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Oxfam Canada

Executive Director

About Oxfam Canada                      

Oxfam is a global movement committed to achieving a just world without poverty. Oxfam Canada (OCA) contributes to this goal, building lasting solutions to poverty and injustice with a focus on improving the lives and promoting the rights of women and girls. Working with Canadians, partners and allies around the world, OCA mobilizes people and resources to change policies, practices, attitudes and behaviours in support of human rights and gender justice on a healthy planet.

OCA has an annual budget of more than $15M, supporting development through capacity building, knowledge sharing, humanitarian response and advocacy. It collaborates with Oxfam- Québec and other Oxfams to attain the change goals of the Oxfam Strategic Plan, employing more than 60 staff in Canada and overseas.


The Executive Director provides inspiration and leadership to achieve OCA’s mission. Working with the Board and staff, the Executive Director develops the strategic direction and assures responsive and responsible management. Working to increase OCA’s impact, influence and effectiveness, the Executive Director assures OCA is accountable to people living in poverty as well as to its members, donors, funders and the public. The Executive Director represents OCA on the Executive Board of Oxfam International and to government, media and key stakeholders.

Sharing Oxfam’s vision and values, the ideal candidate is a dynamic visionary and team builder, combining extensive senior management experience in complex organizations and networks with a strong commitment to collaboration and partnership. Motivated by a passion for human rights and gender justice, s/he is committed to equity, diversity and inclusiveness. S/he will bring solid experience in fund development, financial management, media relations with change management skills that inspire confidence and trust. The successful candidate will have excellent communications and influencing skills in English and French.

Job Purpose

The Executive Director provides strategic leadership and direction, driving performance and promoting innovation and learning while assuring financial health and compliance with ethics and standards. Working in a collaborative and collegial manner with the Management Team and staff, the Executive Director creates an environment which encourages a positive cohesive team culture, progressive management and continuous improvement.

Key Accountabilities

Strategic Leadership

  • Provide strategic leadership for the achievement of OCA’s mission, providing leadership and advice to the Board and Management Team in setting strategic direction and ensuring delivery of OCA’s strategic goals.  
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan and annual operating plans and budgets within the parameters set by the Board and within the framework of the Oxfam Strategic Plan.
  • Support and advise the Board in their governance responsibilities, assuring effective systems for defining and reporting on performance measures and outcomes and regular and reliable reporting on risk management, compliance and accountability.
  • Collaborate with Oxfam-Québec’s Executive Director to increase impact, influence, efficiency and effectiveness in support of the Oxfam Strategic Plan.
  • Contribute to the leadership and direction of Oxfam International, promoting its shared culture and One Program approach.
  • Promote a culture of high performance, learning and continuous improvement, ensuring accountability to stakeholders and to Oxfam International.


  • Provide effective management to achieve high quality outcomes that deliver OCA’s strategic plan and assure its financial health.
  • Build an effective and cohesive Management Team through mentoring, motivating and collaboration, providing guidance, support and coaching to help them fulfill their strategic objectives.
  • Ensure execution of OCA’s operational plan within budget, in accord with agreed financial and non-financial performance indicators.
  • Ensure operational alignment and cross-team collaboration and coherence.
  • Ensure effective planning, resourcing, quality control and financial management.
  • Ensure effective processes are in place for monitoring, reporting, knowledge management and identification of strategic priorities.
  • Ensure effective risk management, including reputational, brand and financial risks, and adherence to policies that safeguard the security, health and safety of staff.
  • Ensure recruitment and retention of suitably qualified staff.
  • Ensure OCA is an employer of choice, through effective development and performance management systems, policies and practices that provide opportunities for staff to learn and develop their skills, positive and transparent relations with the union, and development of a supportive and high performing culture.
  • Ensure OCA complies with all legal, fiscal and other compliance requirements and all relevant codes of conduct.

External Communications and Representation

  • Ensure OCA takes a strategic approach to relationship management, in support of the organisation’s mission and strategic objectives.
  • Represent OCA effectively to public audiences, through key events, the media, public meetings and written communications.
  • Assure effective working relationships with key stakeholders, including high level donors, strategic allies, government officials, private sector leaders and opinion shapers.
  • Ensure external communications are credible, accurate and in accordance with OCA’s brand position, strategy and values.
  • Represent OCA internationally and within the Oxfam confederation.

Key Competencies


  • Post graduate degree in a relevant discipline or equivalent commensurate experience.

Experience and knowledge

  • Senior management experience in leading the development and ensuring effective delivery of organizational strategy.
  • Experience and a track record of success in leading an organization, or a significant function in a larger organization. This includes:
    • successfully leading, managing and motivating teams, with a high degree of self-awareness and understanding of how to support team performance and individual development,
    • experience of managing complex change processes and relationships involving a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, across diverse disciplines, cultures and contexts,
    • senior level financial management experience,
    • experience of managing risk in an international context,
    • experience in evaluation and promoting high performance,
    • experience in working with and reporting to a volunteer Board or governance group.
  • Strong experience of advocacy and influencing with senior government officials, private sector leaders and public opinion shapers.
  • Experience in managing a marketing/fundraising operation, preferably in a not-for-profit setting and the ability to maximize institutional fundraising.
  • Experience and demonstrated innovation in programming, mobilizing and influencing.
  • Experience with media, including social media, in promoting social change.
  • Sophisticated knowledge of the complex factors driving poverty, inequality, unequal gender relations, marginalization and vulnerability.
  • Demonstrated commitment to gender justice and the interests of marginalized people.
  • Understanding of, and an ability to operate effectively in the dynamic and challenging political environment in which Oxfam operates.
  • Understanding of the ethics and codes of practice relevant to international development and humanitarian action.
  • Experience of representing an organization at a senior level – with civil society,  partners, government agencies, private sector and/or donors; an ability to act as a broker to facilitate or build effective relationships among these groups.

Professional Skills

  • Proven analytical skills and ability to think strategically, including the ability to think beyond a country context and to act within a regional and/or global framework.
  • Skills to drive organizational effectiveness and steer resource allocation decisions.
  • Competency in understanding the principles of marketing, communications, fundraising, human resources and finance as they relate to not-for-profit organizations.
  • Good level of IT literacy and an understanding of how new developments in technology can positively contribute to the aims of an INGO.
  • Demonstrated skills in team building and motivating employees.
  • Demonstrated ability to prepare cogent and persuasive written material.
  • Sophisticated presentation and communications skills, and ability to advocate and communicate effectively to a range of  audiences, including in the media and public speaking.
  • Excellent English and French; Spanish is an asset.

Behavioural Competencies

  • Achieves results by setting and communicating goals and ensuring effective and appropriate decision making and problem solving.  Able to resolve complex problems and provide clear and effective communication and representation.
  • Outward behaviours – strategic analysis, analytical and lateral thinking, taking initiative, effective advocacy, engaging communication, flexibility.
  • Achieves results by working effectively with and through internal and external stakeholders and by holding others to account. Communicates appropriately, encourages and develops others, provides feedback and adapts leadership and relationship management style to bring about successful outcomes.  Able to influence and manage multiple stakeholders.
  • Leadership behaviours – motivates and inspires others, develops teams, achieves results, facilitates change, establishes and maintains positive relationships.
  • Builds and strengthens internal culture by displaying empathy, self-awareness, appropriate personal qualities, and communication style, to set an example for others to follow.
  • Personal behaviours – self-aware, sophisticated interpersonal skills, behaves consistently in line with the mission and values of Oxfam, displays the highest standards of personal and professional conduct, shows good judgement and discretion.


The Executive Director is expected to undertake six or more weeks of travel each year to support Oxfam staff and offices, to monitor operational activity and outcomes, participate in key meetings that contribute to Oxfam International’s work and attend meetings of the Oxfam Executive Board. This includes travel to areas that may be subject to civil conflict, natural disasters or social unrest.