1. About
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  3. Senior Management

Senior Management

The Canada Council’s senior management is responsible for day-to-day operations and for establishing and implementing the organization’s overall strategic direction, as well as for fulfilling governance decisions made by the Board.

Led by the Director and CEO, it includes senior decision-makers from the organization’s main divisions and offices: the Chief Financial, Administration and Security Officer; the Chief Information Officer; the Director General, Strategy and Public Affairs; the Director General, Communications and Arts Engagement; the Director General, Arts Granting Programs; and the Secretary-General, CCUNESCO.

They work together to advance priorities across the Council.

EMC - Michelle Chawla

Michelle Chawla

Director and CEO
Contact Michelle Chawla

Michelle Chawla is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Council for the Arts, a role in which she began on June 26, 2023, for a five-year term.

Michelle has worked at the Council since 1995. Most recently, she was the Director General of Strategy, Public Affairs and Arts Engagement, responsible for the executive leadership and direction of a wide range of functions, including communications, strategic planning, international coordination and cultural diplomacy. Michelle has held many other senior positions at the Council, including Corporate Secretary and Director of Strategic Initiatives, Secretary-General for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and Head of Arts Services.

Through her nearly three decades at the Canada Council for the Arts, Michelle has gained extensive leadership experience in arts and culture policy, program development, equity, corporate governance, government and stakeholder relations, transformation initiatives, international engagement and cultural relations.

From a Punjabi and Quebecois background, Michelle is a member of the Sikh community. She is fluently bilingual, and she is passionate about leading a workplace where all voices are heard and respected through arts and culture.

Photo: Christian Lalonde

EMC - Eva Jacobs

Eva Jacobs

Chief Financial, Administration and Security Officer
Contact Eva Jacobs

Eva Jacobs is the Chief Financial, Administration and Security Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts. In this capacity, Eva plays a key leadership role in support of the Council’s director and CEO in fulfilling their management responsibilities and accountabilities. She leads the planning, budgeting and reporting processes associated with the Council’s financial, administrative and human resource functions. She ensures that the Council pursues opportunities to continuously improve the management and efficiency of these functions. Eva oversees property management for the Council, ensuring the physical security of the Council’s premises, employees, onsite consultants and visitors.

Eva is a fully bilingual Indigenous (Mohawk) woman. She is a chartered professional accountant (CPA) and has over 20 years of experience with the federal public service, where she has held increasingly senior positions. She has also worked in non-profit organizations to help improve the living conditions of Indigenous Peoples and address the legacy of residential schools.

Married for 21 years to her high school sweetheart with two children, Eva enjoys spending time with family and friends, working out at the gym and engaging in new activities such as cycling and cross-country skiing. She also beads with her daughter; they sell their beaded earrings at pow-wows and online.

Photo: Christian Lalonde

EMC - Joanne Larocque-Poirier

Joanne Larocque-Poirier

Director General, Communications and Arts Engagement
Contact Joanne Larocque-Poirier

Joanne Larocque-Poirier is the Director General, Communications and Arts Engagement at the Canada Council for the Arts. In this role, Joanne ensures the integrity of the Council’s brand, reputation and arts community engagement framework. Joanne also oversees the Council’s Public Lending Right program, the Art Bank and the recognition and celebration of outstanding contributions through the Council’s many distinctions, awards and prizes. As the Council’s Official Languages Champion, Joanne ensures the Council’s continued leadership as a bilingual organization that values and uses both official languages. Joanne also serves as the Council’s accessibility steward and advocate.

Joanne was previously the Chief of Staff and Corporate Secretary of the Canada Council. Before that she was Head of Prizes at the Council, responsible for a national program of prizes and fellowships. Prior to joining the Council, she held curatorial and exhibitions management positions at the National Gallery of Canada.

Joanne served as a board member for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation from 2009 to 2014. In October 2019, she was appointed to the Board of the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) for a three-year term. APEX supports and develops a strong community of practice among public service executives, a mission that aligns with the Council’s objective to strengthen its leadership team.

Photo: Christian Lalonde

Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko poses for the camera.

Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko

Secretary-General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO
Contact Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko

Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko is the Secretary-General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), which has operated under the aegis of the Canada Council for the Arts since 1957. The CCUNESCO is one of 200 national commissions around the world working to advance the mandate of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). As Secretary-General, Yves-Gérard leads the CCUNESCO in its efforts to engage, support and amplify the work of Canadian civil society organizations and knowledge holders in the fields of education, sciences, culture, communication and information.

A global citizen with a passion for education, equity and diversity, and human rights journalism, Yves-Gérard has lived and worked on three continents. He studied political science at Université Laval and the Université du Québec à Montréal and completed a master’s in Public Administration at the École nationale d’administration publique. Previous roles include host and producer for Radio-Canada, senior investigator with the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, manager of the Ontario Ombudsman’s French Language Services Unit and Equity and Human Rights Commissioner for the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario.

Born in France with Beninese origins, Yves-Gérard has been the vice-president of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada since June 2021 and is very active in defending minority groups.

Photo: Michael Willems

EMC - Eric Sauvé

Eric Sauvé

Chief Information Officer
Contact Eric Sauvé

Eric Sauvé is the Chief Information Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts. In this role, he leads the delivery of a comprehensive digital shift mandate to better support and enable the Council’s programs and activities.

Eric, who is fully bilingual, brings over 20 years of senior digital leadership experience in both the public and private sectors. He has led the development of digital and security strategies, as well as the delivery of major transformational initiatives. He is trained in cyber security, enterprise architecture, product management, agile process and business administration.

Eric has a passion for outdoor adventures, which he shares with his partner of 20 years and his three daughters. He is an avid musician and banjo player.

Photo: Christian Lalonde

EMC- Sanjay Shahani

Sanjay Shahani

Director General, Strategy and Public Affairs
Contact Sanjay Shahani

Sanjay Shahani is the Director General, Strategy and Public Affairs at the Canada Council for the Arts. In this role, he oversees several sections, including Strategic Policy and Planning; Research, Measurement and Data Analytics; and International Coordination and Cultural Diplomacy.

Sanjay Shahani has been working in the arts for more than 30 years, first as a filmmaker and theatre producer, and later as an arts administrator. After joining the Edmonton Arts Council (EAC) as Executive Director in 2016, he led the EAC through an exciting period of growth and transformation. In partnership with the City of Edmonton, Arts Habitat and the Edmonton Heritage Council, Sanjay oversaw the creation of Connections & Exchanges: A 10-Year Plan to Transform Arts and Heritage in Edmonton. In 2023, Sanjay was recognized for his work at the EAC with a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, which recognizes the significant contributions of Albertans.

Prior to joining the EAC, Sanjay was the Strategy Lead for Arts and Culture at the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). He has also served as a theatre program officer at the Canada Council for the Arts and as a community and multidisciplinary arts officer at the Ontario Arts Council. His past Board experience includes serving as a member of the National Arts Centre Board of Trustees and the Board of Explore Edmonton.

Photo: Ryan Parker

EMC - Carolyn Warren

Carolyn Warren

Director General, Arts Granting Programs
Contact Carolyn Warren

Carolyn Warren is the Director General of Arts Granting Programs at the Canada Council for the Arts. In this role, she oversees the Council’s granting programs and strategic initiatives, which seek to foster the creation, distribution, and promotion of Canadian art at home and internationally.

Carolyn’s career spans the arts and creative industries. Prior to the Council, she served as Vice-President of Arts at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, where she oversaw innovative programming for artists at all stages of their careers in visual/digital and media arts, literary arts and translation, Indigenous arts, performing arts, and interdisciplinary programs. Carolyn was also Manager of Cultural Programming and an Executive Producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation based in Montréal, where she was responsible for a wide variety of award-winning radio, television, and online programs and initiatives.

Carolyn strongly believes in partnerships within and beyond the arts sector, and she is committed to helping artists and arts organizations adapt to changing digital realities in the production and distribution of creative work.

Photo: Christian Lalonde