Director of Communications

About the Council of Canadian Academies

The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) is a not-for-profit organization that conducts assessments of evidence on scientific topics of public interest to inform decision-making in Canada.

Role Summary

The CCA is seeking an experienced communications professional to join its senior management team as Director of Communications. Reporting to the President and CEO, the Director is responsible for developing and implementing a communications plan for the organization that promotes and highlights the CCA’s work, brand, and overall mission to a variety of potential users and stakeholders; overseeing the publication and dissemination of high-quality hard copy and online products; and providing strategic advice to the President and CCA’s Board, Committees, and Panels. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the Director of Communications is expected to work with a variety of interested groups including the media, the broad policy community, government, and non-governmental organizations.

Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Under the direction of the President and CEO, the Director leads a small team of communications and publishing professionals to meet the responsibilities and accountabilities outlined below.

Strategy Development and External Communications

  • Develop and execute an overall strategic communications plan for the organization that promotes and highlights the CCA’s work, brand, and overall mission.
  • Oversee the CCA’s presence and influence on digital and social platforms including the development and execution of a comprehensive content strategy for linking CCA’s work with the broader science and policy ecosystem with a focus on promoting and disseminating the findings of the CCA’s expert panel reports.
  • Develop novel approaches for disseminating CCA’s reports and related content including the use of data visualizations, videos, social media content, news releases, op-eds, and other means of translating expert and scientific knowledge into digestible and informative content.
  • Develop and execute a knowledge mobilization strategy for the organization that links with the broader policy environment’s focus on evidence-informed policy.
  • Oversee CCA’s media relations function and coach, train, and support panel members, panel chairs, and expert spokespeople in public appearances and media interviews.
  • Provide support, as needed for relevant government relations activities including liaising with communications counterparts, preparing briefing materials, responding to requests to share CCA information, and coordinating any appearances before Parliamentary committees or other bodies.
  • Harness opportunities for advancing the uptake and use of CCA assessments, including leveraging the strengths of key partners particularly the founding Academies.

Publication and Creative Services

  • Oversee the creative services, quality control, and publication of all CCA’s expert panel reports including translation, layout, quality assurance, graphic design, proofreading, and printing processes.
  • Oversee the creative development and publication of all CCA’s corporate materials including the Annual Report and Corporate Plan through content development, editing, layout, translation, graphic design, proofreading, and printing processes.

Advice and Issues Management

  • Provide strategic advice and support to the President’s Office, Board of Directors, Committees, and CCA staff about increasing the overall impact of CCA expert panel reports, brand awareness, outreach opportunities, and effective science communication.
  • Provide support to the President by anticipating project-based or organizational issues, understanding potential implications, and suggesting strategic management solutions.
  • Ensure consistent messages, style, and approaches in the delivery of all internal and external communications across the organization.


  • Mentor, train, and advise up to five communications and publishing staff on a day-to-day basis and complete annual performance reviews and planning.
  • Lead the development and implementation of all CCA-wide policy and procedures relating to all aspects of communications and publishing.
  • Represent the issues, needs, and ongoing requirements for the communications and publishing staff as a member of the CCA senior management team.

Knowledge Requirements

The Director of Communications requires:

  • Superior knowledge of communications and public relations principles – preferably as it applies in a non-profit or academic setting;
  • Extensive experience in communications planning and issues management;
  • Knowledge of current research, editorial, and publication production standards and procedures including but not limited to: translation, copy-editing, layout/design, proofreading and publishing;
  • Knowledge of evaluating impact of reports and assessments;
  • Knowledge in developing content strategy, knowledge mobilization techniques, and creative services and design;
  • Knowledge of human resource management techniques and experience managing a team;
  • Experience in coordinating, organizing and implementing communications activities including those involving sensitive topics;
  • Knowledge of the relationships and major players in Canada’s intramural and extramural science and public policy ecosystem, including awareness of federal science departments and Parliamentary committees, funding bodies, and related research groups;
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress and other related programs;
  • Knowledge of a variety of social media platforms and measurement tools.

Skills Requirements

The Director of Communications must have:

  • Superior time and project management skills
  • Superior writing skills
  • Superior ability to think strategically regarding how best to raise the CCA’s profile and ensure impact of the CCA’s expert panel reports
  • Ability to be flexible and adaptable; able to respond quickly to unanticipated demands
  • Strong advisory, negotiation, and problem-solving skills
  • Strong skills in risk mitigation
  • Superior ability to communicate in both written and oral forms, effectively and diplomatically
  • Ability to mentor, train, and provide constructive feedback to direct reports

Education and Experience

This knowledge and skillset is typically obtained through the completion of a post-secondary degree in Journalism, Communications, Public Affairs or a related field, and/or a minimum of 10 years of progressive and related experience. Experience in an organization that has addressed topics in public policy would be valuable.

Language Requirements: This position is English Essential. Fluency in French is a strong asset.

To apply to this position please send your CV and cover letter to before November 5, 2018. The cover letter should answer the following questions in 1,000 words or less:

  1. How does your background and work experience make you well-suited for the position of Director of Communications at CCA?
  2. What trends do you see emerging in the communications field generally, and in science and policy communications more specifically? How might CCA take advantage of these trends and developments?
  3. Knowing that CCA is in the business of conducting assessments of evidence on important policy topics, how do you feel communicating this type of science differs from communicating other types of information and knowledge?



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Additional Details

Category: Publicity / PR
Council of Canadian Academies
1401 - 180 Elgin Street
Ottawa, ON, CA
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Posted: Oct 12, 2018
Closing: Nov 05, 2018
Type: Full-time
Experience: Senior
Compensation: $115,000 - $165,000
  Apply Now (This company has requested a direct email with resume attached)

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