Minister Rodriguez announces appointment of Michelle Chawla as Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts

News release

GATINEAU, May 8, 2023

The Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez announced today the appointment of Michelle Chawla as Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Council for the Arts for a five-year term, effective June 26, 2023.

Chawla has worked at the Canada Council since 1995. In her role as the Council’s Director General of Strategy, Public Affairs and Arts Engagement, she is responsible for the executive leadership and direction of a wide range of functions including communications, strategic planning, international coordination and cultural diplomacy. Chawla has also held many other senior positions at the Canada Council, including Corporate Secretary and Director of Strategic Initiatives, Secretary-General for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and Head of Arts Services. Through her nearly three decades at the Canada Council, she has gained extensive leadership experience in arts and culture policy, program development, equity, corporate governance, government and stakeholder relations, transformation initiatives, international engagement and cultural relations.

From a Punjabi and Quebecois background, Chawla is a member of the Sikh community and is passionate about working in an environment where all voices are heard and respected through arts and culture. She is fluently bilingual.

The Canada Council for the Arts is a Crown corporation in the Canadian Heritage Portfolio.


“Michelle Chawla’s impressive leadership and extensive experience in various senior roles at the Canada Council for the Arts makes her uniquely qualified for this position. I am delighted that she will take on the role of Director and CEO to lead the Canada Council as it continues to support the Canadian arts sector and cultural experiences from coast to coast to coast. I would also like to thank Simon Brault for his exemplary leadership and vision at the helm of the Canada Council for the last several years.”

—The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage 

Quick facts

  • The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public art funder. It contributes to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene through grants, services, prizes and payments to Canadian artists and arts organizations.

  • The Canada Council for the Arts is governed by an 11-member board. It consists of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and nine other members from across Canada. Along with the Director, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, board members are appointed by the Governor in Council.

  • In 2015, the Government of Canada adopted a new approach to Governor in Council appointments. This approach respects the principle of diversity and is based on an open, transparent and merit-based selection process. It results in the recommendation of competent, high-quality candidates that reflect Canadian diversity.

  • As they become available, all appointment opportunities in the 16 organizations in the Canadian Heritage Portfolio are posted on the Governor in Council appointments website. Those interested can apply online.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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