Position Profile

Job Title:  Director, Knowledge and Innovation

Work Unit:  PIIC, ICC / CKI

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

Competition Number:  1046686

Date:  January 2018

Position Summary


The Indigenous and Community Connections (IIC) Branch supports Children's Services and its partners in improving outcomes for Indigenous people in Alberta through cultural understanding, relationship building, and strategic leadership. The Cultural Knowledge and Innovation Unit is accountable for identifying key priorities for research and information related to Indigenous people, ensuring research and information is relevant, timely, and available to support the continuous improvement of ministry programs and services.

This position leads the unit in partnering with researchers and other stakeholders, identifying and directing research initiatives, and mobilizing research findings and knowledge to increase understanding and inform the ministry's work and policy frameworks. The unit also has a key responsibility for the implementation of the Indigenous Cultural Understanding Framework, which is a key Framework for the ministry-wide required training on Indigenous subjects. Additionally, the Unit develops and implement Cultural understanding strategies in order to foster a more culturally respectful and culturally inclusive organization, supported through gathering, analyzing and synthesizing knowledge and information from a variety of sources.

The Director also leads the unit in gathering and assessing information, performing strategic analyses, and participating in collaborative, system-wide planning with other divisions, ministries, governments, partners, and stakeholders. In addition, this position provides direction for the identification and sharing of best practices and innovative approaches to supporting and contributing to improved outcomes for Indigenous people.

The Director plans, manages, and evaluates resources and directs operations of the branch, guiding staff members as they contribute to achieving branch goals. As a member of the Branch Leadership Team, this position contributes significantly to the development and continual enhancement of branch policies, programs, and services and achievement of strategic priorities and goals. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director functions within the parameters of applicable legislation, regulations, policies, and directives. The Director directly supervises two Managers in the branch who are responsible for their individual areas.

Specific Accountabilities


Partnerships, working relationships, and knowledge and information sharing mechanisms and resources are established and maintained to facilitate achievement of branch outcomes.


  • Provides leadership in liaising with academic institutions, scholars, Indigenous leaders and Elders, other ministries, the Federal and other levels of government, and community and other stakeholders in relation to branch work.
  • Leads efforts to collaborate and liaise with relevant partners and stakeholders (e.g. Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research; Child and Youth Data Laboratory; Families First Edmonton).
  • Works closely with Elders to recognize and support use of traditional knowledge to inform work of Children's Services.
  • Directs development and maintenance of library relevant resources on Indigenous people to support information sharing among ministry representatives.

Branch research activities and initiatives are provided with direction and guidance to ensure information used to inform the ministry's work and policy frameworks is readily available, relevant, and timely.


  • Provides direction and oversight for strategic research and knowledge projects, contracts, partnerships, and alliances with other divisions, ministries, governments, Indigenous leaders and Elders, academic institutions, and research organizations.
  • Identifies and responds to information, research, and data requirements of the branch and division and other senior ministry representatives and internal and external stakeholders.
  • Leads community-based participatory action research initiatives.
  • Directs efforts to substantiate and validate issues and information identified through PIIC Division community engagement and relationship building initiatives.
  • Directs provision of expert advice, analysis, and consultation relating to research requirements, initiatives, and outcomes to division, ministry, and cross-government teams, including accessing and disseminating research findings and mobilizing knowledge to support evidence-based planning and decision making.
  • Ensures best practices and innovative approaches for supporting Indigenous people are identified and shared with other divisions for input to ministry policy, program, and service decisions, plans, and frameworks.

Information and issues relating to the over and under-representation of Indigenous people within ministry programs, services, and supports are identified, understood, and available to inform frameworks for system-wide change.


  • Directs collaborative efforts across the ministry and with partners to gather data, information, and models that contribute to understanding the over and under-representation of Indigenous people in ministry programs, services, and supports, including:
    • Analysis of data to understand what is and is not working.
    • Performance of literature reviews to determine effective change models and governance approaches.
    • Identification and analysis of current program and service delivery approaches, including governance models.
    • Analysis of the impacts of government systems on Indigenous families and communities, and the costs and other impacts of Indigenous over and under-representation in government systems.
  • Leads strategic analysis and planning, knowledge mobilization, and communication efforts to create awareness and understanding of issues underlying the over and under-representation of Indigenous people in ministry programs, services, and supports, and various approaches to address them, including:
    • Integration of themes, knowledge, and wisdom generated from engagement and relationship building initiatives.
    • Application of research and knowledge to emergent themes to support evidence-based decision making.
    • Broad communication of information to support engagement and relationship building processes and planning for system change.

Shared approaches to measuring improved outcomes for Indigenous people are developed through collaboration with partners and across systems.


  • Works with internal and external partners to improve data and information sharing related to social-based outcomes for Indigenous people.
  • Collaborates with other ministry divisions to create and share knowledge from data and other sources.
  • Collaborates with partners to develop system alignment and strategic, integrated, and collective thinking defined through shared measurement systems, outcomes, and indicators supported by data, research, and knowledge.
  • Participates in partnering relationships with evaluators and stakeholders engaged in community engagement and collective impact processes.
  • Contributes to developmental evaluation and collective impact processes by directing use of appropriate methods to integrate learnings from engagement processes, wisdom of scholars and Elders, and other knowledge sources.

Development and implementation of the Indigenous Cultural Understanding Framework and training to support staff learning and development of Indigenous peoples and communities.


  • Analyze and synthesize knowledge and information from a variety of sources to develop and implement Cultural understanding strategies in order to foster a more culturally respectful and culturally inclusive organization.
  • Provide strategic analysis and recommendations that contribute to the design and delivery of Cultural Understanding Training for all ministry staff, development and implementation of other Cultural Competency Learning tools and approaches.
  • Develops, maintains, fosters and enhances collaborative relationships with colleagues, stakeholders, and partners and provides opportunities to build cultural understanding across the ministry.
  • Overseeing and ensuring the planning, coordination, preparation of materials and other services are provided to reach Cultural Understanding deliverables in a timely manner and to the highest quality standard.
  • Primary source of advice for Indigenous cultural understanding.

Branch operations are planned, directed, and evaluated to deliver outcomes associated with business and operational plans and performance agreements.


  • Provides leadership and direction to branch staff members, including managing performance and workload and identifying training and development requirements to support continual improvement and capacity development.
  • Establishes priorities, identifies and resolves issues, clarifies roles and responsibilities, and oversees planning and delivery of branch programs and activities.
  • Manages financial and other reporting and accountability systems for the branch.
  • Develops expertise and knowledge within the branch to identify and address emerging issues that may impact ministry policies, programs, or services.

Strategic options, advice, and recommendations pertaining to issues, opportunities, and challenges associated with the branch mandate are provided to the Executive Director and other senior ministry officials.


  • Directs preparation of action request responses, briefings, background documents, and recommendations for the consideration of the Division Leadership Team and other senior ministry and GoA representatives as requested.
  • Provides PIIC Division Leadership Team with active participation and support, including collaborating on the development, implementation, and evaluation of plans, determination of priorities, and coordination of operations.
  • Remains current on legislation, policies, research, directions, and issues applicable to the branch mandate.

Knowledge / Experience / Competencies


The Director requires broad and comprehensive knowledge of:

  • Research methodologies and associated data analysis, information.
  • Retrieval/management/maintenance, knowledge mobilization, and community engagement and development techniques (including community-based participatory action research and policy development and implementation approaches).
  • GoA strategic business plan goals and policy directions, particularly as they relate to the division mandate.
  • Ministry business plan goals, strategic priorities, issues, programs, services, resources, and frameworks.
  • Key strategic concepts associated with the PIIC Division mandate.
  • Leadership and management principles, including strategic analysis and planning methodologies, and systems and guidelines for business, financial and human resource planning, accountability, and performance management.
  • The 48 First Nation, 8 Metis Settlements, urban Indigenous, and other Indigenous communities within Alberta, including their diverse backgrounds, needs and socio-economic issues.
  • Indigenous organizations and groups such as the Assembly of First Nations, Provincial Treaty Organizations, and Metis organizations, along with their mandates, values, and practices regarding social issues.
  • The diverse and complex social issues being addressed within the ministry through programs and services, including child intervention, housing, income support, employment, family violence and bullying, early childhood development, disabilities, and economic development.
  • Indigenous values and the legal environment, including relevant protocols.
  • Indigenous history, colonization, generational trauma, racism, culture, governance and community dynamics to understand issues driving Indigenous over and/or under-representation in ministry programs, services, and supports.
  • National and international trends and jurisprudence related to Indigenous issues to analyze relevance to the Alberta context, identify best practices and innovative approaches, and inform ministry planning and decision-making processes.
  • Legislation including, but not limited to, the Constitution Act of Canada (1982), Indian Act, Canadian Human Rights Act, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act, Family Violence Prevention Act, Child and Family Services Authorities Act, Family Support for Children Disabilities Act, and Social Care Facilities Act.
  • Treaty-based resolutions and other relevant agreements and frameworks (e.g. GoA Indigenous Policy Framework, the GoA Protocol Agreement on Government to Government Relations, the GoA First Nation Consultation Policy, Metis Settlements Long Term Governance Agreements, Metis Nation of Alberta Framework, United Nations Conventions).


  • Minimum of a Bachelor degree in a related field is required. Related experience or education may be considered as an equivalency on a one-on-one basis.

Work Experience:

  • Minimum of five years of related experience in an Indigenous or human service environment is required, with at least two years of experience in a management role.
  • Experience leading initiatives to mobilize system change aimed at addressing complex societal problems, designing and managing research projects and initiatives, and working with Indigenous people is required.


  • Demonstrates commitment to create, support, and sustain a constructive environment that enables and encourages staff to achieve the best possible results and develop organizational capacity for the future.
  • Initiates and facilitates relationships and partnerships with a diverse and extensive group of people, including branch and ministry staff, provincial agencies, academic institutions and scholars, community groups, stakeholders, cross-ministry and federal partners, and Indigenous leaders, Elders, youth, and communities.
  • Promotes and models behaviour consistent with the values of the Alberta Public Service.
  • Engages others in strategic thinking and harnesses strengths of team members to support the vision, purpose, and work of the branch and larger division mandate.
  • Uses strategic approach to determine opportunities for innovation and displays strategic and creative problem solving and decision making skills.
  • Exhibits strong planning, delegation, and organizational skills, including identifying priorities to achieve results.


  • Coordinates and organizes the branch's activities by providing direction to staff and ensuring branch direction is consistent with the overall direction of the division and ministry.
  • Leads and actively participates in branch, division, ministry, cross-government, and external teams, partnerships, and committees to contribute to strategies and approaches associated with improved outcomes for Indigenous people.
  • Provides advice and consultation to senior internal and external representatives, partners, and stakeholders based on research results and information to improve capacity and stimulate Innovation to achieve desired outcomes.


  • Establishes, fosters, and maintains essential linkages, partnerships, and working relationships with ministry and GoA representatives, provincial agencies, academic institutions and scholars, community groups, stakeholders, other governments, and Indigenous communities and Elders.


  • Leads branch work in collaboration with ministry and external experts to identify and interpret data, research, information, and knowledge and ensure availability to inform strategic thinking, planning, and decision making.
  • Works with ministry communications staff and other partners to mobilize knowledge and information through varied communication strategies using diverse technologies and platforms.
  • Uses strong written, verbal, analytical, listening, and interpersonal skills to communicate and collaborate effectively within the branch, division, and ministry and with government and external stakeholders.

Strategic Thinking, Planning, and Implementation:

  • Applies strategic analysis skills to integrate knowledge from diverse data sources and identify issues and innovative approaches associated with the over and under-representation of Indigenous people in ministry programs and supports.
  • Provides advice and recommendations on future goals, objectives, and initiatives using strategic planning and analytical skills and know-how.
  • Leads development and delivery of research and knowledge gathering initiatives that require substantial expertise, innovation, and creativity and the ability to function in an environment of continual change and complexity.

Financial and Human Resources Management:

  • Directs development, implementation, and monitoring for the branch's budget and fiscal resources in compliance with government and ministry legislation, policies, and practices.
  • Identifies FTE and other business requirements of the branch; optimizes utilization of branch human resources and contingencies (branch has a current operating budget of about $900,000).

Primary Relationships / Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact

Branch staff members


Directing, coaching, mentoring, providing advice and support.

Division senior representatives and staff members

Regular/ongoing Information sharing, problem solving, strategic planning.


Regular/ongoing Information sharing, supporting, collaborating, problem solving, strategic planning, providing advice and recommendations.

Ministry Directors and other Senior Representatives

Regular/ongoing Information sharing, collaborating, problem solving, strategic planning.

Ministry Executive Team, Deputy Minister and Minister

As required Providing advice and recommendations.

Representatives of other ministries (cross-ministry partners)

Regular/ongoing Information sharing, strategic collaboration, problem solving.
External stakeholders (e.g. community-based agencies, research organizations) As required Collaborating, information sharing, problem solving.
Representatives of federal and other governments As required Collaborating, information sharing, problem solving.
Indigenous leaders, Elders, and community representatives As required Collaborating, traditional knowledge and information sharing, learning, problem solving, seeking and providing guidance.
Representatives of academic institutions and scholars As required Collaborating, information sharing, learning, problem solving, seeking and providing guidance.

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