Director of Policy

Policy, Research and Evaluation · Ottawa, Ontario
Department Policy, Research and Evaluation
Employment Type Contract - Maternity Leave Coverage
Minimum Experience Senior Manager/Supervisor
Compensation $103,800-$129,000 DOE

This position requires the successful candidate to live within the community of Thunder Bay, Toronto, or Ottawa, Ontario to provide services to Indigenous Women and their Families. 



At ONWA we support Indigenous women to take up their leadership roles within the family and the community.



The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) is a not-for-profit organization that empowers and supports Indigenous women and their families in the province of Ontario.  ONWA is a voice for Indigenous women’s issues.


ONWA encourages the participation of Indigenous women in the development of Federal, Provincial, Municipal and Local government policies that impact their lives and ensures, issues affecting Indigenous women and their families are heard at key government tables.


ONWA is committed to providing services that strengthen communities and guarantees the preservation of Indigenous culture, identity, art, language and heritage.  Ending violence against Indigenous women and their families and ensuring equal access to justice, education, health, environmental stewardship and economic development, sits at the cornerstone of the organization.  ONWA insists on social and cultural well-being for all Indigenous women and their families, so that all women, regardless of tribal heritage may live their best lives.



Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Policy provides strategic leadership and the application of an Indigenous Gender Based Analysis on key issues that Indigenous Women face. As part of the Leadership team and leading a team of 4-8 people, the Director of Policy will collaborate across portfolio’s to build innovative, wholistic, approaches based on the life cycle wheel.  The Director of Policy will apply a human rights approach that honors, respects and restores Indigenous Women’s leadership in all aspects of their lives from an individual level, in their family to their collective community. This position is key in implementing a strategic, advocacy plan which incorporates Indigenous Women’s safety to impacts public policy. Through collaboration with ONWA programs, services, and membership from across the province, the Director of Policy will oversee the gathering of data to inform the policy positions of the organization. This data will, then influence public policy that advocates for positive change from a local, provincial, federal and international level.  They will move the agency’s key positions and priorities forward to shift legislative and policy change that reflects an Indigenous women’s lens.  The Director of Policy will build relationships with Indigenous women’s agencies, federal and provincial governments, and key partners to influence and guide the Indigenous Women’s movement.


This role has the overall accountability for ONWA’s strategic Goal of providing an Indigenous Gender Based Framework and the application of an intersectional lens on policy issues facing Indigenous women in Ontario. The Director of Policy must clearly ensure that the work produced in the policy portfolio unpacks how colonization has affected Indigenous Women specifically and develop key recommendations that restores Indigenous Women’s inherent rights based on Indigenous Women’s voices in community.  The Director will work as part of a team in a fast-paced, complex, challenging and rewarding environment.  They are responsible for the development of a policy portfolio strategy and framework that aligns to the agency’s vision, purpose, mandate, and long-term strategy.


Public Policy -

  • Oversees the policy and issue analysis based on ONWA’s key priorities.
  • Develops policy positions, presentations and position papers as well as prepares leadership with briefings, key messages, speaking notes.
  • Implements new and innovative approaches to specified topics, policy and system change.
  • Develops, reviews and evaluates the policy portfolio multiyear work plan based on outcomes
  • Oversees the policy portfolio’s structure from policies, procedures, records, data and framework management
  • Responsible to ensure that key messages and agency positions are shared through capacity building and training among staff and membership for collective voice.
  • Develops and implements the delivery of the ONWA Indigenous Gender Based Analysis Framework
  • Responsible for developing, monitoring and pivoting the policy workplans that reflect the priority issue areas facing Indigenous women.
  • Issues tracking; Analysis and policy research to affect public policy and legislative change specific to Indigenous Women
  • Monitor and analyze the government both Provincially and Federally on key issues, from mandate letters, positions and opportunities for the agency
  • Intergovernmental relations


Leadership & Management –

  • Direct and mentor a growing team of 4-8 people that work to support policy development, making recommendations that ensure the work supports ONWA’s strategic plan and goals for the policy department.
  • Create functional strategies and specific objectives for the policy department that align with ONWA’s strategic plan
  • Development of proposals to secure funding in order to expand the policy portfolio
  • Work in collaboration with all Directors of the agency to ensure a coordinated approach that is reflective of ONWA’s key policy initiatives and priorities
  • Role Model of strong, heathy leadership and represent the agency in a highly professional manner.
  • Develop budgets, policies and procedures to support the overall function of the policy team.
  • Engage, collaborate and partner proactively with community stakeholders to ensure the voices of Indigenous women are reflected in policy initiatives and planning.
  • Identify key issues and assist in the deployment of the team to provide recommendations and emerging trends that affect Indigenous women.
  • High quality communication skills, both written and oral, including public speaking and presentations as required
  • Managing multiple programs, projects and budgets

Organization Operations

  • In response to an increasing demand for ONWA services, work in partnership with the Executive Director and leadership teams to develop and implement new strategic initiatives for the policy department, ensuring they align with the overall ONWA strategic plan, vision, and goals
  • Provide clear reports and presentations for the leadership team and Board that tells the story and impact of the policy portfolio
  • Partner with the Executive Director and leadership team to represent ONWA with key stakeholders, including funders, governments, the media, community organizations and community members



  • Oversee and ensure the accurate, timely and thorough delivery of all research requirements
  • Oversee general office management functions to ensure an effective, high quality work environment
  • Oversee the timely completion of any required reports.
  • Continuously monitor the performance of all team members and make recommendations for change to ensure priorities and needs are being met.


  • Bachelor degree in relevant area such as Social Work, Public Policy and/or Public Education, Women’s Studies, Indigenous Learning, Master’s degree is preferred
  • Minimum of 5 years progressive leadership experience with a not for profit organization and must have demonstrated experience in influencing public policy including planning, development, monitoring and evaluation; equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job
  • Knowledge and experience in government bureaucracy at both provincial and federal levels
  • Political acumen and ability to build relationships
  • Expertise in Indigenous public policy and advocacy initiatives
  • Knowledge of Indigenous culture, traditions, and Indigenous community
  • Essential is foundational knowledge of the issues affecting Indigenous women.
  • Ability to build relationships with other community agencies, services, organizations and government at a political level and build strong working relationships.
  • Exceptional capacity for managing, leading and mentoring people from diverse backgrounds with a commitment to investing in and developing staff and positioning them to succeed.
  • Ability to think strategically, critically and analyze public policy.
  • Knowledge and/or experience with International mechanisms considered an asset.
  • Knowledge and experience with Strategic Planning and multi-year work plans.
  • Capacity to problem solve and strong negotiating ability.
  • Must have an understanding of budget administration and managing contribution agreements.
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • Accustomed to managing multiple projects simultaneously; excellent organizational skills and ability to direct staff and programming deliverables.
  • Highly motivated, ability to work with no supervision and able to meet strict deadlines.
  • Strong understanding of and demonstrated commitment to the vision of ONWA.
  • Proven IT skills using Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook and databases.
  • Ability to travel when required; if the role is located in TO or Ottawa, the incumbent is expected to travel to the TBAY office once a month for a period of a few days to meet and work with their team
  • Reliable vehicle, appropriate vehicle insurance coverage and valid Ontario “G” class driver’s license.
  • Current, valid vulnerable sector criminal records check, reliable cellphone. Valid 1st Aid/CPR.



  • Inter-Cultural Competency – Understands to incorporate a personal responsibility to increase sensitivity, awareness and implementation of ONWA’s cultural teachings and organizational practices in both professional conduct and work-related deliverables.
  • Indigenous Gender-Based Analysis Informed – Understands to incorporate an intersectional approach to gender, race and discrimination and subsequent intergenerational impacts affecting Indigenous women and their families.
  • Trauma-Based Practice Informed – Understands to incorporate a trauma-informed approach to recognize and respond to all forms of trauma and the necessity of supporting Indigenous women in a culture of tradition and safety in her healing journey.
  • She is Wise Leadership Informed – Understands to incorporate the Four Agreements within daily responsibilities and combined with ONWA’s cultural teachings contribute to the empowerment and leadership of Indigenous women within their communities.



  1. Adhere to the Policies and Procedures as set by the Ontario Native Women’s Association.
  2. Completion of responsibilities as outlined in job description.
  3. Excellent conduct and standard of professionalism at work including positive representation of the organization at all times.
  4. The efficient and effectiveness of teamwork in the preparation and execution of all policy related material that is required by the ONWA.
  5. To network and promote ONWA and all ONWA related programs.
  6. Excellent leadership, management, high morale, personal conduct and effective teamwork including effective communications and positive relationship building.
  7. Regular attendance.


  1. To execute duties and responsibilities outlined in job description.
  2. To direct, supervise, evaluate employees under the authority of the Director of Finance and Administration.



The Director of Policy reports directly to the Executive Director of the organization for the proper completion of the functions outlined in the job description.

ONWA is committed and legally obligated (via Ontario Public Health Directives and Regulations) to implement measures to protect its clients, staff and other stakeholders from COVID-19. To comply with its legal obligations, ONWA has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy. Exemptions will be made for those with a valid medical exemption; proof of the exemption will be required

Indigenous Women are particularly encouraged to apply. 

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.


As Indigenous leaders, ONWA is continuing full operations including hiring, while working from home, as supporting our community members is a priority.  ONWA is scheduling all interviews, providing all training, onboarding and orientation for new employees, through the use of virtual tools.  



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  • Location
    Ottawa, Ontario
  • Department
    Policy, Research and Evaluation
  • Employment Type
    Contract - Maternity Leave Coverage
  • Minimum Experience
    Senior Manager/Supervisor
  • Compensation
    $103,800-$129,000 DOE