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Board Member (Indigenous Advisor), Geographical Names Board of Canada

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


Indigenous Advisor positions (3) on the Geographical Names Board of Canada (GNBC).

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. The Minister of Natural Resources Canada appoints the Chairperson of the GNBC and other advisors.

Official geographical names provide a standardized, widely recognized and easily understandable reference to places, locations, and geographical features. Indigenous place names contribute to the preservation, revitalization and strengthening of Indigenous histories, languages and cultures. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples specifically calls for Indigenous peoples to have the right to designate and retain their own names for communities and places.

The federal, provincial and territorial naming authorities of the GNBC work with Indigenous governments and communities to research and adopt Indigenous place names across Canada. The GNBC recognizes the need for advisors in Indigenous cultures and languages to assist in developing enhanced policies on Indigenous names, and improved collaboration and relationships with Indigenous nations. The newly created Indigenous Advisor positions on the GNBC are designed to fulfil this role. Appointees will work with the GNBC and the Board’s Indigenous Geographical Names Working Group to coordinate Indigenous policy and research activities, establish and strengthen ties to Indigenous communities and organizations, and raise awareness about Indigenous place naming.

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

Position: Key Activities

Indigenous Advisors will serve as full voting members of the GNBC, and actively contribute to the Board’s discussions and activities by:

  • participating in sub-committees or working groups to address specific areas, themes and/or issues related to Indigenous geographical naming practices, Indigenous place names, linguistics and cultures;
  • providing culturally appropriate advice, perspectives and ideas on Indigenous historical, geographical, cultural or linguistic matters to aid the Board in developing enhanced policies on Indigenous names, and improve collaboration and on-going relationships with Indigenous nations and communities;
  • assisting in the development of recommendations for standards, guidelines, policies, principles, and procedures regarding Indigenous place names; and
  • working to promote and represent the work of the GNBC.

Indigenous Advisors are expected to serve in their own right, not as representatives of any particular organization or region, and will be chosen based on their individual accomplishments and knowledge.

Time Commitment / Location

The time commitment for members is approximately three weeks per year, comprising six to eight 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 Board. GNBC working groups also hold bi-monthly teleconference calls to discuss GNBC documents and projects. Members will also be encouraged to collaborate outside of scheduled meetings.


This is a volunteer position. Members do 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. Travel expenses, incurred in the performance of duties, are reimbursed at a level consistent with the National Joint Council (NJC) Travel Directive and Treasury Board of Canada Guidelines.

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 provide concrete examples in your cover letter that clearly demonstrate how you meet the following requirements:

Education, experience and knowledge requirements


  • An acceptable combination of education, job-related training and/or lived experience in the areas related to the work of the GNBC.


  • Lived experience of Indigenous, values and world views;
  • Experience in geography, geomatics, history, linguistics, Indigenous studies, Canadian studies, or other related discipline, and a good understanding of the importance and role of geographical names in Canada’s culture and history;
  • Experience working on advisory boards or committees; and
  • Significant and in-depth experience working with Indigenous partners/communities.


  • Knowledge of the rights of Indigenous peoples (section 35 of the Constitution Act), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with Indigenous peoples;
  • Knowledge of Indigenous knowledge systems, as well as Indigenous people’s issues, concerns and priorities to advise the provincial and territorial naming authorities and increase engagement with Indigenous peoples and their communities;
  • Knowledge of the operations and challenges of working with federal, provincial and territorial governments; and
  • Knowledge of Indigenous languages would be considered an asset.

If you move on to the next stage of the selection process, your references will be contacted to verify how you have demonstrated the above requirements, as well as how you meet the following Abilities and Personal Attributes:


  • Ability to work effectively with federal, provincial and territorial governments, and Indigenous Peoples; and
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples.

Personal Attributes

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

Diversity and Official Languages

The Government of Canada will consider bilingual proficiency and diversity in assessing candidates for these positions. 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.

The Government of Canada recognizes that Indigenous Peoples include First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Natural Resources Canada intends to appoint First Nations, Inuit and Métis advisors to the GNBC in order reflect the rich diversity that exists within the Indigenous population in Canada.

Eligibility Factors and Conditions of Appointment

  • Members must be available to participate in periodic teleconferences.
  • Members must be willing and able to travel to the Annual General Meeting of the GNBC. The annual meeting is typically held in September/October and involves 3-4 days of participation.

If you are appointed to this position:

  • Members must comply with the ethical, political activity and conflict of interest guidelines applicable to federal Ministerial appointments.
  • All appointees are subject to the Conflict of Interest Act. For more information, please visit the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner’s website.

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

How to apply

Interested candidates are requested to submit their application to the GNBC Secretariat at: The application must include the following:

  • A cover letter of no more than three pages demonstrating suitability and interest in the position;
  • Name and contact information (telephone, e-mail and mailing address);
  • Curriculum vitae (c.v.) addressing the education and experience criteria listed; and
  • Contact information for two references.


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