• Communications Specialist
  • Position: Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy
  • Job/Opportunity Number:
  • Unit/Department:
  • Organization: Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority
  • Website: www.rhra.ca
  • Location: Toronto
  • Term: Permanent; full-time
  • Posting Date:
    June 30, 2022
  • Deadline to Apply: July 27, 2022
  • Compensation:

    The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) is a self-financing authority independent of government, with the mandate to license and inspect Ontario’s more than 750 retirement homes where over 50,000 seniors live. The RHRA is an agent for positive change, by working with the retirement homes sector to increase the protection, safety and well-being of our aging population.

    The RHRA administers the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, which involves licensing homes, educating licensees, consumers and the public about the standards regulating retirement homes, carrying out inspections of retirement homes, and taking compliance and enforcement action as needed. The RHRA’s guiding principle is that a retirement home should be a place where residents live with dignity, respect, privacy and autonomy, in security, safety and comfort and can make informed choices about their care options.

    To learn more about organizations that protect the public through licensing and professional regulation, visit the Canadian Regulatory Guide.


    As the Vice President (VP), Public Affairs & Policy, you will be accountable for leading and driving strategies that optimize impact in protecting and empowering Ontarians who live in retirement homes.  You foster trusted relationships and deliver desired results, enabling innovation, creativity, and strategic connection.

    You will report directly to the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) Registrar and CEO, and serve as an integral member of the senior team.

    You are passionate about doing right by seniors.  You foster trusting relationships with external and internal stakeholders and audiences; specifically governments, sector associations, seniors’ health and allied organizations and advocates, in order to advance common goals that support the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority’s ability to protect and empower retirement home residents and their families.  You translate complex strategy and policy into new and compelling value creation and partnership opportunities. Your leadership of the Public Affairs & Policy functions amplifies impactful communications, government and stakeholder relations, policy, and resident-first actionable priorities to create and leverage positive agency that will ultimately build and evolve the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority as a model of modern regulation.  You are a thought leader in shaping and executing a compelling narrative that will authentically advance RHRA’s commitment to residents and prospective residents, families, community and industry.

    Key Accountabilities

    Strategy, Vision and Leadership

    • Contributes to the strategic leadership and management of the organization by identifying and assessing the desired future state, and develops public affairs and policy plans to make them reality; contributes to overall strategy development and risk discussions; sponsors and manages strategic initiatives.
    • Collaborates with senior leaders in establishing annual priorities, targets and performance plans, including operationalizing RHRA’s strategic priorities and setting targets within the functional unit.
    • Serves as a subject matter expert and advisor on all matters relating to communications, stakeholder and government relations, and strategic policy development to the Board and senior leadership team.
    • Provides effective and inspiring leadership, promoting and advocating for a culture of corporate accountability, transparency, performance measurement and service excellence.
    • Provides executive presence by representing the RHRA, and participates in meetings held by various stakeholder groups and acts as ,chief spokesperson, as appropriate.
    • Provides executive presence in a sensitive and complex political environment by representing the RHRA, advancing its strategic agenda and participating in committees, forums, task forces, etc. overseen by various ministries and government officials.
    • Ensures that the organization develops and adopts best practices in creating and maintaining a proactive policy presence that influences and shapes regulation in the seniors congregate living sector.
    • Determines and supports definition of measurement and analysis of relevant data to inform decisions and assess achievement of unit and/or organizational objectives.

    Stakeholder and Government Relations

    • Accountable for cultivating, establishing and maintaining effective relationships within the organization and with external partners/stakeholders to achieve shared desired outcomes, influence decisions and promote alignment with RHRA’s goals and mandate.
    • Develops schedules and goal-setting for key external stakeholders including government contacts (the Minister responsible for Seniors and Accessibility, the Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC), and industry associations.
    • Develops RHRA’s stakeholder engagement strategy and action plans and provides leadership to the development of relevant products to enable effective engagement.
    • Oversees the agendas and work plans for stakeholder entities within the RHRA, such as the SAC, coordinating with other functional units on relevant topics.
    • Directs and oversees any public consultation process within the RHRA mandate, ensuring that obligations are met and protocols are observed.
    • Leads the identification of collaborative and/or engagement opportunities with appropriate stakeholders and partners, directs and oversees stakeholder consultation processes by providing advice and expertise to facilitate consensus-building and the resolution of stakeholder-related issues.
    • Identifies, develops and manages strategic partnerships, with other relevant organizations (e.g. other regulators; agencies; advocacy associations; etc.).
    • Directs and leads the management of the relationship with MSAA as the key reporting agency for RHRA, the Minister’s Office, and as relevant other government bodies (e.g. Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-term Care, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, etc.)
    • Ensures fulfillment of all required reporting requirements to the Ministry and/or other government or relevant bodies where there is an existing Memorandum of Understanding with RHRA.
    • Collaborates with subject matter experts within RHRA to proactively influence and/or respond to legislation and regulations, through information-sharing, partnerships, strategic counsel or other means to ensure the RHRA narrative is relevant, resonates and is supported by key influencers and decision-makers.
    • Acts as the primary liaison between RHRA and the government on issues management and RHRA’s crisis response plan.
    • Directs RHRA’s response to Government, including briefing notes and similar communications to ensure consistent, factual, and timely information provision.
    • Maintains key responsibility for execution and implementation of the Serious Incident Protocol (SIP) agreement with the Ministry, including protocol.

    Corporate Communications and Education

    • Directs and oversees the development, implementation and evaluation of communication and education strategies for internal and external audiences, that advance RHRA’s mandate in alignment with strategic and annual business plan and priorities, and with stakeholder strategies.
    • Identifies and oversees the development of proactive multilevel communication opportunities to build and protect the RHRA’s reputation, and create awareness of and engagement in the organization’s position as the ‘go to’ authority for standards relating to retirement homes.
    • Provides subject matter expertise in serving multi-generational audiences by ensuring the development and execution of communication plans that optimize strategies and methods relevant to target groups, including social and traditional platforms.
    • Accountable for final copy of all communications materials, in all formats, in a timely and responsive manner and, in keeping with approved RHRA protocols.
    • Leads the development, implementation and evaluation of a proactive media relations and public image strategy that supports business objectives and promotes a positive public profile.
    • Responsible for managing the RHRA’s reputation, including ownership for the smooth functioning of RHRA’s issues management processes. This includes monitoring to identify issues and/or trends.
    • Leads the development and maintenance of crisis management protocols, including planning, testing, and maintenance of pre-approved processes and related messaging.
    • Provides communications and issues management expertise and advice to the CEO/Registrar and senior leadership team by:
      • prioritizing and proactively addressing public and reputational issues and opportunities that can affect the organization’s success and profile, and recommending the most effective means of positioning the RHRA.
      • directing the delivery of supporting documentation, key messaging, scripting and written responses to issues and media enquiries – ensuring consistent, factual and timely information.
      • managing messaging du ring RHRA press interviews and public appearances.


    • Provides direction and strategic thought leadership on policy matters affecting regulation of the sector and achievement of RHRA’s mandate. This includes identifying and prioritizing policy gaps and needs for the organization, and systemic solutions to ensure the protection of Ontario’s seniors living in retirement homes.
    • Oversees and directs the research related to policy development and analysis and legislative/regulatory considerations in forming policy recommendations. This includes appropriate processes for internal issue identification and tracking for policy priority.
    • Directs RHRA’s strategic regulatory policy agenda and framework as it relates to the organization’s business strategy and needs, and assessment of government priorities.
    • Makes recommendations and provides policy advice to RHRA management and senior leadership.
    • Facilitates the provision of advice to the Minister on policy matters relating to the Retirement Homes Act and relevant legislation, In the context of those matters impacting seniors living in retirement homes.
    • Oversees the delivery of proactive and responsive regulatory policies. Anticipates policy implications connected with operational decisions, and supports the analysis and evaluation of operational choices.
    • Ensures appropriate and timely engagement and consultation with relevant stakeholder groups (e.g. SAC; government; ORCA etc.) as well as with licensees and residents on policy matters, including the identification of potential risks, appropriate mitigation strategies and impact of policy decisions.

    Continuous Improvement of Processes/Practices of the RHRA

    • Collaborates with all functional areas to assure that organizational processes, work flow designs and systems work in an effective and efficient manner.
    • Develops, implements and leads a continuous quality improvement process throughout the unit’s programs, creating and identifying best practices, within budget parameters.
    • Conducts research and produces statistical reports that describe and measure performance and identify trends and quality improvement opportunities.
    • Contributes to a workplace environment conducive to a high performing team by maintaining positive professional relationships with all members of the RHRA team; sharing expertise by participating in the development of others, and providing back-up for colleagues.

     Staff Management

    • Leads a high-performing team of six by embodying the values of the RHRA, leading by example, setting performance goals that enable strategic goals, effectively overseeing execution of plans in coordination with other functional units.
    • Acts as a mentor and facilitator to create and sustain a co-operative and supportive team environment through the sharing of information, actively working with staff to foster growth and development and empower them to do their best work with a high level of accountability to the unit and self-management.
    • Establishes and monitors staff performance and development goals, assigns accountabilities, sets objectives, establishes priorities, and conducts annual performance reviews.
    • Monitors progress of work, identifies risks in the delivery of priorities and implements timely resolution of issues.
    • Master’s degree in communications, public relations, journalism, political science or equivalent post-graduate achievement is preferable.
    • 10+ years of extensive experience, including demonstrated strategic leadership/management experience in a similar capacity to understand relevant issues related to government and government relations, stakeholder relations, communications and public policy and administration, and the regulatory process.
    • Experience in high impact government, not-for-profit or aligned environments with a demonstrated track record of results in delivering desired outcomes.
    • Knowledge of the retirement homes, seniors housing and healthcare sector is preferable
    • Demonstrated track record of impact in senior-level roles, passionate about building and delivering a strategic vision and inspired by the growth and development of a diverse, highperforming team.
    • Acute political sensitivity and acumen – demonstrated ability to assess the external environment and proactively influence decision-making to advance the Authority’s impact in promoting compliance with the Retirement Homes Act.
    • Exceptional communication and influencing skills to build trust, influence stakeholders externally and to provide strategic counsel to Board and senior leaders.
    • Excellent understanding of the dynamics and relationships in health care, senior-focused and regulatory environments. Robust external network with relevant stakeholders is required.
    • Credibility as a strategic leader, with the skills to formulate, oversee and implement the public affairs, communications and stakeholder relations framework for a regulatory organization.
    • Excellent team leadership, coaching, project management and mentoring skills and the ability to work in an open and consultative manner with others and accomplish goals through influence management and motivation.
    • Expert relationship management and influencing skills to develop and maintain effective partnerships and strategic alliances with a diverse range of stakeholders, internally and externally.
    • Demonstrated listening and negotiating skills to develop consensus among diverse stakeholders and the public on regulatory initiatives.
    • Superior verbal and written communication skills to communicate effectively with government and stakeholder contacts and to prepare reports, correspondence and briefing materials.
    • Adept analytical, problem solving and issues management/resolution skills to identify impediments and recommend communications approaches and strategies to resolve issues.
    • Political acuity, considerable judgment and discretion in dealing with government and stakeholder contacts, often on complex, sensitive issues, with appropriate consideration to the current and potential future political context.
    • Flexibility to quickly and effectively respond to a changing stakeholder environment and identify and flag contentious issues and escalate appropriately.
    • Solid understanding of, or ability to quickly learn the Retirement Homes Act and its regulations, in order to effectively interpret requirements with impact on the assigned functional areas.
    • Computer proficiency with enhanced working knowledge of MS Office Suite, and web communications.
    Other Requirements

    Satisfactory Professional and Criminal/Vulnerable Sector Screening Reference Checks. Required office equipment (laptop, headset, softphone) will be provided. RHRA operates in a hybrid working environment, depending on location of successful candidate, attendance in the office for two days per week may be expected.  Please note that employees of RHRA are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada and to maintain their status as fully vaccinated.  RHRA considers individual requests for accommodation by those who cannot be fully vaccinated due to grounds protected under the Human Rights Code.

    The RHRA offers a great working environment, learning and development opportunities, work-life balance and, a competitive compensation and benefits package.  

    contact information/TO APPLY

    Please forward a cover letter and current resume to: publicaffairs@rhra.ca no later than July 27, 2022.  Applications will be reviewed upon submission and screening may take place prior to application deadline.  Early submission of application is encouraged.

    Should you have any questions regarding this exciting and challenging opportunity, where the right individual can have a true impact; please send your query to publicaffairs@rhra.ca.