Staff Lawyer– Policy Department


Desired Start Date: Mid-January
Application Deadline: November 30, 2021, 5:00 pm PST
Applications including cover letter and resume in one combined PDF can be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line “Staff Counsel – Policy Application”


About the Position:


The BCCLA’s Staff Counsel – Policy position requires a talented individual to contribute to the Association’s effort in policy research, reform, advocacy and community assistance. This is a temporary full-time (1.0 FTE) parental leave backfill contract, approximately 14 months in length (Jan, 2022-March, 2023).

Reporting to the Policy Director and working closely with the Community Lawyer, the Policy Staff Counsel advocates on behalf of the Association, or as part of a coalition, on policy and law reform issues, provides public education through speaking engagements, publications, and media commentary; and identifies, researches and develops new policy positions in response to emerging issues.

The successful candidate will have a 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 normally based at our office in Vancouver at #306-268 Keefer St, on the ancestral and unceded lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓wətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil Waututh) nations.

In light of COVID-19, staff at the BCCLA are currently working remotely, with a return to in-person work schedule for early 2022, in compliance with WorkSafeBC guidelines for in-office work during the pandemic. Should the BCCLA continue remote work on a partial basis in 2022, a laptop and remote access to all required platforms will be provided.

We anticipate interviews will be conducted the week of December 13-17, 2021 through video-conference, with an ideal start date of mid January.


What We Offer:


Compensation: Salary is based on the BCCLA’s Salary Structure, commencing at $72,000 for a first year call, $81,000 for a fourth year call, and proceeding through to $96,000 for 12th year of call and beyond. We are currently hiring for a junior lawyer, 1-4 years of call. Lawyers,1-2 years of call, are especially encouraged to apply.

BCCLA also offers a holistic and competitive work package:

• Comprehensive health benefits that includes 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.
• 12 paid Statutory Days off every year.
• 15 days of paid Sick Leave, including sick days, family care days, and personal wellness days.
• Paid breaks.
• 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 to 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 “Staff Counsel – Policy Application.” 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.


Skills Required
A full job description is provided below


You possess the following experience and qualifications:
• Member of the Law Society of British Columbia or eligible for call to the BC Bar;
• J.D. or LLB degree; other relevant advanced degrees an asset;
• We are aiming to hire a junior lawyer who has between 1-4 years of call. Lower year call candidates (1-2 years) are especially encouraged to apply.
• Experience listening to and developing trusting relationships with individuals who have lived experience of their civil liberties and/or human rights being infringed by the state, including individuals who experience multiple or intersectional barriers;

The following are assets that the BCCLA will use to select candidates for this position:

• Passion for civil liberties and human rights issues;
• Substantive expertise in one or more of the following areas is an asset: policing, national security, privacy rights, democratic rights including freedom of expression, patients’ rights, prisoners’ rights, Indigenous rights, youth rights or another pressing area of civil liberties and human rights policy;
• An understanding of emerging technologies and the way they have or may impact civil liberties and human rights;
• Community outreach experience, including direct work with marginalized communities;
• Experience in media and/or public speaking;
• A deep understanding of the national and provincial policy environment in which we conduct our work;
• Experience working collaboratively as part of a coalition of organizations;
• Experience with non-profits (as staff, board member, volunteer, etc.);
• Ability in languages other than English;
• Ability and willingness to travel periodically within BC and Canada, occasionally at short notice;
• Ability to work independently and within a team;
• Ability to manage several projects in a fast-paced work environment;
• Ability to adapt work priorities and advocacy methods in response to changes in the political landscape;
• Lived experience of and/or experience (paid or volunteer) working on issues related to BCCLA’s mandate.


Job Description: The Staff Counsel – Policy is responsible for the following


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.
• Engage in reading and interpreting legislation, policy, and/or jurisprudence in light of key human rights and civil liberties issue and formulate a strategic response, with special attention to intersection with equity, diversity and inclusion.
• 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 BCCLA’s strategic plan, and commitments to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
• Investigate and research emerging issues, including collaborating with staff, volunteers, Board committees, working groups and other NGOs and advocacy 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 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and equity, diversity and inclusion.
• Work 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 Indigenous, marginalized and oppressed communities.
• Listen to and, where appropriate, to 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 equity, diversity and inclusion. 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, public officials, and 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.

• 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 should be combined in one PDF and emailed to [email protected] with the subject line “Staff Counsel – Policy Application”.
Applications are due by 5:00pm PST on November 30, 2021.