August 14, 2018 (TORONTO) Crisis Services Canada (CSC) was one of six organizations singled out at the second annual ITWC Digital Transformation Awards held in Toronto on Tuesday.
Crisis Services Canada saw a 1,600 per cent rise in website traffic and a 450 per cent increase in traffic on its virtual contact centre during the week of June 8th, when fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain took their lives within days of each other. But Crisis Services has spent the last two years creating a robust hotline infrastructure that strives to answer every call, chat and instant message it has received since the March 2017 initial phase launch.
What’s being called the first multimedia voice text and chat suicide prevention service integrated with sophisticated case management and reporting capabilities, the scalable platform has the opportunity to help tens of thousands of Canadians struggling with or affected by suicide as well as provide referrals for local mental health or personal issues. Crisis Services says the hotline has already saved Canada’s healthcare system almost $25 million dollars in just an eight-month span by supporting Canadians in need by eliminating expensive police assisted emergency room visits.
“Their introduction of email chat and text to what previously was a voice only hotline environment broadened the range of people they could reach,” concluded the program judges. “It was recognition of their clients’ needs, and it has saved lives right from the very first day. That’s a measurable impact that’s hard to argue with.”
The winners and their categories
Large Public Sector category: City of Vancouver. Award accepted CTO Jessie Adcock.
Digital Transformation Disruptor: SalesChoice Inc. Award accepted by Dr. Cindy Gordon.
SME Public category: Telefilm Canada. Award accepted by Director, Administration and Corporate Services Denis Pion.
SME Public or not-for-profit organization category: Crisis Services Canada. Award accepted by CSC CTO Roberta Fox, CSC President of the Board Alison Caird and Rogers Senior Manager, Unified Communications, Stephanie MacDonald.
Large Private Sector category: There was a tie. Loblaw Digital and PCL Construction. Accepting of behalf of Loblaw Digital was Senior Director of Development Sean Tozer. CIO Mark Bryant accepted on behalf of PCL Construction.
During the conference that preceded the awards, the findings of two national studies were released: an ITWC/OpenText survey of the financial services and insurance industry and the annual CanadianCIO Census looking at the state of the CIO role in Canada. The government of Canada CIO Alex Benay opened the conference, and various panels discussed the impact of AI, best practices for security, and emerging opportunities around blockchain.
“We’re coming into a time of widening possibility when it comes to digital,” said ITWC CIO Jim Love. “Listening to our presenters and reviewing the accomplishments of our award winners, I see a dynamic spirit across the entire spectrum. This is very exciting.”
Event sponsors included BlackBerry, CA Technologies, Genesys, OpenText, Microsoft and SAS. Supporters included CATA Alliance, the CIO Association of Canada, Digital Nova Scotia, ICTC, FGS, IDC, SIM Toronto, Steam Labs, Ward Technology Talent, and Workday.
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