Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the NFB

As stipulated in the National Film Act of 1950, the person who holds the position of Government Film Commissioner is the head of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). As such, he or she is responsible for the administration of the Board, directs its activities and, subject to its by-laws, exercises in the Board’s name all the powers granted to the organization.

In addition to advising the Governor in Council on film matters, the Commissioner is mainly involved in the long-term planning of activities at the NFB, in developing its resources, clarifying its general policies and formulating its production policies.

The Commissioner is appointed for a five-year term, subject to removal for cause by the Governor in Council, upon the recommendation of the NFB.

The current Government Film Commissioner is Mr. Claude Joli-Coeur.

Claude Joli-Coeur_MG_5125_PAA141126-B_ONF CroppedClaude Joli-Coeur, an influential figure in the film and audiovisual industry for over 30 years, is the 16th Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada.

Mr. Joli-Coeur has been at the NFB for more than 12 years. As Assistant Commissioner (2007 to 2014), he headed Government Relations and Strategic Planning as well as Business Affairs and Legal Services. Until recently, he served as Acting Commissioner, a position he had previously held in 2007.

Mr. Joli-Coeur earned a law degree from the Université de Montréal and has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 1979. He practised law with the firms of Langlois Drouin and Lafleur Brown in Montreal from 1979 to 1985 and was legal counsel at Telefilm Canada from 1985 to 1987.

As an entertainment law specialist in the private sector, Mr. Joli-Coeur signed several international co-production agreements between Canada and a number of European countries, including France, the United Kingdom and Germany. From 1987 to 1995, he worked for Astral Entertainment Group, a film financing and distribution company, first as Director of Business Affairs and subsequently as Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs. In 1995, he was appointed Vice President, Legal and International Affairs, at Coscient Group (Motion International), a position he held for five years. From 2000 to 2002, he served as Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs, and Secretary at TVA International Inc., as well as Vice President, Business Affairs, at Zone 3 Inc. before joining the NFB.

Claude Joli-Coeur is recognized for his ability to mobilize, a leadership style focused on results and integrity, and his strong commitment to Canadian communities. That commitment, combined with his interest in Canadian culture, has inspired him to undertake numerous initiatives, particularly with major national muséums as well as with Inuit and French-speaking Canadian communities.

List of former Commissioners of the NFB:

John Grierson

Ross McLean
1945-1947 (interim)

W. Arthur Irwin

Albert William Trueman

Guy Roberge

Grant McLean
1966-1967 (interim)

Hugo McPherson

Sydney Newman

André Lamy

James de Beaujeu Domville

François N. Macerola

Joan Pennefather

Sandra M. Macdonald

Jacques Bensimon

Claude Joli-Coeur
2006-2007 (interim)

Tom Perlmutter


Claude Joli-Coeur
2013-2014 (interim)