Board Profile - Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Corporation Mandate

The purpose of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is to explore the theme of immigration to Canada in order to enhance public understanding of the experiences of immigrants as they arrived in Canada, of the vital role immigration has played in the building of Canada and of the contributions of immigrants to Canada’s culture, economy and way of life.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Museum’s Board of Trustees serves as its governing body and is accountable to Parliament for the stewardship of the Museum through the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

The Crown corporation governance model establishes the Board of Trustees as independent from management; its role is to provide strategic direction and oversight. The Board has adopted a Governance Policy that reflects the Crown corporation governance and accountability regime. It describes the Board’s fiduciary duties and its duties of care and due diligence; to act honestly, in good faith and in the best interests of the Museum; and to disclose conflicts of interest. It establishes the following as the Board’s key responsibilities:

  • Establishing the Museum’s strategic direction;
  • Safeguarding the Museum’s resources;
  • Monitoring the Museum’s performance and reporting;
  • Stakeholder strategies and communications;
  • Succession planning for the Board and key management positions; and
  • Periodically assessing the relevance of the mandate.

Challenges, Issues and Initiatives

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 became a federal Crown corporation in February of 2011 and is completing a five year expansion plan to become a national museum that tells the stories of immigration across Canada.

The Board of Trustees plays a key role in the governance of this expansion, working to ensure that the new Museum delivers on the Museum’s important mandate.

Fund development is a significant, and growing, priority for the Museum and an area where Board expertise and engagement is key. The Board plays an important role in supporting fund development, particularly in the area of major gifts.

Core Attributes, Competencies and Experience

The competency profile for the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 sets out the core attributes, competencies, skills and experience required of the Board and individual trustees.

Informed Judgment

Ability to provide wise, thoughtful counsel from a broad, national perspective, to analyze, ask relevant questions at the strategic level, consider the perspectives of different stakeholders, understand situations and problems by addressing underlying issues.

Integrity and Accountability

High ethical standards and integrity; willingness to act on and remain accountable for Board decisions, to meet the accountabilities outlined in the law, by-laws and rules of the Board and to see oneself as serving the interests of Canadians.

Impact and Influence

Awareness of the impact of organizational issues, policies and decisions on public interest and concern. The capacity to be sensitive to the differing needs and agendas of multiple stakeholders and to act to persuade others in order to have a specific impact or effect.

Financial Literacy

While it is beneficial for all Trustees to have some ability to read financial statements, at least one Trustee must have the financial expertise and experience to Chair the Audit Committee.

The competency profile for the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 sets out the core attributes, competencies, skills and experience required of the Board and individual trustees.

Informed Judgment

Ability to provide wise, thoughtful counsel from a broad, national perspective, to analyze, ask relevant questions at the strategic level, consider the perspectives of different stakeholders, understand situations and problems by addressing underlying issues.

Integrity and Accountability

High ethical standards and integrity; willingness to act on and remain accountable for Board decisions, to meet the accountabilities outlined in the law, by-laws and rules of the Board and to see oneself as serving the interests of Canadians.

Impact and Influence

Awareness of the impact of organizational issues, policies and decisions on public interest and concern. The capacity to be sensitive to the differing needs and agendas of multiple stakeholders and to act to persuade others in order to have a specific impact or effect.

Financial Literacy

While it is beneficial for all Trustees to have some ability to read financial statements, at least one Trustee must have the financial expertise and experience to Chair the Audit Committee.

Specific Skills, Knowledge and Experience

All Trustees must have knowledge of/passion for/commitment to and credibility in the sphere of advancing public understanding of the experiences of immigrants, the vital role immigration has played in the building of Canada and of the contributions of immigrants to Canada’s culture, economy and way of life.

In addition, the Board as a whole requires a balanced set of skills, knowledge and experience to provide oversight and direction, including the following:

  • Previous experiences as a director of a commercial and/or non-profit board;
  • Knowledge/experience in museology;
  • Knowledge/experience in the history of immigration to Canada;
  • Knowledge/experience of business and best business practices;
  • Knowledge/experience in law;
  • Knowledge/experience in human resources/organizational leadership;
  • Knowledge/experience in public affairs, communications and marketing;
  • Knowledge/experience in fundraising/philanthropy; and
  • Community involvement.

Representation

The Board strives to be representative of Canada’s regions, linguistic duality, cultural diversity and genders. Given the national mandate of the Museum, the Board of Trustees should include representation from across Canada, and will ideally reflect the diversity of the country’s population. The Board will have capacity in both Official Languages and, as stipulated in the Museums Act, all Trustees must be Canadian citizens.

Working Conditions

Number of Meetings – The Board usually meets four times a year, with the majority of meetings in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Trustees are expected to prepare for these meetings and actively participate in them. Occasional participation in teleconferences is also required.

Committee work/additional duties – The Board of Trustees delegates certain responsibilities to committees. Trustees are appointed to one or more of these committees that will meet 2 to 4 times per year (or more often as deemed necessary) generally at the same time as the general Board meetings.

Average time commitment – Board members should expect to commit approximately 15 days annually for meetings, travel and preparation for meetings.

Trustees are required to comply with the Museum’s Code of Conduct. The Financial Administration Act requires Trustees of Crown Corporations to disclose the nature and extent of interest in any material contract with the Corporation.

Trustees are entitled to be remunerated at rates which are set by the Governor-in-Council. This remuneration consists of a per diem amount and an annual retainer. Trustees are entitled to be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses consistent with the guidelines established by the Board, incurred in connection with attendance at a meeting of the Board or of a committee or while on the business of the Museum.