We’re Hiring: Communications Director

Job Title: Communications Director, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

Reporting To: Executive Director 

Application Deadline: May 5, 2024, 11:59PM Pacific  

Desired Start Date: Late June, 2024 

Location: This position is open to applications from across Canada, and CDPC staff work largely remotely. CDPC offices are located on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territory at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. This position requires that the successful candidate be located within convenient access to a major airport and have adequate and consistent access to high-speed internet and mobile networks.  

Hours and Travel: Work takes place during regular business hours, with occasional time and possible travel within Canada required on evenings and weekends for events. CDPC staff currently live and work in a range of different time zones. Staff are supported to plan their work hours to best reflect their local time zone and workflow, provided this allows for collaboration with colleagues. Tracking and responding to media requests and emergent issues may occasionally require availability outside of regular hours. 

Compensation: The annual salary range for this position is $80,000 to $85,000, commensurate with skills and experience. 


The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) is a national organization that promotes drug policies based on principles of public health and human rights.  

CDPC engages in policy analysis, advocacy, public education and dialogue, and movement building within regional, national and international arenas with a goal of informing, educating and mobilizing citizens to become engaged in global drug policy reform. CDPC is a partner project of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.  

The CDPC’s Communications Director leads efforts to maximize the strategic impact and reach of CDPC’s work through communications: increasing public awareness of and education around a public health and human rights-based approach to drug policy; mobilizing existing CDPC audiences and expanding to engage new audiences. This position leads all aspects of CDPC’s communications, supervises the Digital Communications Specialist, collaborates with all CDPC staff, participates in the organizational oversight and support team, and reports to the Executive Director.  

The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition values equity, diversity, justice and inclusion and is focused on enriching our commitment to and application of these principles. We encourage applicants from a range of communities, experiences and backgrounds including Indigeneity, race, drug use, ability, sexuality, gender, and those affected by the criminalization of drug use and/or sex work.  (Disclosure of these identities and experiences is welcome but not expected/required; there will be opportunities to demonstrate skills and knowledge during the recruitment process.) We strongly encourage you to apply if you have a passion for CDPC’s mission and meet the core required qualities and attributes below. 


Shared responsibility to further Representation, Equity, Diversity 

  • Promote improvements to representation, equity and diversity in all aspects of job responsibilities 
  • Commit to ongoing learning, consultation, reflection and action to address the colonial, racist and classist roots upon which drug policy was formed and continues to operate 
  • Contribute to learning and implementation of intersectional anti-racist practice in the development of CDPC policy, education, operations, mobilization and communication activities 

Communications Strategy and Planning 

  • Develop, manage, execute and evaluate CDPC’s communications strategy 
  • Oversee and deliver communications learning and development with CDPC staff 
  • Manage CDPC contributions to communications learning and development with broader drug policy network and cross-sector partners 
  • Develop, refine and update organizational and issue-based key messaging with the input and support of CDPC staff 

Content Creation and Strategy Implementation 

  • Cultivate and support CDPC spokespeople, training staff on communications strategies, key messages, and use of materials 
  • Develop and implement CDPC earned media strategy, with the support and participation of CDPC staff 
    • Coordinate press conferences 
    • Respond to media requests, maintain positive working relationships with media 
    • Draft, edit and disseminate press releases  
    • Work with CDPC staff to pitch media stories  
    • Support CDPC staff to write and pitch op-eds 
    • Develop and maintain relationships with key media organizations and people across Canada 
    • Track and catalogue media coverage and assess impact and learnings from coverage 
    • Update and maintain media contact database 
  • Support Digital Communications Specialist to draft and implement email engagement strategy 
    • Engage existing list, mobilize learning and action within list 
    • Grow and diversify CDPC email list  
  • Support Digital Communications Specialist to draft and implement social media strategy 
    • Support Digital Communications Specialist and CDPC staff to create social media content 
  • Support executive director and CDPC staff to draft and implement strategies for donation-based fundraising 
    • Work with digital communications specialist to integrate fundraising into communications workflows, processes and systems 
  • Oversee production of communications materials, including print materials, blog and digital content, issue guides and organizational statements 

Strategic Leadership and Management 

  • Manage and mentor communications staff  
    • Digital Communications Specialist  
    • Communications-related external contractor relationships  
  • Oversee communications budget 
  • As part of the organizational oversight and support team, collaborate with the Executive Director to support CDPC’s overall organizational management, human resources, and staff wellness  
  • Act as the strategic communications focal point for key CDPC programs, campaigns and teams 
  • Coordinate closely with the Executive Director and other staff to support CDPC’s fundraising efforts 


  • Support communications with CDPC coalition and collaborators, and recommend system improvements as needed 
  • Participate in organization or project-based evaluation and modify strategies and activities accordingly  
  • Other duties as required 


We strongly encourage you to apply if you have a passion for CDPC’s mission and meet the below core requirements: 

  • Minimum 3 years’ experience in communications leadership, designing and implementing communications strategies, digital and social media campaigns, audience targeting, and narrative development best practices for organizations, projects and campaigns  
  • Post-secondary training in communications, journalism or a related field, or the equivalent combination of professional experience 
  • Fluency in written and spoken English 
  • Highly skilled in written communication and editing, including adapting complex content to create accessible communications for diverse audiences 
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a team, effectively supervise and manage staff, and delegate work  
  • Strong attention to detail, organizational and prioritization skills, with the demonstrated ability to manage multiple competing priorities under time pressures  
  • Demonstrated experience navigating earned media landscape: successfully crafting press releases, pitching and landing media stories, writing and placing op-eds 
  • Strong news sense and ability to identify and react to major developments in the drug policy field 
  • Experience implementing best practices in digital supporter engagement, including email list-building, list segmentation and mobilization 
  • Proficient with a range of communications-related technology, which may include WordPress, HTML/CSS, Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Canva, email newsletter management, supporter database/CRM (we use Nationbuilder currently) 
  • Understanding of key elements of drug policy in Canada, or willingness and aptitude to learn quickly  
  • Commitment and aptitude to grounding work in principles of equity and intersectional anti-racism and decolonialism, and ethically sharing stories and personal narratives on complex subjects 

The following are considered additional assets (we do not expect any one candidate to have all of these): 

  • French language fluency  
  • Graphic design skills, including experience with Photoshop and InDesign  
  • Demonstrated ability to draft engaging and creative social media content and campaigns through graphics, videos, TikTok scripts etc. 
  • Experience designing and implementing fundraising campaigns 


The application deadline is Sunday, May 5, 2024 at 11:59pm Pacific Time. Please send a short cover letter and resume as a single PDF to [email protected], using the naming convention CommsDirector_FirstnameLastname.pdf. We anticipate conducting interviews in May.  

The hiring team may adapt the process as needed to understand candidates’ potential to succeed in this role. We currently anticipate this selection process will include: 

  • Shortlisting, likely involving a short phone screening call 
  • One or two interviews, which will be via video call 
  • Reference checks (please be prepared to provide the names and contact info for three employment references who can speak to your experience and potential for this role) 

If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact [email protected]. 

Early applications are encouraged and appreciated.

About Canadian Drug Policy Coalition

Advocating for public health- and human rights-based drug policy grounded in evidence, compassion, and social justice