Project Assistant - Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC)

Sep 29, 2020
Vancouver, British Columbia

The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) has launched a dialogue initiative across Canada. We are working with communities to improve public understanding of drug policy, promote a public health and human rights approach to drugs, develop momentum for sustained and coordinated efforts to improve our approach to substance use; and engage communities in BC in dialogue about participatory systems change towards better drug policies.. To help us reach our goals, we are seeking an experienced PROJECT ASSISTANT to work with diverse stakeholders, community partners and vendors in organizing events that engage communities in dialogue on complex health and social issues both virtually in light of COVID-19 circumstances and in person once the social distancing restrictions are lifted. The Project Assistant will report to CDPC’s Dialogues Coordinator.

The candidate must possess strong customer service, community building and project management skills. This position requires professional mastery of technology and knowledge of various communication tools especially in light of Covid-19. CDPC staff have all shifted to remote work since the pandemic’s start and currently all dialogue events are online.

CDPC is a national coalition at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver, British Columbia, that promotes a drug policy for Canada based on principles of public health, human rights, evidence and social inclusion. CDPC fosters public education, dialogue and action on public policy as it relates to reducing harms and maximizing benefits related to substance use in our communities and promotes policies that improve the health and well-being of people who use substances in Canada and internationally.


  • Assist the national and BC Dialogues Coordinators in implementing a national dialogue program that will focus on a public health and human rights approach to substance use, the impact of current approaches to drugs and substances on individuals and communities, and the issue of stigma related to substance use and related policy frameworks, and systems change
  • Assist the national and BC Dialogues Coordinators in building, expanding and maintaining positive relationships with community partners and stakeholders in co-creating CDPC dialogues activities both virtually and in person
  • Assist the national and BC Dialogues Coordinators in engaging community leaders and connectors as well as identifying community strengths and resources
  • Create and maintain a database of community and government contacts as well as resources for each community where events will be held
  • Collaborate closely with the CDPC communications team to ensure the successful production of capacity-building collateral
  • Provide technical guidance and support during the virtual dialogue sessions
  • Schedule, invite, create agenda and take meeting minutes for weekly event planning meetings with CDPC staff and local organizing committees
  • Create an event logistics plan, timeline and Run-of-Show for each event
  • Source estimates and negotiate contracts with vendors / suppliers to ensure adherence to the budget
  • Secure and negotiate in-kind and financial sponsors and partners, when possible
  • Update and prepare weekly budget reports for the Dialogues Coordinator
  • Initiate contract/procurement process and ensure timely payment of vendors
  • Prepare and manage virtual event specifications (zoom calls set-up, sending out invites, managing RSPV lists, audio-visual requirements, attendance recording… etc.)
  • Obtain and manage the distribution of honoraria/per diems, as needed
  • Work with local organizing committees to schedule attendance and staffing plan for events
  • Other duties as needed.


  • Successful completion of post-secondary degree in communications, dialogue studies, event production, project management or another applicable field/ in communications, social work, adult education, dialogue studies, behavioral psychology, social sciences or another applicable field.
  • Minimum 2 – 4 years of related experience in event planning/management, sponsorships and/or complex project management / in community development, community management, promotions, behavioral economics and/or complex project management
  • Excellent negotiation and research skills
  • Excellent interpersonal and customer service skills and ability to work with people of diverse abilities, backgrounds, and viewpoints
  • Awareness of current issues relating to substance use and the overdose crisis, or a strong willingness to learn
  • Skilled in managing budgets and tracking event expenditures
  • Ability to build networks and relationships with a high degree of professionalism
  • Hands-on experience in event production, management and promotion
  • Must be highly organized, flexible, and can thrive in a fast-paced environment and handle multiple projects with tight deadlines
  • Must be able to work independently and make critical decisions with minimal supervision
  • Must be a fast learner and adaptable; calm and level-headed under pressure or during unexpected changes
  • Highly detailed and solutions-oriented
  • Computer proficiency required (MS Office, Zoom, Slack, social media…etc.)
  • Effective written and verbal English communication skills

CDPC is a part of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Our offices are located at SFU’s Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver, BC. Due to COVID-19, our staff members have been working remotely from home and will continue to do so until the restrictions are lifted.

We encourage applications from members of marginalized groups, including but not limited to those with lived and living experience with substance use.

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