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Annual Report 2016–2017


The Corporation and its Governance

The Canadian Museum of History is a federal Crown corporation that is responsible for two national museums: the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum. Together, the Museums showcase Canada’s national treasures and present exhibitions that preserve the memories and experiences of Canadians by exploring the events, people, themes and special objects that have helped shape the country, from earliest times to the present day.

The Canadian Museum of History

Canadian Museum of History

Canada’s national museum of human history
CMH IMG2012-0198-0008-Dm, photo by Steven Darby

Located on the shores of the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History welcomes over 1 million visitors each year. The Museum’s principal role is to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped Canada’s history and identity, as well as to foster appreciation of world history and culture. The Museum safeguards a collection of close to 4 million artifacts and specimens, including some of Canada’s most valued national treasures. It is also home to the Canadian Children’s Museum and the new CINÉ+ movie theatre.

The Canadian War Museum

Canadian War Museum

Canada’s national museum of military history
CWM 2015-0029-0005-Dp2, photo by Harry Foster

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions. In particular, it is renowned for its exploration of the human dimension of war, and of the profound effect of armed conflict on combatants and civilians alike. Home to an outstanding collection of artifacts and attracting almost 500,000 visitors annually, the Museum occupies one of Canada’s most striking and iconic buildings. In addition, it houses a world-class art collection, comprising over 13,000 works, including paintings by some of Canada’s most celebrated artists. As a national centre for remembrance, education and historical research, the Museum is also a venue and facilitator for informed discussion of military affairs — past, present and future.


The Virtual Museum of Canada

The Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) is an investment program, managed by the Canadian Museum of History, that supports Canadian museums and heritage organizations in developing online projects around their collections. Presented on, these diverse stories and experiences combine trusted content with digital technologies to showcase the history, heritage and culture of Canada. The VMC’s current mandate is to continue to invest annually in the museum sector, while endeavouring to be more responsive to the needs of its stakeholders. This involves a new vision and changes to the investment programs and website. The VMC is consulting museums and heritage organizations across the country as it proceeds with this work, and will build on existing partnerships and create new ones.

The Virtual Museum of New France

The Virtual Museum of New France is an innovative online project that explores the history, culture and living legacy of early French settlements in North America, profiling an area stretching from Acadia through the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley to Louisiana. Its examination of the history of New France focuses on themes that include economic activity, population and facets of daily life, such as food, entertainment, health and medicine.

The Board of Trustees

The corporation is governed by a Board of Trustees, whose members are appointed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage with the approval of the Governor in Council. The Trustees are selected from across the country. The Board, accountable to Parliament through the Minister, provides broad strategic direction and oversight with the assistance of six Committees and one Working Group.

Board of Trustees Committees

  • The Executive Committee assists in making decisions between Board meetings, as necessary.
  • The Audit Committee serves as the Board’s advisor on audit-related matters; ensures the maintenance of sound internal controls; and reviews internal audit plans, financial statements, and observations made by the Auditor General of Canada and relating to the Museum.
  • The Development Committee advises and supports the Board and management in achieving greater self-sufficiency through fundraising.
  • The Finance Committee advises the Board on accountability and planning in relation to financial matters such as financial reporting, the corporation’s investment policy and contracts, and other financial transactions over $500,000.
  • The Governance Committee advises the Board on matters related to corporate governance.
  • The Canadian War Museum Committee provides advice on matters related to the Canadian War Museum, and includes members of the Board of Trustees and representatives from veterans’ groups.
  • The Canadian History Hall Working Group advises on matters related to the Canadian History Hall, which will open on July 1, 2017.

Members of the Board

The Museum Trustees

From left to right:
Richard Gwyn, Jean Giguère, Michael Bliss, Judith Baxter, Claude Thibault, James D. Fleck, Christopher McCreery, Ken Langille, Robert C. Wilband, Andrea T. Bobkowicz
Photo by Mark Holleron

Dr. James (Jim) Fleck, C.C., Interim Chair

Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Fleck is an entrepreneur, academic and leading cultural philanthropist. In business, he founded Fleck Manufacturing Inc. and was Chairman of ATI Technologies and Alias Research. He is Professor Emeritus at The Rotman School of the University of Toronto and taught at both Harvard and York Universities. In the non-profit sector, Dr. Fleck was President of the Art Gallery of Ontario and is Chairman of Business for the Arts, a national association of business leaders supporting the arts. He chairs the Board of Directors of the University of Toronto Schools, the only high school affiliated with a university and located on campus. In government, he served as Deputy Minister of Industry and Secretary of Cabinet for former Ontario Premier Bill Davis. Dr. Fleck’s many honours include Companion of the Order of Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Edmund C. Bovey Award for Leadership Support of the Arts, the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts and the International Society for the Performing Arts’ Angel Award.

Governance Committee Chair
Executive Committee Vice-Chair
Audit Committee Ex Officio
Finance Committee Ex Officio
Development Committee Ex Officio
Canadian War Museum Committee Ex Officio

Ms. Judith Baxter, Trustee

Clifton Royal, New Brunswick

Ms. Baxter is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the 125th Anniversary of Confederation Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. She has worked as an artist, writer and commercial illustrator, and is a tireless volunteer activist and community organizer. Ms. Baxter was founding director of the Kingston Farmers Market, the Clifton Royal Recreation Council and the John Fisher Memorial Museum. She has served as Director of the John Fisher Memorial Museum as well as on the Executive Board of Kingston Peninsula Heritage Inc. She currently holds a seat on the Board of the New Brunswick Museum.

Executive Committee member
Development Committee member
Canadian War Museum Committee member
Audit Committee member
Canadian History Hall Working Group member

Prof. Michael Bliss, O.C., Trustee

Toronto, Ontario
Note: Professor Bliss passed away on May 18, 2017.

Professor Bliss, one of Canada’s foremost historians and an award-winning author, taught at the University of Toronto for 38 years. While most of his 14 books, including The Discovery of Insulin and William Osler: A Life in Medicine, reflected his specialization in medical and Canadian history, he also earned two National Magazine Awards for business and political writing. In 1988, he won the Royal Society of Canada’s Tyrrell Medal for outstanding work on the history of Canada. Professor Bliss was an Officer of the Order of Canada and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He was recognized with honorary degrees from McGill University, McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Medical College of Wisconsin, and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2016.

Executive Committee member
Canadian War Museum Committee member
Audit Committee member
Canadian History Hall Working Group member

Ms. Andrea T. Bobkowicz, Trustee

Westmount, Quebec

Andrea Bobkowicz is an Investment Advisor with National Bank Financial, Private Wealth Management. Ms. Bobkowicz previously worked in Global Institutional Equity Sales at RBC Dominion Securities in New York and, as a result, has business experience in South Africa, Australia and Latin America. She is fluent in English, French and Spanish. Her volunteer work in the community includes leadership positions with the Foundation of Catholic Community Services and the St. Patrick’s Society of Montréal. In addition, Ms. Bobkowicz has served as a member of several major professional and policy-shaping organizations, including the Canadian Council for the Americas, the Canadian Society of New York, the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, Women in Capital Markets and the Financial Women’s Association of New York.

Finance Committee Chair
Development Committee member

Ms. Jean Giguère, C.M., Trustee

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Jean Giguère has a long and distinguished record of leadership and achievement within the Canadian cultural community. A founding member of Culture Days, a project committed to making culture a daily habit for Canadians, she is past Vice-Chair of the National Culture Days Board and currently chairs Culture Days Manitoba. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. In 2009, Ms. Giguère was elected a Director of Business for the Arts, a national organization dedicated to building partnerships between the arts and the business community. She was first elected to the Board of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1997, later serving as its Chair and, in 2011, was appointed Chair Emeritus. Ms. Giguère has extensive experience in board governance, fundraising and strategic planning in the cultural sector. After serving five years on the Canadian Arts Summit Steering Committee, she chaired the 2009 Summit in Montréal. At the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, she has served as Vice-President responsible for fundraising and Chair of Special Events. Ms. Giguère was the inaugural recipient of the Winnipeg Art Council’s Making a Difference Award and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her “outstanding contribution to artistic life in Canada.” In 2014, she was honoured with the Ramon Hnatyshyn Governor General Award for Voluntarism in Performing Arts.

Governance Committee member
Development Committee member

Mr. Richard J. Gwyn, O.C., LL.D., Trustee

Toronto, Ontario

Richard J. Gwyn is a renowned historian, author and political commentator. His career as a journalist includes 30 years with the Toronto Star, where he wrote and continues to write columns on national and international affairs and was a regular commentator on television and radio. The highly praised author of seven books, Mr. Gwyn has written biographies of Prime Ministers Sir John A. Macdonald (two volumes) and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and of Newfoundland Premier Joey Smallwood. His study Nationalism Without Walls has been ranked by the Literary Review of Canada as one of Canada’s 100 most important books. Mr. Gwyn’s honours include two National Newspaper Awards, a National Magazine Award, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the J. W. Dafoe Book Prize. From 2002 to 2007, he was Chancellor of St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo. The recipient of five honorary degrees, Mr. Gwyn was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Governance Committee member
Canadian War Museum Committee member
Canadian History Hall Working Group member

Mr. Ken Langille, Trustee

New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Ken Langille has served the community of New Glasgow in a variety of capacities, including as Deputy Fire Chief, Deputy Mayor, Chair of the Police Commission and Fire Committee, and President of the Festival of the Tartans. He has also served on several boards and commissions at the county and provincial levels, including the Nova Scotia Police Review Board. Mr. Langille has been an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Atlantic Branch of the Black Watch Association. He was also President of the Pictou County Shrine Club and the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame, among other groups and associations.

Canadian War Museum Committee Chair
Governance Committee member

Dr. Christopher McCreery, M.V.O., Trustee

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dr. McCreery is the Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Executive Director of Government House in Halifax. Author of more than a dozen books, he holds a doctorate in Canadian political history from Queen’s University and is a recognized authority on Canadian honours, symbols and the role of the Crown in Canadian government. He has served on the Department of Canadian Heritage War of 1812 Advisory Committee, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Committee and the Prime Minister’s 2010 advisory committee on the appointment of the Governor General. Dr. McCreery is a Member of the Royal Victorian Order, a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Queen’s University Centre for the Study of Democracy.

Executive Committee member
Finance Committee member
Development Committee member
Governance Committee member
Canadian History Hall Working Group member

Mr. Claude Thibault, Trustee

Mont-Royal, Quebec

Claude Thibault is Chief Financial Officer of DCM Group, an engineering and industrial construction company with activities across Canada. Mr. Thibault is a seasoned finance executive with close to 20 years’ experience as Chief Financial Officer of publicly listed and private companies. He previously worked in investment banking and corporate finance as Vice-President at Midland Walwyn Capital and KPMG. Mr. Thibault has served on a number of boards of directors, including that of the Old Port of Montréal Corporation. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Business Valuator, and holds an MBA from McGill University. Mr. Thibault recently obtained a certification at the Institute for governance of private and public organizations.

Audit Committee Chair
Finance Committee member

Mr. Robert C. Wilband, Trustee

Vancouver, British Columbia

Robert Wilband has over 40 years of experience in Canada and internationally as a business leader and board director, primarily in the technology sector. Until his retirement in 1999, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Prologic Corporation of Richmond, British Columbia, a global leader in providing banking software, with 350 corporate customers in 31 countries. Mr. Wilband, who has a master’s degree in Business Administration, is also a Certified General Accountant. His honours include the Canada Export Award and the CIBC National Job Creation Award. He is a lifetime member of the President’s Club at Simon Fraser University, where he served as an Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor. Mr. Wilband continues to act as a mentor in the technology sector, drawing on his extensive expertise in corporate governance, finance, marketing and business strategy development.

Development Committee Chair
Audit Committee member
Finance Committee member

Executive Management

The President and Chief Executive Officer, supported by an Executive Management team, is accountable for the day-to-day administration of the corporation’s performance, its long-term viability and the achievement of its objectives.

Corporate Officers

The Executive Management team

From left to right:
Mark O’Neill, President and Chief Executive Officer; Chrissie Unterhoffer, Corporate Secretary and Director of Strategic Planning; David Loye, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice-President
Photo by Mark Holleron

Mark O’Neill, President and Chief Executive Officer
David Loye, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice-President
Chrissie Unterhoffer, Corporate Secretary and Director of Strategic Planning

Executive Management Team

In addition to the Corporate Officers, the Executive Management cadre also includes, as of March 31, 2017:

Jean-Marc Blais, Director General, Canadian Museum of History and Vice-President of the Corporation
Claudette Lévesque, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Development
Stephen Quick, Director General, Canadian War Museum and Vice-President of the Corporation
Megan Richardson, Director, Virtual Museum of Canada
Manon Rochon, Vice-President, Human Resources

Governance Structure

Corporate Planning Group: Provides overall direction to the corporation’s planning; ensures performance measurement and risk-management frameworks are effective and integrated into the planning processes; monitors performance and makes course corrections as required; ensures that the Museums have effective practices in place for sound governance and workplace values and ethics.

Resource Planning Group: Ensures resources are aligned with corporate priorities and that effective stewardship practices are in place.

Human Resources Planning Group: Provides advice and assists in the management of the Museums’ human resources.

Research and Collections Planning Group: Provides advice and assists in the management of the Museums’ research and collections activities.

Exhibitions Planning Group: Provides advice and assists in the management of the Museums’ exhibitions, including special and travelling exhibitions.

Canadian History Hall Project Team: Provides overall coordination and direction to the development of the Canadian History Hall.

Together, these six groups — comprising a cross-selection of executives, directors and managers — provide a forum for strategic discussions of corporate planning and management, and for the alignment of resources with corporate priorities. These groups also provide a mechanism to further integrate risk management into all of the corporation’s planning, monitoring and decision-making activities.

To ensure flow of communication throughout the Management cadre, the governance structure also includes a Managers’ Forum. Including all executives, directors and managers in the corporation, the Managers’ Forum meets throughout the year for information-sharing purposes.

Human Resources Practices and Official Languages Policy

The corporation follows human resource management practices. It is committed to a learning culture that promotes continuous development and training, and provides the necessary tools for adaptation in an ever-changing environment. It works proactively with labour unions to address and resolve issues of concern, and to maintain a meaningful, professional and positive work environment.

In addition, the corporation actively promotes official languages through linguistic evaluation and appropriate second-language training, as well as ensuring high client-service standards to the general public in both official languages. The corporation continues to meet the high standards of client services to the general public in both official languages.

Employment Equity and Multiculturalism

The corporation is committed to a talent-management culture that recruits, engages and retains a talented workforce by promoting continuous development in an inclusive and engaging environment dedicated to museological excellence. The corporation provides a diverse and inclusive workplace committed to the principles of employment equity and multiculturalism that is complementary to our mandate of preserving, promoting and exploring Canada’s rich history and cultural diversity.

There has been significant activity with respect to employment equity at the Museum. The Museum reports annually on its employment equity requirements to Employment and Social Development Canada. These requirements are defined by the Employment Equity Act, which requires employers under federal control to engage in proactive employment practices to increase workplace representation of women, people with disabilities, Aboriginal people and visible minorities. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is responsible for conducting equity-compliance audits, and has selected the Museum for audit. The Museum recently approved a three-year Employment Equity Action Plan. A Diversity and Inclusion Consultation Group has been formed, with representatives from management and the Museum’s unions.

The Contribution of Volunteers

Volunteers make an important and valuable contribution, not only to the Museums but also to the hundreds of thousands of visitors each year that benefit directly from their knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment. In 2016–17, 360 volunteers worked on variety of projects in the areas of research, archives, library services, special events, programs, mailing and administration.