Main Menu

Annual Report 2019–2020



Under the Museums Act, the Canadian Museum of History is a legal entity owned by the Crown. Although it functions at arm’s length from the Government of Canada in its daily operations, as a Crown corporation within the Canadian Heritage Portfolio, the Museum contributes to the achievement of federal socio-cultural objectives.

An older man with white hair and a red scarf speaks at a podium in front of a room of seated people

The Museum’s 2019 Annual Public Meeting at the Musée de la civilisation in Québec City


Board of Trustees

The Corporation is governed by an 11-member Board of Trustees, consisting of a Chair, a Vice-Chair and nine other trustees. Members of the Board are appointed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, with the approval of the Governor in Council, and are selected from across the country through open, transparent and merit-based selection processes. They are representative of Canada’s regions, linguistic duality and cultural diversity.

A young man in a suit holding a microphone, standing next to a group of seated people

The Museum’s 2019 Annual Public Meeting at the Musée de la civilisation in Québec City

Trustees are nominated for a period not exceeding four years, and each is eligible to serve three consecutive terms (or, in the case of the Chair and Vice-Chair, two consecutive terms). If a trustee has not been appointed by the time the term of an incumbent expires, the incumbent trustee may continue in office until a successor has been appointed.

Through its Chair, the Board is accountable to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The Board functions independently of senior management and is responsible for setting broad strategic direction and oversight, and for evaluating the performance of the Chief Executive Officer on an annual basis.

The Board of Trustees meets four times per year in Ottawa–Gatineau, and once in another Canadian city. There can also be around three or four teleconferences per year between Board meetings. In total, the Board and its committees met 23 times during the 2019–2020 fiscal year (the full Board met seven times and the committees 16 times, in person and by teleconference).

Reflecting its goal to fully engage Canadians regardless of where they live, the Museum also holds an Annual Public Meeting (APM). These meetings provide members of the public with an opportunity to learn more about the activities of both Museums, and to express their ideas and opinions on the work of their national history museums, while also enabling the Museum to connect with partners, sponsors and stakeholder groups. APMs take place at venues around the country. This year’s APM was held on June 18 at the Musée de la civilisation in Québec City. As part of this event, attendees were given an overview of the Museum’s financial situation and recent acquisitions, and highlights of its exhibitions and programming. The meeting also included opportunities for questions and interactions with the Board and the Museum’s senior management.

Members of the Board of Trustees

As of March 31, 2020, the Board of Trustees comprised the following members:

Dr. James Fleck, C.C.

Toronto, ON
October 2012 to December 2019
(on first term as Chair)

Dr. Fleck is an entrepreneur, academic and leading cultural philanthropist. In business, he founded Fleck Manufacturing Inc. and was Chair 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 was Chair 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.


Mr. Dean Brinton

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
December 2017 to December 2020

Dean Brinton studied Philosophy and Comparative Religion at the universities of Calgary and Toronto, receiving a Master’s Degree from the University of Toronto in 1987. He has worked in the arts and culture sector for over 30 years and served as CEO of The Rooms Corporation in St. John’s, Newfoundland, from January 2005 until July 2019. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Canada Council for the Arts in 1997, where he served for six years. For four of these, he was the Board’s appointee to the Executive Committee and Chair of the Governance Committee. He served on the sectoral committee of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and as the Council’s representative on the Public Lending Rights Commission. Between 2001 and 2008, he was a member of the Board of Governors of the National Theatre School of Canada and the Board of Governors of the Nova Scotia College of Art Design University, where he chaired the Development Committee. He served on the Board of Directors of the Salvation Army Centre of Hope for many years where he chaired the Capital Campaign for the Centre of Hope. In the fall of 2017, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Mr. Brinton has received the Meritorious Service Medal as well as the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.


Ms. Andrea T. Bobkowicz
Westmount, QC
November 2012 to March 2021
(on second term)

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 included leadership roles with the Foundation of Catholic Community Services, Kinkora Activity Camp 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. She is a proud mentor of the next generation through the National Bank’s Women’s Symposium for young women seeking careers in the finance sector, and students of the Ken Woods Portfolio Management group at John Molson School of Business. She was awarded Investment Advisor of the Year in 2016, Social Commitment Award of Excellence in 2018 and Finance Monthly Wealth Management Advisor of the Year for Canada in 2019.


Ms. Patricia Jean Giguère
Winnipeg, MB
December 2013 to March 2022
(on second term)

Jean Giguère has a long and distinguished record of leadership and achievement within the Canadian cultural community. A founding member of Culture Days, she is past Vice-Chair of the National Culture Days Board as well as founder and past Chair of Culture Days Manitoba. Ms. Giguère was appointed Director of Business for the Arts in 2009. She was elected to the Board of the prestigious Royal Winnipeg Ballet, where she served as the company Chair for five years after which she was appointed Chair Emeritus. 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 sponsorship, Chair of Special Events, and she is currently a member of the Advisory Board. Ms. Giguère is a founding member of the Winnipeg Theatre Awards and sits on its Advisory Council. She also serves on the Board of the international ballet company Q Dance, from Winnipeg. 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.” She received the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Performing Arts in 2014. She is a Member of the Order of Canada.


Ms. Amanda Kingsley Malo
Sudbury, ON
March 2018 to March 2021

Amanda Kingsley Malo is an elementary school teacher and community organizer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in history from the University of Ottawa, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Laurentian University. A proud Franco-Ontarian, she is a French Immersion teacher who specializes in early childhood education. Having long ago discovered that she feels most like herself when giving back to others, Ms. Kingsley Malo has dedicated herself to the betterment of her community. She is involved with numerous local organizations and has volunteered in various capacities, including as a tutor for newly arrived Syrian refugees, a mentor for tween and teenage girls looking to learn entrepreneurial and leadership skills with AmbiSHEous, an organizer for Sudbury’s first Women’s March and a Board member with the Art Galley of Sudbury/Galerie d’art de Sudbury. In recognition of her efforts, Ms. Kingsley Malo was a Samara Everyday Political Citizen nominee, as well as the winner of CBC’s #WeAretheChange contest, which highlighted innovative community changemakers all across our country in honour of Canada150. Ms. Kingsley Malo lives in her hometown of Sudbury, Ontario with her husband Jeffrey and their young daughter.


Dr. Rodney Nelson
Ottawa, ON
March 2018 to March 2022

Rodney Nelson is an advocate for economic development within Indigenous communities worldwide and is passionate about retaining traditional knowledge. He is a professor at Carleton University where he teaches at the Centre for Initiatives in Education, in the Faculty of Social Science, and co-coordinates the Indigenous Enriched Support Program. He is also the current CEO and Principal of Governance for the Global Governance Group. His interests include board governance, economic development, education, ethics, traditional knowledge and Indigenous relations. Dr. Nelson is a corporate anthropologist with over 25 years’ of experience working with both the public and private sectors including many Indigenous organizations and communities. He is the current Co-Chair of Carleton University’s Indigenous Education Council and is the outgoing Chair of the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association. Dr. Nelson’s Ph.D. is in Indigenous/Canadian Studies through Carleton and Trent universities with a concentration on economic development and traditional governance. He holds a Master’s Degree in medical and corporate anthropology and two Bachelor’s Degrees in psychology and anthropology. He is a certified Chartered Director from The Directors College at McMaster’s Degroote School of Business. He is also a Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA) and a Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer (PAED).


Ms. Jennifer Pereira
Saskatoon, SK
March 2018 to March 2022

A partner at Robertson Stromberg LLP, Ms. Pereira is a lawyer whose practice focuses on legal disputes that may ultimately end up in court. She has been recognized by Lexpert Magazine as a leading Canadian Lawyer under 40 and by Best Lawyers in the area of Insurance Law. Ms. Pereira is Past President of both the Saskatchewan Trial Lawyers Association and the Saskatoon Bar Association and has sat as the Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s (Sask) Professional Image Committee. She has shared her knowledge of the law as a speaker with many organizations including the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. Ms. Pereira’s commitment to her profession is mirrored by her commitment to giving back to her community. She is presently the Chair of the Board of TCU Place, a performing arts and convention centre in Saskatoon. Ms. Pereira has been recognized by the CBC as one of Saskatchewan’s Top 40 under 40 and the University of Saskatchewan has honoured her with an Alumni Achievement Award.


Dr. William Young
Ottawa, ON
June 2018 to June 2021

In December 2011, Bill Young completed a six-year term as Parliamentary Librarian of Canada where, as Deputy Minister, he was responsible for research, information, public outreach and education for the Canadian Parliament. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of British Columbia (1978) and taught at York, Simon Fraser, and McGill Universities, and is a By-Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. Dr. Young has authored or co-authored four books, in addition to parliamentary publications, conference papers, and academic and popular articles. After joining the Library of Parliament in 1987, Dr. Young conducted and supervised research for parliamentarians, as well as prepared reports for parliamentary committees dealing with social issues. He served as Director of the Library’s Political and Social Affairs Division and in 2004 was seconded to the public service as the senior policy adviser to the Minister of Social Development and Minister of Canadian Heritage. When he returned to the Library as CEO in 2005, he initiated and carried out a process of organizational renewal and refocused the Library’s services to Parliament and the public.


Dr. Laurier Turgeon
Québec, QC
September 2018 to September 2022

Laurier Turgeon is a full professor of ethnology and history in the historical sciences department at Université Laval. He has directed the Laboratoire d’enquête ethnologique et multimédia (LEEM) (Laboratory for Ethnological and Multimedia Inquiry) since 2004 and held the Canada Research Chair in Heritage from 2003 to 2017. From fall 2013 to spring 2014, he was a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab in Boston, where he conducted research on transmedia storytelling in the field of heritage. He was Director of the Institute of Cultural Heritage at Université Laval from 2005 to 2012 and, in 2006, he held the William Lyon Mackenzie King Chair in Canadian Studies at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, where he led a seminar on the political and social issues of intangible cultural heritage. He was also a visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) (Paris), at Université Paris 1-Sorbonne, at Université de Provence, and a fellow at the Newberry Library (Chicago), at Beinecke Library at Yale University, and at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. In his career, he has published about 10 books, around 40 peer-reviewed articles, and approximately 40 book chapters and articles in composite works. His most recent book, Une histoire de la Nouvelle-France : Français et Amérindiens au XVIe siècle, was published by Belin in Paris in 2019. Throughout his career, he has received several awards and acknowledgements, including the Luc-Lacourcière Medal, awarded every two years to underline the excellence of a French-language work in the field of ethnology published in North America (Patrimoines métissés, 2003); the Summit International Awards for Creative Media – Visionary Award Category (2014); the Office Québécois de la langue française award, in the “solutions mobiles” (mobile solutions) category (2014) for the Découvrir Québec (Discover Quebec) mobile application; the Marius Barbeau Medal in 2016 from the Folklore Studies Association of Canada for his remarkable contribution to folklore and ethnology; and the Excellence in Teaching Prize from Université Laval, in the Graduate Coaching category (2017). In 2018, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


Ms. Narmin Ismail-Teja
Calgary, AB
January 2019 to January 2023

Ms. Ismail-Teja has been a Principal of impact@work inc. since 1992. She has a depth of experience working across the organization’s three sectors — consulting, training, and facilitating — both locally and globally. She brings solid commitment and motivation, as well as skills in creating highly effective training and consulting. Ms. Ismail-Teja is an active member of the community. She currently serves as a Board Member with the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, Board Member with Theatre Calgary, Chair of the Board for Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, member of Calgary Foundation Impact Investment Committee and as a Senator at the University of Calgary. She recently finished her term as a Board member and as Board Chair with YMCA Calgary. Her past work has included working with the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance in Switzerland, Famous 5 Foundation, Vertigo Theatre, and several other Calgary-based organizations.


Mr. Alex MacBeath
Murray Harbour, PEI
May 2019 to May 2023

Alex MacBeath is a graduate of the University of Prince Edward Island (B.Sc.) and Dalhousie University (MBA), is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants and holds his ICD.D designation through the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Mr. MacBeath was with Grant Thornton LLP for 35 years, 26 of those as partner. He was CEO and Executive Partner from 2001 to 2008. From 2008 until his retirement in 2012, he was ‘Global Leader, Markets’ and ‘Regional Leader, Asia Pacific’ at Grant Thornton International, based in London, UK. He has extensive experience in business strategy, risk management, national and international markets and managing change in large and complex organizations. He is currently the Founder and Managing Partner of Island Capital Partners, a venture capital fund; Executive Director at PEI Bridge; Chair of Island Water Technologies Inc., Regen Wastewater Technologies Inc. and Wallace McCain Institute; as well as Board Member of the University of Prince Edward Island, UPEI School of Mathematics and Computational Sciences, National Angel Capital Organization, MedicAlert Foundation of Canada and Confederation Center of the Arts; Director and past Chair of the StartUp Zone, an incubator in Charlottetown; past Chair of the audit committee and of the long-term vision task force of Health PEI.


Portrait of nine men and women standing against a stone wall, with a staircase in the background

The Board of Trustees (absent: Dr. Rodney Nelson and Dr. William Young)


When this report was prepared, the Chair of the Board’s term had expired. In addition, the terms of three other trustees will expire in 2020–2021. It should be noted that pursuant to the Museums Act, trustees continue in office until an appointment is made to replace them.

Board of Trustees Committees and Members

The Members of the Board of Trustees each sit on up to six committees that advise the Board on a range of issues related to the governance of the Museums.

Members Description
Dr. James Fleck (Chair)
Dean Brinton
Andrea T. Bobkowicz
Jean Giguère
The Executive Committee assists in making decisions between Board meetings, if necessary.
Alex MacBeath (Chair)
Andrea T. Bobkowicz
Dean Brinton
Dr. James Fleck
Dr. Rodney Nelson
Dr. Laurier Turgeon
Dr. William Young
The Audit Committee advises the Board 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 in relation to the Corporation.
Jean Giguère (Chair)
Dean Brinton
Dr. James Fleck
Andrea T. Bobkowicz
Jennifer Pereira
The Development Committee advises and supports the Board and senior management in achieving greater self-sufficiency through fundraising.
Andrea T. Bobkowicz (Chair)
Dean Brinton
Dr. James Fleck
Alex MacBeath
Jennifer Pereira
Dr. William Young
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 transactions over $500,000.
Dr. James Fleck (Chair)
Dean Brinton
Jean Giguère
Narmin Ismail-Teja
Amanda Kingsley Malo
Dr. Rodney Nelson
Jennifer Pereira
The Governance Committee advises the Board on matters related to corporate governance.
Dean Brinton (Chair)
Dr. James Fleck
Narmin Ismail-Teja
Amanda Kingsley Malo
Dr. Rodney Nelson
Dr. Laurier Turgeon
The Canadian War Museum Committee provides advice on matters related to the Canadian War Museum and includes members of the Board as well as representatives from veterans’ groups.
Portrait of three smiling men in suits, standing in front of a window overlooking water and hills

Dean Brinton, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr. James Fleck, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Mark O’Neill, President and Chief Executive Officer

Corporation 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

Mark O’Neill, President and Chief Executive Officer
Heather Paszkowski, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice-President, Museum Services
Chrissie Unterhoffer, Corporate Secretary and Director, ATIP and Policies

Executive Management Team

In addition to the Corporate Officers, the Executive Management cadre also includes, as of March 31, 2020:

Jean-Marc Blais, Director General, Canadian Museum of History and Vice-President
Caroline Dromaguet, Acting Director General, Canadian War Museum and Vice-President
Marie-Josée Lacombe, Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer
Sylvie Madely, Vice-President, Development
Megan Richardson, Director, Virtual Museum of Canada
Julie Sylvestre, Vice-President, Human Resources
Lisa Walli, Vice-President, Public Affairs and Marketing

Governance Structure

Comprising a cross-selection of executives, directors and managers, these five Planning Groups 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.

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 Museum’s human resources.

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

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

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 for its employees. The Corporation continues to meet the high standards of client services to the public in both official languages.

Employment Equity and Multiculturalism

Because of its proactive approach to talent management, the Corporation recruits, engages and retains a workforce within an environment that is dedicated to museological excellence. Through its opportunities for continuous development, the Corporation provides a diverse and inclusive workplace committed to the principles of employment equity and multiculturalism, which is complementary to its mandate of preserving, promoting and exploring Canada’s rich history and cultural diversity.

The year saw significant renewal with respect to employment equity at the Museums. It was a year of study, realignment and new foundations for employment equity and diversity, supported by a revised Framework and Terms of Reference. An Employment Equity survey using an inclusive and automated self-identification questionnaire was conducted, in which 80% of employees participated.

The Diversity and Inclusion Group ran a successful recruitment campaign, resulting in 10 new members.

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 who benefit directly from the knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment of those volunteers. In 2019–2020, over 300 volunteers worked within exhibitions and on a variety of projects in the areas of research, archives, library services, special events, programs and administration. Both Museums deeply appreciate the support of their dedicated volunteers.