The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) is a provincial Indigenous organization representing the collective interests of member Friendship Centres located in towns and cities across the province. The Friendship Centre network provides a means for community members and Indigenous people living in urban spaces to gather, connect with one another and participate in culturally based programs and services.
“Some have gone to great lengths with their healing – Friendship Centres continue to provide
programs for communities and to bring people along in the journey to revive ceremony.
Teachings might include tobacco offerings, how to approach an Elder, how to approach services.
We also acknowledge that some don’t want to participate but they’re never turned away –
we’re always creating a place for them.”
~OFIFC Board Member
Representing the interest of all member Friendship Centres, the OFIFC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors elected every two years from four regional areas in the Province. Four Board seats are provided for Indigenous youth aged 18-24 years old. The Board of Directors are assisted by two traditional Elders. The Board guides the Federation responsibly, providing accountability and overall direction to the OFIFC.
The OFIFC Board is supported by an Executive Committee that makes decisions between meetings on behalf of the Board, ensuring that the work of the OFIFC can move forward efficiently.
The Organization (cont.)
Vision of the Friendship Centre Movement:
Improve the quality of life for Indigenous people living in an urban environment by supporting self-determined activities which encourage equal access to and participation in Canadian society and which respect Indigenous cultural distinctiveness.
To advance the aims and objectives of member Friendship Centres.
The OFIFC supports its members by developing policies, offering programs, facilitating training and learning opportunities and conducting meaningful research.
Proactive policy and advocacy work ensures the rights of urban Indigenous peoples are upheld and kept on the public agenda. OFIFC is consistently leading and influencing policy in the following areas:
- Children and Youth
- Education and Employment
- Ending violence against Indigenous women and girls
- Health and Mental Health (including urgent and emerging issues)
- Homelessness and Housing
- Urban Issues
The Organization (cont.)
OFIFC leads important community-driven research projects that will inform and improve urban Indigenous people’s quality of life. Current featured research projects include:
- Ganohonyohk (Giving Thanks): Indigenous Prosperity, Indigenous Knowledge Transfer in Urban Aboriginal Communities
- Tsi:iakwanakere – Building a Community-Based Sense of Home, Ceremony and Transitions.
Designing dozens of programs to address the needs of urban Indigenous communities, OFIFC programs are culturally relevant, trauma informed and delivered in safe and accessible environments by Friendship Centres or other community partners. Programs focus on:
- Children and Youth
- Health, Healing and Wellness strategies
- Homelessness and Housing strategies
- Advocacy for 2SLGBTQ+
Training & Learning
The OFIFC designs and delivers culture-based education and training opportunities that support the learning needs of Friendship Centre staff, Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous communities.
The core programs include:
- Lifelong Learning: Indigenous cultural competency, trauma-informed practices, executive leadership and governance, strategic planning, cultural safety, community development, organizational capacity development, sector-specific practices, such as: school boards, health care agencies, public libraries, public organizations, private businesses and all levels of government
- Indigenous Cultural Competency Training
- Kizhaay- I am a Kind Man
- The Kanawayhitowin initiative
- Master of Social Work degree in Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency (MSW-ITR)
To learn more about OFIFC, please visit: https://ofifc.org/
This is a unique opportunity to manage a thriving organization and be the voice for Friendship Centres across Ontario.
OFIFC’s Executive Director (ED) is a strong communicator with both internal and external stakeholders; they are able to maintain open communication and a positive relationship with all Friendship Centre members and advocate on their behalf. Possessing a strong political acumen, the ED is passionate about the Friendship Centre Movement and accordingly strive to uphold the reputation and credibility of the OFIFC.
The ED leads with a focus on the well-being of Indigenous people who visit and participate in activities at OFIFC or member Friendship Centres. The ED is knowledgeable of the generational trauma experienced by Indigenous Peoples and the long-lasting effects on individuals, families and communities. Bringing cultural connections to life, the ED has a deeply held commitment to improving the lives of Indigenous peoples. The ED’s advocacy work and their influence on policy has far reaching and meaningful impacts for all Indigenous peoples.
The ED is responsible for overseeing the administration, human resources and finances of the centre. With a solid understanding of the similarities and differences between the service, supports and program needs of Urban and Rural communities, the ED balances and incorporates both traditional and culture-based practices along with contemporary approaches and views—the effect is an OFIFC that is inclusive, equitable and safe for all employees, members, participants and partners.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED leads and manages the OFIFC and oversees development of multi-year and annual operational plans to advance and support OFIFC’s long- range strategic plan and policies established by the Board of Directors. The ED is the the spokesperson for the OFIFC as well as administrative and community leader. They are responsible for ensuring the board is kept informed to support decision-making and is engaged to provide partner and stakeholder perspectives. The ED ensures the necessary policies, processes and procedures are in place for the OFIFC to function effectively while also supporting new and existing members.
In addition, the ED is responsible for the following:
- Fostering positive member, stakeholder and community relationships; leading in all OFIFC communications and well as being the main point of contact for funders, partners and governments, as appropriate.
- Developing and managing sufficient resources to ensure the financial health of the organization, maximizing resources, and creating efficiency; Offering strong financial oversight and leading long term and individual fundraising initiatives; Obtaining, sustaining and reporting on public funding.
- Providing strong and persuasive advocacy on behalf of Friendship Centres, their communities and the Friendship Centre Movement as a whole; Establishing and maintaining external relationships with a wide range of stakeholders including provincial and national Indigenous organizations, government ministries and agencies at the provincial and federal levels, as well as other organizations, individuals, and the general public as deemed to be in the best interest of the OFIFC.
- Proactively monitoring the provincial and federal political Landscape; Staying abreast of legislative and policy changes and steering the organization to effectively respond.
- Increasing and maintaining the OFIFC’s reputation and credibility in the area of policy, programming, training and research ensuring these are respected and supported broadly.
- The ED confidently takes the lead to ensure the voices of Ontario Friendship Centres are heard at all levels to influence the future of Indigenous peoples for generations to come.
- Maintaining strong lines of communication with Friendship Centres, the ED provides ongoing support, advice, and/or guidance when necessary. They listen carefully and harness the collective strength of experience and perspectives of OFIFC members to chart the right course forward. Conducts support visits and provides conflict resolution to Friendship Centres/Delivery Sites as required.
- Leads the OFIFC in a manner that supports and guides the organization’s mission as defined by the Board of Directors; Communicated effectively with the Board of Directors and provides timely and accurate information necessary for the Board of Directors to function properly and to make informed decisions.
- Overseeing all OFIFC administration and human resources functions; ensuring a positive work environment for all OFIFC employees; Creating an organizational structure that enables collaboration and relationship building across all workgroups. Bridges mainstream and Indigenous communities, concepts and practices in the context of policy development.
- Maintains and upgrades professional skills; Promotes a healthy and safe work environment.
The ideal candidate is a seasoned, knowledgeable and culturally astute leader who is highly adaptable to change and able to navigate through multi-faceted and complex environments. They are organized and able to balance the operational needs of a bustling organization with the external demands of the role.
As a highly visible provincial leader, the ED possesses knowledge of Indigenous traditions, cultures and values, Urban and Rural Indigenous communities, Indigenous issues and challenges, and the relevant history and political landscape. In order to build and maintain positive relationships, the ED approaches members, stakeholders and all relationships with respect and they inspire trust.
The ED is a gifted communicator and negotiator, who is able to influence policies and programs that ensure the desired outcomes are reached for OFIFC members. The ED leads with diplomacy, transparency, honesty, and teamwork. They provide inspiration, guidance and support for OFIFC’s committed and qualified team.
Candidates for the Executive Director role will bring the following:
Understanding and Respect of Indigenous Community
- Demonstrates a deep understanding of Indigenous culture and personal experience with traditional knowledge, practices and approaches;
- Ability to build, develop and sustain strong connections and relationships with the Indigenous community.
- Is well respected and has a strong understanding of the organization’s role within the Indigenous community;
- Exemplifies professional integrity and credibility among peers, members of the OFIFC, Indigenous community, political representatives, and other key stakeholders; and
- Demonstrates an understanding and advocacy of trauma-informed approaches.
- High degree of political acumen including an understanding of the national Indigenous, federal and provincial government political landscape, structures, processes, and an ability to build and maintain relationships across diverse stakeholder groups including different politic parties; and
- Demonstrates a broad understanding of all ministries, experience and social justice matters, municipal governance structures including an in-depth knowledge of government institutional mandates, policies, and guidelines related to urban Indigenous issues.
Leadership and Management
- Champions forward/progressive thinking and continuously seeks opportunities for improvement;
- Exhibits excellent interpersonal and management skills including a demonstrated ability to lead and motivate staff;
- Able to deliver exceptional public presentations and strategically apply persuasive advocacy skills;
- Demonstrates an advanced ability to think strategically and analytically to effectively solve problems and make informed decisions;
- Able to effectively manage stress and complex issues and relationships; and
- Strong financial knowledge and able to effectively manage funding.
- Takes personal responsibility to increase sensitivity, awareness and implementation of OFIFC’s Neha (bundle) including foundational teachings and organizational practices in both professional conduct and work-related deliverables;
- Takes personal ownership and responsibility for the quality and timeliness of work commitments.
- Applies systematic, logical reasoning when addressing problems or situations in order to arrive at an appropriate solution or outcome.
Building Relationships and Strategic Partnerships
- Builds, develops, and sustains business relationships / strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial, reciprocal and grounded in trust and respect; and
- Recognizes we are all interdependent and working towards the common good of the organization.
- Accomplishes established goals, delivers the outcomes required and achieves the results including the efficient and effective use of all resources (time, financial, people and technology).
Teamwork and Collaboration
- Works collaboratively with others and addresses conflict in a win-win productive manner;
- A commitment to sharing with others whether it is knowledge, recognition, information and skills; and
- Works towards a common purpose for the good of OFIFC and the communities and people it serves.
- Effectively delivers information in a transparent, honest and clear manner. This includes actively listening, comprehending and responding appropriately when interacting with people. Is respectful when expressing opinions and points of view.
- Lived experience, traditional knowledge and cultural learning experiences within a First Nation, Métis or Inuit community; Specific teachings in ceremony would be an asset;
- Post-Secondary degree in public policy, public management, or related field. Preference for Masters’ level degree;
- Minimum 10 years’ experience in senior management role, including program development responsibilities and successful legislative advocacy experience, preferably on Indigenous issues;
- 3– 5 years’ experience working within a not-for-profit sector, preferably within an Indigenous organization;
- Direct experience working within Ontario-based Indigenous organizations is an asset;
- Other combinations of education and experience may be considered.
Working at OFIFC
Works in safe and suitable office environment often faced with simultaneous and tight deadlines.
Varied complex demands for decisions and/or actions to be taken.
May be required to conduct regular long distance and/or frequent local travel, which may be urgent and/or on short notice. Evening/weekend hours may be required to attend meetings, special functions and to meet work deadlines.
Location – Toronto, Ontario
The name Toronto is derived from a Mohawk word “tkaronto,” which means “where there are trees standing in the water.” It is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, along with other Indigenous groups that represent this valued community.
Toronto has a population of 2.8 million people making it the largest city in Canada, the fourth- largest city in North America, one of the top 25 cities globally for its quality of living, and the best place to live in Canada, according to MoneySense. Toronto welcomes 40 million tourists a year. It supports a lively art and culture scene that includes museums, galleries, performing art organizations, and many festivals (including the Indigenous Art Festival). Toronto is recognized as one of the most diverse and multi-cultural cities in the world.
Toronto is the home to Ontario’s Parliament Buildings as well as multiple post-secondary institutions – Humber College, George Brown College, the University of Toronto (the largest university in Canada), Ryerson University, York University and OCAD University. Toronto schools reflect the diversity of the population. The four school boards – English public, French public, English Roman Catholic and French Roman Catholic – provide many options, including French immersion programs. There are also several private, secular and religious, schools and boarding schools.
The Royal Ontario Museum is an iconic building boasting the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal inspired by the ROM’s extensive gem and mineral collection, the design was quickly dubbed the ‘crystal’ because of its crystalline shape. The Royal Ontario Museum has a unique 100-year history of conducting ground-breaking research in all areas of art, culture, and nature.
Just offshore from the city centre are the Toronto Islands known as ‘Menecing’, meaning “On the Island” in the Ojibwa language. The islands are home to parklands and the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The island community is considered the largest urban car-free community in North America.
The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres is an inclusive and equitable organization, encouraging applications from qualified applicants, including persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has approved the special employment exemption for this position, as such, the position is open to all qualified candidates of Indigenous ancestry.
Laurie Sterritt • Partner
880-609 Granville Street Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y1G5
Telephone: 778-838-4569 [email protected]
Mike Eagar • Consultant
Chateau Laurier, 1 Rideau St.
Suite 700, Ottawa, ON
To apply, please submit a Cover Letter and Resume directly to Leaders International outlining your interest, qualifications and experience to Laurie Sterritt or Mike Eagar.
Leaders International specializes in the recruitment of Board of Directors, leadership succession and executive level positions. Our global network, Penrhyn International, is a world leader in the executive recruitment industry, with more than 47 offices in over 25 countries on 5 continents.