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Position: Systems Ecologist
Company: ESSA Technologies
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Hours: Full time

ESSA is a visionary employee-owned Canadian environmental consulting company with offices in Vancouver, British Columbia and Ottawa, Ontario. Our mission is to bring together people, science and analytical tools to sustain healthy ecosystems and human communities. We have been pursuing this mission for 40 years in over 40 countries by applying the scientifically rigorous mindset and approach of Adaptive Management to help our clients make better decisions in the face of imperfect information in complex social-ecological systems. At ESSA we are passionate about what we do and take great pride in attracting, developing and retaining high caliber scientists who share our values and mission. Learn more about our story, our approach and our people at

The Opportunity

We are looking for a highly motivated individual to join our team in the Ottawa office, where we are observing workplace safety protocols in response to COVID-19. We strive to bring scientific rigor and transparency to difficult problems, challenging the status quo by embracing uncertainty. Our approach is grounded in our Adaptive Management roots. Our work spans ecological modelling and developing decision-support tools, cumulative effects assessment, developing adaptive management plans for industry and government agencies, providing third party review of environmental impact assessments, and undertaking climate change assessments with communities and government both in Canada and internationally.

This full-time position involves working on existing projects as well as developing new initiatives. The candidate will support reconnaissance, proposal development and project delivery, including specialized research, environmental assessment, planning and/or monitoring and evaluation activities across a variety of disciplines (e.g., cumulative effects assessment, aquatic or terrestrial ecology, climate change and helping create decision support tools). The successful candidate will help us to expand our market in these and related domains, with a primary focus on developing business in Ontario and Eastern Canada, with opportunities to selectively engage in international development. Our ideal candidate is a systems thinker with strong quantitative skills, who has a demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and will enjoy developing new business and excel over the long-run developing a network of satisfied clients.


The Systems Ecologist will work in teams and independently to deliver applied research and support on various aspects of client projects. This work emphasizes inter-disciplinary study that focuses on complex interactions in ecological and social systems, taking a holistic rather than reductionist perspective in organizing existing understanding and data. We use analyses of ecological and social systems to organize complex information, and to develop innovative methods and tools for evaluating alternative actions under a range of uncertainties.

The role involves direct interaction with clients at workshops, meetings and teleconferences as well as frequent internal collaborations with our project teams. The successful candidate will be expected to initiate, develop and over time maintain strong relationships with a diverse client base including existing and potential private, public, not-for-profit and Indigenous groups through contributions to the development of proposals and other business development opportunities.


The role requires a minimum of a Master’s degree in natural and applied sciences (e.g., Ecology, Biology, Resource Management, Data Science or Geography) and a minimum of 5 years of experience with private, public, or non-governmental sectors. Applicants with Ph.D. degrees are expected to have a minimum of 2 years of work experience outside of academia. The skills and abilities required by the successful candidate are:

  • Demonstrated ability to generate business opportunities in Ontario and/or Eastern Canada, (e.g., proposal-writing experience, participation in scientific networks, strategic marketing, experience with a variety of clients etc.).
  • A firm understanding and prior experience in at least one of the following: (1) environmental cumulative effects assessments, including familiarity with Canadian impact assessment legislation and risk mitigation approaches; (2) fisheries and aquatic sciences (e.g., stock assessment, fisheries management, monitoring, quantitative modeling, etc.); (3) terrestrial ecology (e.g., species at risk, landscape modeling, forest fire or pest management, etc.); or (4) climate change impact and adaptation assessments with a focus on natural resource and environmental management.
  • Excellent communication skills in written and spoken English, with the ability to produce professional quality technical presentations and reports.
  • Strong time-management skills with the ability to deliver work products within time and budget constraints.
  • Solid interpersonal skills and awareness, ability to adapt, very comfortable and confident in small group facilitation settings, strong ability to work effectively and collaboratively within interdisciplinary teams.
  • Proactive and results oriented, with strong problem-solving skills.

Other important skills and assets include:

  • Demonstrated quantitative skills including one or more of statistical analysis, experimental design, sampling, simulation modeling, and model-building
  • Comfort with statistical software such as R
  • Familiarity with environmental assessment and policy
  • Experience with Indigenous engagement
  • Fluency in French and/or Spanish reading and writing at a technical level
  • Experience with international projects.

Compensation and benefits

We welcome candidates looking for an opportunity to work on interesting and challenging projects with a team of highly skilled professionals. We provide a competitive salary, a profit-sharing plan based on corporate, team and individual performance, an excellent extended health benefit plan, and three weeks of vacation as well as paid time off between Christmas and New Year’s. Support is provided for professional development and growth within your role.


Please email a cover letter and résumé to: by March 12 2021 with “Systems Ecologist” in the subject line. We will carefully review all applications and short-listed candidates will be contacted for initial short phone interviews March 27 - April 1 2021 followed by formal interviews and skills-testing with a smaller subset of selected candidates between April 12 - 18 2021. The preferred start date for the successful candidate will be early May 2021. While we appreciate all interest, only short-listed applicants will be contacted.

Please note that applicants must be eligible to legally work throughout Canada at the time of applying.

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: Jan 27 2021    ID: 58451