Community Engagement Worker-Indigenous Arts and Cultures (Contract)

YWCA Toronto transforms lives. As the city’s largest multi-service women’s organization, we help women escape violence, move out of poverty and access safe, affordable housing. We work tenaciously to break down barriers that hold women back from achieving equality.

Internal and External Job Posting

Community Engagement Worker-Indigenous Arts and Cultures (Contract)
YWCA Elm Centre

YWCA Toronto Elm Centre includes 300 units of permanent housing for three different resident groups: 165 affordable rental units, 50 units for Indigenous women and their families (including 10 women-led families fleeing violence), and 85 units for women with mental health or concurrent mental health and substance use challenges.  The Elm Community Engagement Workers will work in cooperation with the Jean Tweed Centre which will provide case management services.  The Community Engagement Team will provide services to the entire residential community, with a focus on community capacity building and health outcomes. Elm Community Engagement Programs will work with the Jean Tweed Centre and our other partners and program staff to create a supportive community that provides stabilization and improved health system use for high risk women who have complex service needs. As part of permanent housing at the YWCA and in addition to housing stabilization and community integration, the program goals will include harm reduction, health promotion, and reduced use of emergency departments, reduced inpatient re-admissions and increased access to primary health care and acute mental health services.

The Community Engagement Worker- Indigenous Arts and Cultures is responsible for leading the design and implementation of programming that promotes the arts and cultural enrichment activities focusing on Indigenous culture and traditions, with the goals of creating an inclusive community, encouraging engagement with the broader community, and developing effective strategies to meet the emotional, practical and social support needs of the tenant community.  The Community Engagement- Indigenous Arts and Cultures position will work within the Community Engagement Program team and alongside the Jean Tweed Centre case management team to ensure that community engagement activities support a positive and dynamic community environment with a focus on health outcomes.

Qualified candidates must be of Indigenous Heritage. Applicants are required to self-identify in their cover letters in order to be considered.

Reporting to the Manager of Elm Housing Support Program, the Community Engagement Worker – Indigenous Arts and Cultures responsibilities include:

  • Acts as specialist consultant to YWCA Manager, YWCA Elm support team, Jean Tweed Centre case managers and tenants in the area of innovative community engagement and capacity building with marginalized and mixed communities;
  • Provides leadership in developing and delivering services that promote inclusion, participation, creativity and empowerment to build a vibrant community where safety and wellbeing are shared values;
  • Develops, implements and evaluates workshops, groups and individual supports that incorporate  an understanding of residents’ mental health, addictions, and woman abuse issues, with attention to the value of peer supports in the  Indigenous, youth, and supportive housing sub-communities;
  • Works with women, children and youth to build individual and group leadership, including peer support;
  • Creates programming designed to promote Indigenous cultures and traditions (drumming, beading, Teaching Circles, etc.);
  • Creates programming designed to promote visibility and unity among identifiable groups of residents (ethno-racial groups, LGBTQ, youth, etc.). For example, Black History Month events, youth activities, etc.;
  • Designs and delivers community and individual services that promote shared understanding across differences and reduces stigma and other forms of marginalization;
  • Designs and delivers programming that uses arts and crafts as uniquely powerful engagement practices that promote inclusivity peer support, celebrates diversity and values the unique contributions of community members;
  • Provides  effective crisis prevention, intervention and counseling using harm reduction principles, for women and children to respond to crisis in ways that support individual and community well-being and uses health care systems appropriately;
  • Uses harm reduction approaches to increase individual’s capacity for successful tenancy, their recovery goals and community engagement;
  • Maintains a working knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act, Social Housing Reform Act, and the Ontario Human Rights Code;
  • Models effective community engagement, conflict resolution, facilitation, and crisis intervention skills in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team context;
  • Participates in case conferences with Jean Tweed case managers as required;
  • Attends and, when necessary, acts as a witness at the Landlord Tenant Board hearings as required;
  • Other duties as required.

You will have:

  • General knowledge of an academic or technical discipline normally acquired through the completion of an undergraduate degree in a social services or health field (examples: BSW/Social Work, Occupational Therapy, etc.)3 - 5 years’ experience working in a diverse, direct service setting with  adults and families who experience impacts of poverty, homelessness/ under-housing,  violence/trauma, mental health/addictions/ or concurrent disorders, and other sources of marginalization or oppression;
  • Knowledge of  Indigenous services and community resources and other community resources that provide culturally-competent services for  Indigenous clients;
  • Life Skills Certificate an asset;
  • Demonstrated ability to incorporate knowledge of Indigenous traditional teachings into community programming and individual support;
  • Lived experience in the  Indigenous community and the ability to deliver culturally sensitive services;
  • Preference will be given to qualified candidates of Indigenous heritage;
  • Demonstrated ability to use arts-based practices to promote individual and community capacity;
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver programming that recognizes and values cultural identities (ethno-racial, LGBTQ, e.g.) and creates opportunities for strengthening community through sharing and building understanding and respect;
  • Training and experience supporting peer-led initiatives or conflict resolution an asset;
  • Demonstrated experience in cultivating leadership within groups and developing dynamic and innovative programming;
  • Supportive counseling and group-work approach that is flexible, strengths-based, de-escalates tension, and teaches conflict resolution;
  • Demonstrated crisis intervention and conflict mediation skills, with ability to remain calm in crisis;
  • Proven experience and strong skills in developing and facilitating group-based programming;
  • Experience working with diverse individuals and groups (ethno-cultural, gender, abilities, race, etc) and the ability to deliver culturally sensitive services and programs;
  • Working knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act an asset;
  • Very good knowledge and understanding of community resources;
  • Proven experience working in a collaborative, complex service setting;
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team in the planning and delivery of services;
  • Ability to maintain a positive approach and a professional manner at all times;
  • Familiarity with Windows and Excel programs;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Knowledge of a second language or culture an asset;
  • Lived experience related to the effects of mental health and concurrent disorders an asset.

Core Competencies: The employee is expected to:

  • Engage in a self-reflective and collaborative practice that is non-judgmental and compassionate and reflects the mission of YWCA Toronto;
  • Incorporate principles of anti-oppression and equity in responding to the service needs of women and children and work toward removing systemic barriers to independence and wellbeing;
  • Incorporate principles of harm reduction and trauma informed approaches in responding to the service needs of women and children; supporting individual achieve their goals within Elm’s housing community;
  • Demonstrate respect, consideration and acceptance of the opinions of others while expressing her own expertise and effectively utilizing relevant resources and specialists;
  • Consistently collaborate with team members, sharing ideas and differences openly;
  • Be receptive to new ideas and adapt to change as necessary;
  • Value the contribution of others and take action to strengthen partnerships and support others to achieve effective outcomes;
  • Take action to avoid or solve problems and create opportunities for positive change;
  • Demonstrate commitment to ongoing personal and professional development.

The hours of work for this position are 35 hours per week (includes evening and weekend hours; shares on-call duties). The incumbent will work 12pm to 8pm on Mondays and Thursdays, and from 10pm to 6pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The incumbent is also required to work every 5th weekend (Saturday and Sunday) from 12pm to 8pm. The salary for this position is $53,019 per annum (Level 7), plus comprehensive benefits.

Contract Start Date: As soon as Possible      Contract End Date: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Please note: A police reference check is required by the successful candidate prior to hiring.  YWCA Toronto is a unionized workplace. Staff are represented by CUPE Local 2189. This position is within the Bargaining Unit. Please indicate on your cover letter, if you are an internal candidate.  For internal applicants, this position is not secondable.

Note: Lived experience in the Indigenous community and the ability to effectively deliver culturally specific and culturally sensitive services is a requirement of this position.

Submit your cover letter and résumé to: Danielle Nakouz, Manager of Elm Housing Support Program. YWCA Toronto. 150 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, ON, M5G 0B1.  EMAIL:    

                Please quote JOB ID number ELM0172 and your name in the subject line.

Internal Deadline: Wednesday, March 20, 2019      External Deadline:  Friday, March 22, 2019

YWCA Toronto promotes the principles of anti-oppression and adheres to the tenets of the Ontario Human Rights Code. We encourage applications from women of all races, ethnic origins, religions, abilities and sexual orientations. YWCA Toronto provides recruitment accommodation during all parts of the hiring process, upon request, to applicants with disabilities. If contacted, please advise us if you require any accommodation. While we thank all candidates for their interest, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. 

YWCA Toronto is a Scent-Sensitive environment.