Board Profile - Canadian Tourism Commission

Canadian Tourism Commission

The Canadian Tourism Commission is Canada’s national tourism organization. A federal Crown corporation, the CTC leads the Canadian tourism industry in marketing Canada as a premier four-season tourism destination. The Commission supports the Canadian tourism sector in generating tourism export revenues to benefit the economy. It reports to Parliament through the Minister of Industry.

Through collaboration and partnerships with the private sector, the government of Canada, and the provinces and territories, the CTC works with the tourism sector to maintain its competitiveness and to position Canada as a destination where travellers can create extra-ordinary personal experiences.

The CTC is founded on the principle of partnership between the public and private sectors. Through contributions from partners that match its own funding, the CTC is able to achieve the maximum return on investment for its tourism marketing initiatives.


Grow tourism export revenues for Canada.


Inspire the world to explore Canada.


Harness Canada’s collective voice to grow export revenues.


  • Sustain a vibrant and profitable Canadian tourism industry;
  • Market Canada as a desirable tourist destination;
  • Support a cooperative relationship between the private sector and the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories with respect to Canadian tourism;
  • Provide information about Canadian tourism to the private sector and to the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories.

Strategic objectives:

  • Convert high-yield customers;
  • Focus on markets of highest return on investment;
  • Lead industry in brand relevancy and consistency;
  • Respond to changing market dynamics.

Strategic priorities:

  • Ensure customer relevancy;
  • Increase engagement with small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) community;
  • Differentiate Canada;
  • Leverage exposure of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games for Canada;
  • Foster organizational excellence;
  • Strengthen engagement with the shareholder.

Challenges, Issues and Initiatives


  • Growing demand;
  • Growing interest in experiential travel;
  • Growing global middle class;
  • Canada’s Games in 2010;
  • New market opportunities.


  • New competition from emerging markets;
  • Exchanges rates;
  • Competitive funding levels;
  • Increased fuel costs;
  • Air access;
  • Labour shortages.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Board has established the following as its key roles and responsibilities:

  • provides strategic leadership and stewardship;
  • provides ethical leadership and ensures integrity;
  • safeguards the corporation’s resources;
  • delegates authority limits and decision-making levels;
  • monitors corporate performance;
  • reports to the shareholder on the Board’s stewardship;
  • maintains effective communications;
  • oversees and monitors the CEO: performance measuring, evaluation and assessment;
  • ensures an objective and professional relationship with external auditors;
  • assesses the integrity of information and controls;
  • establishes the corporation’s strategic planning process;
  • develops vision and direction with the CEO and involves management in the process;
  • identifies corporate objectives and aligns them with the corporation’s purpose;
  • approves the plan or direction, often with the CEO and shareholder;
  • ensures effective strategic risk management;
  • ensures an effective and transparent process of Board renewal;
  • determines the skill sets of directors;
  • ensures effective orientation for new Board members and ongoing development for directors;
  • oversees succession planning of senior management;
  • approves and reviews major financial decisions;
  • approves developed position descriptions for the Board, CEO, chair, committees and committee chairs;
  • evaluates chair, Board and committee performance;
  • consults with the CEO and senior management on the development of corporate performance measures;
  • measures corporate performance and evaluates results;
  • develops policy with the CEO and senior management;
  • initiates periodic mandate reviews;
  • conducts its own affairs, including meeting regularly.

Core Attributes, Competencies and Experience

Taking into consideration the stated Commission’s objects, vision, mission and the challenges facing the industry, a new representation strategy should include the following:

  • Tourism operators with considerable stature and influence in the industry;
  • Global awareness of tourism marketing issues;
  • Representation from key support functions for the industry (transportation, accommodation, recreation and entertainment, travel agency services, conventions, food and beverage services, retail, finance and cultural products);
  • Strategic marketing skills;
  • Specific skills sets for specific purposes e.g., finance, strong governance acumen, accounting for Audit Committee;
  • Experience in dealing with political and governmental organizations;
  • Individuals who might become succession candidates for the next Chair of the Board.

Directors must also have the following fundamental characteristics to enable them and the Board to function appropriately:

Strategic Thinking

  • Visionary and capable of addressing alternative futures;
  • Ability to grasp the big picture and go beyond single-event decisions;
  • Ability to consider the interests of the tourism industry as a whole.

Informed Judgement

  • Ability to provide wise, thoughtful counsel;
  • Ability to analyze, ask relevant questions at the strategic level;
  • Ability to consider the different stakeholders’ perspectives, understand situations and problems by addressing underlying issues.

Integrity and Accountability

  • Demonstrate high ethical standards and integrity;
  • Be willing to act on and remain accountable for board decisions, meeting the accountabilities outlined in the law, by-laws and rules of the board;
  • See oneself as serving the interests of Canadians.

Decision Making

  • Comfortable with the responsible use of authority in a Board environment;
  • Experienced in policy-focused decision environments and delegation of operational responsibilities;
  • Demonstrated sound business judgement;
  • Ability to assess and challenge management recommendations.

Analytical Understanding

  • Capability of interpreting numerical information;
  • Ability to read and assess financial statements;
  • Skills in performing problem analysis.

Professional Experience

  • Leaders in their industry or community;
  • Understanding of strategic marketing;
  • Understanding of tourism with a global perspective.

Financial Literacy

The ability to read and assess financial statements.

Public Policy

Experience in or knowledge of public policy.

Personal Attributes

  • Demonstrated high ethical standards and integrity;
  • Capable of speaking out and challenging;
  • Desire to contribute to the Commission’s objects in a meaningful way;
  • Ability to work as part of a group -- persuasive, assertive and flexible;
  • Strong oral communication and listening skills;
  • Dynamic and energetic.

Requirements/Criteria for Private Sector Directors

  • Candidates must head / manage (for example CEO or COO) or own a tourism industry private sector business;
  • The Governance and Nominating Committee has the discretion to consider candidates with the expertise required to satisfy the Board’s needs. Those persons should hold a senior executive position within a major national business or must have the expertise needed by the Board;
  • Candidates should be a recognized decision-maker in the industry, able to rise above their personal business interests to speak on behalf of the region or private sector sub-sector in a forum of senior private sector executives and provincial / territorial government deputy ministers responsible for tourism.

In addition, taking into the overall Board composition, other factors are considered:

  • Type of business in which the candidate has direct ownership or working experience, e.g., accommodation, event, attraction, transportation, distribution channel (travel agency, tour operator);
  • Scale of business in which the candidate has direct ownership or working experience, i.e., small, medium sized or large business;
  • The location of the business in which the candidate has direct ownership/working experience, e.g., rural- or urban-based business;
  • Other tourism industry involvement, e.g., member of a tourism industry association Board, key participant in development and/or promotion of the animation of the industry such as a festival or event;
  • Consideration of provincial / territorial representation of the regional seats, taking into account which province / territory currently holds the public sector regional seat (rotation factor);
  • Willingness to commit time and effort to the governance of the Commission;
  • Acceptance of the code of ethics guidelines contained in By-law No 2;
  • Willingness and ability, while at Board meetings or acting as a CTC Board member, to set aside personal or special interests to organizations in favour of the Commission.


The Canadian Tourism Commission Act (October 2000) establishes various criteria for the selection and appointment of directors to the Board of the Commission.

Board Size and Composition

  • Board consists of not more than 26 directors including the Chairperson and the President;
  • Up to 16 private sector directors (regional and national representation – see below) appointed by the Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, with advice from the Commission’s Governance and Nominating Committee;
  • Up to 7 public sector regional directors (territorial and provincial representation – see below) appointed by the Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, among persons designated by the Provincial or Territorial Ministers responsible for tourism. Those ministers may designate deputy ministers, persons who are equivalent to deputy ministers or persons who are heads of provincial or territorial agencies responsible for tourism;
  • The Deputy Minister of Industry is an ex officio director;
  • The President and the Chairperson are appointed by the Governor in Council.

Private Sector - Regional

  • A total of up to 7 directors in this category
  • Must be a tourism operator
  • A tourism operator is defined as an owner or manager of a private sector tourism business

Private Sector - National

  • A total of up to 9 directors in this category
  • Must be a tourism operator or a person with the expertise required to satisfy the Board’s needs

Working Conditions

The CTC Board of Directors meets in person three times per year in various locations across Canada. In addition, there are two conference calls annually. Board meetings are usually held over a two day period.

  • All Board members are encouraged to join a Board committee (Audit, Governance and Nominating, Human Resources, Executive;
  • We estimate 15-25 days annual time commitment for Board and Committee work;
  • Board members’ travel expenses are reimbursed by the CTC.