Position Profile

Job Title:  Priority Issues Coordinator

Work Unit:  Strategy Division / Innovation and Intergovernmental Services Branch

Ministry:   Alberta Environment and Parks

Competition Number:  1040077

Date:  January 2017



The Ministry of Environment and Parks (AEP) is committed to supporting the key strategic initiatives and core business of government outlined in the Government of Alberta Strategic Business Plan, promoting an integrated resource management system and innovative and responsible resource development. The ministry's mission is to lead the achievement of desired environmental outcomes and sustainable development of natural resources for Albertans as proud stewards of air, land, water and biodiversity. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Priority Issue Coordinator (PIC) works collaboratively with Directors and staff within the Innovation and Intergovernmental Services Branch to coordinate critical and emerging issues and communication within branch and across the division, and department.

The position is responsible for coordinating and preparing briefing materials in response to ministerial action requests, branch initiated action requests, emerging issues within the branch, and manages the ARTS process for the branch. This involves working across the sections within the branch and with different programs within the division, other divisions, and across GoA to ensure all vital information is captured so that informed recommendations and decisions can be made in an integrated context.

The Priority Issues Coordinator also provides direct support to branch Executive Director and Directors in the development of various operations and business plans, branch/divisional priorities and tracking progress in key branch priorities and achievements. This position works collaboratively across the branch to consolidate the various initiatives, explores potential environmental issues and provides regular branch status and situation reports. The position provides support, enabling management and branch staff to utilize information for the effective delivery of branch programs and initiatives that fall within the department's mandate. This requires the individual to assist in the identification of issues and good news opportunities, analyze relevant information, and prepare briefings and recommendations for consideration. This requires the ability to initiate and coordinate responses, and provide value-added information and strategic messaging in a timely manner.

The position plays a critical role in assisting with establishing, integrating and monitoring effective communication processes, both internally and externally. The PIC works to provide timely and accurate advice on current and emerging issues and ensures information is disseminated to the affected program areas in an efficient and effective manner. A strong understanding of communications, policy, and departmental organization issues is required, as well as the linkages of these items to all aspects of delivery.

Responsibilities and Activities


The Priority Issues Coordinator is responsible for the coordination of integrated responses to issues to support the branch and division in achieving successful outcomes.

This is accomplished through:

  • Implementing the Action Request Tracking System (ARTS) on behalf of the branch and adherence to AEP's Action Request business processes, roles and responsibilities and key topics or functions. This includes routing, monitoring and tracking of incoming requests and uploading of documents, with an emphasis on timeliness and ensuring that all related materials are brought to the attention of the management team and processed in a clear and efficient manner.
  • Work with the subject matter experts within the branch to develop briefing materials and correspondence, including drafting responses to ministerial action requests. Support and coordinate branch-initiated Action Requests, instructions, routings, and consolidation of briefing notes and correspondence from across the department and Government of Alberta.
  • Ensuring all Action Request correspondence adheres to the Government of Alberta Correspondence Guide and where applicable Guidebook for Appointments to Alberta's Public Agencies.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with the Assistant Deputy Minister's Office and with other priority issue coordinators to ensure consistent application of process and to ensure situational and strategic awareness of issues across the division.
  • Remains current and informed as to ministry and Government of Alberta issues, and provides an evaluation of issues and potential strategies to resolve issues.
  • Research trends and best practices and providing assessment of impact and application of practices, in the realm of issues management and communication.

The Priority Issues Coordinator supports the branch in achieving its mandate and goals of the Branch Operations Plan and the Division Operations Plan.

This is accomplished through:

  • Provide services to the Executive Director and Directors, including but not limited to:
    • Coordinating the development of the Branch Operations Plan in conjunction with division and department's Strategic Plan.
    • Report on the progress and achievement of performance measures relative to operational/business planning goals and objectives.
    • Report on achievement of branch outcomes relative to Ministry and GoA goals and intent.
  • Provide support and lead various projects as required by the Executive Director or Directors.
  • Identify potential risks, challenges, and opportunities associated with issues management and provide recommendations to the branch with respect to creative solutions and communication needs.
  • Coordinating the provision of regular situational awareness reports to the branch and to the division.
  • Identify and communicate mitigation measures when initiatives are not progressing as expected, follow-up on action items identified by the ADM, DM or Minister to the Executive Director.
  • Provide a support role for internal management team on cross-cutting branch initiatives and priorities.
  • Provide information, analysis, and advice that will assist in planning, development and execution of actions to support divisional goals.
  • Participate in ministry committees, teams and working groups as required.

The Priority Issues Coordinator is responsible for promoting effective communications for the branch, within the division and across the department.

This is accomplished through:

  • Recommend, implement, integrate and monitor effective communication processes, results based people practices, manage the flow of information and inquiries that are received, ensuring inquiries are routed appropriately, responses prepared, issues addressed and deadlines are met.
  • Ensure that the department's Communication Branch is aware of potential issues that may be of interest to the media.
  • Work collaboratively with Communications, Information Officers and Regional Education and Outreach Officers to ensure accurate and consistent key messages for the media and speaking notes for the Minister are prepared.
  • Coordinate and develop strategic messaging with respective program areas of the department, based on input from branch staff.
  • Act as the primary liaison between Communications staff and Regional staff, particularly when dealing with media inquiries.
  • Develop positive messaging for internal communications with branch staff.



The PIC is regularly tasked as the issues lead on high priority, highly political and key business issues. These key business areas include intergovernmental, indigenous, innovation and Agency, Board and Commissions review and governance.

The PIC must use their knowledge and expertise in this regard to develop strategic and risk-based messaging, develop appropriate action/communication plans in conjunction with the division's Stakeholder Engagement Unit and AEP Communications, and execute these actions quickly and with confidence in the information provided (recognizing the target audience and understanding their needs). This position is key to building collaborative internal partnerships with program areas and developing approaches to ensure effective two-way communication and interaction. This position requires a high level of business and political astuteness to recognize issues that may have potential impact.

The PIC maintains situational awareness of issues within the branch, division and department, and ensures the branch and divisional management teams are aware of ongoing internal and external issues. The position also provides regular reporting on progress of issues management and key branch initiatives to ensure the Region is poised to proactively respond to changing priorities and work pressures.

Often, time constraints do not permit cross-checking of briefing material before it goes to the Minister, or the ADM; position must be aware of the policies in appropriate areas to act as the final check on material. The position must be able to coordinate input from the branch management team or staff, and recognize issues that may have political involvement and sensitivity, and provide recommendations in that regard.

The position must assess situations/issues, determine who needs to be involved/informed, the impact and establish the initial priority. The PIC provides an integrated understanding of directions on key issues. This position plays a key role in assisting in the development of strategies and processes that promote the delivery of the divisional programs. The support provided by this position has a significant impact on the efficiency of the branch management team and on public perception of the department.

The PIC has a significant role in working with communications, as well as organization / coordination of activities. The position may also serve as the first point of branch contact for the Assistance Deputy Minister offices on the progress of specific files and issues. The position is responsible for coordinating responses to ministerial requests, which must be accurate, timely, and comprehensive, often requiring consultation with various management teams or external clients.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities


The position requires a post-secondary degree/diploma in Communications, Environmental Studies / Sciences, Public Policy, Business Administration or related fields / equivalencies combined with a minimum of 5 years of related experience including progressively more responsible experience.

The position requires sound knowledge and understanding of, and familiarity with:

  • Government strategic business plans goals and policy direction as it relates to the ministry and divisional mandates.
  • Ministry and divisional business plan goals, strategic priorities, accountability processes, issues, programs, resources and legislation.
  • Related ministry legislation, regulations and policies.
  • GoA and ministry internal administrative policies, processes, and practices.
  • Strategic business and operational planning theories, methodologies, principles and techniques.
  • Performance measurement and reporting theories, methodologies, principles, techniques.
  • Issues management methodologies, practices and principles and project management.
  • Interdependent GoA initiatives, programs, and services.
  • GoA's integrated resource management system and how it applies to AEP.
  • Environmental and biological issues, regulatory processes and provincial and regional priorities, and linkages between policy issues.
  • Stakeholder groups, their issues and interests.

The position requires the following skills and abilities:

  • Build productive relationships within the Region, division, ministry, GoA and with all partners.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, including excellent command of the English language, spoken and written.
  • Organizational and prioritization skills to manage and coordinate a variety of projects, and initiatives.
  • Strong time management skills to prioritize and balance multiple demands and short time frames.
  • Exceptional attention to detail to ensure complete accuracy of issue response.
  • Resourceful with the ability to assist the region in managing information required for resolving complex and often long-term issues.
  • Knowledge of team management ideas and strategies and project management skills to facilitate efficient and timely delivery of the regions initiatives and program.
  • Ability to operate effectively carrying out a broad range of assignments proactively using professional judgement.
  • Ability to operate independently and effectively carrying out a broad range of assignments, relying on knowledge, experience, and guidelines.
  • Use expert judgment to determine the most appropriate manner to meet the objectives and make changes to expedite processes or resolve complex problems that arise.
  • Analytical and evaluative skills are required to assess issues and inquiries in order to determine their urgency, impact and influence, connecting to the appropriate program staff to ensure a coordinated and timely response.
  • Strong collaboration and coordination skills are required to ensure that each of the internal and external parties impacted by a specific issue is linked into the solution.
  • A high level of technical expertise in the use of Microsoft Word and the use of templates and styles, specifically.



The position will have ongoing and regular contact with a variety of staff and external stakeholders regarding implementation, maintenance, and enhancement of Regional Issues Management programs/initiatives as well as providing regional staff with the tools and knowledge to enable effective communication and issues management in the region. The PIC works closely with the Executive Director, other PICs, Branch Leadership Team, as well as the Executive Advisor for the Assistant Deputy Minister of Strategy Division and other divisions and ministries as required.

Staff and Management: To provide information on current or emerging issues, training, advice, direction and problem solving pertaining to:

  • PIC is the Executive Director' s primary link to emerging issues and branch related activities.
  • Working closely with Stakeholder Engagement and AEP Communications, develop operational communication plans and issues resolution processes and strategies; provide advice; consultation and recommendations process issues and concerns; exchange information; and collaborate on initiatives; and develop and distribute regional communication materials.

Divisions Senior Representatives (Assistant Deputy Minister Executive Advisor): Is the Executive Advisor's first point of contact to emerging issues and activities.

Ministry Peers (other divisional PICs): To share information, collaborate and provide recommendations to issues management and communications. To ensure divisional initiatives and priorities are being addressed in a consistent manner, where appropriate.

Ministry Specialists: To share and exchange information and collaborate on training/information sessions.

External Government Resources/Specialists: To share and exchange information, as well as to collaborate on gathering/sharing of information associated with persons of interest, issues dealing with public, support workers and managers, helping with presentations, communicating out to managers.

Supervision Exercised

  Position does not supervise.


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