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Director of Programs & Communications

    Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of 7 million ordinary people in more than 150 countries who come together to achieve extraordinary results in defending and promoting human rights. We get discriminatory laws changed and prisoners of conscience released. We’ve helped stop torture, commute death sentences and worked to end violence against women. We work alongside Indigenous Peoples demanding that their rights be respected.

    Amnesty International Canada is committed to employment equity, actively seeks diversity in the workplace, and welcomes and encourages applications from members of equity-seeking groups including women, transgender, non-binary, and LGBTI individuals; First Nations, Metis, and Inuit individuals; persons with disabilities; and members of racialized and marginalized groups.

    Amnesty International Canada is recruiting the Director of Programs & Communications to take the lead in setting priorities and developing long-term strategic goals and annual plans and budgets for campaigning by Amnesty International Canada (English Branch) on a variety of international and domestic human rights issues. The Director also leads the development of strategies to grow its base of members and supporters from a wide diversity of backgrounds and engage them effectively in human rights change, as well as leading on a range of other strategies critical to achieving the Branch’s ambitious goals. The Director then oversees the effective implementation of these strategies.

    The Director ensures the organization is working in ways that are effective for, and appropriate to, a grassroots organization and that comply with Canadian charity regulations. The Director looks at the work from both staff and member perspectives and brings a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility to both external and internal work.

    The Director is responsible for the staff work encompassed by the Campaigns & Activism (Programs) and Communications teams. This normally means having two managers as direct reports, although the Communications Manager position will be vacant for an initial period as the Communications team is being reorganized and the Director gets an opportunity to help rethink the management structure within the department and priority competencies.

    The Director participates actively on the senior leadership team (the Strategy Unit), as well as in Board meetings about four times per year. The Director liaises with colleagues within the Amnesty International Movement globally and serves as an organizational spokesperson with a variety of audiences.

    Four principal areas of responsibilities include:

    1. Strategic direction – Lead the development of priorities among the Branch’s campaign areas, analyses and setting goals and key performance indicators
    (KPIs), integrated cross-cutting strategies and their goals and KPIs, and overall communications strategy. Ensure that all campaign strategies and projects include communication plans that are consistent with the overall strategy.

    Set strategic directions and goals for communications and marketing aligned with specific goals and/or increasing the visibility of human rights issues in Canada. Coordinate government relations strategies amongst the Secretary General, Branch staff and the Francophone Branch, ensuring consultation and collaboration with relevant partners.

    2. Campaign and project implementation – Oversee implementation of an integrated approach to the strategies above and to emerging issues, needs and opportunities. Lead the identification of budgetary and other resource needs for Programs and Communications areas. Evaluate achievements in relation to KPIs, including the integration of anti-oppression elements and assessment of successes and gaps.

    Set overall direction for the website, social media, publications and marketing projects ensuring they are consistent with brand, communication strategy and goals of the Branch. With the Secretary General, identify media relations opportunities and provide direction for planning and implementing press conferences, media advisories and media releases. Help establish primary messages across media channels and approve or coordinate approval of media materials.

    3. Human resources and branch management – Play an active role as a member of the Strategy Unit and its committees. Oversee work of the managers of Programs and Communications (once filled) and support the managers in human resources issues, policy interpretation, team dynamics and conflict resolution. Oversee financial and other resources for Programs and Communications and oversee ongoing development and adaptation of organizational structures, systems and practices. Contribute to management and board reports and implement annual general meeting and board decisions. Support hiring practices and contribute to a diverse, inclusive, safe and respectful organization.

    4. External Relations – Serve as one of the organization’s primary spokespersons with media, government officials, members, and the general public. Maintain regular contact with the Directrice générale of the Francophone Branch to develop joint areas of work, government relations and media strategies, and co-manage the delivery of joint projects.

    Develop and maintain relations within the International Secretariat and other Amnesty sections around the world, in particular with the Americas and sections with similar campaigns and goals. Build and maintain strong relations with coalition partners to maximize impact of AI Canada campaigns and strengthen the human rights movement.

    For full details, refer to the job description.


    • Post-secondary studies in international issues, human rights-related disciplines and/or communications, or clearly demonstrated equivalent experience.
    • Minimum of five years of experience in managing teams, and in developing and managing campaigns, with at least half of this experience obtained within an activist-based and supporter-funded NGO or non-profit organization.
    • Significant experience in communications and marketing with broad knowledge of trends and strategies, including an ability to keep current with emerging digital strategies, in grassroots organizing, campaigning, communications and fundraising.
    • Experience as an external spokesperson with significant knowledge of international human rights issues. A skilled communicator in both oral and written media in English. (Some proficiency in French and/or Spanish or Arabic is desirable for working with colleagues in the Francophone Branch and internationally).
    • Project management experience, and knowledge and experience in bringing an anti-oppression lens to internal and external work.
    • Capable of competently conducting organizational analyses necessary for the effective functioning of programs and projects, with understanding the differing situations of a broad range of members and stakeholders. Familiar with the tools needed for management in the context of change, balancing flexibility and direction.
    • High emotional intelligence, able to understand the dynamics of organizational culture, work within a variety of subcultures, and be a force for creating mutual understanding, strong interpersonal relationships and mutual respect.
    • Ability to coordinate and work with staff to achieve multi-layered objectives is essential. Skilled in fostering trust, facilitating the development of cross-team strategies, and facilitating productive meetings and conversations. A professional manner and positive attitude are essential. Strong leadership skills to meet ambitious goals in a manner that respects the wellbeing of staff, with understanding, sensitivity and tact and ability to contribute to the diversity of Amnesty’s workforce and its inclusive and anti-oppression practices.
    • Ability to travel and work evenings and weekends as required.

    Hours:     Full-time (37.5 hours/week)
    Duration: Permanent (pending 6-months probation)
    Location: Ottawa National Office or Toronto Regional Office
    Salary:     $103,118 – 106,107, commensurate with qualifications,                        plus competitive benefits
    Deadline: Noon (eastern time), September 4, 2019

    Application Process

    Please submit your resumé and a covering letter outlining: 1) why you are interested in joining Amnesty International Canada; 2) your qualifications for the position; and, 3) how you would contribute to the diversity of our workforce and the diversity of perspectives to further our human rights work.

    Please also include samples of your work and the contact information for three references including two from supervisors.  Applications should be submitted via Charity Village.

    Accommodations are available to job applicants with disabilities upon request.


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