Executive Director

Organization NameJob CategoriesPosition TypeRegion and Location(s)Career LevelSalaryAd Online SinceApplication Deadline
Distress Centres (Toronto)
  • Management / Executive
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Fundraising / Giving
  • Human Resources
Full Time
  • Ontario - Metro Toronto Area - Toronto
Senior Executive (E.D., CEO, CFO)N/A2019-02-122019-02-28


The Board(s) of Directors and the Canada Revenue Agency have approved the amalgamation of Distress Centres of Toronto and Spectra Community Support Services (aka Spectra Helpline). We are seeking an Executive Director to provide the leadership and vision, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, for the long-term, effective, and sustainable direction and operationalization of the amalgamated entity Distress Centres of Greater Toronto. Reporting to and supporting the Board, the Executive Director will provide leadership to a team of 3 direct reports, an overall team of 20 professional staff, and over 700 volunteers who are essential to our organization.

The Executive Director will be responsible for leading our strategic direction, operationalizing the amalgamation, and overseeing our program and service delivery – including the implementation of the Agency’s vision, mission, values and initiatives. The Executive Director will act as the leader and champion of our Agency amongst all external stakeholders, engaging with community stakeholders to monitor and respond to the changing needs of the people we serve. In addition, the Executive Director will work with our fundraising professionals to establish and sustain relationships with funders, sponsors, and donors.


Since 1967 Distress Centres Toronto has provided 24-hour telephone support, 365 days a year, without a missed shift. Hundreds of thousands of calls later, we continue to offer around the clock response to those experiencing emotional distress or in need of crisis intervention and suicide prevention. We also provide face-to-face support and counseling to people dealing with the effects of suicide and homicide.

As of December 30, 2012, Distress Centre of Peel (est. 1973) and Telecare Brampton (est. 1975) legally merged creating Spectra Community Support Services (aka Spectra Helpline). Spectra Helpline provides 24-hour telephone support, 365 days a year for anyone experiencing isolation, stress, anxiety, abuse, depression, emotional pain, mental health issues, and for those in crisis or considering suicide.  Spectra Helpline also has an outbound TeleCheck for senior’s service and provides an Elder Abuse Support program.

In 2018 the boards of both Distress Centres Toronto and Spectra Community Support Services voted to amalgamate the two organizations. With Canada Revenue Agency approval, we are currently in the final stages of legalizing the amalgamation. 

As an amalgamated agency we will continue to mitigate the impact of mental health crisis by helping those with a history of vulnerability and risk making life-affirming choices. We strive to increase service access by operating within a framework of cultural competency, including the promotion of diversity in all areas of service and we advocate on behalf of service users by reporting on current needs, gaps in service and emerging trends.

Together we foster hope and resilience one connection at a time to ensure that every individual in need receives life sustaining emotional support. We collaborate and network with other agencies to create a continuum of care and support and provide links to emergency services when necessary. 


5 branches: Brampton, Mississauga, North York, Scarborough and Downtown Toronto. 


The United Way Greater Toronto, the City of Toronto and Peel Region generously fund approximately 30% of the monies required by Distress Centres to operate annually.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, through transfer funding, fund approximately 17% and another 12% of our revenue comes via fee for service partnerships. 

We raise the remaining 51% through individual, corporate, private foundations, and through special/third party events.

Our annual budget is just under $2ML.


  • Distress Line 416.408.HELP (Toronto)
  • Helpline 905.459.7777 (Peel) – provided in 8 languages
  • Peel Elder Abuse Support Program
  • Survivor of Suicide Loss & Survivor of Homicide Loss Programs – in person
  • TeleCheck for Seniors & Caller Reassurance service
  • Touching Base Program
  • Community Outreach and Education Program


  • Alzheimer Society of Dufferin County (TeleCheck for Seniors service)
  • Canada Mental Health Association – Peel Branch (Touching Base program)
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – CAMH (Crisis & Suicide Transfer Line)
  • Crisis Link (TTC and Bell)
  • Crisis Services Canada – Canada Suicide Prevention Service (toll free number & text services)
  • EMS Suicide Transfer Line
  • Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO) Helpline


Detailed information about our programs and services, our board members, annual reports etc., can be found on our respective websites:

Toronto Website: https://www.torontodistresscentre.com/

Spectra Website: https://spectrahelpline.org/


The Executive Director will bring knowledge of the mental health environment and credible involvement in our sector along with a clear understanding of our core issues. The new incumbent will establish a presence in our community, enhancing our networks to encourage strategic partnerships. Having a track record of developing and leading partnerships, the ideal candidate will be a savvy and diplomatic facilitator with well-honed persuasion skills.

The successful candidate will be comfortable establishing and sustaining relationships with funders, sponsors and donors. With the business acumen to make informed choices, the new incumbent will display a strong customer service perspective. The Executive Director will be transparent and respectful and will drive strategic change by augmenting the innovation for which our organization(s) are known.

Dynamic, creative and collaborative, the ideal candidate will authentically engage our volunteers, our Board and our various stakeholders. Humble and approachable, yet assertive when needed, the new incumbent will possess strong interpersonal skills. As a coach and mentor, the successful candidate will leverage the commitment of our staff to help them reach their highest potential. 

The Executive Director will acknowledge the history, strength and growth of our Agency and will appreciate that volunteers are essential to the frontline service we provide.


Key responsibilities of the Executive Director include:

Long-Term Strategic Direction of the Agency

  • Annually updates the long-term strategic plan including review of mission, vision and values. This includes the identification of emerging issues, an environmental review of the changing needs of the community that is served by the Agency, a ‘competitive’ review, community (municipal, provincial, national) funding changes and issues, Agency opportunities, Agency strengths and weaknesses and longer-term strategic issues and opportunities. This should be developed in conjunction with the Board.
  • As part of the annual planning and budget processes, sets specific Agency goals and outcomes which are reviewed with the Board on an annual basis for input and approval.
  • As part of the Annual Plan and Budget, identifies the required staffing, technology and funding needs to meet annual goals.
  • Works with Agency staff as required to develop and implement operational plans, procedures, programs and services. Is ultimately responsible for approving and ensuring that they are consistent with the Board’s policies and the Agency’s mission, values, vision, and strategic plan.


  • Acts as the leader and champion of the Agency amongst all external stakeholders.
  • In conjunction with the fund development staff, works to establish the most senior level of relationships with existing and potential sponsors/donors to, as needed, open doors, build and close fundraising opportunities, and maintain ongoing senior level relationships.
  • Works in collaboration with the Board, staff and volunteers to achieve Agency goals.
  • Encourages the development of a positive work environment and culture by facilitating open communication, innovation and positive relationships with staff and volunteers.
  • Inspires and motivates direct staff to participate fully in Agency activities.
  • Serves on and provides guidance to each of the active committees on the Board.

Community and Sector Engagement

  • Promotes awareness of the Agency’s mission and vision within the community, and within any sector that aligns with the Agency’s mission, vision, values and strategic orientations and initiatives, to consolidate the Agency’s position as a recognized leader in crisis response including suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.
  • Engages with community stakeholders with respect to monitoring and responding to changing needs and conditions of the community that is served by the Agency.
  • Participates in networking and in community and sector relations activities on behalf of the Agency.
  • Shares best practices and expertise with organizations with related causes and concerns.
  • Builds strong relationships with stakeholders within the community and sector.
  • Acts as an advocate for the Agency and its programs in the community and in the sector (including the national and local mental health movement).
  • Facilitates a communication plan that informs the community and sector of the activities, directions and outcomes of the Agency.
  • Seeks public speaking opportunities within the community and sector.
  • Seeks leadership opportunities within the community and sector.

Policy Management and Implementation

  • Oversees the day-to-day operations of the Agency including the implementation of Agency policies by staff.
  • Works with the Board on governance policy issues by executing Board-approved policies, recommending best practice changes to policies as they arise and recommending any needed new policies.
  • Establishes procedures, controls and evaluative processes for the Agency consistent with best practices and policies established by the Board.

Program Management

  • Oversees and facilitates as needed the research, planning, development, implementation and evaluation of the Agency’s programs and services.
  • Approves program and service goals.
  • Ensures that programs and services reflect the Agency’s strategic orientations and initiatives and the Agency’s mission, values and vision.

Financial Management

  • Recommends and implements the Agency’s budget as approved by the Board and the Board’s policies for the allocation of resources, stewardship of existing funders and the cultivation and diversification of funding sources.
  • Maintains full awareness of the complete financial, statistical and accounting records of the Agency in accordance with Board policies.
  • Ensures the Board is provided with regular statements of revenues and expenditures.
  • Alerts the Board to all significant variances from the approved budget.
  • Initiates and in conjunction with staff, prepares the annual budget for Board approval.

Human Resources Management

  • Reviews and determines staffing and service volunteer requirements for Agency management and program delivery.
  • Hires, supervises, evaluates and releases, if required, any salaried staff.
  • Ensures that staff receive appropriate training for their positions.
  • Sets specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-limited goals as part of an annual review process.
  • Supports staff talent management through coaching, individual professional development, monitoring performance and encouraging staff initiatives.
  • Provides regular, appropriate and constructive feedback.

Risk Management

  • Evaluates the assets and liabilities of programs, services, proposals, and strategies.
  • Identifies and evaluates risks and opportunities.
  • Assesses, on an ongoing basis, risks to the Agency’s financial stability, public image and growth.
  • Provides regular, reliable and comparable reports on the Agency’s progress.


  • A ‘take charge’ individual who encourages information sharing, partnerships and consensus decision making in determining the overall direction of an organization.
  • Proven strategic planning skills and ability to synthesize numerous sources of data and input, develop insights and recommend new long-term actions that will ensure the longevity of the Distress Centres.
  • Previous experience in non-profit program management.
  • Fundraising experience, either being directly involved in fundraising or being in a non-profit environment where fundraising is a key driver of the organization’s health.
  • Demonstrated ability to review and understand financial drivers and reporting, develop appropriate action plans, remedial and otherwise, when the situation so requires.
  • Commands the respect of all stakeholders through transparency, the ability to make decisions and see them through, has resiliency, a sense of urgency, and is action and results oriented.
  • Comfortable and collaborative in fostering teamwork to gain consensus from assorted stakeholders, both internally and externally.
  • Ability to be persuasive and initiate action.
  • A good listener and strong communicator.
  • Ability to open doors and build successful long-term relationships.
  • Confidence to represent Distress Centres at the most senior level amongst stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to foster teamwork, gain consensus from assorted stakeholders, both internal and external.
  • Collaborative team leader and team player.
  • Experienced coach and mentor, setting compensation strategies and policies, understanding appropriate training needs and resolving conflict as necessary.
  • Experience working within the complementary role of a Board and within the parameters of where the Boards established role begins and ends.

Please use the Apply Now button below
to be considered for this position.

Apply NowThis functionality is only available on a desktop or laptop computer.

Click here for important information about
applying for a job through CharityVillage.