Indigenous Counsellor

MATTER HERE. At Vancouver Island University, your work matters.


Situated on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples, Vancouver Island University is a comprehensive teaching university with 15,000 students across four campuses. VIU proudly fosters student success, strong community connections and international collaborations by providing access to a wide range of programs, from academic undergraduate and master’s to industry-responsive trades and vocational training. VIU is fortunate to host a large number of Indigenous students and provides a learning environment that is accessible, relevant for all learners, celebrates success and acknowledges history and traditions. To be a part of the VIU community is to know what it is like to matter here. We are currently accepting applications for an INDIGENOUS COUNSELLOR.



The Indigenous counsellor plays a critical role in providing culturally sensitive individual counselling, assessment, and crisis intervention services to enrolled Indigenous students presenting with personal, emotional and mental health issues from a perspective that respects Indigenous ways of knowing and being.


In this key position, you will focus on and promote Indigenous students emotional, spiritual and physical well-being; engage Indigenous students through a have-lived-it-understanding of the history of Indigenous education; operate from a place of understanding of traditional concerns and contemporary challenges facing Indigenous students and establish Indigenous community relationships to support students. Developing and implementing programs and workshops to work effectively with Indigenous students will be second nature to you as you work towards supporting VIU's commitment to addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada Calls to Action. This role reports to the Director of Student Affairs.



·       Provide culturally sensitive individual counselling, assessment, and crisis intervention services to enrolled Indigenous students presenting with personal, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health issues from a perspective that respects Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

·       Assess and respond appropriately to emergent situations.

·       Design, plan and deliver culturally based workshops and group sessions on a wide range of wellness and personal management topics for Indigenous students.

·       Facilitate workshops and dialogue sessions for faculty and staff in the following areas: supporting Indigenous students in distress and suicide awareness, impacts of intergenerational trauma impacts.

·       Liaise with and refer Indigenous students to other services and resources within the university or to agencies/programs in the community as needed to coordinate treatment.

·       Maintain confidential counselling records/databases and provide statistical reports on service delivery as required.

·       Act as a resource on counseling and mental health issues to Indigenous students, faculty, and staff within the university.

·       Participate on departmental and university committees.

·       Serve as a back-up counsellor across the institution (all campuses) when directed.

·       Submit reports on counselling activities as directed (e.g. application and interim reports to the Human Rights Special Program)


Key Counselling Responsibilities - from an Indigenous lens:


·       Provide trauma informed counselling: e.g. generational and residential school trauma

·       Assess and intervene appropriately to crisis situations: e.g. suicide ideation

·       Support Indigenous students who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence

·       Provide grief and loss counseling

·       Provide support to Indigenous students experiencing racism, violence in relationships, lateral violence, and substance misuse

·       Identify and support Indigenous students dealing with isolation factors

·       Engage in culturally responsive holistic approaches, including: somatic approaches; nature-based approaches; response-based approaches; individual, group and community approaches

·       Internal Engagement

·       The Indigenous Counsellor will be an integral part of the Student Services counselling team but will also be heavily connected with and serve on committee meetings with the Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement (OIEE). The Indigenous Counsellor will also liaise with elders and staff from Shqapthut (The Gathering Place) to promote wrap-around support for Indigenous students' health and wellness needs.


The Indigenous Counsellor will take a lead role in shaping the way in counselling sessions are booked. The methods adopted will be responsive, creative, and in keeping with Indigenous ways of knowing and being. This will require a thoughtful approach and regular communication with administrative staff who book student appointments, OIEE, and the Director of Student Services.


As well as serving on the Student Affairs and OIEE teams, the Indigenous Counsellor will dedicate time on a regular basis to connect with Indigenous students (outside of the conventional counselling model) and community partners to foster trust and build relationships. The approach and methods for outreach will be designed in such a way to best serve the interest of Indigenous students.



Selection will be reserved for candidates of Indigenous ancestry as granted by the Human Rights Tribunal Special Programs pursuant to s. 42 (Special Programs) of the Human Rights Code. By applying to this position with Special Program Status, you are self-identifying as a person of Indigenous ancestry. Priority consideration will be given to qualified internal candidates.


·       A Master's degree in Counselling or equivalent from an appropriately accredited institution

·       Certification with a Professional Association (RCC, RCSW, RSW, CCC or equivalent)

·       Minimum three years relevant supervised clinical counselling experience post Master's

·       Lived experience and understanding of Indigenous values, needs, history and culture

·       The ability to apply an Indigenous knowledge of being and knowing to inform effective counselling techniques

·       Demonstrated excellence in crisis management, intervention and problem-solving skills

·       Demonstrated excellence in communication with diverse Indigenous populations

·       Demonstrated excellence in public speaking, group presentations and group facilitation

·       Demonstrated proficiency with technology relevant to the position

·       Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing

·       Commitment to ongoing professional development


View the full position description and apply online by 12-May-2021.


All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. VIU embraces the principle of employment equity and encourages applications from women, persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and people of Indigenous descent.


The VIU community shares its collective gratitude with the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’Amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional, unceded territories we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge. With hands raised to the original stewards of this place, we say Hay ch qa’ sii’em sieye’ yu mukw Mustimuxw.