Assistant Deputy Minister, Social Assistance Programs | Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Assistant Deputy Minister, Social Assistance Programs | Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Assistant Deputy Minister, Social Assistance Programs

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Are you an experienced and passionate visionary who is ready to tackle the evolving challenges facing the provision of social services in Ontario?  Are you an inclusive senior leader who is driven by the art of the possible and confident in leading large-scale system changes, including service delivery and policy redesign?  If so, consider an exciting opportunity with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, overseeing the Social Assistance Programs Division in delivering on a large transformation mandate in the social service sector to improve outcomes for people requiring support towards increased independence and employment.

The Social Assistance Programs Division (SAPD) is responsible for oversight of the development and delivery of person-centered, responsive and accountable social assistance services in Ontario, focused on improved outcomes, service quality and sustainability.  Moreover, the division is responsible for identifying and delivering policy development and modernized program design that promotes sustainable person-centered outcomes towards a broader integrated social services vision.

SAPD will rely on strong partnerships with municipal system managers and District Social Services Administration Board delivery partners, other ministries, municipal, federal and Indigenous governments, related sectors and businesses in the private sector, including Employment Ontario under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.  Success will be achieved through cross-functional teams, co-design, prototyping, and introduction of an integrated and customized approach to people and families.

An effective leader in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) is responsible, innovative and collaborative. A responsible leader is someone who demonstrates authenticity, accountability and courage in how they interact with others. An individual who models ethical behaviour, and who is honest and capable of making difficult choices. An innovative leader is someone who leads with common purpose, embraces positive disruption, and has a future mindset. An individual who inspires others, values continued learning and encourages development and integration. A collaborative leader focuses on helping others to grow, drives people-centered outcomes and promotes an environment of inclusivity. A leader who consistently works to confront bias and systemic barriers while understanding the importance of creating a more diverse and accessible workplace.

Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Anti-Racism

The OPS is an innovative, responsive, and accountable public service working with purpose to be diverse, anti-racist, inclusive, merit-based, and equitable. Diversified leadership is a top OPS priority with the goal of parity with the Ontario labour force for the most underrepresented groups (Indigenous, racialized and persons with disabilities) by 2025.  To advance this goal, the OPS is collecting socio-demographic information that will help to address potential barriers and achieve equity in hiring.

You are invited to complete the voluntary survey and contribute to building a more diverse, inclusive and accessible OPS. If you have completed the survey since September 28th, 2020, you do not need to complete it unless you would like to change your responses or consent.

The OPS is an accessible employer and offers accommodation in all aspects of employment, including the recruitment process.

Visit the OPS Anti-Racism Policy and the OPS Diversity and Inclusion Blueprint pages to learn more about the OPS commitment to advancing racial equity, diversity and inclusion.

What can I expect to do in this role?

In this critical role, your key accountabilities will be to:

  • Capitalize on opportunities to work within an agile, digital and evolving landscape across the OPS and beyond.
  • Fulfill mandates to promote progress and drive the delivery of key ministry initiatives related to the social assistance system.
  • Actively partner with municipal system managers, including District Social Services Administration Boards, in policy and delivery co-design, in recognition of their experience, capabilities, knowledge and investment.
  • Model ethical and principled behaviour consistent with OPS values and the ministry vision and mission, and act with authenticity and accountability when making difficult choices.
  • Lead with empathy and humility to inspire, and confront bias and systemic barriers.
  • Listen to, and understand, the perspectives of persons and families supported by the social assistance system.
  • Design, deliver, support and oversee trauma-informed, person-centred, responsive and accountable social assistance in Ontario.
  • Accelerate transformation and champion modernization initiatives, fostering a partner-focused and high-performance culture that drives evidence-informed decisions to realize outcomes.
  • Embrace positive disruption through innovation with forward focused strategic leadership for the development and implementation of policies, legislation, programs and service delivery reforms.
  • Participate and lead actively as a member of the ministry & OPS leaderships teams.
  • Lead the understanding, acknowledgement, discussion and implementation of action plans to address systemic racism and oppression both within the OPS and with ministry transfer payment partners and business associates.

How do I qualify?

Proven Executive and Inclusive Leadership

  • You are a proven, inspiring and inclusive senior executive with a background in business transformation, developing strategic direction and championing best models and practices.
  • You have experience as an executive in leading large, multi-functional teams of senior managers and professional staff to deliver results in a complex organizational environment.
  • You are passionate about achieving better outcomes for people with low income, many of whom have disabilities.
  • You are a courageous and authentic executive leader who inspires and engages teams to bring their whole self to work and values diverse and divergent opinions.
  • You have knowledge of, and are comfortable addressing, systemic barriers and racism.

Operational, Policy and Change Management Expertise

  • You are a seasoned executive leader with extensive experience leading large and complex operations with demonstrated insight into management within public administration.
  • You understand the social services sector issues and priorities, and have experience in working with partners in those sectors.
  • You have demonstrated experience leading complex organizational transformation, modernization and large change management initiatives.
  • You encourage and promote innovation, bringing creativity and leading-edge ideas to the ministry.
  • You have experience leading policy development and have a user-centred design approach, developing and maintaining agile and iterative processes in pursuit of client-focused programs.
  • You have project management skills and have demonstrated experience leading large-scale projects at the executive level.

Strategic Communications, Political Acuity and Relationship Management

  • You have evidence of superior communication and executive briefing skills to effectively provide strategic advice to Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other senior officials.
  • You have strong diplomacy skills and work collaboratively, fairly, openly, assertively and constructively with senior officials, staff and stakeholders to resolve issues and generate consensus.
  • You will use your analytical, political acuity and negotiation skills to interpret and convert social assistance transformation into deliverable action plans.
  • You are a sophisticated communicator with superior public relations skills to represent government and lead stakeholder, team and public engagements.
  • You possess superior relationship-building and customer service skills to develop and sustain effective partnerships with municipalities, Indigenous partners and transfer payment agency delivery partners.

Salary range: $164,910 - $216,170 per year

Job term: Permanent

Location: Toronto

Please apply online, only, by Wednesday, February 3, 2021, by visiting Please follow the instructions to submit your application. Faxes are not being accepted at this time.

If you require accommodation in order to participate in the recruitment process, please contact the Executive Recruitment Unit at Only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

The Ontario Public Service is an inclusive employer. Accommodation will be provided in accordance with Ontario’s Human Rights Code.


Heather Bakken


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