CharityIntelligence Canada

Distress Centres of Toronto

31 Adelaide St E
Toronto, ON M5G 1B1
Executive Director: Alison Caird
Board President: Helen Dixon

Charitable Reg. #: 10702 1016 RR0001
Sector: Social Services
Operating Charity

Charity Rating

[Charity Rating: 4/4]

Results Reporting

Grade: A-

The grade is based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.

Financial Transparency

Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity's website [Audited financial statement for most recent year]

Need for Funding

Funding Reserves Program Costs

Spending Breakdown

Cents to the Cause

2015 2016 2017
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #11

Avg. Compensation $70,593

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 0
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 0
$120k - $160k 0
$80k - $120k 1
$40k - $80k 9
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2016

About Distress Centres of Toronto:

Founded in 1967, Distress Centres of Toronto (DCT) offers 24-hour telephone support every day for crisis intervention, emotional support, and suicide prevention. Online chatting and texting are other available forms the charity offers for these services. The charity also provides face-to-face support and counseling to people suffering from losing someone to a suicide or homicide. According to DCT, suicide is one of the top ten causes of deaths in Canada and rates have been increasing over the past 60 years.

In F2017, Distress Centres of Toronto had 104,388 voice, text, online chat, and in-person interactions. With 78,131 calls, the 408-Help Line program makes up the majority of interactions. DCT disclosed a breakdown of its responses to calls: 46% provided emotional support, 40% reduced feelings of isolation, 25% provided mental health support, 20% performed distress management or crisis management, 11% helped callers explore options or coping mechanisms, 5% did not complete the call, 3% provided information, 1% called 911, and 2% didn’t fall into any category. Since some calls had several responses, the total exceeds 100%.

Distress Centres of Toronto reported 21,439 online chat and text interactions in F2017. Of these callers, 41% were 25-44 years old, 39% were 15-24 years old, 5% were 45-64 years old, 14% did not provide their age, and 1% were under 15 years old.

Distress Centres of Toronto’s Caller Reassurance for Seniors program aims to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable, older Canadians and empower them to stay active in their community. DCT’s trained volunteers have scheduled 3,644 outbound calls with participants and provided medication reminders, appointment reminders, goal setting, anxiety support, support for those who feel lonely, and other conversation topics. Most participant concerns were related to mental health, followed by physical health concerns, then interpersonal concerns for those who felt lonely. Participant demographics were 62% between 65 and 84 years old, 35% between 45 and 65 years old, and 3% over 85 years old.

In 2017, Crises Services Canada — a collaboration between all Canadian non-profit distress and crisis service centres — launched a pilot test with an aim to provide nation-wide suicide support via phone, text, or chat. Crisis Canada handled calls for this pilot project, with 797 interactions between November and December 2017.

Distress Centres of Toronto performs interactions for other partnership programs. A partnership with Professional Association of Residents of Ontario included 524 calls from medical residents, their partners and family members, and medical students for crisis intervention, and support for anxiety, depression, and other conditions. DCT partnered with Toronto’s Emergency Medical Services and in F2017, DCT provided support over the phone to 282 suicidal people while they waited for an ambulance. DCT partnered with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and Bell Canada to provide payphones at subway stations to prevent subway suicides. Call locations are tracked so if a DCT counsellor believes the caller is in danger, DCT alerts the TTC to slow subway trains and help is dispatched. Of the 242 TTC calls in F2017, suicide assistance was required for 139 calls. In another program, DCT responded to 74 crisis calls transferred from CAMH in F2017.

Results and Impact: Of the 78,131 408-Help Line calls in F2017, 92% of callers experienced positive outcomes, including 37% reported feeling reduced isolation, 32% reduced emotional distress, 14% established coping mechanisms, 5% changed their outlook, and 3% reduced suicide intent.  In the online text and chatting program, the most common outcome was an incomplete call, followed closely by increased ability to cope. Of the 74 warm transfers in the CAMH partnership, 46% of callers experienced less emotional distress, 22% felt less isolation, 22% felt the same, 3% changed their outlook, 3% established coping mechanisms, 2% reduced suicide intent, and 2% were dissatisfied.

Financial Review:

Distress Centres of Toronto is a Medium-sized charity with $1.1m in donations and special events revenues in F2017. In F2017, its administrative costs were 11% of revenues, while fundraising costs were 6% of donations. For every dollar donated, 83 cents go to the cause, falling within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. DCT has funding reserves of $252k, which can cover annual programs for just under 3 months, showing a funding need. 

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Distress Centres of Toronto for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on July 6, 2018 by Joeyanne Cheung.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending December
Administrative costs as % of revenues 11.1%8.2%7.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 6.2%5.4%6.6%
Program cost coverage (%) 23.4%29.5%31.8%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $s
Donations 806,762842,731780,729
Goods in kind 8,57717,5588,898
Government funding 116,335114,050111,605
Special events 322,415272,770241,128
Investment income 2,9272,855981
Other income 24,29411,3234,872
Total revenues 1,281,3101,261,2871,148,213
Program costs 1,077,8161,108,0231,068,403
Administrative costs 142,265103,26783,929
Fundraising costs 69,44560,41967,543
Cash flow from operations (8,216)(10,422)(71,662)
Funding reserves 251,827327,143339,394
Note: Ci included postage as part of fundraising costs.  Ci used compensation information from the charity's F2016 T3010 CRA filing as the charity's F2017 T3010 filing was not available when the profile was created.