Job Opportunity: Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Arts Council

En français:


Since its establishment in 1963, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) has played a vital role in promoting and assisting the creation, production and development of the arts for the enjoyment and benefit of Ontarians; this is based on the essential role of the arts in the quality of life, cultural identity, social well-being and economic prosperity of Ontario.

OAC is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. On behalf of the people of Ontario, OAC invests in professional, Ontario-based artists and arts organizations through the provision of grants and services under four funding streams: creating and presenting; building audiences and markets; engaging communities and schools; and developing careers and arts services. The range of disciplines that OAC funds includes: dance, literature, media arts, multi and inter-arts, music, theatre and visual arts.

OAC is led by a Chair and 11 members of the Board of Directors who come from communities throughout the province. They are appointed by the Government of Ontario for a three-year term and may be reappointed for one additional term. OAC’s Board is responsible for approving OAC’s budgets, setting policies and, through the CEO, overseeing the organization’s operations.

In 2017-2018, OAC received 11,466 funding applications, and invested in 2,294 individual artists and 1,474 organizations in 231 communities throughout Ontario. A total of $58.7 million was awarded in grants, from an overall operating budget of $65 million.


Ontario Arts Council (OAC) seeks a dynamic, strategic and tactical arts administrator to lead and manage the organization in the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). As such, you will head Ontario’s primary agency dedicated to investing in, stimulating and developing the province’s vital artists and arts organizations. The CEO directs and administers all OAC programs and operations and supervises a 65-person professional and support staff, most whom are unionized under AMAPCEO.

You will lead government relations, represent OAC, and advocate for the public value of the arts. This public service mission brings with it the opportunity for considerable impact in Ontario’s arts sector and, through it, significant economic benefit and improvement to the quality of life for the people of Ontario.


  • Responsible for leading the strategic planning process and the successful implementation of the strategic plan, taking into account long-term direction of the Board and government priorities.
  • Recommends to, and implements policies established by, the Board and ensures OAC’s funds and resources are invested wisely, fairly, and with integrity and honesty on behalf of the government and the people of Ontario.
  • Identifies, assesses and informs the Chair and Board of internal and external issues that affect the organization, and of the implementation of Board policy directions and OAC operations; provides the Chair and Board with advice and assistance in meeting their responsibilities and fosters effective relationships between the Board, CEO and staff.
  • Ensures the efficient and cost-effective administration of OAC operations through reporting Directors, including all facets of granting, communications, finance and administration, human resources, and research and policy development.
  • Responsible for leading, guiding, managing and modeling wise, fair and equitable practices for all OAC staff, in accordance with best practices and standards, the Arts Council Act, and the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006; serves as Ethics Executive for OAC staff.
  • Determines required human resources; develops organizational structures and reporting relationships; recruits, selects, manages, coaches and mentors senior staff; and maintains and assesses the effectiveness of the organization in meeting OAC’s goals.
  • Responsible for management of financial resources, including annual budget preparation and regular financial and risk management reports for approval by the board; establishes priorities and allocates budgets for each department and activity.
  • Accountable for the quality of all granting programs and oversees the fair and efficient granting functions of OAC through the indirect supervision of program staff and oversight of policy papers, presentations and recommendations made to the Board.
  • Serves as the principal contact with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport; keeps the Deputy Minister advised of issues or events, including contentious matters, that concern the Ministry, Minister, Deputy Minister, in the exercise of their respective responsibilities; ensures effective administration and accountability for public funds and presents OAC annual business plan and annual report to the Ministry.
  • Fosters open communications between the CEO’s office, granting staff and the arts community, to discuss issues and opportunities affecting Ontario’s professional artists and arts organizations, and the arts community’s relationship with OAC and the government.
  • Builds and maintains effective communication and relationships with other Ontario government agencies, arts-related umbrella organizations, provincial, national and international arts funders, and the media.
  • Develops and maintains close connection and regular communication with the arts community and other stakeholders to foster and enhance OAC’s relationship and profile with the arts sector and beyond.
  • Represents OAC at relevant events and activities, promotes the value of the arts in Ontario and ensures OAC’s programs and services reflect the current trends, priorities, and concerns of this diverse arts ecology.


  • A proven track record of leadership in a senior role within an arts/cultural or related public sector institution of similar scope, with a high level of policy planning skills, political acuity, as well as budgeting and financial management skills.
  • An astute leader with political savvy and a drive and dedication toward a high degree of stakeholder satisfaction, including an awareness of specific problems and current issues and opportunities facing Ontario’s diverse arts community, artists and arts organizations, and in Canada and internationally.
  • Excellent administrative, business, management, problem-solving and issues management skills in order to ensure that a high level of service is provided for applicants and the government, to respond to the administrative needs of the OAC, and to promote and achieve OAC objectives.
  • Demonstrated competency in adaptability, flexibility, responsiveness, ethical leadership, creativity, innovation, strategic thinking, and sensitivity.
  • Thorough knowledge of relevant provincial and federal legislation, policies, procedures and programs for the arts, in order to respond to the problems and changing needs of the arts and culture sector; politically astute, able to work effectively and pro-actively with Government.
  • Advanced level of public relations and communication abilities to effectively gain cooperation and buy-in of others; with credibility within the arts sector.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and passion for the arts in Ontario, with an appreciation of the cultural, artistic and economic environment of Ontario and its regions.
  • Sound judgment and excellent conceptual and analytical skills; relationship-builder with a strong, established and growing network who can manage large numbers of stakeholders with a variety of different skill sets and working styles.
  • Commitment to consultation and consensus-building, balanced with the ability to act decisively in a highly professional 360-degree manner; able to understand the complex nature of management and leadership in a multi-stakeholder arts agency.
  • Able to manage, monitor and deliver on numerous short-term projects and long-term issues simultaneously, while maintaining superior attention to detail; able to adjust style in response to ever-changing priorities and opportunities; strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize.
  • Culturally aligned with OAC’s values of diversity, equity, excellence, innovation, social responsibility, impact, relevance and financial sustainability.
  • Cross-cultural awareness and knowledge to work effectively in a diverse workplace and build relationships with diverse communities.
  • Ability to communicate in English at the highest level is crucial; knowledge of French is a strong asset.


  • Strong interpersonal skills, in order to be comfortable and effective in working with OAC’s internal and external constituencies: Board of Directors, professional and support staff, related government bodies, the corporate and foundation communities, major arts supporters and volunteers, and the many diverse arts communities with whom OAC works.
  • Engenders confidence and trust from the arts community, staff, Board and Ministry.
  • Highly articulate, with exceptional team-building skills.
  • A passion for arts and culture.
  • High professional standards and integrity, with an acute attention to detail.
  • A practical, calm, and creative problem solver and strategic thinker, who can react nimbly to the unexpected and be flexible in their decision-making.
  • Ability to work well under pressure, independently or as part of a team.
  • Results-oriented and disciplined; accepts ownership with a hands-on approach.
  • Active listener, with a collegial management approach.


A competitive, experienced-based compensation package will be offered, complete with healthcare benefits and a pension plan.


Please submit your application by emailing your cover letter and résumé by end of day on Sunday, June 16th, 2019 to:

The Ontario Arts Council is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer and strongly supports and values diversity in the workplace. Applications from all qualified candidates are welcome, and individuals from equity-seeking groups are encouraged to apply. Accommodation will be made available to applicants with disabilities in the recruitment process. If you require accommodation, please contact