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Help us protect wild species and wild spaces. Together, we are the voice for nature in Ontario.

Ontario Nature staff picnic 2022 © Noah Cole

Conservation Policy and Campaigns Director

Position Overview

Ontario Nature is seeking a Conservation Policy and Campaigns Director to lead well-funded conservation campaigns and other policy-based initiatives to ensure that laws and policies safeguard the protection of wild species and wild spaces. The Director leads Ontario Nature’s work to maintain and advance a broad base of support for policy goals by cultivating strong working relationships and partnerships with government agencies, First Nations and Indigenous communities, Ontario Nature’s Nature Network of local and regional groups, funders and other environmental organizations.

The Director leads all aspects of conservation policy analysis; government relations; and the development and implementation of conservation campaigns, especially related to advancing achievements towards the protected areas target of 30% by 2030 and the protection of species and habitats in Ontario. They manage and administer projects and activities; identify and develop new opportunities to advance program goals; lead program institutional donor fundraising; and develop and manage annual program objectives, work plans and budgets.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director will lead and manage the Policy and Campaigns team. As the ideal candidate, you will have at least 5 to 10 years of environmental policy and campaign experience and superior written, verbal and listening communication skills. You have a proven ability to manage complex projects and lead and motivate teams in a fast-paced environment. You have experience working collaboratively with Indigenous communities and with stakeholders across sectors to advance shared interests and sound environmental policy. You have a love of nature and the outdoors and thrive in pursuing purpose-filled work.

About Ontario Nature

Ontario Nature is a charitable conservation organization that protects wild species and wild spaces across Ontario through conservation, education and public engagement. We represent over 150 member groups, and more than 30,000 individual members and supporters throughout the province. We are there wherever and whenever nature needs us most. To learn more, visit: ontarionature.org.

Why Work with Ontario Nature

  • Flexible work hours and location, in accordance with our Remote Work Policy.
  • Progressive workspace and membership perks at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto.
  • Generous vacation leave and 4 paid days off in addition to statutory holidays during our office closure in late December.
  • 3 paid personal leave days, 12 paid sick days per year and comprehensive benefits. package including health, dental and group RRSP program.
  • Fulfilling, purpose-driven work, alongside 30 passionate and committed colleagues.
  • An ongoing commitment to create an inclusive and equitable environment for employees, volunteers, members and supporters.
  • Opportunities for skill development and cross-sectoral collaboration.
  • Support for taking initiative and pursuing aligned personal interest projects.
  • Team building and social opportunities.

Key Responsibilities

  1. Campaign Development and Execution
    • Develop and implement effective public campaigns to mount strong support to maintain or achieve strong laws and policies for the protection of Ontario’s biodiversity engaging with members, Nature Network groups and partners.
  2. Government Relations
    • Cultivate and maintain effective communications with political leaders to advance achievement of key conservation policy goals.
    • Cultivate and maintain effective relationships with senior government officials to achieve program goals.
  3. Policy Analysis
    • Ensure thorough analysis of new policy or legislative proposals that impact the protection of Ontario’s biodiversity to inform responses, campaigns and engage the Nature Network, partners and the wider public in actively supporting key objectives.
  4. Program Communications and Media Relations
    • Lead the development and implementation of communications plans for conservation policy and campaign programs.
    • Working with the Communications Director, lead on all media relations related to conservation policy and campaigns including interviews and proactively working with the media to ensure coverage of key issues.
    • Act as primary spokesperson on policy and campaigns, and on conservation policy-related matters.
  5. Community and Partner Relations
    • Play a leadership role in coalitions and other partnerships with conservation and environmental organizations, agricultural organizations, private sector organizations and others with mutual interests to establish and achieve common goals and objectives.
    • Lead policy and campaign initiatives with Ontario Nature’s Nature Network members alongside the Nature Network Organizer.
  6. Indigenous Relations
    • Play a leadership role in fostering respectful, mutually beneficial relationships with Indigenous colleagues.
    • Lead efforts to work with Indigenous colleagues to identify and advance shared interests and objectives in law and policy reform and implementation.
  7. Program Planning, Management and Financial Administration
    • Spearhead multi-year program and project planning, evaluation and budgeting for conservation policy and campaign programs.
    • Work with the Executive Director and other members of the Senior Management Team to set the organization’s strategic goals and translate these into specific operational objectives on an annual and multi-year basis.
    • Develop and oversee the conservation policy and campaign program budgets including expense and revenue monitoring and quarterly expense and revenue projections.
    • Oversee the hiring, supervision, work planning and performance management of all staff and contractors for the conservation policy and campaign programs.
    • Provide timely internal reports on progress towards achieving goals and targets.
  8. Program Fundraising
    • Work with development staff and the Policy and Campaigns team to identify, cultivate and pursue funding opportunities.
    • Ensure effective and timely reporting to funders and donors.
    • Play a leading role in donor relations related to conservation policy and campaigns, working with the Development team.
  9. Other
    • Provide advice and guidance to inform Ontario Nature’s work related to conservation strategy, planning and Indigenous and partner relations led by other teams, particularly Conservation Science and Stewardship.
    • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in the conservation/environmental field (e.g., planning, political science, environmental studies, biological science, law).
  • Minimum 5 –10 years of directly relevant policy and campaign experience.
  • Flexibility, reliability, self-motivation, and ability to work independently and as a leader.
  • Strong knowledge of Ontario’s laws and policies related to conservation and environmental protection.
  • Excellent communications skills (written, verbal and listening) and ease with communicating with a wide range of audiences from the public and private sectors including making public presentations.
  • Strong negotiation skills and experience working with decision makers and partners.
  • Demonstrated skills in project planning and management with strong financial management skills.
  • Demonstrated experience in project fundraising, especially proposal writing and donor stewardship.
  • Proven ability to supervise and motivate staff and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated ability to work respectfully with Indigenous communities.
  • Strong planning and analytical skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion within the workplace and the broader community.
  • Superior problem-solving skills and sound judgment.
  • Valid class G driver’s license.
  • Must be prepared to travel, work flexible hours frequently.

Anticipated Start Date: Late-April 2024 (negotiable)

Type of Position: Full-time, permanent

Compensation: $88,000 – $112,000 per annum, commensurate with experience

Location: This position is based at Ontario Nature’s Head Office – 720 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON. This position may work remotely in accordance with Ontario Nature’s operational Remote Work Policy, provided there is the ability to attend external and internal meetings in Toronto at short notice.

Working Conditions: This position requires some evening and weekend work for meetings, events and to meet certain deadlines. Lieu time may be accrued for this. This position requires extensive sitting, typing and time spent viewing computer screens.

Direct Reports:

  • Conservation Policy and Planning Manager
  • Conservation Planning Coordinator
  • Protected Places Assessment Coordinator
  • Municipal Protected Places Intern
  • Additional short-term employees and contractors

To Apply:

  • Include your resume, cover letter and three references in one PDF document, addressing your qualifications and experience.
  • Include “Conservation Policy and Campaigns Director” in the subject line.
  • Email your application to jobs@ontarionature.org.
  • Deadline for applications: March 22, 2024, 11:59 P.M. We encourage interested candidates to apply sooner as we will conduct screenings and schedule interviews throughout the application window.

Although Ontario Nature appreciates the efforts of all those who apply for this position, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. No unsolicited emails or phone calls please.

Ontario Nature is committed to employment equity, diversity and accessibility. Requests for disability-related accommodation can be made at any stage of the recruitment process, and applicants should make their requirements known when contacted.


Indigenous Community Liaison – Southern Ontario

Location: Remote, anywhere in Ontario (must be willing and able to travel within the southern portion of Ontario [roughly south of Dokis First Nation or North Bay])

Contract length: Ends March 31, 2025

Wage: $23 – 25/hr, 4 days/week

Conditions: Willing to work occasional evenings and weekends, as required (see more detail below)

Deadline: Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

POSITION SUMMARY

Plenty Canada is seeking a candidate for an Indigenous Community Liaison position. The Indigenous Community Liaison will coordinate project deliverables for the ‘Two-Eyed Seeing approach to sharing knowledge of breeding birds in Ontario’ project (see more information about the project at the end of this document). This 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 is collaborating with the 3rd Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas (“Atlas-3”), which is a five-year Ontario-wide survey of breeding birds conducted by largely by volunteers.

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 breeding bird surveying activities with Indigenous communities in Ontario (including remote locations), according to the needs of the community, providing resources, building connections and collaborative activities with Atlas-3 participants when appropriate
  • Coordinate a yearly gathering/workshop, as well as smaller meetings as needed, with interested Nations/communities/Knowledge Holders and Atlas-3 participants, to facilitate knowledge-sharing and co-development of breeding bird surveying and training approaches
  • 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
  • Keep accurate records of communications and activities undertaken
  • 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)
  • Collaborate with the Northern Ontario Indigenous Community Liaison on all of the previous responsibilities, where appropriate

JOB REQUIREMENTS

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

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.

We thank all applicants for their interest, but will only be contacting those selected for interviews.

Preference for hiring a candidate of Indigenous ancestry, however, we welcome applications from anyone who is eligible.

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.

Read more about the project here: plentycanada.com/two-eyed-seeing-bird-knowledge.


Join the Team

Our talented staff is dedicated to the protection of wild species and wild spaces.

Together, with our members and supporters, we are the voice for nature in this beautiful province. We follow a credible, science-based approach to conservation and are committed to act with integrity.

Join us!

Staff retreat © Noah Cole

Hiring Practices

Ontario Nature is committed to employment equity, diversity and accessibility.

Requests for disability-related accommodation can be made at any stage of the recruitment process, and applicants should make their requirements known when contacted.

Restoration site, Sydenham River Nature Reserve © David Coulson

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We do not accept unsolicited applications.

Smera Sukumar measuring tree height with clinometre © Stephanie Muckle