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Policy Director - BC Civil Liberties Association

Dec 15, 2019
Vancouver, British Columbia

BCCLA Policy Director

Reports to: Executive Director

Application deadline: December 15th, 2019

About us:

The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is a non‑partisan, not‑for‑profit national leader whose mission is to promote, defend, sustain, and extend civil liberties and human rights. Through law reform, strategic litigation, community‑based legal advocacy, and public engagement, the BCCLA focuses on the relationship between people and the state, and the ways in which the state can limit or advance rights and liberties. We also recognize that other powerful institutional actors can have a significant impact on rights and liberties, with varying degrees of interaction with the state. We are committed to giving particular attention to, and where appropriate seek to work with, those who are the most susceptible to state regulation and violations of their civil liberties and human rights, especially vulnerable, marginalized and poor people and members of equity‑seeking groups.

With a mandate that includes work on police accountability, government transparency, democratic rights including freedom of expression, prisoners’ rights, patients’ rights, privacy rights, and national security issues, we are one of the most vibrant and visible advocacy groups in Canada. The BCCLA is a small team with a big reach, and we want you to be a part of our work.

About the position:

Working with the Executive Director, members of the Policy department, and other staff, the Policy Director’s primary responsibility is to direct and develop the policy work of the Association. This is accomplished by providing leadership, management, and mentorship to the Policy team; advocating on behalf of the Association, or as part of a coalition, on policy and law reform issues; providing public education through speaking engagements, publications, and media commentary; and identifying, researching and developing new policy positions in response to emerging issues. The Policy Director also assists the Executive Director, other staff Directors, and the Board of Directors in developing organizational strategy, fostering and supporting relationships with stakeholders, and supporting fundraising initiatives.

The successful candidate will work on a wide range of constitutional and administrative law issues to uphold rights in Canada. It is expected that the candidate will have the capacity and appetite to become a national‑level thought leader on the issues on which they work.

The BCCLA is committed to ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion are significant considerations in our decision‑making, in our internal work, and in our work in the world. This is critical for BCCLA to act on our values and to achieve our fundamental mandate to uphold and advance civil liberties and human rights.

We encourage applications from members of communities that are marginalized or that experience structural discrimination, including those identifying as Indigenous, people of colour, members of non‑dominant ethnic, religious, linguistic, and/or cultural groups, women, (im)migrants/newcomers, people with (dis)abilities, working class people, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and we encourage applicants to self‑identify in their application. The BCCLA is committed to excellence, and recognizes that increasing the diversity of our staff, and especially our leadership, supports this objective.

Primary job responsibilities include:


  • In accordance with the BCCLA’s mandate and Strategic Plan, provide strategic direction to the Association’s policy work, including working with the Policy department to prioritize, coordinate, and implement the policy and law reform work of the Association.
  • Manage the BCCLA’s policy research and analysis efforts, working with the Policy department, law students, volunteers, and external partners.
  • Monitor news media, academic sources, selected listservs, case law, and proposed federal, provincial, and municipal legislation to identify emerging issues and developments.
  • Investigate and research emerging issues, including collaborating with staff, volunteers, and Board committees and working groups (including the BCCLA’s New Policies Working Group) where appropriate and drafting or assist in drafting a policy position paper if necessary.
  • Lead the Policy team in collaborating effectively with the Litigation team. This includes both bringing forward to the Litigation team policy and/or law reform work that has potential as future test case litigation, receiving referrals from Litigation, and providing policy support related to test cases and/or interventions when appropriate.
  • Ensure effective evaluation and iterative improvement of Policy team work and contribute to efforts to evaluate and improve the BCCLA’s overall substantive efforts in law reform and advocacy.


  • In collaboration with the Engagement department, seek out and apply for project specific funding when necessary, such as for research or publication production.
  • Manage project budgets.
  • Report on the work of the Policy department for funder applications and reporting.
  • Collaborate with external stakeholders in funding applications where relevant.
  • Where appropriate, supervise, and support the internal project leader and/or hire, supervise, and support a contractor for the project.


  • Create talking points and respond to media for policy issues, or attempt to gain media interest in policy issues by putting out responding statements or press releases and/or speaking at a press conference.
  • In collaboration with stakeholders, coalitions, and/or the BCCLA Engagement team, lead the Policy team in creating and providing public education and advocacy on policy issues, including through digital and traditional media, speaking events and workshops, and comprehensive advocacy campaigns. Campaigns may include work with networks of allies (coalition, ad hoc, or established), drafting and/or reviewing lists of concerns, and working with the Engagement team on communications strategy, including substantive input regarding online petitions, events, publications, and calls to action (i.e. specific ask for decision‑makers).
  • In collaboration with the Engagement department, develop (or designate another Policy team member to develop) a communications plan when major BCCLA reports or resources are being released, including speaking/events, media, and publication dissemination strategy.
  • In collaboration with the Engagement department, lead the Policy team to develop and implement methodologies which help the BCCLA listen to and, where appropriate, to act upon the concerns of individuals and communities experiencing infringements of their civil liberties and human rights.
  • Work with the Engagement department and other staff to support fundraising efforts, including developing materials for communications as appropriate, engaging with supporters, and attending Association fundraising events.


  • Advocate to decision makers against or for the adoption of proposed or potential legislation or public policy. This advocacy may be in collaboration with others.
  • Work with the Policy team to provide submissions to decision makers, including written submissions, letters, or oral submissions (such as appearing before a Parliamentary or Senate Committee, addressing City Council, holding meetings with government officials, writing letters to Ministers and Mayors, etc.)
  • Maintain and develop relationships with key decision makers and community partners, including:
    • Non‑governmental organizations and advocacy groups
    • Academics with expertise on civil liberties and human rights topics
    • Members of the legal and regulatory community
    • Legislators and officials
    • Funders and donors
    • Media


  • Manage the Association's Policy staff, including:
    • Provide day‑to‑day management, support, and coaching opportunities.
    • Work with the Policy staff to develop feasible workplans and manage workloads across the department.
    • Identify professional development opportunities and assist with implementation if necessary.
    • Onboard new staff to the policy work of the Association.
    • Conduct performance evaluations using the BCCLA's performance evaluation process.
    • Conduct exit interviews for departing staff.
  • Steward the hiring process of members of the Policy team and other staff positions as needed.
  • Collaborate with the Directors of all departments to ensure the effective management and coordination of the Association’s work, including the development of relevant organizational policies and procedures.
  • Manage the Policy department budget and uphold the appropriate implementation of the BCCLA’s financial policies.


  • Act as staff liaison for the Board of Directors' New Policies Working Group and attend all working group meetings. This may also include collaborating with others to ensure effective scheduling, agenda development, and reporting from the working group to the Board of Directors.
  • Support the Executive Director in reporting on the policy/law reform work of the Association to the Board of Directors. Present policy matters to the Board for discussion or decision as appropriate.

About you:

You possess the following attributes:

  • Commitment to the BCCLA’s mandate and to civil liberties and human rights more broadly, in knowledge of both Canadian and Indigenous legal systems and frameworks;
  • Strong legal analysis and research skills, particularly in constitutional and administrative law;
  • Effective at building trusting relationships internally and externally;
  • Effective at managing the work of a skilled team with a varied workload, including planning, triaging, and prioritizing both proactive and reactive areas of work;
  • Skilled at translating complex legal concepts into accessible language for affected individuals and communities, policymakers, the media, and the general public;
  • Demonstrated commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, including an intersectional understanding of substantive equality;
  • Strong oral advocacy and public speaking skills (or ability to quickly develop same);
  • Understanding of governmental and quasi‑governmental processes related to development and review of legislation and regulations, civil society and public consultation, etc. (or ability to quickly develop same); and
  • Understanding of government oversight bodies at municipal, provincial, and federal levels (or ability to quickly develop same).

You possess the following experience and qualifications:

  • Member of the Law Society of British Columbia or eligible for call to the BC Bar;
  • D. or LLB degree; other relevant advanced degrees an asset;
  • We are aiming to hire a lawyer who is at least a 5 year call, but lower year call candidates with meaningful lived experience of the issues on which we work and/or strong experience in a closely related field (e.g. policy analysis, related academic research) are also encouraged to apply;
  • Experience coordinating and/or managing a collaborative team (or relevant transferable skills);
  • Experience listening to and developing trusting relationships with individuals who have lived experience of their civil liberties and/or human rights being infringed by the state, including individuals who experience multiple barriers;
  • Ability and willingness to travel periodically within BC and Canada, occasionally at short notice;
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team;
  • Ability to manage several projects in a fast‑paced work environment;
  • Commitment and ability to proactively manage your own and your direct reports’ workload, recognizing both the reality of external events beyond our control (e.g. hearings, parliamentary committee timelines, media requests, etc.) and the BCCLA’s desire and commitment to fostering a healthy workplace which supports employees with a range of family structures and personal commitments;
  • Substantive expertise in one or more of the following areas an asset: democratic rights including freedom of expression, patients’ rights, national security and privacy rights, policing, prisoners’ rights, or another pressing area of civil liberties and human rights policy;
  • An understanding of emerging technologies and the way they will or may impact civil liberties and human rights an asset;
  • Experience in community outreach preferably, including direct work with marginalized communities a strong asset;
  • Experience in media and/or public speaking a strong asset;
  • A deep understanding of the national and provincial policy environment in which we conduct our work is an asset;
  • Experience working collaboratively as part of a coalition of organizations an asset;
  • Experience with non‑profits (as staff, board member, volunteer, etc.) an asset; and
  • Skills in facilitation, conflict resolution, and/or process leadership an asset.


Salary is based on the BCCLA’s Salary Structure, and commencing at $70,400 for a first year call and proceeding through to $93,600 for 12th year of call and beyond. Directors are entitled to receive additional gross compensation equal to 7.5% of the salary established for their year of call.

Benefits include extended health and dental plan for the employee, spouse and dependents, a life insurance plan, as well as four weeks’ annual vacation and a generous sick leave policy. Our workplace environment also includes the possibility for flexible work arrangements. We currently have a dog‑friendly office.

Application and selection process:

Please submit the following through this application portal via the following link:

  1. Resume.
  2. Cover letter and two writing samples, one which showcases relevant legal analysis and one which showcases your ability to communicate legal information or issues to a general audience. Please ensure all of these documents are submitted as one PDF. In your cover letter (up to two pages), please specifically address:
    1. your view on the most pressing or significant threats to civil liberties and human rights in British Columbia (we are looking for your perspective and the quality of your analysis, not a particular answer);
    2. your approach to and experience coordinating or managing teams or projects; and
    3. your experience undertaking and reviewing others’ legal research and analysis.
  3. Three references who can speak to your skills and experience (whether paid or unpaid).

When submitting your application please name and save your attachments with your first and last name in the title, such as: “FirstnameLastname Resume.pdf” and “FirstnameLastname Cover Letter and Writing Samples.pdf”.

Candidates are invited to share their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, but are in no way expected or required to do so.

Closing date: December 15th, 2019

Interviews will be conducted by BCCLA staff at our office in Vancouver (accessible by elevator), or by video for candidates who live outside of the south coast of BC and southern Vancouver Island. BCCLA will make appropriate accommodations if needed for candidates that we interview. We acknowledge that British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s main office is located in Vancouver on unceded Indigenous land belonging the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and səlil̓wətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil‑Waututh) Nations. The BCCLA, as one of Canada’s oldest and largest human rights and civil liberties organizations, is committed to the full realization of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

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