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Your skills and experience will make a difference.

CESO Advisors

By sharing your professional knowledge and expertise, you can make a positive difference in Canada and around the world. We’ve been successfully matching our volunteer CESO Advisors with clients and partners in over 120 countries since 1967. Our volunteers drive both economic and social change by strengthening the private sector and creating an environment for communities to thrive.

Our Advisors are highly-skilled professionals who advise, mentor and share strategic and technical expertise with partners and clients through a planned sequence of short-term, strategic assignments. They are Canadian citizens (or permanent residents) who represent a wide range of industries and professional skill sets.

Is volunteering with CESO right for you?

Typically, a minimum of 15 years working experience is required, with at least ten years of experience in the field or with a role that an Advisor is looking to support. In select cases, we work with Advisors with less experience, provided they have the right mix of knowledge and expertise to suit CESO’s partner needs.

CESO is looking for a diverse range of skills and experience to ensure that we can offer support to all our partners. We work in many sectors and industries. Here are a few of the areas where we focus:

Areas of Focus



  • Governance & Institutional Strengthening

   Tourism and Hospitality

  • MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Entreprise) Development

   Agribusiness and Agroforestry

  • Supply Chain Management

   Information Technology

  • General and Results-Based Management

   Finance and Microfinance

  • Emergency Response

   Manufacturing and Production

  • Human Resources

   Environment and Renewable Energy

  • Operations

   Health and Nutrition

  • Strategic Planning
  • Digital Marketing
  • Gender Equality
  • Virtual Facilitation

We are also looking for translators and/or interpreters to support assignments conducted in Spanish, Vietnamese, Dutch, Swahili and Amharic, among other languages.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Advisors must be a resident or citizen of Canada, under the age of 79. New Advisors must be under the age of 78 at the point of application.
  • Advisors must be covered under a Canadian provincial health program.
  • Advisors must be native or fully professional in either English or French.
What it means to be a CESO Advisor:

Cyndi’s professional career spans 18 years. Thirteen of those years were spent as an accountant. Cyndi has worked with a wide variety of public and private clients over her career, executing strong accounting expertise and tools, which she can share to build the capacity of CESO partners. Cyndi works full time at her job but has flexible work hours. Her evenings and weekends are also available, which makes it possible for her to support virtual assignments.


Tony has recently retired following a 35-year career in the manufacturing of consumer goods. His background includes an executive MBA, several C-suite and advisory roles and board positions ranging from non-profit to publicly listed companies. Eager for a way to fill his time by giving back and creating long-lasting impact, Tony volunteers with CESO regularly, working primarily in Latin America.


Click here to meet some of our CESO Advisors.




Q1 How do I become a volunteer?


Complete the CESO Advisor application form and attach your resume.


Each application is carefully reviewed to ensure there is a strong match between an Advisor’s skills and the needs of CESO assignments.

Orientation and Interview

You will be sent a link to watch a 15-minute orientation video to learn more about CESO, followed by a phone interview and reference checks.

Complete the online compliance training

This training consists of three modules – Ethics and Code of Conduct, Global Workplace Harassment and Intercultural Communications. The training can be done in one sitting, or you can save your work and come back to it at a later time.

Provide a completed Criminal Record Check

All new volunteers joining the roster and going on an assignment must submit a completed Criminal Record Check.

Read and sign off on CESO policies

Candidates will be required to read and understand CESO’s policies. A signed acknowledgement form must be returned through an online portal.

Pay a one-time $100 administration fee

Pay the $100 through PayPal.


Successful candidates will receive a welcome letter and log-in information for the myCESO online information portal.

Apply for Assignments

Congratulations – you are now eligible to apply for assignments!

Q2 Are assignments running under COVID-19 restrictions?

CESO is continually monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic updates and travel advisories. The safety of our Advisors is our primary consideration at this time.  As such, all in-field assignments are temporarily suspended. We have pivoted to doing virtual assignments as we continue to provide critical online and remote support and mentoring to our local partners at this important time, while the world responds to the economic impact of this pandemic. We look forward to resuming in-field operations at such a time that we are able to ensure confidently the safety of our Advisors. To learn more about CESO’s approach to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Update page. 

Q3 Are there any costs associated with being a CESO Advisor?

Before becoming an active CESO Advisor, you will be asked to pay the one-time $100 Administration Fee.

Q4 What is the Administration Fee?

All volunteers applying to CESO for the first time pay a $100 Administration Fee. This fee is to cover the costs associated with the services that help make your entire advisor experience a positive one. Please note, your payment of the fee does not guarantee that you will be selected for an assignment, however, you will be eligible to see a full list of current assignment opportunities in our internal myCESO portal.

Q5 What costs does CESO cover for Advisors?

International assignments – CESO covers the costs associated with:

  • *Flights to and from the country of assignment
  • Entry visas
  • Health and accident insurance
  • Medical clearance/vaccinations
  • In-country travel related to the assignment (not including personal travel)
  • Food and accommodation up to a maximum of the established country daily rate
  • A per diem spending allowance

National assignments – CESO covers the costs associated with:

  • *Travel costs to and from the assignment
  • Food and accommodation (up to a maximum of the established country daily rate)
  • Travel and accident insurance
  • Incidental costs

When booking airfares, CESO must comply with the requirements stipulated in our funding agreement with our program funder, which states:

Global Affairs Canada will limit the reimbursement of plane tickets to the lowest fare available at the time of reservation even when the Organization chooses not to use this fare”

This means that you must accept the most direct and cost effective route to and from the assignment and travel will be in economy class. If you would like to book upgraded seats, you will be responsible to pay the difference. Please speak with your Program Coordinator if you would like to learn more.

Q6 Is there an age limit to being a CESO Advisor?

CESO is not able to provide insurance for CESO Advisors who are 79 years of age or older as the eligibility for medical coverage and AD&D (Accidental Death & Dismemberment) insurance through our provider, AIG, ceases at 79 years of age.

Q7 Do I need health insurance?

All CESO Advisors must be covered under a Canadian provincial health program (e.g. BC Services Plan, OHIP, Quebec Health Insurance Plan). Applicants without this will not be permitted to go on assignment.

Q8 Can I take my spouse/partner with me on assignment?

Yes, you can bring your spouse/partner at their own expense and only with the permission of both CESO and the client. Our funding applies only to the expenses of the advisor, not the spouse/partner.

Q9 How long are assignments?

International assignments typically last from two weeks to four weeks. Indigenous Services assignments typically last from two days to two weeks. There are some exceptions for mentoring assignments which could last up to a year with a few site visits.

Q10 What are the chances that I will be selected to go on assignment?

Our assignments are driven by client demand and as such, we cannot guarantee a certain number of assignments over any period of time. We regularly speak with program partners and communities in need to see where we are able to provide services. The number of available assignments is constantly changing.

Q11 What are CESO Advisors expected to do?

As an Advisor you are expected to:

  • Work cooperatively with CESO staff, clients and partners in order to meet their defined needs
  • Act as a mentor and/or advisor to the client/partner you are working with
  • Execute your assignment to the best of your ability, including pre- and post-assignment planning and requirements
  • Represent CESO to the best of your ability at all times in accordance with our Code of Conduct
Q12 How much notice will I be given before having to go on assignment?

We try to provide advisors with as much notice as possible about a potential assignment. Typically, for national assignments successful candidates will be given two weeks to one month’s notice to prepare and deploy for assignments. For international assignments, successful candidates will typically be given two weeks up to a few month’s notice.

Q13 What is myCESO?

myCESO is our internal web portal that gives you access to all current advisor opportunities, as well as detailed information and any documents necessary for your assignments. You will gain access to myCESO upon becoming an active CESO Advisor (CA).

Q14 Who do I contact if I cannot log into myCESO account?

If you are experiencing difficulties logging into your myCESO account, please send an email to for immediate assistance.

Q15 If I have a question about volunteering but it is not listed here, who do I contact?

For questions in English, please contact For questions in French, please contact 1-800-268-9052
Canadian Executive Service Organization CESO | SACO is a registered charity (BN 11883 0850 RR 0001), with no political or religious affiliations. Copyright CESO-SACO 2019 • All Rights Reserved
CESO thanks and gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Global Affairs Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and our private-sector supporters.
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