Community Engagement Worker-Harm Reduction(Contract)

Employment Type:   Full-Time, Contract

Work Hours:  35 hours per week (includes days, evenings and every 5th weekend; shares on-call duties)

Salary:   $30.74 per hour (L7)

Location:  150 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 0B1

Contract Start Date:      ASAP

Contract End Date:        November 30, 2023

Application Deadline:   Tuesday, May 30, 2023



YWCA Toronto strives to uphold anti-discrimination practices and anti-oppression principles to ensure that the rights of all individuals are respected and protected. We work to promote a climate that is welcoming of all women and individuals who identify as trans, intersex, non-binary, agender, and/or Two-Spirit. We encourage applications from women and gender diverse people from all races, ethnic origins, religions, abilities and sexual orientations.


The Community Engagement Worker- Harm Reduction, is responsible for leading the design and implementation of programming that promotes harm reduction principles and approaches that empowers tenants and tenant-led initiatives. The goal of the position is to create an inclusive community, encourage participation in the broader community, and develop effective harm reduction strategies to meet the emotional, practical and social support needs of the tenants and the community as a whole.  The Community Engagement Worker – Harm Reduction will work within the Community Engagement Program team and alongside the Jean Tweed case management team to ensure that community engagement activities support a positive and dynamic community environment with a focus on health outcomes.



YWCA Elm Centre includes 300 units of permanent housing for three different resident groups: 165 affordable rental units, 50 units for Indigenous women, gender diverse people and their families and 85 supportive units for women and gender diverse people living with mental health or concurrent mental health and substance use challenges. The Elm Community Engagement Workers provides supports and services to the entire residential community, with a focus on community capacity building, housing stabilization and health promotion.


  • Creates programming specifically designed to build community capacity through the use of harm reduction framework that will give individuals and groups of residents the opportunity to develop and use harm reduction strategies in all aspects of their lives (health, relationships, independent life skills, housing, etc.);
  • Provide harm reduction strategies that will empower individuals as they address issues related to substance use, mental health, health and wellness and housing;
  • Develops, implements and evaluates workshops, groups and individual supports that incorporate harm reduction strategies with 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;
  • Designs and delivers programming specifically designed to build individual and community capacity through   activities that promote the development and use of harm reduction principles in conflict resolution and mediation skills, including peer-led processes for addressing issues of concern to the community;
  • Supports tenants in addressing legal notices related to lease infractions such as arrears, Rent Geared to Income (RGI) documentation and/or behavior/tenancy challenging issues;
  • Assist in conducting intake interviews, ensures relevant documentation is completed/acquired and supports tenants move in process as required;
  • Uses Stages of Change with a focus on client centered goals that reduce harm and increase community engagement and cohesiveness;
  •  The use of trauma informed practices to support individuals and community engagement/development.
  • 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 (Cases for Equivalency will be considered);
  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience demonstrating clinical skills in engagement, assessment, counseling and group programming with an in-depth understanding of harm reduction, trauma, mental health and substance use;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in providing support to women living with experiences of precarious housing, poverty, violence/trauma, mental health/concurrent addictions issues;
  • Knowledge and understanding of harm reduction approaches as a holistic frame work that incorporates supportive housing, community development, advocacy and peer support;
  • Supportive counseling and group-work approach that is flexible, strengths-based, de-escalates tension, and teaches conflict resolution;
  • Life Skills certificate and valid food handler certificate, an asset;
  • Arts-based or social media skills an asset;
  • 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;
  • Working knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act an asset;
  • Excellent 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 using harm reduction principles and framework;
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of community resources;
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team in the planning and delivery of services;
  • Familiarity with Windows and Excel programs;
  • Excellent oral and written communication;
  • Demonstrated ability to work within an anti-oppression and feminist framework;
  • Knowledge of a second language or culture an asset.


Vaccination Policy: - In accordance with YWCA Toronto’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, all YWCA Toronto employees, students and volunteers are strongly encouraged to obtain all COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses as recommended by Toronto Public Health.


Please submit your cover letter and résumé to Danielle Nakouz, Manager of Elm Housing Support Program at Elmhousingjobs@ywcatoronto.orgPlease quote JOB ID number ELM827 - R2 and your name in the subject line.


Please note: A vulnerable sector 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 not within the Bargaining Unit. Please indicate on your cover letter and email subject line if you are an internal candidate. For internal applicants, this position is not secondable.


YWCA Toronto promotes the principles of anti-oppression and adheres to the tenets of the Ontario Human Rights Code. We encourage applications from women and gender diverse people of all races, ethnic origins, religions, abilities and sexual orientations. 


YWCA Toronto provides 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 Workplace.

Posting Date: May 19, 2023