Director Strategic Communications & Public Affairs - Thorold, ON | Niagara Region | | 25/05/17
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Director Strategic Communications & Public Affairs Full-Time

Location: Thorold, ON
Salary: $123,335 - $145,100
Company Name: Niagara Region ()
Category: Advertising / Branding, Communications, Public / Investor Relations

Closing Date: Thu., Jun. 08, 2017

Important Notice and Amendments

Please note that the salary for this position is currently under review

About Niagara Region

Serving a diverse urban and rural population of more than 430,000, Niagara Region is focused on building a strong and prosperous Niagara. Working collaboratively with 12 local area municipalities and numerous community partners, the Region delivers a range of high quality programs and services to support and advance the well-being of individuals, families and communities within its boundaries. Nestled between the great lakes of Erie and Ontario, the Niagara peninsula features some of Canada's most fertile agricultural land, the majesty of Niagara Falls and communities that are rich in both history and recreational and cultural opportunities. Niagara boasts dynamic modern cities, Canada's most developed wine industry, a temperate climate, extraordinary theatre, and some of Ontario's most breathtaking countryside. An international destination with easy access to its binational U.S. neighbour New York State, Niagara attracts over 14 million visitors annually, as well as a steady stream of new residents and businesses.


Reporting to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), the Director Strategic Communications & Public Affairs is a key member of Niagara Region’s Leadership Team, responsible for developing and implementing communication and brand strategies, defining and promoting the corporate brand, directing all external, internal communications and public affairs with residents, stakeholders and businesses, and leading the organization’s relationships and advocacy with other orders of government (Local Area Municipalities, Provincial, Federal, International).

This role also provides senior advisory support to the Chair and Regional Council on strategic communications issues, engagement strategies and annual government relations advocacy initiatives (Niagara Week, AMO, FCM conferences).

As a member of the Crisis Communications Response Team, the role is responsible for crisis communications and emergency response planning in collaboration with local area municipalities.


1. Provides leadership, strategic and business planning and corporate administrative decision-making for the Region as a member of the Leadership Team.

  • Establishes the vision and strategic objectives for internal and external communications to enable the Region to achieve organizational goals through the strategic business planning process.
  • Provides counsel to the CAO, CLT and Council on issues related to branding, marketing, communications, government and stakeholder relations, public affairs and research and evaluation (including KPI’s).
  • Leads multi-year development and planning activities, partnering with senior leaders to identify opportunities to align efforts and ensuring activities are supportive of the Region’s strategic direction.
  • Ensures all aspects of Region-wide government and business relations communications programs, policies and services are successfully integrated, understood and implemented in accordance with the Region’s mandate and directives.
  • Participates in the development of Council’s Business Plan.
  • Participates in the development and realization of the overall corporate strategy, goals and objectives.
  • Participates in CLT meetings, decision-making and management of the organization.
  • Develops and prepares reports, briefs, position papers and committee reports as directed.

2. Provides leadership and management direction to staff responsible for corporate-wide branding, marketing, internal and external communications, media/public relations, intergovernmental affairs and crisis communications.

  • Provides advice and support to internal stakeholders in the development and implementation of communication plans and strategies to support business and operational activities and ensure consistency in key messages and brand identity.
  • Leads the development and implementation of external communication strategies, conducting research, analysis, environmental scans and testing of new communication channels and tools to support and manage Region-wide external communications.
  • Identifies key messages to ensure understanding of the Region’s mandate and strategic objectives with external stakeholders and other levels of government.
  • Directs public relations activities, establishing Region-wide activities and responses, managing stakeholder events and projects and developing and maintaining crisis communication strategies and plans.
  • Provides leadership to anticipate and address potential controversial, politically-sensitive obstacles and/or conflicts that may impact Niagara’s success and reputation assessing potential risks developing strategies to address issues and remove barriers.
  • Ensures progressive and proactive communication with internal stakeholders, the community, media and external stakeholders.

3. Leads government and business relations, strategies and initiatives for the organization and supports Regional Council, CAO’s Office and CLT in reviewing and advising on local, regional and broader government and business relations and initiatives that impact the Niagara Region and advocating for policies that support the Region’s priorities.

  • Leads government relations, strategies and initiatives including monitoring, tracking and reporting on provincial and federal government policy, legislation and programs, its impact on and opportunities for the Region.
  • Identifies opportunities to influence the development of public policies at the federal and provincial levels that will achieve the goals and priorities of Niagara Region and prepares briefing and background/research materials on inter-governmental initiatives and projects.
  • Reviews and advises on major initiatives and measures undertaken by other levels of government or the private sector where the interests of the Region are, or may be, affected and proposes plans for alignment and/or mitigation as required.  Works closely with local area municipalities to pursue alignment of advocacy to all levels of government that the Region interacts with.
  • Conducts research and analysis on issues related to government relationship management and develops options, provides advice or makes recommendations based upon research.
  • Capitalizes on opportunities to enhance stakeholder relations and cross-departmental collaboration in support of advocacy initiatives.

4. Oversees the implementation of new and expanded initiatives for a variety of marketing and communication programs, ensuring business strategies align to Regional and operational objectives and are financially sound.

  • Leads the development and implementation of internal and external communication improvement initiatives, identifying best practices, evaluating their applicability to Region activities, and implementing initiatives to improve communication tools and content presentation.
  • Researches and develops Region-wide communications strategies and programs in alignment with local partners (Team Niagara), by establishing policies, standards and procedures, monitoring compliance and ensuring Region’s reputation and brand identity reflects the Region’s mandate and strategic objectives as an upper-tier community partner.
  • Coordinates the sharing of information on issues related to initiatives and matters of mutual interest.

5. People Management
Accountable for medium to long range people resource planning for the business unit, determining ideal organizational structures, identifying desirable role and skill mix requirements and ensuring ongoing work quality and deliverability of results.

  • Working through their leadership team, enables results with the organization’s human capital strategy to foster employee engagement.
  • Oversees employee performance, career development, and succession planning activities, ensuring open and transparent metrics and processes are developed and implemented and opportunities are created to facilitate employee growth and development.
  • Ensures focus is service excellence, effective communication between leaders and employees, transparency, innovation, and data integrity and work flow integration.
  • Ensures staff is connected to corporate priorities and direction and has the information and resources to make successful plans and decisions.
  • Helps to break down barriers to employee success, ensuring collaboration and cooperation with other Divisions and Departments.
  • Ensures all people related issues, including recruitment, grievances and labour relations issues, are aligned to HR and Corporate standards and practices.
  • Ensures Occupational Health & Safety policies, programs and practices are implemented, maintained and integrated into all aspects of planning and decision-making within the operating unit.
  • Ensures the competency and performance of the Internal Responsibility System within their department, as outlined in the Niagara Region’s Health and Safety Policy is achieved and maintained.

6. Financial Management

  • Develops, manages, and administers annual and multi-year Capital and Operating budgets for the project, ensuring support of Council’s objectives, financial transparency and accountability, budget adherence, and identifying and explaining variances and financial reporting is effectively managed in compliance with corporate financial policies.
  • Authorize and administer the acquisition of goods and services for the operating unit and direct reports in accordance with the procurement policy and procedures.


  • 5 years progressive communications experience in a leadership role, exhibiting modern communication theories and practices in a medium to large-sized organization.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and executing communication strategies and leading various communications functions.
  • Demonstrated experience in managing relationships with elected officials at various levels (municipal, provincial and federal).
  • 8 years progressive communications experience in a leadership role, exhibiting modern communication theories and practices in a medium to large sized organization is preferred.
  • Executive Leadership training from a recognized institution is preferred.


  • University degree in Communications, Public Relations, Media Studies, Government Affairs, Business Administration or Public Administration
  • Master’s degree in relevant discipline is preferred.

Special Requirements

  • In accordance with the Corporate Criminal Record Check Policy, the position requires the incumbent to undergo a Criminal Records Check and submit a Canadian Police Clearance Certificate.
  • Must maintain ability to travel in a timely manner to other offices, work locations or sites as authorized by the Corporation for business reasons.
  • May be required to support emergency operations under the incident management structure, at the direction of the Emergency Operations Centre Director.
  • Regional staff strive to enable the strategic priorities of Council and the organization through the completion of their work.  Staff carry out their work by demonstrating the corporate values of service, honesty, choice, partnership and respect.

Closing Statement

Uncover the wonder of the Niagara Region and join a team dedicated to meeting tomorrow's challenges TODAY! Let us know why you would be an excellent team member by submitting your online application. We thank all candidates for their interest however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

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