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Ontario Nature staff picnic 2022 © Noah Cole


Indigenous Community Liaison (Northern Ontario)

Location: Remote (must be willing and able to travel within Ontario)
Contract length: December 2022 – March 2025
Wage: $22-23/hr
Position type: Full-time (4 days/week average)
Conditions: Willing to work occasional evenings and weekends, as required (see more detail below)
Deadline to apply: December 2, 2022
Anticipated start date: December 2022

POSITION SUMMARY
Plenty Canada is seeking candidates for a Community Liaison positions focused on Northern Ontario an. The Indigenous Community Liaison will coordinate the project deliverables for the ‘Two-Eyed Seeing approach to sharing knowledge of breeding birds in Ontario’ project. This new initiative was developed by Plenty Canada in partnership with Ontario Nature and with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada to help identify the needs and goals of Indigenous communities in terms of protection of breeding birds and culturally significant birds, and to support Indigenous communities to lead initiatives that will advance these goals. The project will be involved with the 3rd Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (Atlas-3; 2021-2015), which is an Ontario-wide survey of breeding birds. The five year survey occurs every 20 years and is largely conducted by volunteers. More information is available here Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (birdsontario.org). The Liaison will be hired on a contract basis with Plenty Canada, but will collaborate with the partnership members (Plenty Canada and Ontario Nature) leading this project. This position will sometimes require you to undertake activities outside of your normal working days and/or normal office hours, which may include extended trips or other circumstances when more intensive work is needed. Working longer than usual hours will normally be compensated by scheduled time-off in lieu, to be discussed in advance with your supervisor. 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES 

  • Liaise with Nations/communities connected to the partnership members to gauge interest, identify the needs and goals of Nations/communities in terms of protection and recovery of breeding birds and culturally significant birds
  • Develop new connections with Nations/communities/Knowledge Holders who may be interested in the project
  • Coordinate a yearly gathering/workshop, as well as smaller meetings as needed, with interested Nations/communities/Knowledge Holders and Atlas-3 committees/participants, to facilitate knowledge-sharing and co-development of breeding bird surveying and training approaches
  • Coordinate collaborative breeding bird surveying trips in Ontario (including remote locations) that use Atlas-3 survey methods and put into practice the feedback and recommendations developed during the workshops
  • Gather and record information developed during the workshops and collaborative surveys to support a learning process to explore how the atlas survey protocols and approaches could be adapted to ensure that future bird research is informed by Indigenous Ways of Knowing 
  • Participate in regular meetings with the partnership members (collaboration, updates, feedback, input, etc.)
  • Support the development of communication materials, proposals and reports
  • Lead the development of a report and presentation to help inform others on how to engage in similar monitoring work with a Two-Eyed Seeing approach (at the end of the project)

JOB REQUIREMENTS

  • Experience working with Indigenous Nations and communities along with a commitment to work in a relational way.
  • Experience with bird surveying, avian research, recreational birding, other biological surveys, or other related work.
  • Demonstrated adaptability, professionalism, attention to detail, collaboration, teamwork, self-direction, and initiative.
  • Experience with facilitating group discussions.
  • Project coordination experience.
  • Educational background in Indigenous Knowledge Systems and/or Western Environmental Sciences or Social Sciences.
  • Experience with funding applications/fundraising and/or willingness to learn.
  • A self-starter who’s not afraid to ask for guidance.
  • Strong written/verbal/relational communication skills.
  • Ability to build productive working relationships with internal and external teams including various organizations, communities, and Knowledge Holders.
  • Strong coordination, problem solving, organizing, planning skills.
  • Ability to work remotely, communicate effectively with a wide range of people and organizations, develop plans and monitor progress, and provide accurate and timely reporting.
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment.
  • Previous experience with not-for-profit work and knowledge an asset.
  • Driver’s license and access to a personal vehicle an asset.

MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT AND PARTNERSHIP
The purpose of this project is to identify the needs and goals of Indigenous communities in terms of protection and recovery of breeding birds and culturally significant birds and to support Indigenous communities to lead initiatives that will advance these goals. The third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (Atlas-3) is a five-year project (started in January 2021) that is recording evidence of breeding birds, and their habitat, across Ontario. Through our partnership, we will enable and support collaborative initiatives between Atlas-3 committees/participants and Indigenous communities to conduct breeding bird surveys, contribute to Atlas-3 and its goals of monitoring bird populations as indicators of environmental health, and inform future breeding bird atlas projects. Workshops and meetings will be used to co-develop bird survey and training approaches that meet the needs of each participating community.
Key objectives/activities include:

  1. Building partnerships between Indigenous communities and the Atlas-3 committees/participants. 
  2. Sharing the existing atlas project in ways that are most beneficial to communities (e.g., to respond to land use proposals and environmental assessments, support conservation initiatives, provide training opportunities for youth, monitor culturally significant species, and protect species at risk).
  3. Supporting a learning process to explore how the atlas surveying protocols and approaches could be adapted to ensure that future bird research is informed by Indigenous Ways of Knowing.
  4. Helping to ensure that Indigenous law and protocols are followed when Atlas-3 participants are conducting bird surveys across traditional territories and reserve lands. 

The collaborative relationship between the project partners (Plenty Canada and Ontario Nature) will strive to create and operate respecting an “ethical space of engagement” (Ermine, 2007). Ethical space is an approach to dialogue for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to meaningfully interact with one another in mutual respect of our distinct worldviews and knowledge systems, in order to collaborate, co-create solutions, and achieve common ground. It reflects the historic way of engagement between Indigenous Peoples and settler society at the signing of the first treaties, which were founded in mutual respect and co-existence. The responsibility is on us all to re-create this shared space, which in some cases has been forgotten and undermined over the last 150 years (One With Nature, 2018). For the proposed project, the partners will adopt a shared governance model that incorporates Indigenous methodologies of governance, and includes opening and closing in ceremony. All key decisions about project design, implementation, expenditures, and evaluations will be made jointly and by consensus through the lens of Two-Eyed Seeing.  

The project itself will also operate within a framework of ethical space, following the model developed during the initial phase of the Pathway to Canada Target 1 process. In practice, this means we are focusing on building our shared knowledge of breeding birds and culturally significant birds by creating an environment where a) knowledge systems may interact with mutual respect, kindness and generosity, b) no single knowledge system is given more weight or legitimacy than another, c) flexibility is maintained, and d) participation is not construed as consultation or accommodation under existing or previous provincial or federal legislation or policies.

APPLICATION PROCESS
To apply, please send your Resume and Cover Letter with this position’s title in the subject line of your email to jobs@plentycanada.com (and please indicate whether you are interested in the Northern position). We thank all applicants for their interest, but will only be contacting those selected for interviews. Applications are welcome from everyone who’s eligible, including but not limited to candidates of Indigenous ancestry.


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