VAW Jobs

YWCA Toronto-Harm Reduction Worker

Internal and External Job Posting
Community Engagement Worker – Harm Reduction Beyond Substance Use
YWCA Elm Housing Support

Employment Type: Full-Time, Permanent

Work Hours: 35 hours per week (includes days, evenings, and every 5th weekend)

Salary: $53,644 annually, plus comprehensive benefits

Location: 150 Elizabeth Street, M5G 0B1

Internal Application Deadline: Monday, October 14, 2019

External Application Deadline: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Community Engagement Worker – Harm Reduction Beyond Substance Use is responsible for leading the design and implementation of programming that promotes harm reduction principles and approaches that empowers tenant and tenant-led initiatives. The goal of the position is to create an inclusive community, encourage participation in the broader community, and develop effective harm reduction strategies to meet the emotional, practical and social support needs of the tenants and the community as a whole. The Community Engagement Worker – Harm Reduction Beyond Substance Use will work within the Community Engagement Program team and alongside the Jean Tweed case management team to ensure that community engagement activities support a positive and dynamic community environment with a focus on health outcomes.

YWCA Elm Centre includes 300 units of permanent housing for three different resident groups: 165 units of affordable rental units for women, 50 units for women and women-led families of Indigenous descent (including 10 women-led families fleeing violence) and 85 units for women who are experiencing significant mental health challenges or concurrent mental health/addictions disorders. The program will provide services to the entire residential community, with a dual focus on community building and individualized supports.


  • Acts as specialist consultant to YWCA Manager, YWCA Elm support team, Jean Tweed Centre case managers and tenants in the area of innovative community engagement and capacity building with marginalized and mixed communities;
  • Provides harm reduction strategies that will empower individuals as they address issues related to substance use, mental health, health and wellness and housing;
  • Uses Stages of Change with a focus on client centered goals that reduce harm and increase community engagement andcohesiveness;
  • Works closely and collaboratively with Toronto’s Public Health (the WORKS) to coordinate support services for individuals, as well as training that will focus on best practices related to substance use and health promotion within housing;
  • Designs and delivers programming specifically designed to build individual and community capacity through activities that promote the development and use of harm reduction principles in conflict resolution and mediation skills, including peerled processes for addressing issues of concern to the community;
  • Uses harm reduction approaches to increase individual’s capacity for successful tenancy, their recovery goals and community engagement;
  • Maintains a working knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act, Social Housing Reform Act, and the Ontario Human Rights Code;
  • Supports tenants in addressing legal notices related to lease infractions such as arrears, Rent Geared to Income (RGI) documentation and/or behavior issues;
  • Attends and, when necessary, acts as a witness at the Landlord Tenant Board hearings as required.


  • General knowledge of an academic or technical discipline normally acquired through the completion of an undergraduate degree in a social services or health field (examples: BSW/Social Work, Occupational Therapy, etc.) (Cases for Equivalency will be considered);
  • 3 - 5 years experience working in a diverse, direct service setting with adults and families who experience impacts of poverty, homelessness/ under-housing, violence/trauma, mental health/addictions/ or concurrent disorders, and other sources of
    marginalization or oppression;
  • Minimum of 3 years experience demonstrating clinical skills in engagement, assessment, counseling and group programming with an in-depth understanding of harm reduction, trauma, mental health and substance use;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in providing support to women living with experiences of precarious housing, poverty, violence/trauma, mental health/concurrent addictions issues;
  • Knowledge and understanding of harm reduction approaches as a holistic frame work that incorporates supportive housing, community development, advocacy and peer support;
  • Life Skills Certificate and Valid food handler certificate an asset;
  • Arts-based or Social media skills an asset;
  • Ability to deliver programming that recognizes and values cultural identities (ethno-racial, LGBTQ, e.g.) and creates opportunities for strengthening community through sharing and building understanding and respect;
  • Supportive counseling and group-work approach that is flexible, strengths-based, de-escalates tension, and teaches conflict resolution;
  • Demonstrated crisis intervention and conflict mediation skills, with ability to remain calm in crisis;
  • Experience working with diverse individuals and groups and the ability to deliver culturally sensitive services with a harm reduction and anti-oppression frameworks;
  • Working knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act an asset;
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of community resources.

Please submit your cover letter and résumé to: Danielle Nakouz, Manager of Elm Housing Support at

Please quote JOB ID number ELM0263 and your name in the subject line.

Please note: A vulnerable sector police reference check is required by the successful candidate prior to hiring. YWCA Toronto is a unionized workplace. Staff are represented by CUPE Local 2189. This position is within the Bargaining Unit.

Please indicate on your cover letter if you are an internal candidate. For internal applicants, this position is not secondable.

YWCA Toronto promotes the principles of anti-oppression and adheres to the tenets of the Ontario Human Rights Code. We encourage applications from women of all races, ethnic origins, religions, abilities and sexual orientations.

YWCA Toronto provides accommodation during all parts of the hiring process, upon request, to applicants with disabilities.

If contacted, please advise us if you require any accommodation. While we thank all candidates for their interest, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

YWCA Toronto is Scent-Sensitive environment.
Posting date: October 3, 2019