MacTavish was named head coach of the Chicago Wolves on Monday.
It's his first coaching job since leaving the Oilers in April 2009 after eight seasons as Edmonton's head coach.
MacTavish has worked as a hockey commentator at TSN for the last two years while earning a master's degree in business from Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.
"We are thrilled to have Craig join our organization," Canucks GM Mike Gillis said in a statement. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be invaluable as we continue to develop our players and create a winning environment in Chicago."
MacTavish left the Oilers with a 301-252-47-56 record in 656 regular season games, highlighted by a Stanley Cup final appearance in 2006. His playoff record was 19-17.
He retired after appearing in 1093 career games and collecting 480 points and winning four Stanley Cups, three with the Oilers (1987, 1998, 1990) and one with the Rangers (1994).