Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages
Chief Operating Officer
In 2019, in direct response to Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and following extensive engagement and consultations, the Government of Canada enacted the Indigenous Languages Act. An important element in the implementation of this Act and the Calls to Action is the establishment of the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages (the Commission).
The historic appointment of the Commission’s first Commissioner and three Directors took effect on July 12, 2021. As full-time Governor-in-Council appointees, the Commissioner – who is also the Chief Executive Officer – and Directors have dual roles within the organization, both in providing strategic oversight as part of the governing board and in the operations of the Commission and implementation of its mandate.
With its headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, the newly established Commission has a unique and unprecedented mandate to, among other things:
- Support the efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, strengthen, and maintain their languages;
- Promote Indigenous languages and public awareness of the richness and diversity of Indigenous languages;
- Undertake research or studies in respect of the provision of funding to support Indigenous languages and the use of Indigenous languages in Canada; and,
- Provide specific services – notably mediation or other culturally appropriate services to facilitate the resolution of disputes.
Part of the Commission’s legislated requirements is to report annually 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.
The Commission is independent of governments and political and other organizations. This independence applies to the Commission’s establishment, implementation of its legislated mandate, and its ongoing operations.
The Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages promotes and champions all Indigenous languages in Canada and supports Indigenous Peoples in the reclamation, revitalization, strengthening and maintenance of their languages so that no language is left behind.
All Indigenous languages in Canada are safe, vibrant and thriving.
Based full-time at the Commission's Head Office in Ottawa, Ontario and reporting directly to the CEO, the Commission seeks a motivated Chief Operating Officer (COO) who possesses significant executive experience to help implement the Commission’s legislated mandate and to actively drive and promote its organizational vision and operational strategy.
The COO is a key member of the leadership team and is accountable for the overall management of the Commission’s administration and operational functions including the provision of leadership to and oversight of its finance, human resource, research and dispute resolution business lines.
Strategic and Operational Planning:
- Provide strong support and leadership to CEO and Senior Leadership Team in designing and implementing business strategies, policies, plans and procedures.
- Advise on long-term operational and financial planning
- Develop effective goals for performance and growth of the organization.
Operational Oversight and Leadership:
- Oversee the Commission’s administrative and operational activities to ensure they run smoothly and that its strategic objectives and legislative obligations are met.
- Oversee the development, implementation and review or update of organizational policies and practices, ensuring they align with strategic objectives and legislative requirements.
- Provide direction, leadership and management of and to the administrative, operational, financial, human resource, communications, research and dispute resolution functions and business units
- Build and maintain positive, cohesive and highperforming teams, primed to deliver collective results and contribute to the vision and mandate of the Commission. Develop effective goals for performance and growth.
- Provide guidance, coaching and leadership to direct reports and others.
- Monitor financial performance of business units to ensure adherence with established budgets and take corrective action as required
- Provide timely, accurate, and complete reports to all stakeholders and ensure all legislative reporting requirements are met.
Governing Board Relations:
- Provide the Board with highquality analytical and strategic advice on operational matters, recommendations and assistance in the development and/or implementation of the Commission’s policies, strategic goals and objectives, new initiatives, and fiscal priorities.
- Foster an organization that promotes and supports exemplary stakeholder relations. Build and foster strong internal relationships, communications and collaboration to maximize operational performance
- Oversee effective and appropriate communication and sharing of information, knowledge and expertise within the Commission and with external stakeholders
- Support the Commission in building and maintaining strong working relationships with the Indigenous groups and communities, government, national/regional/provincial organizations, and other stakeholders in accordance with the Commission’s mandate.
Education and Experience:
- A university degree in public administration, public policy, law, or related discipline (graduate degree preferred) or an equivalent combination of lived experience, education, training and work experience.
- Considerable experience working with Indigenous governments and other Indigenous governing bodies, organizations, and communities.
- Considerable experience in planning, research, and evaluation as well as experience in policy development and the formulation and implementation of operational strategies.
- Significant (5-10 years) experience in building and leading diverse teams; and in building relationships and partnerships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups and organizations.
- Experience providing strategic advice, support, and leadership within an organization and to senior staff and/or elected officials.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
- In-depth knowledge and understanding of Indigenous peoples, histories, and cultures.
- Understanding of the complexities of Indigenous languages and cultures, and a passion for advancing positive outcomes for Indigenous peoples.
- Understanding of commitment to the goals and objectives set out in the Indigenous Languages Act, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action.
- Considerable knowledge of and demonstrated skills in developing and implementing operational policies, procedures, and plans.
- Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to exercise sound judgement and discretion. Ability to establish and maintain good working relationships with internal and external parties.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Ability to motivate and lead effective teams.
Insert Katy Gottfriedson-Jasper and Saxon Miller contact info
To apply, please submit your application package to by November 25th, 2022.
To understand more about the Commissioner, Directors and Commission, please visit this link to a virtual event hosted by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society celebrating the official launch of the United Nations Decade of Indigenous Languages, with a sharing of knowledge from language keepers and speakers from coast to coast to coast.