Director, Renovate the Public Hearing Initiative - Simon Fraser University - Centre for Dialogue



Director, Renovate the Public Hearing Initiative

SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

Current public hearings requirements for housing developments result in low satisfaction, additional costs, lengthy delays, and sometimes trauma for those involved. The Renovate the Public Hearing initiative will identify improved laws and procedures that result in more housing that is affordable, support meaningful democratic engagement, advance principles of equity and reconciliation, improve the efficiency and quality of decisions and strengthen communities. Through activities such as visioning dialogues, demonstration projects, an “innovation exchange”, a recommendations dialogue, and a formal legal review process led by BC Law Institute, the initiative will support systems change in British Columbia and provide a potential model for reform in other jurisdictions.
Renovate the Public Hearing completed an exploratory phase of work in spring 2022, with major outputs now available at: This work demonstrated widespread interest in public hearing reform and enabled the submission of a successful $2.5 million grant application (funder name has been withheld pending official announcement). The initiative now requires a dedicated Director and core team to scale up activities and deliver the scope of the successful grant in collaboration with other units at the Centre between now and the funding end date of March 31, 2024.

SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue uses dialogue and engagement to facilitate transformative conversations and create real- world impact for society’s most pressing challenges. We strengthen Canadian democracy by promoting democratic values and innovation, spread best practices by providing dialogue training and tools, and help governments to engage citizens and stakeholders through our consulting services. As a bridge between the university and community, we enable student success through the Semester in Dialogue and other experiential learning opportunities and provide a home to select initiatives run by our Dialogue Fellows and Associates.

The Director is responsible for providing leadership and animating the vision for Renovate the Public Hearing, a participatory democracy initiative housed at the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. The Director plays a key role in developing partnerships, co-creating positive change with impacted groups, performing strategic analysis to position the program to achieve Centre goals and funder performance targets, and to ensure program continuity with earlier phases. As part of the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue community, the Director is expected to advance the Centre’s mission and values, work collaboratively with existing Centre teams, and engage the wider SFU research and learning community.


Provides leadership and strategic direction for the Renovate the Public Hearing initiative

  • Provides leadership in the development, oversight and integration of Renovate the Public Hearing programming.
  • Represents initiative to senior decision-makers, news media, partners and impacted groups.
  • Promotes findings at major events and conferences and mobilizes support for positive action.
  • Applies principles of justice, equity, diversity, decolonization and inclusion (JEDDI) throughout program activities.

Oversees program delivery, operations and applied research objectives

  • Oversees program delivery, monitors progress against program goals and creates program policies and procedures within existing SFU and Centre for Dialogue frameworks and guidelines.
  • Allocates resources within existing financial framework by monitoring key performance indicators and making strategic decisions to keep initiative on target to achieve goals and objectives.
  • Provides milestone budget forecasts and cashflow projections to the Executive Director, Centre for Dialogue and funders.
  • Oversees the recruitment, orientation, supervision and performance evaluation of all reports, including staff team and contractors.
  • Engages SFU students and faculty in program delivery, as opportunities arise.
  • Maintains funder relationships and oversees donor reporting activities as it relates to the portfolio.

Works in close collaboration with Democratic Participation and Innovation Team and key partners to co-deliver programming streams based on existing funding plan

  • Works closely with Centre’s Program Director to advance strategic goals, maintain continuity with past program phases and relationships, and enable effective collaboration with the Centre’s Democratic Participation and Innovation Team.
  • Works with the Centre’s Office of Knowledge and Practice to convene an innovator community, commission demonstration projects for alternatives to public hearings, evaluate learnings, produce learning materials and build the capacity of governments to implement solutions.
  • Works in collaboration with the Centre’s Social Enterprise to ensure decisions are shaped by impacted groups, including under-heard voices.
  • Collaborates with Centre’s Communications Team to communicate solutions, develop collateral and build excitement for positive action through Centre for Dialogue communications channels.
  • Maintains partnership with BC Law Institute to integrate learnings into legal reform process (led by BCLI with editorial autonomy).
  • Collaborates with partner organizations co-funded by major funders, including innovator community of practice.

The Director’s work is anticipated to have real-world impact on public hearing legislation, policies and procedures across different levels of government in British Columbia. Recommendations and innovations emerging from the initiative could impact access to housing for a range of residents and communities, as well as economic activity in one of BC’s largest sectors. In particular, the policy alternatives explored through the program could have material impacts for equity-seeking and underhoused communities, including future access to housing and the degree of cultural safety experienced during local government decision-making processes. Programming may take place in polarized and highly-visible environments.

The Director will report to the Executive Director of Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and is anticipated to supervise a dedicated project team of two staff (for example, one full time manager and one full time coordinator). Significant collaboration and programming delivery will occur between the Director, Renovate the Public Hearing, the Program Director at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, as well as units within the Centre’s Democratic Participation and Innovation Team, which are key partners in the conception and delivery of Renovate the Public Hearing and will receive funding from the Renovate the Public Hearing grant to support these partnerships. The Director will also maintain key relationships with partners named on the Renovate the Public Hearing Grant, including BC Law Institute.    
Applicants applying for this role would often have a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline and ten years of relevant leadership experience at a senior level in related areas such as public participation, trauma-informed engagement, reconciliation, planning, public policy, or land-use decision-making. Applicants who have developed equivalent skills and capacities through alternate pathways are highly encouraged to apply and will be reviewed on the independent merits of their application.
Desired skills and experience include:

  • Excellent knowledge of dialogue, public engagement and systems in participatory democracy
  • Excellent knowledge of local government land use decision-making and housing approval processes, including both rural and urban contexts.
  • Advanced skills in applied and participatory research, in particular for contexts promoting learning and systems change (rather than peer-reviewed publication)
  • Advanced skills in partnership brokering and development
  • Advanced leadership skills, including financial and human resources oversight
  • Advanced funder relationship management skills
  • Advanced ability to influence key stakeholders through persuasion, public speaking, and media relation skills
  • Excellent understanding of how to apply reconciliation and Decolonization concepts in partnership with First Nations and urban Indigenous peoples
  • Excellent knowledge of trauma-informed engagement processes and partnering with groups traditionally under-served by government or facing barriers to participation
  • Excellent understanding of the contexts for non-profit and commercial housing development, as well as the financial and policy constraints faced by housing developers
  • Advanced strategic planning, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Advanced interpersonal, conflict resolution and teamwork skills
  • Excellent knowledge of good practices for inter-cultural engagement, including cultural literacy in the norms of multiple communities in British Columbia
  • Advanced ability to provide leadership, guidance and mentorship to others
  • Ability to travel to meet partners and impacted groups across British Columbia
  • Advanced ability to maintain confidentiality, and exercise mature judgment, diplomacy, sensitivity, and tact

We respectfully acknowledge the unceded, traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səl̓ilw̓ ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, on which the SFU Vancouver campus and the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for
Dialogue building are located.

Location of Work

SFU Vancouver Campus: 515 West Hastings St., Vancouver, British Columbia (hybrid work environment)

Salary and Benefits

  • Salary range: C$94,000 to 112,000, depending on experience
  • 2% wage increase anticipated for July 1, 2023
  • Benefits as per SFU University Research Associate position

Term of Appointment
This appointment will end on March 31, 2024 and is renewable by mutual agreement (any renewal would be contingent on the successful applicant securing replacement funding sources to the initial grant)

  • All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.
  • Please note that funding is not available to enable the successful candidate to relocate to Vancouver for this position.
  • SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to creating an equitable environment for all employees. We strongly encourage applications from qualified people of all gender expressions and identities, sexual orientations, visible minorities, Indigenous persons and persons with disabilities. Should you require accommodations throughout the application process, please be in touch.

How to Apply

  • Applicants should submit their C.V. and cover letter to by end-of-day October 12, 2022 (23:59:59 PDT).
  • In cover letter, applicants should describe an opportunity they see for reimagining public hearings in British Columbia.  Applicants should also explain how they meet the required qualifications, in particular in areas that are not explicitly addressed  on their C.V.

Organization: Simon Fraser University - Centre for Dialogue
Location: Vancouver, BC
Region: Lower Mainland
Professional Category(s): Executive / Administrative Management
Posted: September 22, 2022, 1:08 pm
Expires: October 12, 2022, 11:59 pm

Employment Type: Full Time
Employment Length: Permanent
Education Requirement: Master’s degree
Job Experience: 5 years or more
Rate: $94,000.00 to $112.00 Year

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