Executive Director (Programs)


Reporting to the Vanier Institute of the Family Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for aligning the strategic and operational direction of the organization to achieve the short-, medium- and long-term strategic goals and priorities of the Vanier Institute. The role is focused on programs and projects directly related to creating and transforming knowledge of diversity and well-being of families in Canada. Working with an extensive network of partners, contributors, funders and academics, and government officials at all levels, the Executive Director mobilizes knowledge and facilitates quality research to inform evidence-based policy and practice to enhance family well-being in Canada. The incumbent will foster a shared understanding of the vision and priorities of the organization and build strong relationships with the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers of the Vanier Institute. As the ambassador and representative of the organization, the incumbent will continue to raise the organization’s community profile locally and nationally, and heighten engagement with our research partners, funding partners and stakeholders.

The Vanier Institute of the Family is a national, independent, charitable organization dedicated to understanding the diversity and well-being of families in Canada. A national resource for anyone interested in or involved with families in Canada, the Institute provides information and evidence-based insights to facilitate the work of those who study, serve and support families. Through research, publications, partnerships and collaborations, presentations, and social media, we enhance national understanding of families in Canada. Our culture is one of respect and inclusivity. For more information about the Institute, visit here.

The Vanier Institute was founded in 1965 by then-Governor General Georges P. Vanier and Madame Pauline Vanier. They envisioned an enduring organization dedicated to understanding and sharing the understanding of families in Canada. This vision, along with the commitment of the founding thinkers, staff team and volunteers from across the country, provided a solid foundation from which the Institute has since grown. In the almost 60 years that have followed, Canada’s family landscape has changed significantly but the importance of families has not. The Vanier Institute remains committed to continuing this legacy.

What you will do

This role will require you to collaborate and continue to build ongoing relationships with an extensive network of partners, contributors, funders, academics, scholars, researchers, government departments and elected government officials at all levels.

You will play a key role in supporting decision-making with respect to policy and programs, providing insight and encouraging informed debate through the provision of research and evidence from diverse sources, including Statistics Canada and our academic and community partners.

  • With strategic foresight and insight into the impact of public policy on families in Canada, you will promote research that educates and sets in motion discussion that will enhance policy and improve family well-being in Canada.
  • You will assume responsibility for the design and implementation of core projects and programs focused on families in Canada, including resource planning in collaboration with the Director, Corporate Services, life cycle management, knowledge transfer/mobilization and reporting.

This is a leadership role providing oversight of the Administration, Operations and Governance of the Institute, including working with the Director, Corporate Services, to ensure compliance with appropriate legislation and regulations, and the Bylaws and Governance policies of the organization. This also includes:

  • Developing the program and project strategy with the Board of Directors and ensuring program development and implementation is congruent with the vision and mission of the Institute
  • Working with the Director, Corporate Services, to identify projects and programs that can be sponsored and/or funded through grants and participating in partnerships on proposals for grants and contributions related to families in Canada

It is important for you to continually communicate a compelling vision that generates excitement, enthusiasm and commitment. Your leadership style will naturally create a positive, inclusive and encouraging work environment and culture that is in keeping with the values of the Vanier Institute.

What you need

You will need to possess respected academic credentials and deep experience in the study of families and family well-being in Canada. Your educational background will consist of a Master’s degree in Family Science or a related discipline. Completion of a PhD is preferred. Candidates with equivalent experience will also be considered.

You will have a minimum of 7 years of experience in management/leadership roles with increasing responsibilities and a proven track record of mentoring/coaching/supporting team members in a non-profit, academic or government organization. Strong interpersonal and relationship building skills are required.

As an ambassador for the organization, you will need to have excellent written, presentation and oral communication skills in English. Our preference is for you to have these skills in both official languages.

These are the other essential qualifications that we will be looking for:

  • Experience in knowledge translation to a variety of partners
  • Experience and passion in research methodologies and frameworks used to create knowledge of family diversity and well-being using a non-partisan approach
  • Proficiency in online workplace platforms: MS Teams, MS Office 365 (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint)

If you have the following skills or experience, we would consider this to be an asset:

  • Additional training or education in Business Administration, Human Resources, Financial Management or another job-related field of study.

What you bring

  • Proven ability to lead and manage a highly engaged, professional staff
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and effectively with staff, Board and Alumni and with external networks of researchers, government departments, community organizations and the public
  • Impeccable communication and presentation skills
  • Strong strategic mindset and the ability to organize, delegate responsibly and deliver on the Vanier Institute commitments to our key stakeholders and partners
  • Solid judgment and integrity with a reputation for transparency, collaboration and goodwill
  • A constant commitment to values that define a leader and a good people manager, such as honesty, transparency, forthrightness, sensitivity to others and the highest standards of integrity in all areas, including human and financial management

What we have to offer

The position has an approved annual salary range of $145,000 to $160,000. Your placement in the range will be determined based on your proven experience and skills/competencies to fulfill the role. We offer a great total compensation package that includes health/dental benefits, participation in the Canada Life Group RSP program, and a generous vacation and holiday policy. We offer a fast-paced, yet fun, collegial and supportive work environment. Our office is centrally located, and close to the OC Transpo Baseline station, with convenient shops nearby.

Remote work
Our preference is for the candidate to be located in Ottawa, to support employee and team engagement. Don’t let this deter you from applying – we can discuss the options – we’re sharing our preference to be fully transparent. In addition, you will need to be flexible to travel on occasion as needed, so you must hold a valid and non-expired passport.

To apply

If this opportunity intrigues you and relates to your experience, then we want to hear from you. Please take the time to tell us about yourself in a cover letter. We want to hear your story – your background, your accomplishments, and why this role is a good fit for you and your career at this time.

We are an equal opportunity employer, and welcome applications from all qualified individuals, including, but not limited, to women; persons with disabilities; racialized persons; First Nations, Inuit and Métis; and persons of any gender identity and sexual orientation. The Vanier Institute of the Family is committed to providing an inclusive and barrier-free recruitment process and work environment.

You must be legally allowed to work in Canada in order to be eligible for this position. Please note that all applications will be acknowledged. Those selected for an interview will be contacted directly. The posting will remain active on our website until we successfully fill the position.

Please contact us in confidence and provide notice in advance if you require accommodations at any stage of the recruitment process. All requests for accommodation will be considered in a fair and objective manner that will ensure applicants are treated with respect and dignity.

Please submit your cover letter, including salary expectations, and résumé on our online portal. For any questions in advance of applying, or to request accommodations, please contact us.

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