Operations Assistant

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Kenora, ON, CA

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) – Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) is one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities. It features a collection of 58 small lakes and their watersheds in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. For over 50 years, scientists at the ELA have conducted whole-ecosystem experiments and made significant scientific discoveries related to issues such as acid rain, mercury from air pollution, algae blooms, and pharmaceutical chemicals in water.

The ELA research facility is located east of Kenora, Ontario, and west of Vermillion Bay, Ontario, Canada. Access to the facility is via a 30 km restricted access gravel road off Highway 17. The Operations Assistant will live on site to support the operations and maintenance of infrastructure and access road. The ELA camp can accommodate up to 60 people living on site. Room and board are provided to all staff and visiting researchers.


The Operations Assistant is a term position based on the ELA site, apart from weekends, holidays and occasional work duties that may be conducted off site. The Operations Assistant works under direct supervision of the Facilities Manager on all aspects of maintenance and compliance of the ELA facility.  He/she will provide assistance for the maintenance and upkeep of the ELA facility, equipment (including boats, motors, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles) and the access road.  They also assist with collection of meteorological data and other research projects as required.


  • Provide assistance on preventative maintenance and repair of the infrastructure and mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and security systems and equipment of the ELA facility

  • Perform regular maintenance and monitoring of fuel and propane storage facility, as well as recording and reporting on fuel usage

  • Assist in trash removal, grounds maintenance, and cleaning of workshop (woodshop, machine shop, administrative office and bathroom)

  • Provide assistance for field operations including maintenance of field transportation equipment (outboard motors, boats, ATVs, snowmobiles) and off-site facilities (trails, boat landings and docks).

  • Assist with maintenance of the access roads, including washout repair, brushing, culvert replacement

  • Perform general landscaping work, such as weed whacking around buildings, brushing the firebreak, and grass cutting as required

  • Assist with record keeping for reporting and compliance purposes, including maintenance of UV lamps for water treatment, volume of water pumped to facility, hours of operation of sewage lift station pumps, HWIN manifests, aggregate pit usage, and other reporting streams as required.

  • Assist with the collection of data from the ELA Meteorological Facility and other research projects as required.

  • Other duties as assigned


Applicants must possess a valid driver’s licence, Pleasure Craft Operators Card, and valid First Aid and CPR certificate. Applicants should also highlight any other training certificates relevant to Occupational Health and Safety, such as chainsaw certification, WHMIS, TDG, etc.

General maintenance skills are necessary for this position. Any of the following skills would be considered an asset and should be highlighted in the application:

  • Experience driving a manual transmission

  • Carpentry

  • Electrical maintenance

  • Plumbing and pipefitting

  • Small engine repair

  • Welding

  • Heavy Equipment Operator

  • Landscaping and groundskeeping

Additional interest in the overall research plan of IISD-ELA is an asset. Experience working and living in a remote facility is also beneficial to this position. IISD will require the completion of a criminal record and child abuse registry check.

Work Conditions

IISD-ELA shall provide on-site living accommodation and food. Accommodations are dormitory style with shared washrooms and lounge areas. Bedding linen and laundry facilities are provided on site.  Weekly transportation to Kenora and/or Winnipeg, if required, may be available in ELA vehicles, but is contingent upon scheduling, availability of seating space and qualified drivers.

Application procedure

To apply for this position please visit www.iisd.org/about/employment to submit resume and cover letter. Short-listed applicants will be invited to conduct a one-way video interview as part of the selection process, followed by an in-person interview or phone interview depending on location of the applicant. Please note, you will be contacted during the recruitment process only if selected to move onto the next stage. However, all applicants will be notified once the recruitment is closed.

Term: 4 months, with possible extension for another 2 months. Please indicate on application if you are available for a 4 or 6 month term.

Start date:  late April or early May, according to availability of successful applicant

Rate of Pay: $562-$656/week depending on experience

Application deadline:  28 February 2018, 9:00 AM CST or until successful applicant selected