We’re hiring: Executive Director

Position: Executive Director, IRPP Centre of Excellence on the Canadian Federation
Term: Full time, five-year contract, renewable
Salary: Commensurate with experience
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posting: April 8, 2019
Deadline: May 21, 2019, 5:00 pm EDT
Start date: TBD 2019

The IRPP’s Mission

Founded in 1972, the Institute for Research on Public Policy is a national, independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization. The IRPP seeks to improve public policy in Canada by generating research, providing insight and informing debate on current and emerging policy issues facing Canadians and their governments.

The Institute’s independence is assured by an endowment fund, to which federal and provincial governments and the private sector contributed in the early 1970s.

Context and overview

Earlier this year, the Institute announced the creation of the IRPP Centre of Excellence on the Canadian Federation. A permanent research body to be housed at the Institute, made possible by a contribution of $10 million from the Government of Canada, its mission will be to reinforce research capacity on issues related to federalism. Specifically, the Centre will

  • Conduct new research on public attitudes toward federalism and the federation;
  • Examine the state of the institutions of federalism and democracy and how they might evolve in future;
  • Contribute to reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples through research and public debate on Indigenous governance and the relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities;
  • Conduct economic analyses of issues that affect Canada’s federal arrangements, including shifts in its economic foundations, wealth redistribution and equalization;
  • Study the impact of emerging economic and social trends on federal arrangements;
  • Find and support new and diverse research voices in these fields; and,
  • Convene decision-makers and leaders from related sectors regularly to discuss research findings and their implications for public policy and the country’s cohesion.


The Executive Director will establish and lead this important new research centre. Reporting to the President and CEO of the IRPP, the Executive Director will

  • Set the strategic direction for the new Centre and develop its policy research initiatives and activities, based on extensive consultations with key academic leaders, federalism experts and other practitioners in the public and private sector.
  • Identify research priorities and develop the research program accordingly;
  • Recruit authors and contributors to undertake research projects, oversee their execution and completion, and ensure their results are widely disseminated;
  • Deliver timely, high-quality, policy-relevant analysis that informs Canada’s policy agenda and complements the IRPP’s other research and activities;
  • Stay abreast of activities and policy directions in similar organizations to identify potential collaborations and the implications for the centre’s strategic direction;
  • Monitor leading-edge thinking and practice on federalism worldwide and participate in key knowledge networks to inform the Centre’s research agenda;
  • Build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, partners, and potential sponsors and donors to develop new projects, partnerships, funding agreements and opportunities for influence;
  • Act as a spokesperson for the Centre and promote its research; and,
  • Ensure the Centre’s presence in each region of the country at least once a year.

As a member of the IRPP’s management team, the Executive Director will work in close collaboration with the CEO; the Vice President, Research; the Vice President, Operations; and the Editor-in-Chief of Policy Options magazine.


The ideal candidate will have

  • A graduate degree in political science or another relevant field;
  • Demonstrable knowledge of and interest in policy issues related to federalism and the Canadian federation;
  • Proven ability to work at the intersection of academic and policy research, to inform policy thinking and development;
  • A minimum of five years’ experience directing a significant research program;
  • Experience in managing people, projects, and budgets and securing funding for research initiatives;
  • The ability to manage multidisciplinary research;
  • The ability to work within a collaborative team environment;
  • Familiarity with government policy-making processes;
  • Experience in engaging with senior government decision-makers and opinion leaders in the policy community;
  • Strong writing and presentation skills and some experience with media interviews; and,
  • Excellent communications skills and the ability to work in both French and English.

Please submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae and salary expectations by e-mail to smcintyre@nullirpp.org. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

Please note that only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.