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Secretary General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO

Closing date: 10 March 2021
Competition: 105000 (Internal/External)
Status: Regular Full-time
Section: Canadian Commission for UNESCO
Salary Scale: $125,900 to $148,100
Location: Ottawa

This competition is open to all candidates who meet the eligibility criteria. A hiring priority will apply to candidates who are Indigenous, Black, or racialized. Candidates from these groups who wish to qualify for preferential consideration must self-identify. This initiative is in support of the Council’s employment equity goals.

About the Canada Council for the Arts

Join our team and play a role in supporting Canadian creativity. The Canada Council is a dynamic, highly-respected federal Crown corporation with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and production of works in, the arts for the benefit of all Canadians. We offer competitive salaries and benefit package. For more information about the Canada Council for the Arts, please visit our website at www.canadacouncil.ca.

About the Canadian Commission for UNESCO

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO serves as a bridge between Canadians and the vital work of UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Through its networks and partners, the Commission promotes UNESCO values, priorities and programs in Canada and brings the voices of Canadian experts to the international stage. The Commission facilitates cooperation and knowledge mobilization in the fields of education, sciences, culture, communication and information to address some of the most complex challenges facing humanity. Its activities are guided by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other UNESCO priorities. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO operates under the authority of the www.canadacouncil.ca.

About the role

Under the direct supervision of the Director and CEO of the Canada Council of the Arts, the incumbent plays a critical leadership role in ensuring that the Commission's work is relevant to both UNESCO priorities and Canadian issues. The incumbent is responsible for mobilizing and showcasing the work of its members, its networks, and a wide range of partners from government and civil society.

As the Secretary General, you will:

  • actively and strategically manage often complex relationships with a wide range of stakeholders: representatives of UNESCO and its field offices; the global network of 200 National Commissions for UNESCO; the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO, including the persons representing the Government of Quebec at the Delegation; the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments in Canada; and the many UNESCO networks in Canada and around the world;
  • develop relationships based on trust and respect with groups whose involvement is crucial to UNESCO’s work. This role includes helping advance the objectives of various declarations, conventions and normative instruments, some of which are under the direct responsibility of certain government ministries. An effort is made to develop, establish and maintain strong relationships between the Commission and Indigenous peoples, racialized or marginalized communities, and youth;
  • contribute to Canada's consultations and preparations for major UNESCO meetings, especially the General Conference of Member States. In addition to providing advice, the incumbent is responsible for formulating and implementing the Commission's own policy directions, which stem from its strategic and operational plans. The incumbent is also expected to create the conditions for the Commission to act as a catalyst for thinking, in association and consultation with its networks, governments and civil society, about a range of issues that are UNESCO priorities;
  • be responsible for the vigorous overall administration of the Commission and management of its day-to-day affairs. The incumbent also represents the Commission at initiatives and events, both within Canada and abroad;
  • report to the Canada Council’s Director and CEO, supports the Commission’s Executive Committee and oversees the Commission’s overall work. The incumbent performs other duties in accordance with the responsibilities and powers stipulated in the Commission's Constitution, By-Laws and Accountability Framework, or as may be assigned by the Canada Council’s Director and CEO.

You may be required to travel regularly as part of your job and occasionally work irregular hours.

This position requires the direct supervision of three (3) employees. Please refer to the job summary for more information.

This position is in Ottawa. The Council provides eligible employees with financial assistance to help offset specific moving expenses associated with relocation to the National Capital Region (NCR).

Requirements of the position

*Important: Please submit your resume clearly demonstrating how you meet the following qualifications for Education and Experience. Please note selection for further consideration is based solely on the information you provide in your resume and in the application form.


  • Undergraduate university degree from a recognized institution, with specialization in one of the fields related to the position or equivalent combination of education and experience.


  • Ten (10) years of experience directly related to the main responsibilities of the position or ten (10) years of experience in relation with large international organizations (in particular United Nations organizations, international non-governmental organizations, etc.) in a Canadian context.
  • Five (5) years of relevant management experience, including leading and supervising employees, and financial and budget management.
  • Considerable experience in providing strategic and operational advice to senior management.
  • Considerable experience in interacting with civil society.


  • Knowledge of the international policies and procedures of the Government of Canada and their relationship with UNESCO and the Commission.
  • Knowledge of the Canadian and international contexts in which the Commission operates.
  • Knowledge of the mandate, activities and programs of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and its relationship with the Canada Council for the Arts, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and international organizations within the United Nations system.
  • In-depth knowledge of project and program management, communication strategies, and policy analysis and implementation.
  • Knowledge of social, ethical and legal issues, particularly in education, science and culture, both in Canada and internationally, as well as major international protocols and agreements affecting the work of the Commission.

Skills & Competencies

  • A leadership style marked by an open, flexible and collaborative approach, integrity and excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Diplomacy, professionalism, judgment and tact.
  • Ability to identify key strategic issues, opportunities and risks, and to clearly communicate the links between the Commission’s strategy and UNESCO’s objectives.
  • Ability to analyze and summarize a large amount of information and use it to develop strategic advice or to present it concisely.
  • Ability and skills required to build consensus on sensitive issues.
  • Excellent writing and editing skills in various communication formats such as documents intended for print or those published online, presentations to the public (e.g. press releases, questions and answers, briefing notes, brochures).
  • Excellent organizational, coordination, time management skills, and the ability to multitask.
  • Ability to manage various projects, maintain quality, meet client needs, meet deadlines and meet budget requirements.
  • Ability to assess and communicate key findings, including high quality reports.
  • Excellent skills in planning, analysis, facilitation, problem solving, organization, team building and negotiation.
  • Ability to motivate staff by successfully achieving the vision and goals of the Commission.

Bilingual Requirements

  • The position requires the use of both official languages. The requirements for the second official language are as follows: oral proficiency, reading comprehension and written expression - advanced level

How to apply

Send the completed Application Form, your cover letter and resume prior to the closing date by email at competition@canadacouncil.ca quoting the competition number(s) that you are applying for. If possible, please send all documents as one PDF file.

The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to building a skilled workforce that reflects the diversity of the Canadian population it serves. We always promote employment equity and encourage you to indicate in your job application if you belong to one of the target groups (women, visible minorities (Black or racialized people), Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities). Please note that while Council uses other terms such as Indigenous (for Aboriginal peoples) in this posting, Council uses the terminology prescribed by legislation for the purposes of employment equity monitoring and reporting.

We are committed to providing an inclusive and accessible work environment to all employees and applicants. If you need accommodation during the staffing process, please contact a member of the Human Resources team.

For more information please contact Mylène Mougeot at 613-566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588, extension 4124 or by e-mail at competition@canadacouncil.ca.

We thank all applicants for their interest; only those selected for an interview and/or a written exam will be contacted.