Communications Manager, Planning and Development

Requisition ID: 37733 


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

The City of Vancouver is seeking a bold, innovative and service-oriented communications leader. Reporting directly to the Chief Communications Officer and working closely with senior City staff, the Communications Manager, Development and Planning, will provide leadership and direction to a team of communications staff to deliver, implement and support integrated communications projects and planning for the departments of Planning, Design and Sustainability and Development, Buildings and Licensing (PDS & DBL).


This role is a great opportunity for an ambitious and forward-thinking communications leader to join the City’s communications team at a time of exciting change and forward momentum—to help enact a service-forward vision:

  • You are an exceptional, storytelling leader who will help shape communications for the City that resonate with citizens and are reflective of City priorities.
  • You will lead and inspire our team toward high performance, creativity and quality, bringing a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion to all our work.
  • You will help position the team as the nexus of communications expertise within the City, collaborating with business partners across the organization toward creating and implementing creative, integrated communications solutions.
  • You don’t shy away from a challenge—and you confront problems with balance and curiosity. You lead in a way that builds your team up, even in challenging times.


The Communications Manager, Development and Planning leads a team of communications professionals that provides strategic advice and counsel for all projects, programs and campaigns across PDS and DBL departments. This position will work closely with organization’s senior executives, client departments, communications staff and outside contractors. This person is responsible for all external communications strategy and planning, across channels and in leading best practices for media relations, issues management and strategic planning.


While the successful candidate will not require a background in planning, development or buildings, they will be expected to develop a fluency and understanding of City planning and development processes and stakeholder communities, in order to support and advise on effective communications strategies for these audiences.


Specific Duties and Responsibilities

  • Leads a team in communications planning. Lead the development, implementation and management of integrated, multi-channel citizen-centric communications planning to support PDS & DBL priorities for both internal and external audiences, maximizing public awareness and understanding of benefit of City priorities and initiatives.
  • Act as a strategic partner. Seen as a strategic partner to the assigned business units who understands the complex and varied organizational projects, priorities and issues in order to develop communications advice.
  • Proactively manage issues. Proactively identifies emerging issues and opportunities on a regular basis, and recommends appropriate communications approaches.
  • Works with the media. Cultivate and maintain strong relationships with local and domestic media, determine key audiences and lead a proactive approach to media relations.
  • Manages a budget and contractors. Effectively manage budgets and processes to execute initiatives in a cost-effective, timely fashion to support strategic objectives. Manage external contractors, including through the RFP process, including but not limited to agencies, freelance designers and writers.


To be successful in these activities, the Communications Manager, Development and Planning will:

  • Prioritize relationships. Develops, builds and maintains excellent working relationships and understanding within their team, internal clients and stakeholders. Create an environment of trust and credibility through clear, accurate, open and timely two-way communication with staff and stakeholders. 
  • Use sound judgment. Leads with a high level of political acuity, judgment and diplomacy, including the handling of confidential, sensitive subject matter. Recommend appropriate communications response, staying calm even in moments of crisis.
  • Use evidence. Prioritize evaluation and adjustment to inform an evidence-based approach to communications planning and ensure plans are working against set objectives, and evaluates plans to apply learning to future work.
  • Lead and mentor. Leads and mentors staff with courage and heart by providing clear direction, a safe space for questions, and provide ongoing feedback so they can perform to their highest level. This includes coaching, training and development, hiring and termination, discipline, performance and attendance management. 
  • Stay on top of current trends. Stay abreast of the municipal landscape and pulse of Vancouver, particularly as it may have reputational impact on the City, its programs and policies. 
  • Ask questions. Diplomatically challenge the status quo, ask questions and suggest alternate strategies and approaches, always maintaining a strategic outlook.



Education and Experience:

  • Minimum bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, public affairs, political science or a related discipline, or clear demonstration of related experience.
  • Five (5) years’ experience leading a team in mid-level strategic communications roles that encompass strategic communications planning, issues management, media relations, digital communications and corporate communications.
  • Work in diverse and complex private, public sector or agency experience, ideally within a unionized environment.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • A specific track record implementing communications strategies and making evidence-based decisions to support your organization’s goals.
  • A specific track record implementing communications strategies that prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion and communicating with diverse communities.
  • Strong, trusted, demonstrated relationships with local and domestic media, including multilingual and beat media.
  • Demonstrated experience with and passion for dealing with multiple, high-profile and complex issues on a daily basis.
  • Reputation as an avid learner and self-starter who follows emerging communications trends for the joy of it, including channels and tools, using data and nimbly keeping pace with change.
  • Experience leading, managing and influencing diverse and multidisciplinary teams.
  • Demonstrated budget experience, including creating and managing a budget in a lean environment.
  • Knowledge of local government operations and processes, intergovernmental relations and roles and responsibilities of orders of government is an asset.
  • Knowledge of land use planning and development processes, and their associated lexicons, is an asset. 
  • Familiarity with public and stakeholder engagement development and implementation is an asset.


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’s COVID-19 vaccination policy is currently suspended and as a result, vaccination against COVID-19 is not required at this time. However, should circumstances change and the City deem it necessary to re-introduce such policy, you may be required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be eligible to continue performing your duties.


Business Unit/Department: Office of the City Manager (1010) 

Affiliation: Exempt 

Employment Type: Regular Full Time 

Position Start Date: February, 2023 

Salary Information: Pay Grade RNG-091: $102,256 to $127,830 per year


Application Close: February 8, 2023

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, 2SLGBTQ+ 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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