Agency Overview


 Colchester Residential Services Society (CRSS) is a non-profit, publicly funded agency established in 1979 which provides community-based supports for children and adults with disabilities in Colchester County.

The service delivery focus for all aspects of the agency's operations is the development of skills requisite both to a quality of life at home and meaningful community access and participation.

All facets of the agency’s operation are based on the premise that each person supported by the agency is capable of change and growth. The potential for change may vary from person to person (as it does with all people) but, to the degree that it exists, it should be recognized and encouraged.

It is the responsibility of CRSS to provide opportunities for those changes to be positive experiences for each person and his/her community. The development of services for people supported by CRSS is guided by the standards set out in its “Service Principles” document.



"People with disabilities have the right to pursue goals related to where and how they live, work, learn and play."

CRSS is committed to assisting the people it supports pursue their life goals.


CRSS is mandated to provide meaningful community participation opportunities for children and adults with a wide range of disabilities including developmental, mental health concerns and physical disabilities.



The agency's Residential Program currently supports fifty nine adults and children (as of Feb. 2020)  and is comprised of:

Jackson House (adults)   

Kokochi House (adults)

Lynk House (adults)                        

McCully House (adults)                                        

Osborne House (adults)

Terry House (adults)

Thompson House (children)

ILS and Supported Apartment Program (adults)      

CRSS also offers respite support to other caregivers (families / agencies) in the form of temporary placement within its residential system. Access to respite services is subject to availability of space and funding.

On-Call (Emergency) System

CRSS maintains a 24-hour On-Call (Emergency) System to provide assistance to support workers and persons supported whenever additional guidance is required.   This is a cellular phone system that enables support workers to access the On-Call Program Supervisor whenever their own supervisor is unavailable.

There is also a Senior Management On-Call System that is used by the Program Supervisors when they require additional support or guidance from the Executive Director.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)

The CISM team at CRSS recognizes that an integral component of service delivery is providing effective support to individuals before, during, and after episodes of stressful activity. The CISM team will endeavor to provide critical incident stress management services to persons supported and support workers of CRSS who are critically affected as soon as possible after experiencing a critical incident.

Social Club

CRSS supports a Social Club which provides opportunities for participation in a range of recreational and social activities for people with disabilities in the community. 

Staff Development Committee

This committee will encourage social connections as well as professional development as a means to retention of support workers. The committee will be enlisting volunteers and networking with professionals in the community to present topics of interest to support workers. The committee is also interested in promoting healthy, professional relationships which will ultimately create a positive work environment for all.

Voice of CRSS Council

CRSS supports the ‘Voice of CRSS Council’ which is a forum for persons supported by CRSS to work as a group, to discuss issues related to their lives and speak with a common voice. The ‘Voice of CRSS Council’ meets on a monthly basis; people are encouraged to attend meetings to share and discuss their ideas and concerns.

The purpose of the Council is multifold:  to provide a line of communication to the Executive Director; to educate others about rights; and to empower persons supported to take an active role in achieving their many goals and improve their quality of life.


All agency operations are overseen by its Board of Directors. There are currently nine volunteer Board members with an Executive of four (Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary). The Board, as a whole, meets ten times yearly. Board membership is open to interested members of the community.  Anyone interested in further information related to becoming a member of the Board of Directors may call Shannon McLellan at 893- 4273.

The Board's operations are governed by the By-Laws of the Colchester Residential Services Society which set out membership criteria, roles of the Executive, roles of Board members in general, and the various decision-making processes related to Board administration.

The agency’s operations are subject to standard-setting and review under:

  • The Homes for Special Care Act;
  • The Interim Standards for Community-Based Options Programs;
  • The Community Supports for Adults Policy Manual;
  • The Child and Family Services Act;
  • The National Building Code;
  • The Registry of Joint Stocks;
  • The Labour Standards Code;
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  • The By-Laws of the Association of the Colchester Residential Services Society.
  • The Office of the Fire Marshall
  • The Policies and Procedures of C.R.S.S.
  • The Collective Agreement with NSGEU

The day-to-day operations of the agency are managed by the Executive Director who reports to the Board of Directors.

Reporting to the Executive Director are two Program Managers responsible for quality assurance and the compliance of policies, practices and standards. Eight Program Supervisors who report to the two Program Managers are responsible for individual program management. Direct support workers report to the Program Supervisors who each supervisor one program.  As well, CRSS employs a Human Resources/Health & Safety Manager.

CRSS currently employs approximately 113 direct support workers.

CRSS has an annual operating budget of approximately $4,800,000.00 which supports its Residential Program and its Administrative Office (it is located at 35 Commercial Street, Suite 201, Truro, NS).



The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

CRSS is a member of the Alzheimer Society and receives support for the development of services for people with Alzheimer’s Disease who reside in our Residential Program.  Along with a range of other services, the Society makes resources available to groups and individuals who are interested in issues related to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies is an international charitable organization dedicated to enhancing communities through one-to-one friendships between people with disabilities and students. Persons supported by CRSS and students from the Nova Scotia Community College are matched after an interview process that begins in September of each year. There are four group parties held each year with an expected minimum commitment of a weekly phone call and two one-on-one outings per month. The Truro Chapter won the Best Canadian College Chapter in 2006.

Colchester- East Hants Community Transitions Committee

The Colchester-East Hants Community Transitions Committee was established to advocate for and co-ordinate the development of services for children and young adults with disabilities who are presently in the school system.

It is a coalition of service providers, educators and family members who have come together in response to the need for long-range planning of services for people with disabilities.

Department of Community Services - In-Home Support Program

The Department of Community Services co-ordinates a province wide ‘In-Home Support Program’ for families and other caregivers to support people with disabilities at home.  CRSS is a staffing resource to the Department for families in the Colchester County area.

Services are co-ordinated by the Department of Community Services.

Department of Health - Community Health Promotion Initiative

The Department of Health is providing funding to CRSS to assist in the development of a range of health-related services and resources for people with disabilities, their families and caregivers in the Colchester County region. These services are managed through the agency's Outreach Program.

Holland College

CRSS partners with Holland College to provide opportunities for the College’s students to develop workplace experience through placements in its Residential Program.

Human Resources Development Canada

Through various employment programs, the HRDC funds a portion of staffing costs of the CRSS Outreach Program.

Institute for Human Services Education

CRSS provides opportunities for the Institute’s students to develop practicum experience through placement in its Residential Care Program.

Integrated Service Delivery Group

CRSS has joined with other facility and community-based service providers in the Northern Region to identify opportunities for partnering and joint problem-solving.

Nova Scotia Community College

CRSS provides opportunities for the College’s Human Service students to develop practicum experience through placement in its Residential Program.

Nova Scotia Residential Agencies Association

The NSRAA is an association of non-profit service providers from across Nova Scotia and is active in the development of services for people with disabilities. Its recent initiatives have included:

  • Personal Outcome Measures
  • The development of standardized (province-wide) hiring and training criteria for support workers who work with people with disabilities.
  • The drafting of guidelines for standard-setting in Small Option residences (currently unlicensed) which were submitted to the Department of Community Services to assist in its efforts to standardize care.

People First of Nova Scotia

People First of Nova Scotia is a province wide self-advocacy group established by and for people with disabilities. It works to reduce barriers to meaningful community participation for all people with disabilities.  CRSS actively supports the work of People First through advisory and resource support.

Special Care Emergency Preparedness Association of Nova Scotia

SCEPA exists to serve the needs of the special care sector in emergency planning.  We recognize that the people we support are especially vulnerable in times of crisis; therefore we are committed to minimizing that vulnerability through our involvement with SCEPA.

Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an organization that is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with disabilities through sport.  It provides choice and opportunity for training and competition to athletes with disabilities;   it is accessible and open to all individuals regardless of their ability.

Truro and District Chamber of Commerce

As an employer of approximately one hundred full and part-time staff with a substantial annual operating budget, CRSS enjoys a significant corporate profile in the community. CRSS is a member of the Chamber of Commerce as an expression of its own community membership.