Position Profile

Job Title:  Indigenous Liaison

Work Unit:  Indigenous and Community Connections Division / Indigenous Connections

Ministry:  Alberta Children's Services / Community and Social Services

Competition Number:  1043005

Date:  June 2017
 

Position Summary

 

The Indigenous and Community Connections (ICC) Division supports Children’s Services and its partners in improving outcomes for Indigenous people in Alberta through cultural understanding, relationship building, and strategic leadership. Within this division, the Indigenous Connections (IC) branch is accountable for working with internal and external Indigenous partners to ensure ongoing collaboration and relationship building takes place.  In doing so, the IC branch will enable the Division to have strong partnerships that develop innovative and sustainable solutions to address social-based challenges and opportunities facing Indigenous people.

Reporting to the Manager in Indigenous Connections, the Indigenous Liaison is responsible for supporting a proactive, networking approach to managing relationships and interactions within the Division, the Ministry, and with Indigenous leaders, Elders, communities, persons with lived experience, Indigenous agencies and other partners.  The position enhances Ministry and Division relationships through collaboration, consultation, and facilitation, ensuring that Ministry initiatives, policies, programs and services are informed by Indigenous perspectives and that Indigenous feedback is shared through respectful, meaningful engagement activities to inform the ongoing work of Children’s Services.  The role requires considerable leadership and ability to work independently as the Indigenous Liaison is often representing the Ministry to a wide range of diverse stakeholders and Indigenous peoples and communities.

The Indigenous Liaison also coordinates all aspects of collaborative work with Indigenous communities in order to increase collective understanding of Indigenous perspectives; ensures that an Indigenous lens is represented within the ministry and other ministries; and generates feedback and input that can contribute to system-wide changes to improve outcomes for Indigenous children, families and communities. In doing so, the Liaison will be required to provide advice and recommendations to senior leadership within the Ministry, as well as the Minister.

The role is pivotal in developing effective relationships, common ground between multiple program areas and with stakeholders and Indigenous communities, and influencing shared outcomes in an often sensitive and complex environment.  The Indigenous Liaison also undertakes a broad supporting role to other branches within the Division by providing expert guidance with cultural competency, cultural protocol, Indigenous and partner engagement, communication and relationship-building.

Specific Accountabilities

  1.

The Indigenous Liaison builds and strengthens relationship with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, partners, and organizations, including those in an Urban setting by:

Activities:

  • Providing strategic and planned outreach to identify and develop strategic relationships that are aligned with the ministries mandate, and strengthen relationships Children’s Services has with stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and communities.
  • Creating and identifying opportunities for all involved parties to collaborate, develop common ground and jointly identify and manage issues and optimize opportunities to achieve common outcomes.
  • Assisting Children’s Services staff in leveraging strong community relationships to proactively identify problems and systemic issues.
     
  2.

Proactively builds and maintains a network of positive and collaborative relationships within Children’s Services including the regions and DFNAs, across the Government of Alberta; and externally with key stakeholders, Indigenous communities, and national and provincially-based organizations to:

Activities:

  • Identify opportunities to build on existing relationships in order to expand the Branch’s and Division’s overall network.
  • Understand the interests, needs and preferences for engagement (e.g. how they would like to be engaged) and apply this to relationship-building strategies and approaches.
  • Identify opportunities to build capacity in terms of developing collaborative relationships.
  • Establish credibility and trust with Indigenous communities and partners in the Division and Ministry by attending internal and external committees, meetings and ad hoc gatherings, often as the sole Division or Ministry representative.
  • Report back to Division and Ministry Executives on the status of various internal/external committees/meetings, including recommendations for next steps and planning for future collaborative efforts, as required.  These plans and recommendations will often be required by Division leadership, including the Assistant Deputy Minister.
     
  3.

Ensure consistent early engagement of stakeholders and Indigenous peoples in initiatives, program design, and policy development to inform directions, create buy in, establish credibility, and directly contribute to the success of resulting solutions.

Activities:

  • Engage with and maintain relationships with First Nations communities to be informed of priority issues and options for their resolution.
  • Lead the development and engagement of strategic linkages and resources to develop and implement specific community projects that address specific priorities for First Nations communities.
  • Determine the best approach to use to work with stakeholders to maintain progress on project development and implementation.
     
  4.

Provide input, direction, recommendations and advice on proposed changes to Children’s Services programs or initiatives regarding the importance of relationships with Indigenous partners due to the potential impacts on stakeholders and Indigenous peoples and communities.

This includes:

  • Promoting the interests of Indigenous partners and stakeholders to the appropriate decision-makers within Children’s Services (e.g., at the Executive Director, ADM level) to inform project activities or policy changes.
  • Providing relevant advice and recommendations on courses of action to senior and executive managers, other ministries, Indigenous communities and organizations and other stakeholders.
     
  5.

Provide advice and guidance on a range of First Nations issues to increase awareness of relevant issues, and support decision-making and policy directions.

Activities:

  • Identify the impact of First Nations issues and priorities to existing policy.
  • Share information regarding First Nations community issues with other department branches, and with other ministries.
  • Develop and maintain open communication and effective relations with multiple stakeholders.
  • Develop and share information, knowledge and expertise in critical areas of policy, program and relationships within the Ministry.
  • Liaise with ministries and First Nations communities to maintain awareness of priorities and the emergence of new issues.
  • Provide advice on complex issues or situations involving legal and jurisdictional issues, political sensitivities, multiple interests that have significant potential for precedent and significant consequence of error.
     
  6.

Provide information, advice, and recommendations to support Children’s Services’ committees, councils, and working groups in discussions involving initiatives or policy that may have an impact on stakeholders and Indigenous communities.

Activities:

  • Provide support to the Manager, Director, and other Ministry staff as required in larger provincial initiatives (e.g., Engagement Tables with First Nations, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Education, Child and Family and other cross-ministry work).
  • Research and develop responses to Action Requests and briefings for ministry Executive, including the Deputy Minister’s Office, and for the Minister.
     
  7.

Indigenous Engagement activities: Minister’s Tour, Executive Leadership visits, etc.

Activities:

  • Provides advice and recommendations on best practices in engaging with First Nations, Metis Settlements and organizations, urban Indigenous organizations, Provincial Treaty Organizations, Tribal Councils, and other Indigenous agencies and organizations.
  • Works with First Nations and Metis Settlements to coordinate Minister's visits to selected communities. Coordinates transportation, prepares briefing notes, and advises on any cultural component of the visits.
     
  8.

Provides Grant and Contract supports to the Division.

Activities:

  • Works with Indigenous communities and organizations, including urban Indigenous organizations to support the preparation and application of contracts and grants.
  • Reviews grant submissions to the Division for strategic relevance and appropriateness and provides recommendations to the Manager, Indigenous Connections, and Division leadership.
  • Provides grant and contract oversight for approved projects/initiatives that are in progress, ensuring scope is maintained, and that regular progress and financial reporting is provided.  Ensures that all actions are completed to close the grant/contract, in accordance with Children’s Services Grants and Contracts manual.

Knowledge / Experience / Competencies

 

Knowledge:

  • The Indigenous Liaison is required to be agile and apply in-depth knowledge regarding relationship building with Indigenous communities, change management, capacity building, organizational development, and systems design practices to a wide range of situations from strategic to operational, including program areas, and cross ministry initiatives. The role will identify and evaluate complex and often politically sensitive issues that impacts Children’s Services, stakeholders, and Indigenous communities.
  • Thorough knowledge of and sensitivity to Indigenous history and culture, which strongly influence First Nations perceptions and the ministry's working relationship, is essential to develop positive working relationships.  This includes in depth knowledge of the diverse range of cultures, stakeholders, Indigenous peoples and communities served, interested or impacted by Children’s Services, along with knowledge of Indigenous holistic world views, practices, and methodologies such as the medicine wheel and the seven teachings.
  • Knowledge of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, including urban Indigenous communities, as well as broader provincial and federal issues related to First Nations communities and people in Alberta.
  • Strong understanding of current Indigenous issues in Alberta and Canada.
  • Knowledge of law and history as it relates to Indigenous issues.
  • Knowledge of structure and operations of First Nations and Métis governments.
  • Analytical and synthesis skills to make sound judgment of courses of action.
  • Financial, grant and contract management skills to oversee funding to community-based projects.
  • Ability to work effectively on project teams, both as a leader and a member.
  • Ability to think strategically and develop solutions to complex problems.
  • Ability to identify policy implications and provide options and recommendations on alternate paths.
  • Ability to conduct research and analytic abilities to assimilate data from multiple sources and distill conclusions.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to work with multiple internal and external stakeholders (e.g., First Nations leaders, Indigenous organizations, peers in other ministries).
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written and ability to adapt style to different audiences.
  • Ability to exercise discretion and diplomacy in a highly sensitive political environment.
  • Knowledge of the programs and services, policies, legislation, strategies, frameworks and initiatives underway or provided through Children’s Services, specifically those impacting internal staff, external stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples and communities. It is through understanding programs, services, policies or legislation that the Indigenous Liaison will be able to inform the design of the engagement and facilitate the interconnectedness and alignment of activities across Children’s Services as well as across GoA.
  • Knowledge of the Government of Alberta and Children’s Services strategic planning and reporting processes, including:
    • Strategic directions and goals, decision-making and approval processes and structures.
    • Business plans, core business areas.
    • Divisional mandates, strategic directions and priorities.
    • The political environment in which the Ministry operates.
  • Knowledge of an Indigenous language would be an asset.

Experience:

  • Proven ability to establish and maintain collaborative relationships through establishing credibility, balancing diverse perspectives and expectations, and communicate constructive advice with tact and sensitivity with internal and external stakeholders, and between internal and external stakeholders and Indigenous peoples and communities.
  • Creative and strategic thinking and strong organizational systems design skills including the ability to apply best practices, research and innovative practices to engagement.
  • Problem-solving, influencing and negotiating, mediation, and structured decision making skills to analyze and synthesize complex information, bridge divergent and competing views and develop common ground among stakeholders and Indigenous peoples, and facilitate the development of shared outcomes.
  • Developed critical thinking and analytical skills including the ability to summarize and synthesize complex material and identify key issues and develop solutions.
  • Proven organizational skills including a high degree of initiative and flexibility with the aptitude to manage complex stakeholder relationships and resources to meet competing priorities.
  • Confidence and ability to effectively exercise professional independent judgement to identify, escalate and manage emerging issues internally and externally that may impact Human Services reputation or operational performance.
  • Capacity to quickly master complex subjects and communicate these effectively to different audiences in a deadline driven environment.
  • Well-developed research and written communications skills to produce accurate, easily understood communications material such as agenda’s, newsletters, brochures, collateral, media releases, web information and questions and answer/key messages documents within tight deadlines that contribute to successfully liaise with a range of stakeholders and communities.
  • Exceptional communication including verbal, written, listening and interpersonal skills including the following:
    • Ability to present information in a succinct, clear and engaging manner.
    • Ability to adjust communication to reflect the needs of the participants.
    • Strong interpersonal and collaboration skills and the ability to work with others to coordinate information, resolve issues and successfully manage projects, initiatives and activities.
    • Strong ability to persuade and influence others on projects, committees and cross-ministry teams.
    • Complete briefing materials and reports.

Primary Relationships / Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact
Internal

Branch Manager, Director and Staff Members

Regular, ongoing

Receives direction, support for initiatives, provides issue briefings/reporting, and recommendations.

ADM and ICC Leadership Team

Ongoing Collaboration, cooperation, information sharing, issues resolution.

Ministry Staff
Other GoA Ministries and Staff

As required Advice, seek direction, share information. Collaborate on initiatives, share information, support and cooperation and provide direction.
External

Indigenous Community (leaders, representatives, influencers such as First Nations and Urban Indigenous Organizations)

Frequently and ongoing Project work, information sharing, negotiations, collaboration, advice and direction.
Other levels of government and stakeholders of influence Ongoing Information sharing, collaboration and cooperation.
Academic Institutions As required Information sharing, collaboration and advice.

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