The Canadian Association for Leisure Studies (CALS) is an organization of persons interested in leisure research which has, as its prime responsibilities, (1) awarding the triennial Canadian Congress on Leisure Research to organizations interested in convening it (usually universities), and (2) maintaining communication among members between Congresses. All delegates who attend a Congress are automatically members of the Association until the next Congress.

CALS is governed by a Board of Directors elected at each Congress, which serves until the next. It has no paid staff, and its Head Office moves with the Presidency.

CALS Board of Directors, 2017-2020

Heather Mair
Heather MairPresident
University of Waterloo
Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies
Waterloo, Ontario
Dawn Trussell
Dawn TrussellVice-president / Treasurer
Brock University
Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies
St. Catharines, Ontario
Karen Gallant
Karen GallantSecretary
Dalhousie University
School of Health and Human Performance
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Bryan Smale
Bryan SmalePast-president
University of Waterloo
Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies
Waterloo, Ontario
Angela Loucks-Atkinson
Angela Loucks-AtkinsonDirector
Memorial University of Newfoundland
School of Human Kinetics and Recreation
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Darla Fortune
Darla FortuneDirector
Concordia University
Department of Applied Human Sciences
Montreal, Quebec
Elizabeth Halpenny
Elizabeth HalpennyDirector
University of Alberta
Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation
Edmonton, Alberta
 Barbara Hamilton-Hinch
Barbara Hamilton-HinchDirector
Dalhousie University
Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Shannon Hebblethwaite
Shannon HebblethwaiteDirector
Concordia University
Department of Applied Human Sciences
Montreal, Quebec
Paul Heintzman
Paul HeintzmanDirector
University of Ottawa
Faculty of Health Sciences
Ottawa, Ontario
Susan Hutchinson
Susan HutchinsonDirector
Dalhousie University
School of Health and Human Performance
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Cory Kulczycki
Cory KulczyckiDirector
University of Regina
Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies
Regina, Saskatchewan
Marc-André Lavigne
Marc-André LavigneDirector
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Département d’études en loisir, culture et tourisme
Trois-Rivières, Québec
Luke Potwarka
Luke PotwarkaDirector
University of Waterloo
Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies
Waterloo, Ontario

The first Canadian Congress on Leisure Research was convened in Quebec City in 1975, under the auspices of Laval University. It was conceived as a one-time event, with no conscious idea that it would become the first in a series of such congresses — although there was discussion among some delegates about the need for a second congress perhaps five years down the road!

The success of the first Congress encouraged a group in Ontario to organize another, titled the Second Canadian Congress on Leisure Research, which was held in Toronto in 1978. It was at this Second Congress that a continuing series of conferences was first envisaged, together with the idea of a permanent organization to promote leisure research generally in Canada and, specifically, to take responsibility for the convening of the Congress. A group of delegates met and charged a small committee, headed by Jack Ellis from York University and Bill Knott from the Ontario Government, to prepare a proposal and constitution for a formal organization, which would be presented to delegates at a Third Congress tentatively scheduled to be held a year later in Edmonton.

It soon became apparent that organizing a national conference in the absence of a formal organization with permanent resources could not be done in a few months. And so, it was not until 1981 that the Third Canadian Congress on Leisure Research convened in Edmonton. The proposal and constitution for a Canadian Association for Leisure Studies (CALS) was unanimously endorsed by delegates. The Association also settled on the triennial pattern for the convening of the Congress which had emerged for the first three congresses, since this appeared to be reasonable from a logistical standpoint. Two years later, in 1983, the Association received its Federal Charter.