Wildlife Conservation Society Canada - Director of National Conservation

6 days left

Toronto (City), Ontario (CA)
$90,000-$110,000 per annum
Apr 19, 2021
May 14, 2021
Job Level
Senior level
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type



Official Title: Director of National Conservation

Program: Toronto Management

Office/Project: Toronto/Canada

Position Location: Toronto or Ottawa, ON (flexible remote)

Position Type: Full time

Salary: $90,000-$110,000 per annum

Position Level: SCI 2

Date Written/Revised: 08 April 2021

Reports to: Dr. Justina Ray, President and Senior Scientist

Supervises (secondary supervisor): Various national program staff

Deadline for Applications: 14 May 2021


Position Summary

WCS Canada is seeking a dynamic and skilled conservation scientist to collaboratively lead the development of WCS Canada’s portfolio of national initiatives into a cohesive national conservation program.

WCS Canada is an organization of scientists working in the service of conservation, and operating as a Canadian NGO since 2004. We provide long-term site-based and/or species research that informs policy and practice and support the implementation of effective conservation measures by providing technical advice and engaging relevant decision-makers at all levels, from local to federal. Our field-based work in Canada is in four key geographic areas are led by experienced conservation scientists and their teams based from our offices in Whitehorse, Thunder Bay, and Kaslo. We are increasingly addressing issues of national concern to complement and expand on conservation results learned in our place-based research and policy-related activities.

Reporting to the President of WCS Canada, the Director of National Conservation will most immediately be responsible for the development and leadership of three national initiatives: climate change (natural climate solutions), biodiversity policy, and wildlife health. The secondary component of this role will be focused on providing support and managerial oversight to an existing cadre of staff working on other initiatives within the national program (see map). In the longer term, the Director will be responsible for leading the strategic growth of the overall national program.

The Director of National Conservation will join a team of senior WCS Canada staff who are responsible for guiding the strategic direction of WCS Canada’s conservation programs across the country.  This individual will also be a member of the WCS Canada Communications teams guiding external communications strategies and will have opportunities to collaborate with WCS colleagues around the world to advance WCS’ global cross-cutting conservation initiatives, including Forests and Climate Change, International Policy, and One Health.

The ideal candidate for this position will have a deep interest aligned with WCS Canada’s national conservation initiatives, with demonstrated expertise in nature-based climate (mitigation and adaptation), and/or biodiversity science and policy. They must have broad general knowledge of and curiosity about a breadth of conservation issues and approaches at the interface of science and policy. Additional skills and experience should include raising and managing funds, communications, and facilitation, and the aptitude to deftly coordinate a dispersed network of senior conservation practitioners and liaise with partners and decision-makers across Canada.

The location for this position is flexible.  Access to good transport connections, specifically to Toronto and Ottawa, will be beneficial as travel will be a requirement of this position.


Map of WCS Canada’s current conservation program portfolio of four field-based programs and six national-scale initiatives (see www.wcscanada.org) or email tdias@wcs.org.


Principal responsibilities

The Director for National Conservation will have four key areas of responsibility:

1. Strategic direction and management of the National Conservation Program:

  • Advance the strategic development and implementation of WCS Canada’s national conservation program, in alignment with WCS Canada and global program strategies;
  • Lead WCS Canada’s national conservation initiatives on nature-based climate solutions, biodiversity policy, and health;
  • Provide directional, collaborative support and project oversight to program leaders and staff of WCS Canada’s national conservation team;
  • Provide leadership support during recruitment and hirings, supervision and training of staff within the national program; and
  • Track emerging and relevant conservation issues.

2. Senior WCS Canada program leadership:

  • Participate as an active member of WCS Canada's senior conservation leadership team and support the President and program leaders on strategic level decision making;
  • Support WCS Canada senior field staff in their efforts to form and sustain relationships with governments, engage with decision-makers, and recognize and leverage emerging opportunities.
  • Facilitate and maintain ongoing coordination, collaboration, and active dialogue between WCS global initiatives and WCS Canada national and field-based programs;
  • Contribute to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace that promotes engagement and belonging; and
  • Support WCS Canada’s goal of transforming WCS Canada’s conservation practice through reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

3. External communications and partnerships:

  • Serve as a spokesperson for WCS Canada’s messaging and work, actively seeking and delivering on opportunities to represent WCS to external audiences in media, conferences, events, etc.;
  • Lead WCS Canada engagement in partnerships and relationships that increase the impact and reach of our national program;
  • Oversee and write relevant reports/papers, outreach materials, and other communications; and
  • Develop and coordinate communications with external partners, donors, and the general public, regarding research, results, and accomplishments.

4.  Budget and Fundraising:

  • Develop, coordinate and provide ongoing oversight of the National Conservation Program budget;
  • Actively participate in fundraising proposals and reports for the National Conservation program in collaboration with the WCS Canada Development Team, including donor relations.


  • Ph.D., Master's Degree or similar graduate science degree in a relevant discipline;
  • Expertise in one or more areas of WCS Canada’s national initiatives, accompanied by a commitment to expand knowledge and experience to other areas over time;
  • Demonstrated excellence in leadership and management, with an ability to inspire a team and oversee/manage multiple projects simultaneously;
  • Excellent communication skills in writing, editing, and oral presentations, with comfort and experience speaking to scientists, public audiences, and Indigenous Peoples;
  • Exceptional interpersonal, relationship-building, and networking skills, including an ability to work with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and cultures and within a geographically dispersed team that includes both WCS and non-WCS staff;
  • Able facilitator with an understanding of supporting multi-stakeholder processes;
  • Effective at both collaborative and independent work;
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully gain funding support for conservation research, including grant proposal and report writing, and grant budget management;
  • Experience building relationships with decision-makers that enable knowledge mobilization, exchange, and collaboration;
  • Strategic understanding of the lobbying/advocacy environment (national/provincial/territorial/Indigenous);
  • Understanding of and experience with Indigenous relations across Canada and with federal/provincial/territorial agendas on reconciliation;
  • Experience in the practice of using scientific information to inform policies with relevance to biodiversity and climate change; and tracking emerging issues;
  • Demonstrated ability to understand conservation science and communicate it compellingly to decision-makers.
  • Adept at developing social capital and political networks that connect with decision-makers to understand their needs and create opportunities for knowledge exchange with WCS Canada program staff; and
  • Willingness to travel is essential (when safe to do so).

How to Apply

Please submit your CV with a cover letter explaining how your qualifications and experiences make you the ideal candidate for this role, along with the names and contact information of three references. Applications are to be submitted through the Fitzii portal.

For questions regarding the application process please contact Tina Dias at tdias@wcs.org.

WCS Canada is committed to creating an accessible and inclusive organization. We are committed to providing barrier-free and accessible employment practices. Applicants with a disability or any special needs may make a request for accommodation at any stage of the recruitment process, and we will work with you to meet your needs. Such requests should be communicated to Tina Dias (tdias@wcs.org) or by phone at 416-850-9038 ext. 30.


Deadline for applications: 14 May 2021


About WCS Canada

WCS Canada (www.wcscanada.org) was established as a Canadian conservation organization in July 2004. We are committed to championing accessibility, diversity, and equal opportunity. Our mission is to save wildlife and wild places by improving our understanding of and seeking solutions to critical problems that threaten key species and large wild ecosystems throughout Canada. We implement and support comprehensive field studies that gather information on wildlife needs and then seek to resolve key conservation problems by working with a broad array of actors and are increasingly operating at a national scale. WCS Canada has a track record of our science being recognized as relevant, credible, and legitimate by researchers, NGOs, and agencies. These attributes demonstrably increase the likelihood of WCS science uptake by decision-makers. We also provide technical assistance and biological expertise to communities and agencies that lack the resources to tackle conservation concerns. WCS Canada is independently registered and managed while retaining a strong collaborative working relationship with sister Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) programs in more than 60 countries.

WCS Canada’s programs occur on the homelands of Indigenous Peoples whose relationships with various governments are described in historic (numbered) Treaties, modern land claim agreements, and negotiations around unceded lands. We recognize and support the international ecological and social commitments and responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples that Canada has signed, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Our commitment to engagement with Indigenous Peoples ranges from notification of research to the provision of scientific advice to co‐creation of research. We respect Indigenous knowledge systems and include this knowledge in our research and conservation programs where possible. We engage in land use planning and impact assessment processes that affect Indigenous Peoples, seeking ways to advance conservation as well as opportunities to sustain the livelihoods and cultures of Indigenous communities. We seek to motivate positive conservation outcomes by supporting effective governance and decision‐making processes by Indigenous communities, particularly by supporting Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas.

WCS Canada is committed to contributing to the field of conservation science and the professional development of its employees. Employees are encouraged to participate in professional societies and present their research at conferences and meetings, as well as participate in relevant workshops and training opportunities. Employees are likewise encouraged to mentor graduate students, participate in relevant graduate student committees, and pursue adjunct status with Universities as appropriate.

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