Commissioner and Director, Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages

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Canadian Heritage
Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages
Position title:
Commissioner and Director
The Office’s head office is to be in the National Capital Region or at any other place in Canada that may be designated by order of the Governor in Council.
Application Review Date:
January 25, 2021
Opportunity number:

Annual salary:

Commissioner: GCQ 6 ($183,600 - $216,000)
Director:             GCQ 4 ($130,700 - $153,700)

This Notice of Appointment Opportunity is available online in the following languages: Inuktitut (North Baffin); Michif Cree; Michif French; Mi’kmaq; Western Ojibway; Plains Cree; Oji-Cree; Denesuline and Innu-aimun.    

There may be changes to this Notice of Appointment Opportunity following the conclusion of ongoing consultations on implementation of the Indigenous Languages Act.

The Indigenous Languages Act establishes the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages which is composed of a full-time Commissioner, and up to three full-time Directors who represent the interests of First Nations, the Inuit and the Métis.

The Office has the mandate and powers to: support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their languages, including sign languages; provide culturally appropriate dispute resolution services and review complaints; promote public awareness of the richness and diversity of Indigenous peoples; undertake research studies collaboratively with Indigenous peoples; and provide an annual report on the use and vitality of Indigenous languages in Canada and the adequacy of funding provided by the Government of Canada for initiatives related to Indigenous languages.

Acknowledging that Indigenous peoples are best situated to lead the efforts in reclaiming, revitalizing, maintaining and strengthening their languages, the Office will play a role in facilitating self-determined language initiatives rather than leading efforts in this regard.

The Commissioner of Indigenous Languages acts as a national champion for Indigenous languages by leading the independent Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages and working with Indigenous Peoples, their governments, other governing bodies, communities and organizations, the Government of Canada, Canada’s provinces and territories, and all Canadians in common purpose to support the Indigenous peoples in reclaiming, revitalizing, maintaining and strengthening their Indigenous languages, including Indigenous sign languages.

While the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages is neither an agent of the Crown nor is it an entity governed by the Financial Administration Act, and its Commissioner, Directors and employees are not part of the federal public administration, the Commissioner provides Annual Reports, and annual business plans and budgets to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Minister of Canadian Heritage tables these Annual Reports before each House of Parliament.

The Commissioner, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, has the authority to make decisions to fulfill the mandate of the Office as stated above, including the hiring of any employees that are necessary to carry out the activities of the Office and determining the duties of those persons and the conditions of employment, such as remuneration and benefits.

The Director reports to and supports the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages. The primary role of the Director is to support the needs, goals and visions of Indigenous individuals, governments, governing bodies, and organizations in their efforts to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen their Indigenous languages, including Indigenous sign languages.

A Selection Committee will be established to conduct a merit-based selection process, and identify candidates deemed qualified for consideration for appointment.
The composition of the Selection Committee will include First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation representatives, thereby ensuring the selection of the Commissioner and Directors is directly informed by Indigenous perspectives. Representation will strive to be inclusive of diverse Indigenous perspectives (Elders, youth, children, persons with disabilities, women, men and gender-diverse persons and two-spirited persons).

In accordance with the Indigenous Languages Act, before making a recommendation to the Governor in Council in respect of the appointment of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages and Directors, the Minister of Canadian Heritage must consult with Indigenous organizations.

Diversity and Official Languages

The Government of Canada will consider proficiency in English and/or French and linguistic diversity in assessing applicants. You are therefore encouraged to include in your online profile your ability to speak and understand English and/or French and any other language, such as an Indigenous language.

For these positions, preference will be given to Indigenous applicants.

To be considered, please ensure that the information provided in your curriculum vitae and cover letter clearly demonstrate how you meet the following requirements:

Education and Experience

  • A degree from a recognized university in a relevant field of study or an acceptable combination of education, job-related training and/or experience;

  • A degree in Indigenous governance/law, public administration, linguistics or anthropology would be considered an asset;

  • Experience in a senior leadership role in the private, public or not-for-profit sector;

  • Experience interacting with federal, provincial and/or territorial governments, non-governmental organizations and Indigenous peoples, communities and Indigenous governing bodies to build relationships and promote partnerships;

  • Experience in making decisions on complex and sensitive issues, including the need to balance the interests and rights of a diverse range of stakeholders and Indigenous peoples;

  • Experience of providing dispute resolution services, including mediation and other culturally appropriate services, would be considered an asset;

  • Experience with the interpretation or application of legislation or regulations would be considered an asset; and

  • Experience serving on an Indigenous board or as the head of an Indigenous organization would be considered an asset.

Candidates interested in being considered for the Commissioner position must additionally have:

  • Senior level management experience in the management of resources (financial and human resources), as well as experience managing the business and affairs of an entity, including reporting obligations; and

  • Senior level management experience in leading the establishment of a new organization would be considered an asset.

If you move on to the next stage of the selection process, the following criteria will be assessed:

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of the Government of Canada’s priorities related to Indigenous peoples;

  • Knowledge of the Indigenous Languages Act, including the mandate, powers, duties and functions of the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages;

  • Knowledge of the rights of Indigenous peoples (Section 35 of the Constitution Act), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples;

  • Knowledge and understanding of Indigenous communities, cultures and the languages and dialects associated with them, including an understanding of language vitality and endangerment;

  • Awareness of Indigenous knowledge and education systems, as well as the concerns and priorities of Indigenous peoples as they relate to Indigenous languages, including Indigenous sign languages;

  • Understanding of practices and principles underlying dispute resolution services, including mediation and other culturally appropriate services;

  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with stakeholders; senior government, non-government and community officials; Indigenous peoples, their communities and governments; and the media;

  • Ability to manage a diverse and heavy caseload, and to perform his or her duties under pressure and tight deadlines;

  • Ability to demonstrate leadership and champion innovation in solving problems, building consensus, facilitating the resolution of disputes and adapting to change;

  • Ability to negotiate divergent stakeholder positions and reach positive outcomes on complex issues, taking into account, for example, Indigenous languages and social implications;

  • Ability to focus and quickly adapt to changing circumstances;

  • Ability to promote, through example, key values such as fairness, transparency, integrity, professionalism, collegiality and innovation; and

  • Superior communication skills, both written and oral.

Candidates interested in being considered for the Commissioner position must additionally have the:

  • Ability to provide senior leadership, vision, and strategic direction to enable the Office to carry out its mandate, achieve its objectives, and motivate a new organization; and

  • Ability to act as a national spokesperson and manage communications with a variety of stakeholders.

Language Requirements

We recognize the varying degrees of language vitality and critical state of Indigenous languages, as well as the history of discriminatory government policies and practices that contributed to language loss. We will consider proficiency (the ability to speak and/or write and/or understand) in an Indigenous language, and English or French.

If you move on to the next stage of the selection process, we will contact your references to confirm that you meet the above selection criteria and that you possess the following Personal Attributes:

  • High ethical standards, integrity and impartiality

  • Sound judgment

  • Strong interpersonal and intercultural skills

  • Leadership

  • Collaborative and Flexible

  • Collegial

Eligibility Factors and Conditions of Employment

  • Appointees must comply with the Ethical and Political Activity Guidelines for Public Office Holders throughout their appointment as a term and condition of employment. The guidelines are available on the Governor in Council Appointments website under the Forms and reference material.

  • All appointees are subject to the Conflicts of Interest Act. Public office holders appointed on a full-time basis must also submit to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics within 60 days of appointment, a confidential report in which they disclose all of their assets, liabilities and outside activities. For more information, please visit the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's website.

  • Appointees must uphold the highest standards of probity and are expected to demonstrate behaviours in the workplace that afford respect, equality and dignity, to everyone they interact with at work at all times. The Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector outlines the values and expected behaviours for public servants, including valuing diversity and creating workplaces free from harassment and discrimination. Governor in Council appointees are expected to uphold and respect these values and principles in a positive and active manner.

  • If you are appointed, you must not accept or hold an office or employment that is inconsistent with your duties or take part in any matter that involves the Office and in which you have an interest (statutory).

  • If you are appointed, you must be willing to travel frequently within Canada, including to northern and remote Indigenous communities, and internationally.

A link to this notice will be placed in the Canada Gazette to assist the Governor in Council in identifying qualified candidates. It is not, however, intended to be the sole means of recruitment.

A list of qualified candidates may be established and may be used for similar opportunities.

In the event of amendment to this Notice of Opportunity, the Notice of Opportunity will be reposted and amendments communicated to applicants.

How to Apply

Review of applications (more information available here) will begin on January 25, 2021. Candidates should apply online via the Governor in Council Appointments website, by email at or by phone at 1-613-291-6663. Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit their applications by this date. After this date, your application will be retained and may be considered up until an appointment to the position is made. Your cover letter should be addressed to the Deputy Director of Selection Processes, Senior Personnel Secretariat, Privy Council Office, and should be sent only through the online application.

Instructions on how to apply for an appointment opportunity can be found on the Governor in Council Appointments website.

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