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.

CDSS Board Committees

Executive Committee

Chair: Kevan McBeth
Vice Chair: Sean Wiltshire
Treasurer: Heather Kaine
Secretary: Sonya Billard

Advocacy Committee

Committee Chair: Laura LaChance
Committee Members: Jackie Charchuk, Sonya Billard, Dewlyn Lobo

Communications Committee

Committee Chair: Nichole Kennard
Committee Members: Dave Fischl, Ed Casagrande

Fund Development Committee

Committee Chair: Dave Fischl
Committee Members: Ed Casagrande, Caroline Pearce

Nominating Committee

Committee Chair: Heather Kaine
Committee Members: Sean Wiltshire, Kevan McBeth

Affiliate Committee

Committee Chair: Sean Wiltshire
Committee Members: Sonya Billard, Laura LaChance

Nomination Process for the CDSS Board of Directors

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is seeking applications from those interested in joining its Board of Directors. Positions are available as of May 2016. Each position consists of a two-year term with eligibility for up to five terms. Every year the Nominating Committee reviews the composition of the current Board, the skills of outgoing Board Members, and identifies areas of need to be met by incoming Board Members. This could be in relation to a nominee’s profession, geographic location, skill sets and interests.

  • Nominations must be submitted to the Nominating Committee at the CDSS National Office in Calgary, by February 16, 2016.
  • Your name must be submitted in writing, either by yourself or someone else either by mail or email.
  • You must be a current member of CDSS and be prepared to endorse and uphold the Vision and Mission of the Society.
  • Two letters of reference must accompany your nomination. Upon receipt of a complete nomination, the Nominating Committee will forward a questionnaire to you for completion. This will confirm your agreement to the nomination.
  • Following the collection and review of the nominee’s information by the Nominating Committee, two members of the Nominating Committee will hold interviews (typically conducted by conference call) with the nominee. Only qualified nominees will be contacted for an interview.
  • Based on the information gathered, and the predetermined needs of the Board, the Nominating Committee will recommend to the CDSS Board the slate of potential nominees for that year.
  • All nominees will be contacted by the Nominating Committee and informed of the status of their nomination.

Expectations of Board Members

  • A Board Member’s elected term is two years, to a maximum of five terms (10 years).
  • Each year the CDSS Board meets for two days (weekend) in the fall, two days (weekend) in January, and two days in May just ahead of the Annual National Conference in which the Board is also expected to participate. This year, those listed on the slate of nominees will be expected to attend the meetings of the CDSS Board that occur prior to and during the Canadian Down Syndrome Conference in Montreal from May 27 to 29, 2016
  • It is expected that each Board Member will actively participate on at least two Committees of the Board during each term.
  • Ongoing Board and Committee work is completed between meetings and requires a varying amount of time, and high levels of Board Member commitment and self-direction.
  • Board Members must be prepared to address the fiduciary responsibilities required of a national organization, such as budget, fundraising, public awareness, and legal issues.
  • Board Members do not participate on the CDSS Board of Directors as a representative of a local Down syndrome or Affiliate Association. Successful nominees are expected to be prepared to address the all-encompassing realm of issues that may affect individuals with Down syndrome whether those individuals are infants, children or adults, as well as issues related to education, medicine, and ethics, regardless of the city or province in which the nominee lives. It is also recognized that no one individual will be an expert in all of these areas and that is why individuals with many professional and other skill sets are identified and desired.
  • CDSS will cover a Board Member’s reasonable costs of travel and accommodation for attending Board Meetings and/or other work of the Board. These arrangements will either be made by the CDSS office, or costs incurred will be reimbursed to the Board Member directly. If a Board Member resigns his or her position prior to completion of the first two-year term, any travel costs incurred by CDSS for that Board Member to attend Board Meetings during that term will be reimbursed to CDSS 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 develop or work on, approach the Board Chair, Executive Director or any other Board Member to discuss the proposal. CDSS looks to its member groups and individuals for advice, expertise and potential partnering in various projects throughout the year.
  • Inquiries and comments can be submitted by contacting the CDSS.