WES Expert Panel Appointment Process

The call for nominations for the Expert Panel on Women's Entrepreneurship is now closed. The Panel completed its mandate on December 31, 2019.

The Government of Canada used a transparent and merit-based process to appoint members of the Panel, which sought to have proper representation of Indigenous peoples and minority groups in positions of leadership.

To avoid potential conflicts of interest, Panel members were ineligible to apply for funding under the WES Ecosystem Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Fund.

Candidates were required to send a résumé and cover letter addressed to the Deputy Minister of ISED to the following email address:ic.wes-sfe.ic@canada.ca. The deadline for interested Canadians to apply was November 16, 2018 at 23:59 PST.

The cover letter required candidates to outline how they met the experience, knowledge and personal attributes criteria outlined below.

Criteria Used to Appoint WES Expert Panel Members

Official Languages and Diversity

The Government of Canada considered bilingual proficiency and diversity in assessing candidates for these positions. Candidates were therefore encouraged to include in their application their ability to speak and understand their second official language. Preference was given to candidates who are members of one or more of the following groups: women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minority groups. Qualified male candidates were encouraged to participate in this process.

To have been considered for one of these positions, candidates were to provide in their application, examples from their career that clearly demonstrate how they meet at least two of each of the experience and knowledge requirements:

Experience and Education

  • Experience as an entrepreneur;
  • Experience in leadership positions in business support organizations offering targeted services to women entrepreneurs, business owners and women-owned/led businesses;
  • Experience serving as a member of a board of directors for a public or private-sector organization;
  • Experience as a senior executive answerable to stakeholders in the public or private sector; and
  • A degree from a recognized university in a relevant field of study or an acceptable combination of education, job-related training or experience.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Solid understanding and expert knowledge of the women entrepreneurship ecosystem in Canada;
  • Ability to discuss, foster debate among committee members, facilitate consensus and manage conflicts, should they arise;
  • Ability to develop effective working relationships with other committee members and stakeholders; and
  • Superior written and verbal communication skills.

Personal Attributes

A reference check was completed to verify candidates’ demonstration of the experience requirements and the following personal attributes in their current and recently held positions:

  • Sound judgment, tact, and discretion;
  • High ethical standards;
  • Integrity;
  • Superior interpersonal skills; and
  • Adaptability, flexibility and impartiality.

Eligibility Factors and Conditions of Employment

In the application, candidates had to confirm that there were able to abide by the following requirements:

  • The time commitment for members is expected to be approximately five to ten hours per month.
  • Willingness to travel domestically as required.
  • Each member shall be reimbursed, consistent with guidelines set forth by the Treasury Board Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures, for reasonable travel and living expenses incurred while performing committee duties.
  • Members will discuss and review confidential and sensitive documents and will be required to observe the confidentiality and privacy policies of the Government of Canada.
  • Members must observe guidelines on conflict of interest and ethics, and may not have any real or perceived conflicts of interest.
  • Reliability Status security clearance will be required.

Chosen Panel members signed and agreed to the Appointment Agreement, including conflict of interest and confidentiality provisions, included below.

Conflict of interest and confidentiality provisions


Unless the context clearly indicates the contrary, the feminine shall include masculine and the singular shall include the plural, and vice versa.

WES Expert Panel

1. Context

1.1 The Deputy Minister has established the WES Expert Panel comprised of diverse representatives to provide expert advice.

1.2 The applicant wishes to become a Member of the Panel.

1.3 It is important that the advice the Members provide to the Deputy Minister is not tainted by actual or potential bias and is free of any real or apparent conflict of interest. The Deputy Minister may consider the whole of the deliberations and recommendations of the Panel and the materials which its Members consider or generate as confidential.

2. Conflict of interest

2.1 The Member acknowledges the importance of offering advice and recommendations that are independent, expert, and made in good faith. The Member shall make all research and analysis gathered by the Member for the purposes of providing advice to the Deputy Minister available to the Deputy Minister or to the official(s) designated by the Deputy Minister.

2.2 The Member shall disclose to the Deputy Minister any advice which, if adopted and implemented, would result in financial gain to the Member, either professionally or personally, or to any person in the Member's immediate family or to any organization with which the Member is affiliated. The Member will be ineligible for funding under the WES Ecosystem Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Fund.

2.3 In the event that the Member also sits on another advisory committee/board, the Member agrees not to share any information, documentation, deliberations, records or advice obtained, developed, or given by or to, the Panel Members with the members of the other advisory board, unless and until the Member is authorized to do so, in writing, by the Deputy Minister or an official designated by the Deputy Minister.

2.4 The Member shall immediately report to the Deputy Minister any circumstances in which the Member perceives a conflict or bias resulting from the Member's roles on the Panel and any outside interests or activities, including organizational affiliations or other advisory committees/boards. Should the Deputy Minister or an official designated by the Deputy Minister conclude that a real, apparent or perceived conflict of interest exists involving the Member's activities on the Panel and the outside interests or activities, including other advisory committees/boards, he may require the Member to abstain from participating in any related discussions or in the development of a related recommendation, or terminate the Member's membership in the Panel at the Deputy Minister's sole discretion.

2.5 In the event that the Member is already subject to the Value and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, Values and Ethics Codes for a Federal Department, the Conflict of Interest Act, or any other federal policy relating to conflict of interest, the Member acknowledges that she remains bound by these provisions and shall comply with their requirements in performing her duties under the terms of this Agreement.

3. Confidentiality

3.1 The Member agrees to treat any information which the Deputy Minister or ISED discloses to her in her capacity as a Panel member as confidential and subject to the Access to Information Act, the Security of Information Act and the Government Security Policy.

3.2 The Member agrees that she shall not, without the prior written permission of the Deputy Minister or an official designated by the Deputy Minister, disclose to any one, other than another Panel Member acting within the scope of her Panel role, the Deputy Minister or an official of ISED (including its Access to Information Coordinator), any information or documentation discussed or provided by ISED or by any other person, for or during Panel meetings, discussions or deliberations, except to the extent that such information or documentation is demonstrably in the public domain.

3.3 The Member shall not make use of the information or documentation disclosed or provided to the Member in her capacity as a Panel Member, except to the extent that it is demonstrably in the public domain, for any purpose other than her mandate as a Member of the Panel.

3.4 The Member agrees to return to the Deputy Minister any information disclosed to her in her capacity as a Panel Member at the end of her term.

3.5 These confidentiality provisions are subject to the operation of Canadian law and any validly issued Court order.

4. Survival

4.1 The obligations set out in this Annex shall survive the expiration or termination of the Appointment Agreement.