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Chairperson, Geographical Names Board of Canada

Portfolio: Natural Resources Canada
Organization: Geographical Names Board of Canada (GNBC)
Position title: Chairperson
Type: Part-time
Duration: Five-year term from the date of appointment with the possibility of renewal


Chairperson of the Geographical Names Board of Canada (GNBC) starting in Spring 2021.

Background Information

The GNBC is established through an Order in Council as Canada’s national coordinating body for official place names. The Board is composed of members from each provincial and territorial naming authority and several federal departments and agencies, each with specific authority and responsibility for their respective jurisdictions. The Minister of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) appoints the Chairperson of the GNBC and other advisors. Working together as a collaborative multi-jurisdictional national body, the GNBC coordinates efforts to ensure that geographical names are consistently managed in Canada. The Board was initially established in 1897 and will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2022.

Official geographical names provide a standardized, widely recognized and easily understandable reference to places, locations, and geographical features. Recently, energies of the GNBC have been directed towards such issues as: reviewing Board governance and operations, national database standardization and interoperability, raising awareness of the importance of geographical names, and efforts to recognize and officially adopt more Indigenous place names. The GNBC Chairperson is responsible for providing leadership to the Board to ensure focused and productive discussions while facilitating and enabling the Board as a whole to effectively coordinate geographical names in Canada.

For more information on the GNBC, please visit the Geographical Names Board of Canada.

Position: Key Activities

The GNBC Chairperson will serve as a voting member of the GNBC, and actively contribute to the Board’s discussions and activities by:

  • Providing leadership and guidance to the GNBC, with the overall objective of strengthening the effectiveness of the Board and encouraging the use, exchange, and promotion of authoritative geographical names;
  • Ensuring implementation of the GNBC Strategic Plan, and regularly liaising with Working Groups and Advisory Committees to ensure that their work is on track and aligned with the Strategic Plan;
  • Liaising with Board members as needed to encourage participation, feedback, and discussion in meetings and activities;
  • Providing direction as needed to the GNBC Secretariat by liaising with the Manager, GNBC Secretariat and with senior management of NRCan’s Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation;
  • Chairing the GNBC Annual Meeting, and other meetings, workshops or events, as required;
  • Providing guidance and leadership on the preparation of the GNBC Annual Report; and
  • Serving as an ambassador for the GNBC by promoting public awareness of the significance of geographical naming in Canada and the work of the GNBC, and representing the Board at national or international meetings or events as required;

The GNBC Chairperson is expected to serve in their own right, not as a representative of any particular organization, region or special interest, and will be chosen based on their individual accomplishments, knowledge and experience.

Time Commitment / Location

The time commitment for the Chairperson is approximately four weeks per year, comprising six meetings annually, including face-to-face meetings and other meetings by teleconference. Face-to-face meetings may take place in Ottawa, Ontario, and at the location of the Annual General Meeting of the GNBC. The Chairperson will be required to chair GNBC quarterly teleconferences to discuss GNBC projects. The Chairperson will also be encouraged to collaborate with GNBC members outside of scheduled meetings.


This is a volunteer position. The Chairperson does not become a part of the Public Service of Canada as a result of this Ministerial appointment. Members do not receive gifts, honoraria or fees. The Chairperson will be reimbursed for reasonable travel and other expenses incurred in the conduct of GNBC business, in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures and relevant provisions of the Financial Administration Act.

Ministerial Appointment

Ministerial appointments will be open, transparent and merit-based to promote the appointment of qualified Canadians who represent Canada’s diversity, in terms of linguistic, regional and employment equity representation.

Eligibility criteria and qualifications

To be considered for this position, please ensure that the information provided in your curriculum vitae and cover letter clearly demonstrates 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;
  • Experience serving as a chairperson or member of a council, committee or board for a public or private sector organization, or as a senior executive in the public or private sector;
  • Experience developing and maintaining successful relationships and partnerships with internal and external stakeholders and different levels of government;
  • Experience in federal, provincial, territorial government, and academic interaction;
  • Experience in geography, geomatics, history, linguistics, Indigenous studies, Canadian studies, or another related discipline.

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 importance and role of geographical names in Canada’s culture, history and society;
  • Knowledge of Canadian geography, history, and culture, including Indigenous culture and toponymy;
  • Knowledge of the operations, challenges and opportunities of working with federal, provincial and territorial governments;
  • Knowledge of Indigenous languages would be considered an asset;
  • Ability to work effectively with federal, provincial and territorial governments, and Indigenous peoples;
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with stakeholders;
  • Ability to facilitate consensus, manage conflicts (if they arise), and foster productive and inclusive discussion among individuals and organizations;
  • Ability to represent and promote the interests of a national board to various audiences both internal and external to government; and
  • Superior communication skills, both written and oral.

If you move on to the next stage of the selection process, we will contact your references to verify how you have demonstrated the Experience requirements and the following Personal Attributes in your current and recently held positions:

Personal Attributes

  • Leadership and collegiality;
  • High ethical standards, integrity and impartiality;
  • Sound judgment;
  • Tact and diplomacy; and
  • Superior interpersonal skills.

Official Languages and Diversity

The Government of Canada will consider bilingual proficiency and diversity in assessing candidates for this position. You are encouraged to indicate your ability to speak and understand your second official language in your application. Proficiency in both official languages would be preferred. Please also include in your application your ability to speak and understand another language, such as an Indigenous language. The Government is committed to ensuring that its appointments take into consideration the desire to achieve gender parity and reflect Canada’s diversity, in terms of linguistic, regional and employment equity representation. You are therefore encouraged to indicate in your application if you are a member of one or more of the following groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with a disability, visible minority. Please note that there is no requirement to provide this information, i.e., provision of this information is voluntary.

Eligibility Factors and Conditions of Appointment

In your application, it will be important to confirm that you meet the following requirements:

  • You are able to make an annual time commitment of approximately 20 days per year, comprising six meetings annually and be available for conference calls when required;
  • You are willing to travel in Canada as required;
  • You are willing to attend and chair the GNBC Annual General Meeting. The meeting is typically held in September/October and involves 3-4 days of participation. There may also be face-to face meetings in Ottawa when required.

If you are appointed to this position:

  • 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.
  • You will be expected to conduct yourself ethically and maintain high standards of honesty, judgment and integrity, consistent with the values of the Ethical and Political Activity Guidelines for Public Office Holders, the Conflict of Interest Act, and the Lobbying Act.

How to apply

Interested candidates are requested to submit their application to the GNBC Secretariat at: The review of applications will begin on December 1, 2020. 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 appointments are made.

Candidates are requested to provide a copy of their curriculum vitae and a cover letter of no more than three pages specifying:

  • Their name and contact information (telephone, e-mail and mailing address);
  • Which position(s) they are applying for;
  • How they meet the Education and Experience; Knowledge, Skills and Abilities; Personal Attributes; and Eligibility Factors and Conditions of Employment criteria
  • The contact information for two references.

Ministerial or government officials may conduct background and other checks.

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

We thank all those who apply. Please note that only candidates who are selected will be contacted.


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