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General Counsel – MacEwan University

THE ORGANIZATION

MacEwan University is celebrating its 50th year in the community. Over the past year, we achieved a number of significant milestones—the university awarded our first honorary doctorate degrees and appointed our first chancellor. We are also marking this year with the launch of new strategic vision, building on what we are well known for—delivering exceptional undergraduate learning.

Our reputation for teaching excellence as a premier undergraduate university reflects our commitment to our students. Our faculty are leaders in their fields and stay contemporary in their teaching. Located in the newly named municipal ward of O-day’min, in the heart of downtown Edmonton, puts MacEwan students squarely in the mix. As a downtown university, MacEwan is well positioned to contribute to the social, economic and environmental well-being of our communities.

 After a year of engagement with the internal and external community, in a process led by the President, the Board of Governors approved, Teaching Greatness” Strategic Vision 2030. The strategic framework, to be more formally released in the coming weeks, builds on the strengths of MacEwan and is about redoubling our emphasis on exceptional undergraduate teaching. The new framework contains five key directions:

  1. Energizing MacEwan’s commitment to exceptional undergraduate learning

MacEwan faculty are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and doing it in ways that stick with students. Adaptable. Engaging. Memorable. Personal. These are the words that describe our faculty and the instruction they provide. MacEwan students can tell their professors care first and foremost about teaching them.

  1. Maximizing flexibility to meet students where they are.

MacEwan’s vast array of credentials makes it possible to have a unique journey. Stripping away needless barriers, we make it easier to stretch across degrees, diplomas and certificates. MacEwan students can put together the building blocks to a creative, multi-disciplinary education they can’t get anywhere else in quite the same way.

  1. Preparing McEwan’s graduates who are versatile and future ready

Our downtown location puts MacEwan students squarely “in the mix”. Through a wider array of experiential learning opportunities, and strategic relationships in the community, we partner with others to produce graduates of stature: keen, practical, inquisitive, empathetic and job ready.

  1. Pursing deliberate growth to help shape Alberta’s future

MacEwan will do our part to meet post-secondary demand with the bigger picture in mind, balancing the needs of the community with opportunities to make an impact. Our choices will keep MacEwan viable over the long-term, while contributing to the economic revival of Alberta

  1. Strengthening the value MacEwan adds to community through scholarship

Scholarly work comes in many forms – from traditional research to a new innovation in the fine arts, and countless creations and discoveries in between. We understand that solutions can spring from anywhere. With a supportive ecosystem, we make it possible for new and different areas of expertise to emerge. We use that expertise to improve our community. Our faculty are  leaders in their fields and stay contemporary in their teaching.

The strategic framework renews the university’s commitment to Indigeneity and reconciliation, and to equity, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship, to partnership and to our place in O-day’min.

 

ABOUT MACEWAN

MacEwan University is established as a public post-secondary institution under the Post-secondary Learning Act and is committed to its mandate as an undergraduate university. MacEwan is the third largest university in Alberta. The university realizes annual revenues of approximately $227 million annually in serving a diverse group of learners. Over 18,000 full- and part-time students (12,338 FLE) are enrolled in 54 for credit programs and in 4 non-credit programs.

The University delivers baccalaureate degrees, certificate, diploma, post-diploma, and post-baccalaureate credentials that prepare students for the world of work and for continued study in other credential areas.

The university offers programming in the following major areas of study: business, communications, health and human services, humanities and social sciences, music, nursing, physical sciences, and theatre through faculties and schools: Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications, Faculty of Health and Community Studies, Faculty of Nursing, School of Business and School of Continuing Education. Later this year, the university will launch four new micro-credentials through our School of Continuing Education.

For further insight on MacEwan University, visit:  https://www.macewan.ca/about-macewan/

THE OPPORTUNITY

Job Title:General Counsel
Reports to:President and Vice-Chancellor
Direct Reports:

 

4- Legal Counsel; Lead, Privacy & information Management; Manager, General Counsel Admin; Administrative Assistant
Location:Edmonton, AB

THE MANDATE

Reporting to the President and Vice-Chancellor, the General Counsel acts as the principal legal officer to the University – responsible for overseeing its legal affairs, serving as special advisor to the President, and as strategic legal advisor to the Executive team, senior leaders, the Board of Governors, and any faculty or staff member acting on behalf of MacEwan. It is the primary accountability of this position to identify and recommend procedures and practices to protect the University from undue liability, to identify current and future legal risks for the University, and to ensure that steps are taken to mitigate those risks. In addition, this position will be knowledgeable of, and provide oversight in the areas of policy development, human rights, employment and labour law, commercial and construction law, general business and commercial contracts, governance, intellectual property, copyright and privacy, occupational health and safety, and any other legislation that may affect the operations of a post-secondary institution; as well as all legal aspects of transactional and regulatory matters related to the University and issues of institutional governance or procedure.

General Counsel is responsible for building the culture and framework for success of the department and its subordinates; leading and directing the University’s legal services office including Legal Counsel, Privacy/FOIP, and office/administrative staff; managing any external legal engagements on behalf of the University; developing a solid understanding of the University community; and developing/maintaining productive relationships with campus stakeholders, legal providers, and the Board of Governors (BOG).

 

Key Accountabilities

Legal Advisory Services:

  • Provides strategic legal advice, counsel and opinions, and ensures compliance in all areas of law affecting the University including: transactional matters, regulatory compliance, student and faculty affairs, employment and labour law, University policies and procedures, etc., in order to reduce legal liability risk in contract, tort and public law;
  • Identifies, analyzes and advises on legal issues affecting the University’s operation; regularly updates the President, Executive, BOG, and Senior Administration on the status of legal matters, outstanding issues and the appropriate means to achieve optimal results for the University;
  • Works closely with Executive to advise on changes to laws and regulations, evaluates the impact of changes to the University, and develops the University’s position on these changes;
  • Participates in discussions of institutional strategy and policy as a member of Executive Council;
  • Responds to complaints or formal inquiries involving outside agencies including the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, etc.;
  • Reviews Confidence Line (confidential, third-party reporting line) complaints or formal inquiries. Ensures and assesses the appropriate delegation/referral (e.g. an assault will be directed to MacEwan Security Services or police) and provides regular reports to the BOG;
  • Acts as designated officer for the University under PIDA (Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act) for the purposes of managing and investigating disclosures;
  • Actively participates in various committees and meetings including SVPEC (Sexual Violence Prevention & Education Committee), meetings with the BOG, etc.; and
  • Acts as advisor to the University community on matters of conflict of interest, ethics, and governance.

 

Contracts, Policy Development and External Legal Counsel:

  • Researches, reviews, drafts, and negotiates all forms of contracts and other legal documents, representing the University as required;
  • Drafts and reviews letters, contracts, policies, and other legal documents to ensure appropriate wording, limit the University’s liability, ensure they carry out the University’s intent, and comply with applicable laws; drafts opinion letters as required or requested;
  • Assesses the University’s legal liability with respect to its policies, processes, and procedures. Recommends the appropriate steps for risk management; analyzes major areas of concern to the institution and recommends changes in policies and procedures;
  • Develops, revises and interprets internal University policies, guidelines and procedures; provides oversight of the University’s Policy Framework and processes;
  • Determines when the involvement of external legal counsel is required, or may be in the best interest of the University; manages the cost of legal services in an effective and cost-efficient manner to maximize the value of the University’s expenditures and to minimize the University’s exposure to risk;
  • Participates in the selection/retention, instruction, and oversees services provided by external legal counsel; and
  • Arranges for external advice furnished by outside legal counsel with specialized expertise.

 

Administration of Legal Services Department:

  • Directs, manages and administers department activities including ensuring that roles, responsibilities and expectations are well developed and clarified, and clear communication with department staff is being exercised and maintained;
  • Provides leadership and mentorship to direct reports including workload management; performance development (Workforce Engagement WE) feedback and goal setting; development/growth opportunities; etc.; ensures staff roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are clear and understood;
  • Ensures that the fiscal responsibilities of the department are being performed with the effective and efficient use of budgeted funds, personnel, etc.; and
  • Ensures training, seminars, and other educational initiatives on legal issues, recommendations, and decisions affecting the University, are being provided.

FIRST YEAR DELIVERABLES / MEASURES OF SUCCESS

Success in the first year will be determined by the candidate’s ability to:

  • Develop strong and trusted relationships with stakeholders and gain the confidence of the President, the Executive team, the Board of Governors, peers, faculty and staff;
  • Demonstrate a solutions-focused and service-oriented approach that supports the strategic direction of the University; and
  • Leverage this solutions-focused approach within Legal Services resulting in an increase in the number and quality of collaborations with community organizations, businesses, industries, associations, and governments. These collaborations will expand access for MacEwan learners to work integrated learning, community engaged research, innovation hubs, networks, incubators and accelerators.

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The successful candidate will have the following:

Education

  • A Bachelor of Law (LL.B), Juris Doctor (JD), or equivalent from a recognized post-secondary institute is required. Must be licensed to practice Law in Alberta and be a member in good standing with the Law Society of Alberta.
  • Must maintain sound knowledge of legislation and general law that may have an impact on the University and its operation through research, and participation in professional organizations.

 

Experience

  • A minimum of 8 years of legal practice, including experience with labour, employment, human rights, and privacy in a unionized environment.
  • Knowledge and experience with applicable legislation including the Post-secondary Learning Act, Alberta Labour Relations Code, Employment Standards Code, Alberta Human Rights Act, Copyright Act, and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as experience working in the public sector is preferred.
  • Previous experience working with outside counsel and establishing agreements for services, including negotiating of terms, and monitoring of results and progress of cases would be an asset.

 

Competencies and Attributes

  • Must possess strong organizational and time management skills; ability to work under pressure and manage a diverse workload with competing demands.
  • Excellent professional judgment; ability to identify, assess, and analyze complex legal issues, and develop sound and effective solutions and implementation strategies.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills with a strong attention to detail; ability to present, both orally and in writing, legal opinions, arguments, and recommendations, and communicate the law and procedures in plain language.
  • Excellent legal drafting skills for preparation of legal documents and instruments including contracts and agreements, policies, and procedures, etc.
  • Excellent legal, analytical and advocacy skills.
  • Ability to effectively negotiate and apply principles of conflict resolution, influence, collaborate, and be committed to providing quality services and advice to a variety of diverse internal and external partners and stakeholders.
  • Must be creative and innovative in providing solutions.
  • Must be a strong leader, highly disciplined, self-motivated, and self-directed, with a strong commitment to operating within a team environment and working with others to achieve common goals.

THE COMPENSATION

An excellent compensation package awaits the successful candidate.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

MacEwan University is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and recognizes that a diverse team benefits and enriches our work and is essential to operational excellence. They welcome applications from all qualified individuals and encourage women, members of racialized communities, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity to confidentially self-identify at time of application. In accordance with provincial legislation, accommodation will be provided by Optimum Talent and MacEwan University throughout the recruitment, selection and/or assessment process, upon request, to applicants with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.


How to Apply:

Please send your resume in Word or PDF format to: pies_edmonton@optimumtalent.com. Copy and Paste the following job title and code and place it in the subject line of your email so we can identify the job and confirm receipt of your application:
ABCF-601704 General Counsel – MacEwan University - AB - Edmonton and Area (OTIAPPLY)

Please note that only those candidates meeting the selection criteria, established by our client, will be contacted further. Although we may not contact you directly for this particular role, all applications will be reviewed as we would like to consider you for future opportunities that may be appropriate. We encourage you to continue to visit our website at optimumtalent.com as our opportunities are updated on a regular basis.