Committees 2016 – 2017

Executive Committee
Laura LaChance – Chair
Ed Casagrande  – Vice Chair
Caroline Pearce – Treasurer
Sonya Billiard – Secretary

Fund Development Committee
David Fischl – Chair
Ed Casagrande
Caroline Pearce
Ben Tarr
Laura LaChance – Ex-officio, Kirk Crowther – Ex-officio

Advocacy Committee
Jackie Charchuk – Chair
Sonya Billiard
Dewlyn Lobo
Sean Wiltshire
Elaine Willcock
Nichole Kennard
Laura LaChance – Ex-officio, Kirk Crowther – Ex-officio

Communications Committee
Nichole Kennard – Chair
Ed Casagrande
Ben Tarr
Laura LaChance – Ex-officio, Kirk Crowther – Ex-officio

Affiliate Committee
Sean Wiltshire – Chair
Sonya Billiard
Elaine Willcock
Laura LaChance- Ex-officio, Kirk Crowther – Ex-officio

Nominating Committee
Caroline Pearce – Chair
Jackie Charchuk
David Fischl
Dewlyn Lobo
Laura LaChance – Ex-officio, Kirk Crowther – Ex-officio

Nomination Process for the CDSS Board of Directors

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is seeking applications for new board members. Each volunteer position consists of a two-year term with eligibility for up to five terms. Travel to attend 3 week end meetings per year is required and the related costs are refunded. New board members are selected based on a variety of criteria; geographical location, skill sets, and involvement with non-profit or volunteer organizations.

Nomination Process:

  • Nominations are accepted any time. Recruitment begins in winter each year. Nominations are to be submitted by email to
  • Nominations may be submitted by yourself or by someone on your behalf.
  • To qualify the nominee must be a current member of CDSS and be prepared to endorse and uphold the Vision and Mission of the Society.
  • Successful applicants have a phone interview with members of the Nominating Committee.
  • The Nominating Committee will recommend to the CDSS Board the slate of potential nominees for that year in March. New board members are formally voted in by the CDSS Membership at the May Annual General Meeting.
  • All nominees will be contacted by the Nominating Committee and informed of the status of their nomination.


Send to:

  • Kirk Crowther, National Executive Director at

Expectations of Board Members

  • The CDSS Board holds week end meetings in September and January. Weekday meetings are held in May in conjunction with the Annual National Conference which the Board participates in as volunteers, speakers, and networking with our Affiliates and local organizing committees. . Each year the location of the conference changes.
  • Board Members actively participate on sub-committees of the Board during each term. Board Members may join the Executive Committee any time after the first year is served.
  • Ongoing Board and Committee work and related conference calls are completed between in person meetings and requires a varying amount of time, commitment and self-direction.
  • Board Members must be knowledgeable of responsibilities of a national non-profit organization.
  • Board members must be aware of the needs of individuals living with Down Syndrome in all life stages including  issues related to education, medicine, and ethics, No individual will be an expert in all of these areas but a board as a whole must contain combined knowledge to address these ongoing issues. For this reason individuals with a variety of professional and personal skill sets are identified and desired.
  • If a Board Member resigns prior to completion of the first two-year term, any travel costs refunded by CDSS must be reimbursed by the resigning Board Member.
  • You do not have to be a member of the CDSS Board of Directors to participate in projects being developed by CDSS. If you have a particular interest or project that you would like to pursue please contact us to discuss your proposal. CDSS looks to its member groups and individuals for advice, expertise and potential partnering in various projects throughout the year.