OHS Seeking New Executive Director

OHS Seeking New Executive Director

The Ontario Historical Society is seeking a new Executive Director, a unique and exciting opportunity to work with the diverse peoples of Ontario and make a significant contribution to the heritage sector in Canada.


What is the Ontario Historical Society?

Founded in 1888, The Ontario Historical Society (OHS) is a not-for-profit corporation and registered charity; a non-government group bringing together people of all ages, all walks of life and all cultural backgrounds interested in preserving some aspect of Ontario’s history.

The OHS is unique in its provincial mandate and very different to other provincial organizations. In 1899, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario granted OHS the legal power and responsibility to incorporate not-for-profit historical organizations. The Society is the only not-for-profit in North America with this legal tool to establish and incorporate other not-for-profit historical corporations.

The OHS is an inclusive, extensive membership-based organization, dedicated to working with all cultures, all religions and with Indigenous peoples. It is the largest organization of its kind in Canada that is growing through grassroots community engagement focused on the protection and promotion of Ontario’s history.

The OHS headquarters is located at the historic John McKenzie House (built 1913) in Willowdale (Toronto), Ontario. John McKenzie House and its adjacent stables and milk-house are all designated under the Ontario Heritage Act (1993). All buildings and adjacent properties (including Parkview Neighbourhood Garden) are subject to a heritage conservation easement (2013).

The OHS is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors. The Society is supported by and supports over 525 member organizations and institutions located in communities across Ontario.

What does the OHS do?

  • Provides advice on all matters relating to good governance for historical not-for-profit corporations, including reviewing and revising constitutions and by-laws, surrendering charters, facilitating corporate name changes, consulting on the dissolution of assets, and supporting member applications for federal charitable tax status;
  • Oversees an insurance program at reduced cost to members in good standing;
  • Maintains corporate archives of all affiliated societies, which number over 335 not-for-profit organizations and growing;
  • Publishes in print and online the widely-read peer-reviewed scholarly journal Ontario History (established 1899);
  • Provides consultations and other services to its affiliated societies and member organizations which includes, but is not limited to: examining strategic directions, providing references for grant applications, consulting on heritage designations and conservation easements, and providing webinars and workshops on topics of heritage matters to both members and the broader heritage community;
  • Acts as an advocate in partnership with our member organizations, supporting the preservation and designation of heritage assets in local communities across the province;
  • Is the guardian of the public interest in regards to cemetery preservation in the province as it relates to The Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA), formerly Cemeteries Act (Revised 1990). Compiles a detailed list of all unregistered cemeteries in Ontario as requested by the Government of Ontario; and
  • Maintains a reference library of over 5,600 books reflecting Ontario’s historical and cultural diversity.

Position Description:

The Executive Director reports to the Society’s board of directors and is charged with management roles, strategic leadership, and public advocacy that are needed to fulfill the unique mission and vision of the Society. In working to preserve, protect, and promote Ontario’s history and heritage, the Executive Director collaborates with the board of directors, with the Society membership, and with the affiliated societies, staff, and sector partners. The Executive Director is an effective leader, a trusted advisor and resource person, and a mentor to historical organizations throughout the province. In order to fulfill and advance the Society’s mission, willingness to travel throughout Ontario is part of the role.

Role and Responsibilities:

  • Oversees the unique legal responsibilities of the Society and represents the interests of historical organizations throughout the province.
  • Responsible for the overall administration and financial management of the Society.
  • Cultivates productive working relationships with all levels of government and embraces public visibility and advocacy roles and responsibilities.
  • Serves as the Society spokesperson to address the public, policy makers, partners, and the media.
  • Collaborates with members and stakeholders to enhance public support and financial resources for OHS and its affiliates.
  • Leads and facilitates philanthropic activities, donor relations, and funding opportunities.
  • Oversees the maintenance and operation of the historic John McKenzie House property.
  • Guides, supervises, and evaluates organizational operations and personnel, delegating authority as is deemed appropriate to other staff.
  • Mentors staff and volunteers, maintaining a positive, productive, and collaborative working environment.
  • Oversees strategic planning and evaluation (including the effectiveness of programs, services and communications), and central office operations.
  • Ensures adherence to policies, procedures, and performance standards; ensuring the Society is fully compliant, accountable, and transparent in regard to federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations.
  • Supports the work of the Editor and Book Editor of the Society’s scholarly journal Ontario History

Required Qualifications:
Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree strongly preferred, and a minimum of eight (8) years of leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector. Experience in public policy development and a successful advocacy track record at the federal, provincial, or municipal level is required. A broad knowledge of the public benefits and roles that government and philanthropic support play in advancing positive impacts provincially is fundamental. A comprehensive understanding and sensitivity of the mandates, values, and environments in which the Society, its affiliates and members function.


The Ontario Historical Society offers a salary for this position ranging from $75,000 to $85,000 commensurate with experience. The compensation package also includes a comprehensive benefits package.

How to Apply:

Qualified candidates should apply by submitting a cover letter and resume to the President of the Society, Dr. Michel S. Beaulieu, at hr@ontariohistoricalsociety.ca no later than 11:59 pm EST on Monday, 14 November. Interviews will be scheduled soon after. We thank everyone for their interest, but only those selected for an interview will be contacted. References will be requested at the time of the interview.

The Ontario Historical Society is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applications from all qualified individuals including women, racialized persons, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and other equity-seeking groups. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. This is in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements.