Chief of External Relations & Protocol

Requisition ID: 36334 


Located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples, Vancouver has a commitment to becoming a City of Reconciliation. Vancouver consistently ranks as one of the world’s most liveable cities and is working towards being the greenest city in the world. Named among Canada's Top 100 Employers, BC's Top Employers, and Canada's Greenest Employers, the City of Vancouver seeks colleagues who can help shape and embody our core commitments to sustainability, decolonization, equity and outstanding quality of life for all residents.

Consider joining our committed team of staff and being part of an innovative, inclusive and rewarding workplace.


Main Purpose and Function

Reporting to the City Clerk, the Chief of External Relations and Protocol is responsible for managing the City of Vancouver’s External Relations and Protocol Program, which includes planning and managing annual Council events, ceremonies and awards, and managing the overall coordination of official visits, study tours, delegations, and international relationships.  This position is also responsible for administering the City’s Flag Policy, gifting to visiting dignitaries, illumination program, and wedding program.


The Chief of External Relations and Protocol has 4 direct reports and works closely with the City Clerk’s Management Team; City Manager; General Managers and their Directors; the Mayor’s Office; Councillor Assistants; Mayor and Council Members; and Senior staff and board members of Civic Agencies, Boards and Commissions.  This position will also work directly with a variety of external contacts including, but not limited to Province of BC Protocol and Intergovernmental Relations Officials; Federal and Provincial External Relations and Protocol Officials; Global Affairs Canada; BC Consular Corps, Diplomatic Corps in Ottawa; Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation; Military and veteran organizations such as 39 Canadian Brigade Group, 15th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Legion, Vancouver Poppy Fund; Local non-profits such as the Vancouver Pride Society; Community and business organizations such as the Board of Trade and multicultural and community associations; and Vancouver Economic Commission.


Specific Duties/Responsibilities

  • Directs all aspects of the City of Vancouver’s external relations program, including related policy development and management, servicing protocol needs, the production and management of civic and hospitality events, official visits, corporate professional courtesies, event related responsibilities, project coordination, awards, support for international partnerships, the City’s micro-wedding ceremony program, City Hall and Burrard Bridge illumination and flag program.
  • Formulates and implements corporate policies, standards and procedures on all matters of related to the mandate of the City’s External Relations Program.
  • Provides professional protocol related advice to the Mayor, Members of Council, and City departments, agencies, boards and commissions, particularly on issues of political and cultural sensitivity.
  • Liaises and coordinates with Mayor and Council, City officials and external stakeholders and organizations on matters related to the City’s external relations.
  • Oversees the communications component of external relations events and working in consultation with the corporate communications department on communications related issues.
  • Designs and implements complex external relations activities such as ceremonies, international visits, and major events, providing protocol oversite, including the preparation and monitoring of the budget assigned to the event/activity and liaising with all relevant stakeholders.
  • Establishes and maintains key contacts with other governments, agencies, boards and commissions on the local, national and international level.
  • Demonstrates commitment to the organizational values, principles, and have the ability to forge effective partnerships with various stakeholders.
  • Develops the program budget and being accountable for the annual budget for the External relations program.
  • Develops and implements program performance measurements.
  • Works with volunteer committees and Advisory Committees to Council to plan the theme, scope, and program content of Council’s annual events
  • Manages and supervises of four subordinates, responsible for hiring, performance review/coaching, identification of training, discipline (up to an including recommendation for discharge if required) and the authorization of work schedules including overtime and vacation.
  • Works as part of the City Clerk’s Office leadership team to deal with ongoing issues and decisions required to provide synergies within the City Clerk’s Office.
  • Administers provisions of applicable collective agreements; acts as management’s representative in the Step 1 grievance process and represents the employer at arbitration as required.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualification Requirements

Education and Experience:

  • MA with a political science or international relations focus; MPA; or a Masters in another discipline with a communications, public relations, or intergovernmental affairs emphasis.
  • Minimum 8 years of progressive experience, preferably in the public sector, coordinating, planning and managing external relationships with senior officials at all levels of government and internationally, the diplomatic corps, the community and business groups.
  • Experience developing and executing matters of protocol and public relations.
  • Experience in situations requiring a high degree of tact, sound judgement and sensitivity in dealing with political and protocol-oriented relations.
  • Experience with hiring and managing consultants and contractors.
  • Experience with negotiating and consulting with volunteers, community groups, business groups and non-profits to align community expectations with the City’s goals and objectives for events.
  • Broad management and supervisory skills gained through several years of progressively responsible positions, preferably in a unionized environment


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Extensive knowledge of government relations, protocol and public relations, international relations practices in protocol and event organizations, and related issues.
  • Considerable knowledge of the function and organization of the public sector in Canada
  • Considerable knowledge of other cultures, practices within the local community and internationally.
  • Considerable knowledge and experience with incorporating equity, diversity and inclusion principles into all aspects of work.
  • Knowledge of languages in addition to English preferred
  • Project management skills with the ability to plan and execute complex events, visits and delegations involving senior officials from the City, representatives from other governments, the community and the business sector.
  • Ability to think strategically to be proactive in planning a successful protocol program.
  • Ability to communicate, negotiate persuasively and effectively, and forge effective internal and external relations.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills with experience of presenting to large and diverse audiences, along with experience dealing effectively with the media, and writing reports and speaking notes for senior management and elected officials.
  • Experience with and the ability to deal effectively with a diversity of cultures, ethnicities and religions ensuring sensitivity and respectful relationships.
  • Ability to take initiative, plan, organize, set goals and outcomes, create processes, accomplish and measure objectives and results.
  • Ability to achieve results independently, and effectively plan, manage and supervise the work of others ensuring that performance is successfully managed and staff is developed in line with requirements.
  • Ability to lead and facilitate meetings, groups and team, including managing controversial subject matters.
  • Ability to use technology and computer based applications, as appropriate, to solve business needs


Where operationally appropriate and subject to change, the City of Vancouver has a Flexible Work Program. This program allows staff to work remotely 1 – 4 days a week from locations that are a daily commutable distance from their work at a City worksite.  At this time this position is eligible to be part of the Flexible Work Program.


The City of Vancouver has a COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy.  All external applicants applying to the City of Vancouver are required to be fully vaccinated as a condition of hire and subject to this policy as a condition of ongoing employment.  Candidates may only be exempted from this requirement if they request and are approved for an accommodation based on a reason related to a Human Rights Code ground (such as disability). Such a request must be made during, not after, the recruitment process.


Business Unit/Department: Office of the City Manager 

Affiliation: Exempt

Employment Type: Temporary Full Time 

Position Start Date: September, 2022

Position End Date: September, 2023

Salary Information: RNG-091: $102,256 to $127,830 per annum


Application Close: July 1, 2022

At the City of Vancouver, we are committed to recruiting a diverse workforce that represents the community we so proudly serve. Indigenous applicants, people of colour, all genders, LGBT2Q+ and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  Accommodations will be provided upon request during the selection process. Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion


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