Ocean Career: Ocean Networks Canada Senior Communications Officer

Join a talented team that is pushing creative frontiers in amplifying the impact of Canada’s national ocean observatory, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC). We are hiring a Senior Communications Officer to contribute their energy, strategic communications know-how, and multi-media expertise to support the ONC’s growth and success within Canada and on the global stage.

This position is for a connector who believes in the power of partnership for maximizing the impact of ONC’s mission; an exceptional storyteller with established relationships with media, and the ability to land stories in an increasingly tight media market; and a skilled communicator, adept at delivering on strategic outreach opportunities across multiple platforms. This role also suits a problem-solver, with a proven track record in issues management who is comfortable with nimble adaptation to fast-unfolding events. A passion for ocean science, ocean discovery and technology, as well as the drive to be part of ocean-based climate-solutions, will make this a dream job for the right person.

This is an in-office position at the University of Victoria, and the posting will be open until we have found the right person to join the communications team.

Job Summary

Ocean Networks Canada, a University of Victoria (UVic) initiative, is a world-leading organization supporting ocean discovery and technological innovation in the deep ocean and coastal waters of Canada’s three coasts—the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Arctic. ONC is as a not-for-profit society that deliver ocean data from its cabled, mobile and community-based observing networks. Its cabled observatories supply continuous power and Internet connectivity to scientific instruments and thousands of sensors distributed in, on and above the seabed, along with mobile and strategically located land-based assets and instruments that address key scientific and policy issues (including but not limited to subsea earthquakes and tsunamis, ocean acidification, climate solutions, marine biodiversity, and supporting Indigenous ocean science leadership) within a wide range of environments.

The Communications Team leads the development and promotion of a consistent narrative and strategic long-term positioning to enhance the reputation and success of ONC. It delivers communication services and products to raise ONC’s national and international profile and to strengthen its brand recognition consistent with the goals and vision of ONC's 2030 Strategic Plan, ONC’s strategic communications plan and Annual Program Plans. The team engages a host of creative communications products and services to promote ONC’s unique capabilities across its corporate operations, science, observatory operations, innovation, learning and user engagement divisions, in order to connect and engage with key audiences and stakeholders.

The Senior Communications Officer (SCO) is the team lead for media relations, with a portfolio that extends to supporting stakeholder engagement, strategic communications planning, social media, public outreach and events, and internal communications. The SCO uses their expertise to communicate ONC’s high-tech advances and scientific discoveries through the mainstream media as well as through industry and science media outlets. This role fosters a greater public understanding of ocean observatories, their value, relevance and importance to the global ocean, climate and planet, and contributes to the building of strong relationships and engagement with key partners in advancing ONC’s important work.

The SCO is tasked with raising the profile of ONC nationally and internationally by identifying strategic opportunities and proactively engaging the media by writing creative, exciting content relevant to target audiences about ONC’s world-leading activities. The SCO is proficient in utilizing communication tools and tactics in support of these objectives including the use of social media to amplify outreach and contributes to the development and implementation of strategic communications and engagement planning.

Internally the SCO provides leadership to ONC staff engaged in communication activities. The SCO is sensitive to reputational risks, confidential and sensitive matters, and has strategic foresight to identify possible pitfalls as well as identify future collaborations and possibilities. The SCO must work well under pressure and dealing with constraints outside of their control The SCO reports to the Communications Manager (CM) and works collaboratively with a team of communications professionals including UVic Communications + Marketing. This position is occasionally required to coordinate, travel to, and promote ONC at conferences, events and workshops.

Job Requirements

This position requires a Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications and/or public relations, and a minimum of 6 years of communications and/or public relations. Experience in journalism is an asset.

Required experience includes:

  • Superior interview, research, writing and editing skills
  • Experience with media initiatives aimed at broadening and enhancing an organization’s reputation and profile nationally and internationally
  • Experience in creating content in multiple formats, including writing in a digital first environment
  • Providing effective counsel when handling sensitive communications issues
  • Building communication skills and abilities among organizational representatives
  • A successful track record in effective strategic communication planning
  • Effective utilization of a range of communications tools and tactics, including considerable knowledge and experience with using social media platforms (particularly Twitter), to effectively engage with target audiences and achieve organizational goals

Required knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Understanding and experience of media relations, social media, digital and traditional media communication tactics, tools and relationships for strategic outcomes
  • Strategic communications planning with critical analysis and key message development and overall project management
  • The ability to work under pressure and deal with constraints

In addition, this position requires:

  • An energetic self-starter who can work in a fast-paced environment, multi-task, prioritize, and meet tight deadlines.
  • Superior communication skills, both written, verbal and interpersonal
  • Ability to take complex scientific and technical information and make accessible across broad audiences through research, inquiry and compelling story writing.
  • Cultural competency, including an understanding of colonization, decolonization, land issues, and respect for Indigenous cultural protocols.
  • Ability to maintain confidential information and to use sound judgment in communicating pertinent and sensitive information.
  • Excellent analytical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to problem-solve with maturity, tact, diplomacy and sound judgment.
  • Ability to build and maintain productive working relationships with media and stakeholders.
  • Proven track record in achieving project goals on time and produce deliverables of a high quality under pressure and within tight deadlines
  • Proven ability with communicating through a range of digital communication tools and tactics, including webinars, social media platforms, live streaming, etc.
  • Working with designers to create compelling and concise graphics and digital content.
  • Willingness to learn new platforms and technologies.
  • Being a team player who can also take personal responsibility for the quality and timeliness of work.


  • Indigenous cultural acumen and knowledge of issues facing coastal communities
  • Knowledge of the ocean environment, ocean science and conservation, and current ocean issues
  • Ability to communicate both written and verbally in French
  • Knowledge of Agility media monitoring tools
  • Experience in journalism
  • A science background with the demonstrated ability to translate science, data and high-tech content into compelling content for a lay audience

The salary range for this position is:

Recruitment range: $77,064- $84,968 starting salary determined by the PEA Collective Agreement.

Performance range: starting salary to max of $100,235 is available through annual performance increases.

Closing Date: February 19, 2024

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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