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 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.
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:
Ed Casagrande – Chair
Paul Crowley – Vice Chair
Yelman Siddiqi – Treasurer
Jackie Charchuk – Secretary
The Board Chair and the Executive Director serve Ex-offico to all committees
Paul Crowley – Chair, Jackie Charchuk, Christine McConnell, Maria Borges, Dewlyn Lobo
Fund Development Committee
Jennifer Crowson – Chair, Paul Crowley, Dave Fischl, Ben Tarr
Yelman Siddiqi – Chair, Ed Casagrande, Laura LaChance
Ed Casagrande, Board Chair (Board Member since 2014)
Ed works as Vice President of Marketing in the animal health industry and holds an MBA from the University of Ottawa. He resides in Ontario with his wife and three children. His daughter has inspired him to be a strong advocate for the Down syndrome community. Ed has continued to dedicate his business expertise to CDSS, helping to serve the Canadian Down syndrome community.
Paul Crowley, Board Vice Chair (Board Member since 2018)
Paul works as a specialized professional engineer for a global marine and aviation company. He resides in British Columbia with his wife and children who inspire him in his efforts to connect and move the Down syndrome community forward. Paul brings tact, expertise and dedication to the CDSS board and the organization’s mission and vision.
Yelman Siddiqi, Board Treasurer (Board Member since 2018)
Yelman is a Certified Professional Accountant and McMaster University Alumni who leads the finance team at a clean technology company. He brings his financial expertise to CDSS and can be credited with helping lead CDSS’ financial management. He is a dedicated father of four young children, including a child who has Down syndrome, who has inspired him to contribute to the Down syndrome community in Canada.
Jackie Charchuk, Board Secretary (Board Member since 2011)
Jackie is a retired Special Education Consultant and lives with her family in PEI. She has spent over 30 years as an educator, administrator and consultant in PEI and Manitoba. Jackie brings her passionate, wide-ranging board experience from community living and inclusion organizations and has made great contributions to the CDSS Board. She continues to be driven and inspired by her greatest teacher, her daughter Janet, who has Down syndrome.
Maria Borges (Board Member since 2020)
Maria brings over 25 years of diverse senior management experience and business insight to the CDSS Board. She shares a passion for sports and nature with her husband and two children in Alberta. Maria is a strong community advocate for inclusion in schools and sports programs and continues to be a vital, active board member with Special Olympics Alberta.
Jennifer Crowson (Board Member since 2020)
Jennifer has over 24 years of experience working in the social services, non-profit and government sectors. She is currently a Sessional Faculty Member in the Department of Social Work and parent advisor for CanChild at McMaster University. She resides in Ontario with her husband and three children who have inspired her efforts and involvement in her local Down syndrome community. Jennifer brings her passion and commitment for human rights and creating opportunities while supporting the mission and vision of CDSS.
Dave Fischl (Board Member since 2011)
Dave is an innovative and awarded thought leader who brings his knowledge and expertise in diversity and inclusion in the workplace to the CDSS Board. He is an advocate for supported employment and has worked tirelessly at leading and mentoring workplace inclusiveness. He resides in Saskatchewan with his family and continues to be involved in the community and inspired by his grandson who has Down syndrome.
Dewlyn Lobo (Board Member since 2012)
Dewlyn is a driven and strong self-advocate who brings her passion for community and people to the CDSS Board. She resides in Ontario with her family, where she has paid, meaningful employment with the Government of Canada and continues to be involved with her local Down syndrome community as well as contributing her valuable knowledge and real- life perspectives to CDSS.
Christine McConnell (Board member since 2018)
Christine is a proud mother of three wonderful boys. After one of her twins was born with Down syndrome in 2009, Christine realized the importance of connecting with similar families and raising awareness about the abilities of her son to promote inclusion in all aspects of community life. Christine currently works as a Policy Analyst for the Yukon Government’s Department of Health and Social Services. Christine continues to help promote and advance CDSS’ mission and vision.
Ben Tarr (Board Member since 2015)
Ben is the President of a global advertising agency. Before he made the move to Canada, he spent seven years working for some of England’s top ad agencies. Outside of agency life, Ben calls Ontario home with his wife and three kids and prides himself as a parent advocate. He brings his creativity and global thinking to the CDSS Board and continues to be inspired by the Down syndrome community.
Join Us! The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is seeking candidates to join our Board of Directors. If you reside in Canada, have a strong desire to use your skills and experience to help chart a better future for individuals with Down syndrome, and are willing to serve a two-year volunteer term, then we want to hear from you!
Having a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, we encourage applications from all who meet the basic eligibility requirements. The CDSS will provide appropriate accommodation(s) for candidates with disabilities or accessibility needs.
Our Vision: All people are valued, fully participating citizens.
Our Mission: To empower Canadians with Down syndrome and their families. We raise awareness and provide information on Down syndrome through the prenatal, early childhood, school years, adulthood and retirement stages of life.
As a CDSS board member you will be responsible for ensuring the organization meets its obligations and that it is operating in accordance with its mission and for the purpose for which it was granted non-profit status. Board members must execute duty and care, which means they must attend meetings, be prepared to make informed decisions and request additional information as necessary.
We ask that all interested individuals apply using the fillable application form available here:
During the COVID-19 crisis, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society is here to serve its membership, and anyone who may need access to information and resources about Down syndrome.
Although our office is temporarily closed, our team remains available to serve you via remote operations.
You can reach us toll free in Canada at 800.883.5608 or 403.270.8500, where we ask that you leave a message in our general mailbox, or with a specific team member via the staff directory. You can also reach us by email at email@example.com.
Please click here to visit our health resources page which now includes COVID-19 information. COVID-19 resources are also available via social media at the links below. Browse hashtag #T21COVID19 when seeking out resources that are specific to Down syndrome and COVID-19.
We wish you all well and are happy that we are able to stay in touch electronically and by phone. We encourage you to follow the advice of the Government of Canada and local health authorities to stay safe and well during these challenging times.
We greatly appreciate your generous support which enables us to continue our work. To donate, please visit our secure link at: