Chairperson, Canadian Museum of Nature

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Canadian Heritage
Position title:
Per diem:
$275.00 - $325.00
Annual retainer:
$7,100.00 - $8,400.00
Application Review Date:
September 28, 2022
Opportunity number:

The largest museum of natural history in Canada covers four billion years of Earth’s history. It houses one of the most important natural history collections in the world, including 24 major science collections of more than 14.6 million specimens referenced in over 300 annual scientific research publications from 40 countries. The specimens and the knowledge derived from their study serve as the backbone of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s many special exhibitions, permanent galleries and educational programs.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is more than just Canada's national natural history museum. In addition to its exhibition spaces, the Museum is composed of world-renowned research scientists who are creating, advancing and sharing knowledge about the natural world in collaboration with universities, museums, NGOs and government organizations across Canada and around the world. It also has conservators, collection managers and data scientists, as well as education, content design and multimedia specialists. The Museum is also a leader in the documentation, digitization and understanding of biodiversity and the geological history of Canada.

As a national institution with an international role and a member of the Canadian Heritage Portfolio, the Museum's mandate is to increase, throughout Canada and internationally, interest in and knowledge of, as well as appreciation and respect for, the natural world. The Museum fulfills its mandate by focusing its research and education programs on Arctic knowledge and exploration, species discovery and change, and nature inspiration and engagement. The Museum fulfills its national and international role through active participation in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Alliance of Natural History Museums, Arctic Council Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, and many other national and international science forums. The Corporation is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and nine other trustees. The Board has responsibility for the overall stewardship of the Corporation and is expected to provide strategic guidance to management and to oversee the activities of the Corporation. It has a duty to act in the best interests of the Corporation and to exercise care and due diligence. The Board is also responsible for evaluating the performance of the Chief Executive Officer on an annual basis.

The Chairperson is responsible for the proper conduct of board meetings in such a way that the Corporation carries out its mandate and objectives effectively, ensures good value for the funding provided by taxpayers, remains viable and holds management accountable for its performance.

All members of the Board of Trustees serve as ambassadors for the Museum, galvanizing support for the institution and inspiring a culture of philanthropy through their own actions.

Further details about the organization and its activities can be found on the Canadian Museum of Nature website.

Diversity and Official Languages

We are committed to providing a healthy and accessible workplace that supports one’s dignity, self-esteem and the ability to work on one’s full potential. With this in mind, all appointees will be expected to take steps to promote and maintain a healthy, respectful, inclusive and harassment-free work environment.

Preference may be given to applicants who are members of one or more of the following groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of a visible minority group.

The Government of Canada will consider bilingual proficiency and diversity in assessing applicants. You are therefore encouraged to include in your online profile your ability to speak and understand your second official language.

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 relevant education, job-related training and/or experience;

  • A degree in natural sciences would be an asset;

  • Experience with current corporate governance practices on a board of directors, preferably as Chairperson;

  • Experience in the development of strategies, objectives and plans, risk oversight and financial management, and corporate best practices;

  • Experience at the senior executive level within the private or public sector in dealing with the federal government;

  • Experience within a major not-for-profit organization, would be an asset;

  • Experience in major fundraising initiatives and revenue generation would be an asset;

  • Experience in dealing with scientific or cultural institutions would be an asset; and

  • Experience in advancing diversity and inclusion and Indigenous engagement strategies in an institutional context would be 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 legislative framework, mandate and strategic priorities of the Canadian Museum of Nature;

  • Knowledge of current challenges and opportunities for Canadian cultural, scientific and nature conservation institutions;

  • Knowledge of the global triple threat to the planet of climate change, biodiversity loss and low scientific literacy;

  • Knowledge of the government’s policy agenda and how it relates to the national museums;

  • Knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of the Chairperson, the Board, and the Director and Chief Executive Officer of a Crown corporation, including the fundamental accountabilities to all Canadians;

  • Ability to provide corporate vision, leadership and strategic direction needed to ensure that the Canadian Museum of Nature can carry out its mandate and achieve its objectives;

  • Ability to identify, analyze and define priorities and strategies within a local, national and global context;

  • Ability to interpret financial statements;

  • Ability to lead strategic discussions, foster debate among Board members, and facilitate consensus and manage conflicts should they arise;

  • Ability to develop and maintain effective relationships with the Museum's senior management, the Nature Foundation, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, his office, the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Museum's key stakeholders and partners; and

  • Superior communication skills, both oral and written, and the ability to manage communications with a variety of stakeholders.

Language Requirements

Proficiency in both official languages would be preferred.

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:

  • Innovative and strategic leader

  • High ethical standards and integrity

  • Tact and diplomacy

  • Sound judgment

  • Superior interpersonal skills

  • Collegiality/collaboration

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.

  • A person is not eligible to be appointed as Chairperson of the Board if that person is not a Canadian citizen (statutory).

  • The Board as a whole meets three times per year, for one day and a half each, in Ottawa. Board Committees meet by videoconference in advance of each Board meeting. Attendance of additional meetings held via conference call or video conferencing is also required.

  • The time commitment for this position is an average of 25 days annually.

  • The Chairperson must act as an ambassador for the Canadian Museum of Nature and may be required to travel within Canada and abroad, when it is safe to do so.

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

How to Apply

Review of applications (more information available here) will begin on September 28, 2022. Candidates should apply online via the Governor in Council Appointments website. 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 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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