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.

Policy Specialist (Government Relations) 

(Permanent; Full-time; Flexible-Hybrid, based in Ottawa)

This Policy Specialist has an exciting role in UNICEF Canada – influencing public policy and providing technical support to governments to advance the rights and well-being of Canada’s children and youth. Reporting to the Director, Policy and Research, the Policy Specialist (Government Relations) will identify, design, and deliver opportunities to influence legislation, policies, investments and knowledge in different levels of government in Canada. You will engage government decision-makers to identify advocacy and youth participation opportunities, advance policy priorities and collaborate to develop advocacy campaigns that engage supporters.

You know the political landscape in Canada and government decision-making process and have established relationships with parliamentarians and departmental officials. You are very comfortable engaging influential government decision-makers on domestic policy issues and employ great communications skills. Like your team-mates, you will embrace a fast pace and are comfortable trying out new ways to achieve goals.

The responsibilities of the position will include: 

Government relations (70%) 

  • Co-develop and implement advocacy strategies and plans for government relations to advance each UNICEF Canada policy priority for children in Canada. 
  • Identify and maintain effective relationships and represent UNICEF Canada at meetings and events with key policy staff at departmental and parliamentary levels, in collaboration with policy team members.
  • Organize meetings and events (virtual and on Parliament Hill), participate in government processes such as committee hearings, and deliver technical policy workshops.
  • Exercise skilled and appropriate communications with proper protocol, including official and informal correspondence and presentations. 
  • Advise on and manage engagement with government relations partners. 
  • Monitor the political landscape and political activities, and maintain and grow current knowledge and relationships.
  • Monitor developments in public discourse on children’s rights issues in Canada and UNICEF’s overall policies and programs.

Advocacy campaigns and communication (20%) 

  • Identify opportunities and contribute content for ongoing policy communications including social media, news releases, reports, web site and other content and channels.
  • Identify opportunities and contribute strategic advice and content for organizational and partner advocacy-based public campaigns, including National Child Day and election campaigns.

Organizational development (10%) 

  • Collaborate with the Policy Specialist to coordinate government relations; with the International Programs team to coordinate government relations; with the Youth Participation Lead to coordinate youth participation opportunities; and with the Communications Specialist to coordinate public advocacy campaigns.
  • Maintain contact records and lobbying reports.
  • Contribute to organizational planning and impact reporting.
  • Participate in Agile planning, team meetings and other initiatives. 
  • Ensure integrity with the organizational mission and values in all activities. 
  • Maintain accurate financial and activity records.  
  • Manage translation and production services needs for government relations.

Qualifications, Competencies, & Skills  

  • Post-secondary degree or college diploma in Public Policy, Political Science, or a related field, or equivalent years’ work experience.  
  • A minimum of five (5) years relevant work experience in parliamentary affairs, government relations, policy development and advocacy. 
  • Good understanding of issues affecting children and youth in Canada. 
  • Competency in working toward reconciliation, diversity, inclusion and equity. 
  • Knowledge of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the international human rights system an asset.  
  • Exceptional organizational skills, with superb attention to detail and quality while meeting deadlines and multitasking in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. 
  • Great communications skills and relationship management abilities.  
  • Critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and the ability to take initiative. 
  • Comfortable with standard office software and with social media platforms. 
  • English language proficiency 
  • Fluency in French (highly desirable) 
  • Available for local, regional and national travel 
  • Occasional evening and weekend work 

Salary Range: $62,000 - $71,500 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 Terms 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 
  • 3 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 Hybrid/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 February 6, 2024. Please attach your cover letter (including salary expectations) and resume as one document and reference “Policy Specialist (Government Relations)” 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 Protection Policy, the successful candidate must receive clearance by a police background check, including the vulnerable sector screen.

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