Careers in International Development

A day in the life

Leading Canada’s International Effort to Help People Living in Poverty

International development is an important part of Canada’s engagement with the world.  We aim to help make the world a better place by helping to reduce poverty and increase security and democracy for those living in countries where Canada engages.  DFATD contributes close to $4 billion annually in official development assistance.

Within the International Development stream, there can be Development Officers (part of PM Mobile Officers) and Policy Officers (EC).

As a PM Mobile Officer or Policy Officer (EC), you will work with government, civil society, multilateral, and private sector partners in Canada and abroad to help achieve meaningful, sustainable results that improve lives, reaching families, communities, and countries in need.

You could be called on to...

  • Engage with local stakeholders to build a program to educate girls, help eradicate polio, or improve resource management in developing countries
  • Help Canada to meet humanitarian needs when natural disasters or crises strike
  • Work in partnership with governments, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector to improve maternal, newborn and child health
  • Develop a policy to guide and improve Canada’s international efforts to increase food security
  • Represent Canada on the ground in developing countries and at international meetings
  • Share Canadian expertise with country policy-makers to support governance reforms
  • Contribute to creative and innovative thinking on how to achieve better development results

We work at...

  • Headquarters in Ottawa and Gatineau
  • Canadian embassies and missions around the world
  • On assignment with multilateral organizations

The main functions of an officer working in International Development are

To advance programs and projects related to international development, humanitarian assistance, and other international programs such as security, human rights, and conflict. Work includes strategic, thematic, multilateral or bilateral programming and policy related issues.

Officers working in international development can be based at headquarters in Ottawa or Gatineau and may be assigned to Canadian missions abroad according to operational needs.

To succeed you will need to demonstrate…

  • Cross-Cultural Sensitivity
    • We engage and work with partners and colleagues from around the world. We speak different languages, interact with different cultures, and adapt our behaviour, while remaining true to Canadian values.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
    • We work in a global environment that is constantly changing and evolving. We need to be ready to respond proactively and quickly with new and innovative approaches to achieving results.
  • Networking and Alliance Building
    • We engage with a range of development and humanitarian partners to advance Canadian priorities and achieve results that make a difference in the lives of the poor.
  • Teamwork and Cooperation
    • We believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We have different strengths and need one another to address complex development challenges.
  • Interpersonal Relations and Respect
    • We deal with people all the time, at all levels, inside and outside of our team. We need to see the world from other people’s point of view and achieve results while respecting sensitivities.
  • Communication
    • We use effective communication (verbal and written) as the key to engaging colleagues and partners, exchanging ideas, and achieving results. 
  • Initiative
    • We are action-oriented, setting priorities, and making the most of the time available.
  • Judgment
    • We quickly identify key issues, diagnose opportunities, and draw logical conclusions. We analyze complex situations and make decisions that will have a significant impact for Canada.
  • Ability to use reasoning skills to solve problems
    • We are called on to identify and seek solutions to complex development challenges and need to be able to identify effective, efficient, and innovative solutions.
  • Focus on Quality and Details
    • We are accountable for the quality and accuracy of information used to make significant policy, program, and investment decisions.