CERA is one of Canada’s oldest charities working to advance the right to adequate housing. Founded in 1987, CERA has worked tirelessly for over thirty years at the intersection of human rights and housing and is one of Canada’s leading NGOs working in the area of social and economic rights. CERA works to advance the right to adequate housing by:
• Serving clients to help them stay housed: CERA provides free services to tenants facing eviction and human rights violations in their housing, and we are experts in these fields. Each year we provide services to over a thousand tenants and we are highly effective in ensuring that some of the most vulnerable Ontario renters remain in their homes.
• Providing education and training about housing rights: CERA provides public education and training on housing rights and human rights in housing to diverse groups across Ontario, reaching approximately 1,000 people annually. We work with community partners to train individuals and communities about their housing rights and how to assert them, and we engage with landlords to educate them about their obligations as housing providers.
• Advancing rights-based housing policy: CERA advances rights-based housing policy through research, policy development, advocacy and litigation. Notable achievements include setting a legal precedent preventing landlords from discriminating against renters who receive social assistance, launching a constitutional challenge against the federal government for failing to take action against homelessness, and coordinating the Right to Housing Toronto Network (R2HTO).
About the Role
We are seeking a motivated and committed individual with a commitment to human rights and strong skills in public policy, communications, government and stakeholder relations, advocacy, outreach and community engagement, and project and program management to join our small but mighty CERA team and help us in our ambitious goal of advancing the right to housing.
In this role, your ability to juggle multiple responsibilities under tight timelines is essential. If you are a self-starter with demonstrated experience managing projects and programs, successfully navigating policy processes and multi-stakeholder environments, and communicating complex messages to various audiences in service of advancing policy change, this may be the role for you.
As Manager of Policy, Communications and Engagement, your responsibilities will include: Policy Research, Analysis and Advocacy
• Maintaining an up-to-date understanding of the policy and political landscape as it relates to CERA’s work, policy strategy and strategic plan.
• Reviewing, analyzing, and advising management on existing and proposed public policy as it relates to CERA’s work.
• Developing and writing reports, factsheets, briefing notes, and other policy relevant documents.
• Leading and supporting policy advocacy to advance the right to housing with a range of government, public, and community agencies.
• Managing, directing and supporting staff, students and volunteers assigned to policy roles in leading CERA’s ongoing policy work and in developing and executing comprehensive policy and advocacy strategies to support CERA’s new strategic plan. Communications & Media Relations
• Developing engaging communications content including press releases, statements, articles, op-eds, project case studies, website and social media content, newsletters and other promotional materials, reports for donors and speaking notes.
• Building relationships with key media contacts and identifying opportunities to proactively pitch stories through media outlets as appropriate.
• Managing, directing and supporting staff, students and volunteers assigned to communications roles in leading CERA’s ongoing communications work, including content development, digital engagement and media relations, and in developing and executing strategic communications plans. Community outreach & engagement
• Cultivating respectful and collaborative relationships with individuals, communities, networks and organizations who have or are working with those who have experienced housing precarity, homelessness or human rights violations in their housing.
• Acting as a knowledge translator between directly impacted communities, clients, and members of the public, including policy makers and government.
• Liaising with directly impacted communities and CERA staff to translate community information and direction into concrete strategies and policy recommendations.
• Managing, directing and supporting staff, students and volunteers assigned to outreach and advocacy roles in leading CERA’s ongoing outreach and advocacy work, and developing and executing engagement plans. Government Relations
• Developing and maintaining relationships with key policymakers at the municipal, provincial and federal level in order to advance CERA’s policy reform efforts.
• Representing CERA at meetings with stakeholders, government agencies, policymakers and officials. Project Oversight and Management
• Overseeing and supporting a new three-year initiative beginning in April 2021, focused on building cross-sectoral capacity and commitment across Ontario to advance the right to housing.
• Managing and directing staff, students and volunteers assigned to the project.
• Preparing reports on financials and outcomes for management and the funder as needed, and communications materials to promote the program to relevant external audiences including donors, other stakeholders and the public.
• Conceiving, developing, and supporting other initiatives that respond to identified community engagement and policy needs. Administration & Organizational Leadership
• Coordinating and ensuring alignment between CERA’s policy, advocacy and community engagement efforts, and ensuring they align with CERA’s new strategic plan. • Providing strategic thought leadership on policy issues related to housing.
• Representing CERA in relevant sector conversations and to a variety of audiences and stakeholders.
• Building a healthy team culture of collaboration, accountability, support, ongoing learning, and effective processes.
• Supervising, providing direction, performance management, coaching and professional development to direct reports (staff, students and volunteers).
• Performing other duties as required to support the organization, Executive Director and Board of Directors.
• Post-secondary degree in a related field (e.g. public policy, communications, law) and a minimum of 10 years of relevant, post-graduation professional work experience in policy, advocacy, strategic communications, government or stakeholder relations.
• Experience working effectively with low-income and marginalized populations facing housing precarity and systemic violations of their human rights.
• Knowledge of the right to housing, human rights and housing law, and the housing and social services sector in Toronto and Ontario.
• Experience working, volunteering or collaborating with community organizations and networks, or the broader non-profit sector.
• Demonstrated track record of engaging with senior government officials (elected and civil servants) to successfully achieve policy change.
• Thorough knowledge and demonstrated ability in strategic communications including content development, media relations, public affairs, external engagement and outreach.
• Knowledge of public policy processes, understanding of and experience in developing, implementing and/or evaluating policy, drafting briefing notes and/or position papers.
• Project or program management experience, including sound knowledge of work planning, budgeting and financial management, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
• Experience supervising, mentoring, and supporting staff, interns, and volunteers.
• Outstanding written and oral communication skills in English and an ability to communicate directly with diverse audiences and the general public, producing clear written work on complex issues.
• Advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
• Working proficiency in an additional language, particularly French, is an asset.
Skills and attributes
• Outstanding organizational, analytical and problem-solving skills.
• Ability to multi-task, thrive in a fast-paced environment, and adapt quickly to change.
• Ability to build relationships with stakeholders and work in close co-operation with volunteers, community members, legal experts, service providers, academia and/or researchers, and in a multi-disciplinary team.
• Ability to work accurately under pressure with attention to detail and deadlines, and with minimal supervision.
• Flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit to accommodate high levels of responsibility and multiple and sometimes shifting priorities. • Strong political acumen, diplomacy, discretion, tact and good judgement.
• Cultural sensitivity and a commitment to principles of equity. We recognize and value the unique perspective that people with lived experience of poverty and/or precarious housing bring in addition to the skills and qualifications listed above.
Starting Salary Range: $75,000 – $88,000 commensurate with experience and qualifications
Anticipated Start Date: February / March 2021
What we offer
An opportunity to work with an innovative, mission-driven, entrepreneurial non-profit organization working to advance the right to housing, and the opportunity to contribute to shaping our direction as we continue on our growth trajectory.
A generous benefits package will be made available following the end of the three-month probationary period, which includes health and dental benefits, AD&D, long-term disability and life insurance. All staff are provided with 10 paid sick days annually. Four weeks of paid vacation are provided and CERA’s offices typically close over the winter holidays, providing a handful of additional paid days off for staff. CERA offers flexible hours, the opportunity to work remotely (on a part-time basis), and with a diverse group of talented staff who are committed to advancing the right to housing.
Our office is located at the Centre for Social Innovation (Spadina location), an exciting shared workspace that houses 250 non-profits and social innovators across multiple locations in downtown Toronto. It is accessible by transit, gender inclusive, and offers substantial opportunities to network with like-minded people and participate in a mission-driven, innovative community through various events.
Until public health guidance related to COVID-19 changes, CERA staff are encouraged and supported to work from their home offices on a full-time basis and are provided with appropriate equipment to ensure a safe work environment. Staff have the option of working at CERA’s office if they prefer, subject to availability, and so long as public health and building protocols are followed.
To apply for this job Applications should include a CV and cover letter in one PDF document and should be submitted by email to email@example.com with the subject line: Application – Manager of Policy, Communications and Engagement.
At CERA, we believe that a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve strengthens our ability to achieve our mission. We strongly encourage applicants of all genders, racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, abilities, and with a range of life experiences to apply.
We are committed to full compliance with the Human Rights Code, the Accessibility For Ontarians With Disabilities Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and all other applicable legislation. We will provide accommodation during the hiring process upon request and information received relating to accommodation measures will be addressed confidentially.
We thank all applicants for their interest. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.