A Career Opportunity

UNICEF is the world’s farthest-reaching humanitarian organization for children. Across 190 countries and territories, and in the world’s toughest places, we workday in and day out to help children survive. To defend their rights. To keep them protected, healthy and educated. To give them a fair chance to fulfil their potential. Our work for every child relies entirely on voluntary support, including donations from generous Canadians.

Director, International Policy & Programs

(Permanent; Full time; Hybrid, based in Ottawa/Toronto)

Reporting to the Chief Program Officer, the Director, International Policy and Programs develops strategies, plans and budgets in support of international policy and programs, and leads the team’s implementation of these plans. Positioning UNICEF Canada as a credible and reliable partner for both policy influence and funding in the eyes of the Government of Canada (GoC) is a key part of this role.

As an organizational subject matter expert on human rights, international development and humanitarian issues, this role manages government relations and collaborates closely with other UNICEF departments to influence the policy and program direction of the Government of Canada while positioning UNICEF as partner of choice. It is also responsible for growing the organization’s international portfolio of government grants and funding partnerships.

This position works closely with our Domestic Policy and Programs team to coordinate efforts and advocate with one voice to government and the public on key issues that affect children. It plays a key role in donor communications and stewardship and ensures that all initiatives and campaigns are grounded in the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

The responsibilities of the position will include:

Government Advocacy & Relations (30%)

  • Support Executive Leadership with strategic advice, briefing and meeting materials for key interactions with government leaders at all levels. 
  • Identify and meet regularly with key political and official stakeholders that need to be engaged to advance policy influence and government fundraising objectives.
  • Build and nurture strategic relationships with senior elected officials and political staff, and develop strong relationships with all political parties, maintaining strict non-partisan views when representing the organization.
  • Identify opportunities and strategies to ensure UNICEF Canada is represented as a unified voice for children vis-à-vis the Government of Canada, bringing together domestic and international aspects of our work as needed.
  • Build opportunities to bring profile to UNICEF’s expertise in humanitarian, development and gender responsive programming with government stakeholders.
  • Monitor parliamentary activities, including the introduction and passage of bills and reports, for opportunities to intervene to advance the rights of children.
  • Identify and implement opportunities to raise the profile of UNICEF’s work in Canada and its impact around the world. 
  • Create high quality materials such as slide decks or briefing notes to support policy or government fundraising goals and build strong campaign materials that engage the public in UNICEF’s advocacy issues.

Program Management & Partnership (25%) 

  • Develop, lead and participate in partnerships with like-minded/strategically placed organizations and individuals to advance the international policy agenda.
  • Develop and nurture relationships with UNICEF Country Offices and HQ to support fundraising and policy objectives for programs and emergencies.
  • Provide guidance to the program team in assessing program implementation, address constraints and achievements with UNICEF country offices.
  • Provide guidance to the emergency team to ensure accurate humanitarian information is disseminated in a timely manner in support of fundraising and communication.
  • Oversee UNICEF’s response to government calls for proposals providing expertise to increase success rates.
  • Monitor program priority areas and geographic areas of interest to private donors. 

Strategic Development (20%) 

  • Build strategies to support a pipeline of government funding that incorporates proactive and reactive opportunities with a goal of securing government grants/partnerships.
  • As a member of the senior leadership team, contribute to the organization’s strategic plan and monitor and report progress achieved in the International Policy and Program portfolio.
  • Promote collaboration and work closely with the Domestic Policy & Programs team on joint advocacy efforts.
  • Develop and manage the International Policy and Program portfolio’s annual operating plans and budget.
  • Contribute to the development and implementation of a strategy for incorporating CSR into corporate relationships, in collaboration with the corporate development team.
  • Collaborate with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee on program and advocacy initiatives.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​People Management and development (15%) 

  • Guide and nurture staff in the International Policy and Programs portfolio, comprising of three integrated components: programs, advocacy and emergency, in order to achieve common goals with clearly defined objectives and accountabilities.
  • Conduct individual and departmental annual goal setting, planning and performance reviews as established by people management processes.
  • Anticipate the long-term implications/risk of decisions and plan for contingencies, anticipating obstacles and roadblocks.
  • Ensure integrity with the mission and values in all people-related activities.
  • Maintain broad, general technical competence in all sectors of UNICEF’s mandate.
  • Maintain knowledge and awareness of national and international policies and activities related to economic and social development policy and programs.

​​​​​​​Organizational Reputation & Visibility (10%) 

  • Work closely with the Strategic Engagement team to ensure that UNICEF’s work is well represented to donors through key opportunities such as stewardship reports, presentations, webinars and printed material.
  • Represent UNICEF’s work to Canadians, to the NGO and GO communities through various mechanisms, including through media interviews and government consultations in Canada and abroad, with the intent to influence policy and programme direction and increase support for UNICEF.
  • Develop and lead opportunities to ensure UNICEF Canada staff, board and key supporters have the knowledge and understanding of UNICEF’s work overseas needed to effectively complete their work.

​​​​​​​The ideal candidate will have:

  • An advanced university degree or equivalent years’ work experience in International Development, Public Administration, Political Science, Human Rights or related field.
  • A minimum of ten (10) year’s relevant work experience, including team management experience in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of international programming and policy in health, education, child protection and humanitarian issues.
  • International development and policy advocacy experience.
  • Strong knowledge of the Canadian political system and institutions.
  • Extensive knowledge of, and networks with, government and institutional funders.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to manage internal and external stakeholders.
  • Excellent English (speaking and writing) and proficiency in French.
  • Knowledge of child rights and UNICEF’s work is highly desirable.
  • Experience in preparing and submitting grant proposals and other partnership opportunities to Global Affairs Canada is desirable.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The selected candidate should ideally be based in Ottawa and able to travel once a month to Toronto for meetings at UNICEF office.

Occasional domestic and international travel is expected (2-3 times a year).

Salary Range: $107,000 to $131,000 per year.

What we offer

UNICEF Canada strongly supports workplace wellness and offers the following benefits:

  • Extended Health and Dental Benefits with Health Care Spending Account.
  • Life insurance and AD&D
  • Short Term Disability (STD)
  • Long Term Disability (LTD) 
  • Employer contributions (5%) to Group Pension plan
  • Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
  • 2 paid personal days
  • 10 paid sick days
  • Maternity and Parental leave top-up
  • 4 weeks of annual leave (vacation time increases with time served)
  • One additional day of vacation on the anniversary  of each  year  of  service, up  to  a  maximum  of  30  days.
  • Staff Appreciation Days.
  • Currently offering Remote work option.
  • Learning and Development Opportunities.
  • Discounted rate for a GoodLife membership.  

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​For consideration, please submit your resume and cover letter to careers@unicef.ca by December 4th, 2023. Please attach your cover letter (including salary expectations) and resume as one document and reference “Director, International Policy & Programs” clearly in the subject heading. 

UNICEF Canada sincerely thanks all applicants for their expressed interest in this opportunity, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. 

Consistent with our Child Safeguarding Policy, the successful candidate must receive clearance by a police background check, including a vulnerable sector screen. 

UNICEF Canada is an inclusive workplace and is committed to championing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Requests for accommodation can be made at any stage of the recruitment process providing the applicant has met the requirements for the position.