National Director, Communications

Position Type: Full Time
Starting salary range: $80,000 to $110,000 per annum based on experience.
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Hybrid work environment.
Posting Date: January 23, 2023
Closing: Deadline for Applications February 10, 2023
Start Date: March 13, 2023

CPAWS is committed to improving diversity, equity, inclusion and decolonization within our organization and all aspects of our work. Preference will be given to applications from individuals who self-identify as members of underrepresented and underserved groups.

CPAWS National is seeking a senior, qualified bilingual applicant to fill the position of National Director of Communications to work out of CPAWS’ national office in Ottawa.

As a senior executive at CPAWS, the bilingual National Director of Communications works closely with CPAWS’ National Executive Director and Leadership team, and is responsible for national communications strategy, leads the National Communications team and works closely with communications, conservation and development staff both at CPAWS’ national office and chapters.

The successful applicant has extensive skills and experience in strategic communications, ideally with nonprofit organizations. The successful applicant has experience with traditional media, social media, print, and other communications tools, will bring vision and passion to strategic planning, and has experience managing others to deliver on their goals. The successful candidate should also demonstrate a passion for protecting nature in Canada and will ideally have some knowledge of key conservation challenges and opportunities in Canada. Experience with fundraising and development is an asset.

This role requires adaptability, organizational skills, and imagination. The successful candidate will bring a can-do attitude to ensuring communications across Canada can adapt quickly to changing situations, all while keeping a clear focus on the outcomes we are working to achieve.


In this key position on the National Leadership team, the bilingual National Director of Communications is responsible for national communications strategy. Working closely with the National Executive Director and Leadership team, they will lead the National Communications team, collaborating regularly with the National Conservation team, Development team, Operations team, and Finance team, as well as executive and communications staff in CPAWS chapters across the country.


  1. Strategic Communications and Advocacy
    • Engage in annual departmental planning to deliver an annual communications plan for the organization, including metrics for growth, constituency engagement, and campaign promotion.
    • Lead on strategic media relations planning and oversee rapid response, media list maintenance, outreach, content development, spokesperson management, and key messaging.
    • Ensure the effective use of print, traditional and social media, among other tools and communications channels.
    • Oversee the development and execution of CPAWS-wide communications and advocacy programs in English and French, including but not limited to We Can’t Wait, the bi-annual magazine, newsletters, Impact Report, calls to action, etc.
    • Shape and steward the CPAWS family brand, look, and feel.
    • Oversee production processes and communications for the conservation team for advocacy reports and content (i.e., ocean reports, parks reports, Roadmap to 2030, conservation report cards, etc.).
    • Oversee the Development team on communications for donors and funders.
    • Ensure CPAWS’ and affiliated websites and corporate content is maintained in English and French.
    • Maintain and leverage relationships with other organizations focused on raising the profile among Canadians of the importance of nature protection.
    • Leverage market intelligence research to help CPAWS better understand the values and behaviours of target audiences on topics relevant to CPAWS’ conservation work.
  2. Communications and Development Team Management
    • Direct and manage the CPAWS’ National Communications team, including oversight of departmental and individual work planning and performance evaluations.
    • Oversee communications support for the Corporate Partnerships program.
    • Set a high standard of excellence and bilingualism in all National communications, advocacy programs and activities and oversee management of translation services.
    • Create and manage CPAWS’ Communications team budget, including identification of funding for communications resources and opportunities.
    • Identify strategic communications, media, translation and marketing vendors to support plans and initiatives.
    • Ensure CPAWS’ brand and trademarks are used appropriately and in compliance with all relevant law, including charitable law.
    • Increase integration, organization, and strategic coordination among CPAWS and chapters through the improvement and development of nationwide policies and practices.
    • Increase the capacity of the National team to contribute to funding proposals, appeals, and donor reports and oversee the development of funding proposals to support communications initiatives.
    • Lead on the organization and execution of CPAWS National events.
  3. Executive Leadership
    • Participate as a member of CPAWS’ National Leadership team, including decision-making related to organizational issues.
    • Support the implementation of organizational reforms.
    • Prepare reports, presentations, consultations and workshops for, and travel to, biannual staff and board meetings as necessary.
    • Other duties as required.


  • Post-secondary degree with credentials in journalism, communications and marketing, media relations, public relations or equivalent education and experience.
  • Master’s degree in communications or an MBA is desirable.
  • At least 10 years of progressive experience managing staff and directing strategic organizational communications activities in a leadership role.
  • Proven track record with crisis and brand management.
  • Experience in guiding and counselling senior leaders on strategic communications issues.
  • Experience in building, mentoring, and coaching a team of communications professionals.
  • Demonstrated skill and comfort in proactively building relationships with partners and in successfully positioning subject matter with the media to achieve national recognition, with a dossier of demonstrated achievements in managing and strengthening a brand.
  • Superior judgement with a willingness and ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines.
  • Professional proficiency in both English and French is required.
  • Candidates must be eligible to work in Canada.

The ideal candidate is:

  • Passionate about protecting Canada’s land, wildlife, and species at risk and has knowledge about conservation issues in Canada.
  • Experienced in all aspects of strategic communications and outreach, including key message development, program and campaign execution and evaluation across programs, social media platforms and other communications channels and outstanding writing, editing, and presentation skills.
  • Able to deliver effective campaigns on limited budgets, leveraging partner involvement.
  • Experienced with or a good understanding of Indigenous rights and governments.
  • Experienced in or knowledge of the not-for-profit sector.
  • A dynamic and innovative leader who can seize opportunities, always be ready to imagine new pathways to success, and is able to work collaboratively and build relationships.
  • Encouraging and supportive in managerial approach, supporting strong regional chapters and an effective national office.
  • A strategic and creative thinker, detail-oriented, highly motivated, diplomatic and tactful, with excellent judgment and demonstrated problem-solving skills, with the ability to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs.
  • Service-oriented, with sensitivity to levels of expectation from colleagues and external sources.
  • Proficiency with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Working knowledge of WordPress. Familiar with CRM systems (Engaging Networks, Raiser’s Edge) and design tools (Canva, InDesign, Photoshop).
  • Able to travel within Canada on occasion.
  • Willing and able to find innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Application submission

Please submit a cover letter and resume saved in PDF format with the following nomenclature: “DirectorComms_FirstNameLastName_Application”.

Submit applications by email to no later than Friday, February 10, 2023.

Indicate the position title in the subject line.

CPAWS reserves the right to close applications early for the right person, so get your application in as soon as possible!

Why work for CPAWS?

CPAWS is Canada’s only charity dedicated to the protection of public land, freshwater and ocean with a strong national and regional presence across the country. We are Canada’s leader in conservation with more 60 years of success based on our expertise, public education and advocacy, relationships and local knowledge. We are a credible, trusted, knowledge-based, nationally coordinated, collaborative organization, focused on conserving nature to respond to the dual crises of accelerated biodiversity loss and climate change.

Our mission

CPAWS advocates for the effective, long-term protection of ecologically- and culturally significant land, freshwater and ocean areas in Canada. Working in a way that respects the sovereignty and leadership of Indigenous nations, we achieve our mission through knowledge-based advocacy, and public education and engagement, underpinned by collaboration and partnership.

Our vision

At least half of land, freshwater and ocean in Canada is permanently protected to sustain nature and people for current and future generations.

At CPAWS National, we value each employee’s creativity and innovation and offer a collegial work environment and competitive benefits.

We thank all applicants and look forward to hearing from you!