Sr. Director Government Relations and Planning (Hybrid) - WES

May 24, 2024
Toronto, Ontario

Title: Sr. Director, Government Relations and Planning (Hybrid)

Department: Managing Director’s Office (MDO), World Education Services in Canada

Location: Canada 

Salary: $170K - $195K CAD


World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping immigrants, refugees, and international students achieve economic, social, and educational inclusion in the United States and Canada. For nearly 50 years, WES has helped people learn, work, and thrive in new places and helped society recognize the value of people’s education and experience.

The Opportunity:           

WES is seeking an experienced leader to work as a Senior Director to plan and lead strategic initiatives in the Canadian Office to enhance government relations and influence public policy (in collaboration with Senior Director Policy, and Research), support global expansion and provide strategic advice and support from a Canadian lens to the Global CEO Office, New Products branch and global operations (India) and social impact divisions.

This unique role requires an innovative and agile leader to collaborate closely with the Managing Director (MD) providing strategic analysis, establishing critical internal and external partnerships, and to drive WES’s priorities and mission in Canada, to advance global mobility and integration of highly skilled individuals into academic and professional settings.

The Senior Director will also work closely with functional teams at WES-Marketing and Communications, Technology and Finance and Administration, and the position will play a strong proxy function for the Managing Director. The position will have exposure to WES’s Executive Leadership and be a critical part of WES’s Divisional Leadership team.

Work Culture and Environment:

WES is a remote first organization with team members distributed across the country. The Senior Director can work from the location of choice (from the WES office located downtown Toronto or from their home location). However, the position will require some travel across the country for meetings with stakeholders. Also, the position is expected to attend in-person meetings in Toronto and New York approximately every six weeks. Expenses will be covered by WES.

Your Experience:

You will understand and be excited about the Vision and Mission of WES and the unique opportunities, challenges, and ways of working in a successful social enterprise that has both a corporate/business culture and a social impact culture.  You have a strong track record of delivering against actions through partnership.  You will be an effective influencer and adept at building strong, positive relationships.  You will possess strategic leadership skills to contribute to the development, design and implementation of Canadian and enterprise-wide initiatives.  You will have natural problem solving and strong analytical skills, be able to ‘connect the dots’, and provide a Canadian perspective while considering the overall WES perspective. You will be extremely comfortable working in a highly matrixed environment and with rapidly changing external government policies that will leverage your ability to pivot and respond quickly, based on your innovative entrepreneurial skills. 

Duties included but not limited to:

External Relationships

  •  Providing oversight of federal, provincial and municipal government relations activities; including contract negotiation and management, as well as exploring new opportunities for the business relationships in support of the MD
  •  Building and fostering strategic relationships with advocacy leaders, think tanks, government officials, associations, and employers to promote and advance immigration and employment policies and programs to support refugees and immigrants
  •  Acting as a thought partner to the MD to help ensure that WES maintains its status in Canada as a trusted and valued partner in the develop­ment and implementation of government policies and programs related to skilled immi­grant integration
  •  Providing valuable insights based on the Canadian experience and achievements to enhance WES credibility internationally.
  •  Representing WES at conferences, consultations, public forums, and media events and serve as proxy for the MD where needed. 

Strategy, Planning and Analysis

  •  Designing and executing key WES Canadian Office planning processes including development of a comprehensive and agile strategic framework, multi-year strategic planning, annual goal setting and monitoring performance against strategic goals in alignment with social impact and enterprise goals
  •  Driving the planning, development and execution of key organizational and cross-functional strategic initiatives, programs and special projects, assessing strategic choices ensuring alignment across teams on the organization’s highest priorities.
  •  Support the Managing Director and the Strategic Policy and Research Branch in leading initiatives to influence public policy, legislative, regulatory and licensing changes, to clear pathways and proactively remove barriers for Canadian immigrants to work in their areas of professional credentials
  •  Gathering strategic intelligence and conducting geopolitical climate analysis to forecast future trends and provide insights on the Canadian context to support the development of enterprise-wide programs and services to ensure their feasibility within the Canadian environment.
  •  Proactively identifying issues and risks that may impact the Canadian context negatively, and developing actions and initiatives to positively address these 

Operational Management

  •  Overseeing the development and implementation of the Canada Office governance model, operational infrastructure, practices, and plans, maximizing alignment, collaboration and capacity across teams
  •  Ensuring effective resource management including budget development and monitoring and forecasting and making recommendations on capacity, resource needs, and other operational priorities across WES Canada
  •  Designing and overseeing the operationalization of key strategic priorities, such as development of a service model for research and analysis across WES and working in close collaboration with Directors, Policy Advocacy and Research in CAN, US and India
  •  Managing the sourcing, acquisition and management of vendor and external consultancy services

People and Organizational Leadership

  •  Providing leadership to onboard, mentor and motivate direct reports and other staff members and interns in the Canadian Office to foster an environment of achieving excellence
  •  Driving synergies, connections and intersections with WES’ Social Impact Division and other WES departments to enable the collective success of the organization
  •  Building and maintaining effective relationships with the WES executives, providing a voice of the Canadian context while ensuring alignment to the full WES organizational perspective
  •  Leading the preparation of high priority executive leadership and board presentations
  •  Serving as the MD’s proxy in key internal and external meetings, providing input and guidance as needed

What you’ll bring:

  •  A strong commitment to WES’s mission and values and awareness of social enterprise mandates
  •  Political savvy to oversee and influence how WES leverages government relations
  •  Deep interest and knowledge of the intersections between the business, labour market, immigration policy, and the settlement sector
  •  Demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative spirit with a broad spectrum of stakeholders (i.e., community, unions, academic, regulatory, government, and international organizations), especially in relation to the needs of immigrants 
  •  Ability to build and maintain constructive relationships at senior levels with relevant partners (government, regulatory bodies, service providers, employers, think tanks, and academic institutions, etc.) 
  •  Deep understanding and expertise in translating data analytics to forecast and identify trends, improvement and growth opportunities.
  •  Strong strategic, analytical, innovative mindset to understand issues and problem solve creatively
  •  Well-developed people leadership skills to manage and motivate a diverse team of highly skilled professionals.  
  •  An entrepreneur mindset to general new approaches; spot and leverage opportunities as they arise and initiate action
  •  High degree of agility and openness to changing directions, adopting new practices and learning new things
  •  Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, changing environment 
  •  Multisector experience across corporate, academic, public sector and nonprofit organizations.
  •  Lived experience from immigrant and refugee communities and/or communities of color, as well as the issues that the WES focuses on.


  •  Graduate degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. business administration, global relations, social sciences, social policy)
  •  Minimum 10 years of relevant experience in social impact work, including advocacy, research, and social enterprise planning and evaluation  
  •  Minimum of 5 years of people and team management and leadership experience
  •  Demonstrated knowledge of workforce and labour market strategies, policies and programs for market inclusion of immigrants (e.g. internationally educated health professionals, international students, immigrant youth, immigrant women, employer engagement, skilled trades)
  •  Demonstrated experience navigating and managing complex internal and external stakeholder relationships 
  •  Excellent organizational leadership and strategic planning skills. 
  •  Executive level written and verbal communication skills, including experience as a public spokesperson and advocate. 
  •  Strong project management skills and the capacity to manage multiple strategic projects concurrently 

What's in it for you?

Our people are the foundation of our success, and we place a high priority on offering a wide range of benefits that make our team happier and healthier:

  • Flexible and supportive work arrangements with generous vacation time, paid parental leave and an ability to work remotely.
  • A comprehensive benefits package that has competitive matching provisions.
  • Paid professional development, tuition reimbursement, professional fees reimbursement, student loan repayment, and a focus on skills development.
  • A focus on wellness with a suite of wellness activities, corporate gym membership and EAP support.

Our Values:

We look for people who embody our values:

  • Opportunity – We open doors so people can build better futures.
  • Inclusion – We become stronger, more creative, and more resilient when we embrace diversity.
  • Equity – We uphold fairness and justice in our work and actions.
  • Enterprising – We are resourceful, inventive, and driven.
  • Expertise – We challenge ourselves to be the best at what we do.

Diversity Statement:

WES values diversity in all its forms and recruits qualified individuals at all occupational levels that reflect the diversity of our clients and our community.  We provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. If you require accommodation to complete this application, we will work with you to meet your needs.  Please contact Human Resources. Accommodation may be provided at all stages of the hiring process.

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