Position: Policy Staff Counsel (Community)

Desired Start Date: July 2022
Application Deadline: May 29, 2022 at 11:59 pm PST

Applications including cover letter and resume in one combined PDF can be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line “Policy Staff Counsel (Community) Application” and are due by 11:59pm PST on May 29, 2022.

About the position:

The BCCLA’s Policy Staff Counsel (Community) position requires a talented person to carry through the policy reform and community engagement efforts of the association. This is a full-time, 1.0 FTE permanent position.

The Policy Staff Counsel (Community) reports to the Policy Director and works closely with members of the policy department, comprised of another Staff Counsel position and articling/summer students. Ultimately, all staff are accountable to the Executive Director.

The BCCLA Policy department engages in law and policy reform efforts to promote legislation and policies that advance civil liberties and human rights, and to resist or change laws that do not. The department also engages in community-based legal advocacy and provides legal resources to support individuals defending their rights.

The successful candidate will be a member of a collaborative Policy department informed by and rooted in community legal engagement work, which is supported by the Policy Director and the Executive Director. This position will lead the BCCLA’s community legal support program. This program provides assistance, information, and referrals to individuals who request information or have complaints related to civil liberties and human rights law.

The BCCLA’s goal is to create deeper and enhanced engagement between the BCCLA and communities experiencing civil liberties and human rights issues around BC, to ensure that we are able to be as responsive as possible to these issues. The position will lead the Policy team’s work to support communities and individuals with their civil liberties and human rights issues, and work directly with community on law reform efforts that are within the BCCLA’s mandate.

The successful candidate will have a deep knowledge of and interest in human rights and civil liberties issues, strong ethics, and a deep commitment to equality, justice, and freedom.

This position is based at our office in Vancouver at #306-268 Keefer St, on unceded Indigenous lands belonging to the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓wətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil Waututh) nations.

In light of COVID-19, this position will work partially in-person, in incompliance with WorkSafeBC guidelines for in-office work during the pandemic, and partially remotely. A laptop and access to all required platforms will be provided.

We anticipate interviews will be conducted by BCCLA staff through video-conference in mid-June, with an ideal start date of July.

What We Offer:

Compensation: Salary is based on the BCCLA’s Salary Structure, with a base at $72,000 for a first year call, $81,000 for a fourth year call, and proceeding through to $96,000 for a 12th year of call and beyond.

BCCLA also offers a holistic and competitive work package:

  • Room for salary growth over the lifetime of all staff positions
  • Annual salary progression for all staff, and regular COLA increases.
  • Comprehensive health benefits that include extended health and dental plan for all staff, spouses and dependents.
  • Life insurance, Long-term Disability Insurance, and AD&D for staff, family and dependents included within health benefits.
  • Health benefits starting immediately and not dependent on completion of probationary period.
  • 20 days of paid Annual Vacation, plus an additional 1-2 week December office closure.
  • 10 Statutory and 1 other paid days off every year.
  • 15 days of paid Sick Leave, including sick days, family care days, and personal wellness days.
  • Paid breaks.
  • A generous parental leave policy including a parental leave top-up.
  • Annual professional development funding for each staff.
  • Team-wide professional development and training.
  • Team-wide staff celebrations and staff appreciation.
  • A family-friendly, child-friendly, and dog-friendly work environment that supports flexible work arrangements and time in lieu arrangements with an emphasis on work life balance.
  • A workplace where your experience and voice are valued.
  • A staff team of diverse backgrounds that is committed and passionate about civil liberties, human rights, equity and justice.

Application Process:

To apply, please email your resume and cover letter in one combined PDF to [email protected] with the subject line “Policy Staff Counsel (Community) Application” no later than May 29, 2022, at 11:59pm PST. Candidates are invited to share their LinkedIn and Twitters profiles, but are not expected or required to do so.

The BCCLA is committed to ensuring that equity, diversity, and inclusion are priority considerations, including in building a workplace that honours the particular experiences and expertise of communities marginalized through state violence and social oppression. The BCCLA strongly encourages applications from all qualified Indigenous people, Black people, immigrants and refugees, people of colour, working class people, and LGBTQ+ people. Applicants are encouraged to self-identify, should they feel comfortable doing so, in their cover letter and are invited to share how their lived experience would inform their approach and ethics in this position.

About the BCCLA:

The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is a non‑partisan, not‑for‑profit national leader whose mission is to promote, defend, sustain, and extend civil liberties and human rights. The BCCLA is the oldest and most active civil liberties and human rights group in Canada. The BCCLA has been actively advancing human rights and civil liberties through litigation, law reform, community-based legal advocacy, and public engagement and education for the last half century. Though we are based in BC, our work is national in scope with legal interventions and law reform advocacy across Canada.

BCCLA focuses on the relationship between people and the state, and the ways in which the state can limit or advance human rights and liberties. BCCLA’s work pays particular attention to the needs of vulnerable individuals and oppressed communities, who would otherwise have difficulty getting redress for violations and limitations on their rights despite being the most susceptible to state regulation and violations of their fundamental rights. We recognize that liberty, dignity and equality are mutually-reinforcing, and that such rights are inalienable and necessary for the flourishing of individuals and human society.

With a mandate that includes work on police accountability, government transparency, democratic rights including freedom of expression, prisoners’ rights, patients’ rights, privacy rights, surveillance and national security issues, immigration detention, and criminal legal reform, we are one of the most vibrant and visible advocacy groups in Canada. The BCCLA is a small team with a big reach, and we want you to be a part of our work.

About you:

You possess the following attributes:

  • Top‑notch legal thinker with strong legal research, analysis, writing and advocacy skills – you can quickly analyze a new statute, policy or judicial decision and understand the key human rights and civil liberties issue(s) at stake and formulate a creative and pragmatic response;
  • Strategic thinker with an aptitude for developing proactive law reform solutions;
  • Ability to develop a strong knowledge of community within which you are working, including historical, political, cultural, racial, and class issues;
  • Commitment to community‑oriented lawyering that is responsive to community needs, culturally competent and enhances community participation within the scope of the BCCLA’s issues and strategies;
  • Dynamic communications skills with an aptitude for public and media communications and community outreach – you can analyze and articulate legal concepts in a way that is credible, understandable and relatable to community residents, the general public, media, the academy and policy makers alike;
  • An understanding of the state of civil liberties and human rights in Canada, of current events and the political environment, and the ability to identify and prioritize the areas of opportunity to advance the BCCLA’s cause;
  • Eagerness to thoughtfully challenge and advocate in service of the BCCLA’s objectives;
  • Ability to identify common concerns and help translate those into actionable issues that can be successfully addressed;
  • Ability to use a mix of traditional and non‑traditional legal skills, and both legal and non‑legal tools, to support initiatives;
  • Committed to engaging with members of the public using a trauma-informed approach, including being aware of emotional resiliency and the effects of vicarious trauma, and associated support mechanisms;
  • Well‑developed relationship‑building and inter‑personal skills;
  • Ability to strike the right tone to be effective in a variety of settings, whether in community meetings, in meetings with allied groups, testifying before a Parliamentary committee or at press conferences;
  • Experienced in supporting and advancing organizational goals and are comfortable with project and budget management; and
  • Committed to the organizational goals of the BCCLA.

You share the values that animate this work:

  • Recognizing and honoring the community’s expertise, strengths and resources;
  • The centrality of listening;
  • The commitment to working collaboratively with community members to identify problems, issues and strategies for change;
  • Recognizing the limitations of the law and being willing and able to use a range of not‑traditionally‑legal approaches to uphold human rights (communications, education, government relations);
  • Recognizing and creating space for community members to speak for themselves; and
  • Recognizing and engaging issues of difference and power

 Skills and Qualifications Required:

A full job description is provided below.

  • Member of the Law Society of British Columbia or eligible for call to the BC Bar;
  • J.D. degree; other advanced degrees an asset;
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills;
  • Ability to engage in complex legal analysis and investigation of facts;
  • Excellent oral and written communication and analytic skills;
  • Experience with utilizing a trauma informed approach to all your work;
  • Ability and willingness to travel regularly within BC and Canada – we work with communities province‑wide and this position requires in‑person relationships to be fostered;
  • If a settler, experience working with Indigenous communities and people; 
  • Experience in community outreach, preferably including work with marginalized communities, is a strong asset;
  • Experience with casework and/or case management is an asset;
  • Strong ability, or capacity to develop ability, in media and public relations is an asset;
  • Ability in a language other than English is an asset;
  • A deep understanding of the national and provincial policy environment in which we conduct our work is an asset.
  • Must be extremely well-organized, able to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines, and work independently and as part of a team; and
  • Experience mentoring and supervising others an asset;

Job Description:

Community Legal Engagement

  • Lead the BCCLA’s community legal engagement work supported by the Policy department and the Executive Director, with the goal of ensuring that all Policy work is both rooted in and informed by community priorities and the lived experience of marginalized people;
  • Manage, with departmental support, our Community Legal Support Program for legal advocates and the general public;
  • Provide advice and consultation to community workers and organizations regarding the legal rights of those whom they represent and for whom they act;

Policy Work:

  • Investigate, research and advocate on key civil liberties and human rights issues. This includes active engagement in law and policy reform research, writing and advocacy including through drafting legal research memos, oral and written advocacy submissions, and letters.
  • Monitor news media, academic sources, listservs, case law, and proposed federal, provincial, and municipal legislation to identify emerging issues and developments that intersect with files assigned to you and especially those that align with BCCLA’s strategic plan and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
  • Engage in reading and interpreting legislation, policy, and/or jurisprudence in light of key human rights and civil liberties issues and formulate a strategic response, with special attention to intersection with EDI.
  • Evaluate, in consultation with the Policy Director and Executive Director, potential civil liberties and human rights issues to take on, with special attention to their intersection with EDI, BCCLA’s strategic plan, and commitments to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action.
  • Investigate and research emerging issues, including collaborating with staff, volunteers, and Board committees and working groups.
  • Support the Policy Director in planning and administering New Policies Working Group meetings.
  • Develop organizational policy position papers on new areas of law.
  • Collaborate with and supervise students (either volunteer or employed) to provide mentorship and direction and ensure that their work supports Policy Department priorities.
  • Provide support to the Policy Director and Executive Director on an as needed basis.

Community and Government relations

  • Monitor any developments related to policy files assigned to you. Such developments may include changes in government direction, timelines, opportunities for consultation, changes in community priorities, relevant jurisprudence, relevant media revelations, etc.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with community groups, partner agencies, advocates and community groups around the province, and across Canada, with attention to BCCLA’s commitment to EDI and the TRC Calls to Action.
  • Works closely with grassroots and community organizations throughout the province to understand issues and experiences from an on-the-ground perspective and to ensure the work of the BCCLA accurately and respectfully supports those being represented, particularly those from marginalized and oppressed communities.
  • Listen to and, where appropriate, act upon the concerns of individuals and communities experiencing infringements of their civil liberties and human rights.
  • Assist communities and groups in the development of advocacy and law reform strategies in relation to the civil liberties and human rights issues affecting them, with particular attention to EDI. Assist in building education and capacity to carry out such strategies.
  •  Provide information to and consult with community workers and groups in relation to the legal rights of those whom they represent and for whom they act.
  • Collaborate externally with coalitions and diverse allies to achieve common objectives. In collaboration with the Policy Director and Executive Director, build out policy advocacy campaigns. Campaigns may include work with networks of allies (coalition, ad hoc, or established), drafting and/or reviewing lists of concerns, policy analysis and research, law reform advocacy, media relations, and communications strategy, including substantive input regarding online petitions, events, publications, and calls to action (i.e. specific ask for decision makers).
  • Develop and maintain relationships with key decision makers and community partners including NGOs, advocacy groups, academics, members of the legal and regulatory community, legislators and officials, media.
  • Draft submissions to decision makers, including written submissions, letters, or oral submissions (such as appearing before a Parliamentary or Senate Committee, addressing City Council, holding meetings with government officials, writing letters to Ministers and Mayors, Commissions of Inquiries, etc.)

Public Engagement and Media

  • In collaboration with the Engagement department, engage with the public and media when major BCCLA reports or resources are being released, including speaking/events, media, and publication dissemination strategy.
  • Develop and maintain good media relations.
  •  Collaborate with the Engagement department and other staff to support fundraising efforts, including developing materials for communications, engaging with supporters, and attending BCCLA fundraising events.
  • Create and provide public education and advocacy on policy issues, including through digital and traditional media, writing materials (blogposts, op-eds, policy papers, etc), speaking events and workshops, and comprehensive advocacy campaigns.
  • Draft press releases and engage in media interviews, with support from Engagement staff.


  • Work with the BCCLA’s full staff team to implement integrated public education and legal advocacy strategies.
  • Diligently meet any deadlines for funding applications and reporting requirements. In collaboration with the Policy Director, Executive Director and Engagement department, seek out and apply for project specific funding when necessary, such as for legal research, advocacy materials, or publication production.
  • In collaboration with the Litigation department, develop strategies to address issues respecting overlapping files affecting civil liberties and human rights.

Administrative and Professional Responsibilities:

  • Be a member in good standing with the Law Society of British Columbia.
  • Ensure you have completed your Continuing Professional Development credits.
  • Ensure you are up-to-date on and in compliance with any changes to the Law Society Rules and the Code of Professional Conduct.
  • Ensure you have read and are up-to-date on all BCCLA organizational on-boarding documents and office policies, and adhere to appropriate procedures such as utilizing our Rise HR platform.
  • Adhere to internal systems for recordkeeping and information sharing.
  • In your capacity as an in-house lobbyist of the BCCLA, monitor and report any required monthly lobbying activity to the Policy Director and Director of Operations and People.         

Applications including cover letter and resume in one combined PDF can be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line “Policy Staff Counsel (Community) Application” and are due by 11:59pm PST on May 29, 2022.