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President’s Message



Greetings fellow members!

I hope you are all keeping good and busy these winter months. For all of our members in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, ACTRA Maritimes is your local union branch, and from all of our Council and the staff at our office in Halifax, we look forward to 2019 together and work in our region.

Our new ACTRA Maritimes Council was elected this past November and I am looking forward to the next 2 years as your new President. Our past President Francine Deschepper has always been an incredible leader for our Branch, and an energetic and tireless advocate for our film and television industry. With Francine at the helm, our voices from the Maritimes were heard loud and clear as we celebrated our 75th ACTRA Anniversary this past year, and as ACTRA implemented an industry-wide Code of Conduct, and successfully negotiated both our National Commercial Agreement and our Independent Production Agreement. Francine continues her amazing work in the all-important role as our National Councillor. Always making sure we are fully represented at the National ACTRA table in Toronto, Francine also sits at our local Council table for all of our meetings, so we have the pleasure of her knowledge and experience right here with us!

And it was so wonderful to see so many excellent candidates come forward for our election in November. We had the highest voter turn-out that we have ever had, and we thank all the nominees for offering. Every candidate had an impressive resume and biography and we are pleased that some of the candidates are now joining some of our committees.

And our newly elected Council is a wonderfully dynamic group! Full of inspiring experience in both their acting and in their other professions in life, they are a pleasure to work with and we recently completed our second meeting. Returning for another 2 year term are Joanne Miller (our new Vice President), David Christoffel (our new Treasurer), Koumbie (Chair of our Diversity Committee), Amy Trefry (Chair of our Special Events Committee) and Jacob Sampson. Joining our Council for the new term are Gillian Anderson (our new Secretary), Kirstin Howell (Chair of the Training Committee), Matthew Lumley (Chair of the Awards Committee), Bob Mann (Chair of the Discipline Committee) and Lesley Smith (Chair of the Women’s Committee). Oh yes, we have them all up and running and working away already!

Our wonderful office staff continues with our Branch Representative Richard Hadley, our IPA Business Representative Eva MacGregor, and our Commercial and Business Representative Tami Thomson.

And with every new Council term, we see new faces at the table, as past Councillors that have served us so dearly, depart to continue in their careers and work. It is with pride that we reflect on the wonderful contributions and legacy that they leave us with. Their important decisions made at the Council table and longtime work for ACTRA Maritimes, are with us now and for the future!

Along with their acting careers, our past Councillors are now busy with other creative endeavors – Andrea Dymond, (our past Treasurer Extraordinaire!) is now the Operations Co-ordinator at the Director’s Guild of Canada Atlantic Regional Council. Past Councillor Shelley Thompson was very active in the development of modern revisions on our ACTRA MIP and AIP agreements that will help local producers choose ACTRA talent. Shelley is currently busy with many projects, including recently receiving the Women In the Director Chair’s annual WIDC feature film award, adding to the funding for her upcoming debut feature film, Dawn, Her Dad, & the Tractor. David Rossetti, our fabulous event planner and Training Committee co-chair, was with me in Toronto speaking at the ACTRA National meetings in July. David hosts the best trivia nights in the City, and is also very busy with his music company. Oh yes, and he also renovated a house this past year!

Longtime Past-Councillor Geneviève Steele has championed many committees and events during her tenure including her outstanding work chairing the ACTRA Awards committee. Geneviève recently appeared in Below the Salt’s production of Hamlet, and is also busy working with corporations as the Partner and Associate Director of the inPractice Ready to Role company. Past-Councillor Kathryn McCormack wowed us all with her diligence as our recording Secretary, and is currently Directing the upcoming production Fox at The Villain’s Theatre.

And Past National Councillor and ACTRA Maritimes life member Jeremy Webb, who served our branch so generously and diligently for so many years, has been wowing audiences bringing his vision, energy and inspiration to his role as the Artistic Director of Neptune Theatre. Incredible productions made under Jeremy’s watch include KAMP, Mama Mia!, Cinderella, Shakespeare in Love, The Bridge, Chasing Champions and Lo (Or Dear Mr. Wells).

And I personally know many of you, and a brief introduction of myself for those of us meeting for the first time. I worked for many years as a producer and writer for a technology based Television show in Vancouver that aired on CTV and Air Canada, and I wrote and produced a feature film with Telefilm Canada, Showcase Television and Super Channel. I have made short films that aired on CBC and the Comedy Network, and this past year I directed 2 corporate video projects with ACTRA Maritimes members – a PSA video for NSCC (Nova Scotia Community College) featuring Amy Trefy and Robbie Delano, and a video series for the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association, featuring Dylan Bailey, Tamara Fifield, Laurie Hanley, George Green, Kevin Gerrior, Ann Doyle, Ann Merritt, Carol Chan Bezanson, John Alexander Baker, Becca Babcock, Michele Mockler, Joel Diamond and Sébastien Poissant Labelle. Previous versions of these videos were made without union involvement and it is my continued goal to have projects both big and smaller, employing our members!

Sincerely yours and in Solidarity,

Chris Cuthbertson

President’s Message – December 21, 2018

Dear Fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

I am sitting in the comfort of my Mother’s home, the smell of fresh baked biscuits wafting from the oven, watching the snow fall softly outside. True comfort and joy. And yet I can’t help complaining about how early it turns dark and how cold it is this time of year. My husband – ever the pragmatist – offers his sage advice: “turn on a light”; “put on a sweater”. I give him a withering look but really he is right…my griping won’t change the calendar so I might as well do what I can to endure it.

However, much to my delight, tomorrow marks the Winter Solstice and with it comes the promise of rebirth, regrowth, and abundance.

Could our Nova Scotia film industry also be emerging from its dark days? We did have a busy shooting season this past year. Many of our members were working on sets again. The Provincial government even increased the NS Film Incentive Fund by $6 million to “meet greater demand and local spending from the sector”. That sounds like a ray of hope, right?

Plus, it’s the Holiday Season – a time for gratefulness, goodwill, and cheer. So allow me to take a moment to focus a bright light on the positive, and remind myself why I am thankful to be in this business.

Number one: the brilliant artistry and grit of the people I get to call my peers. The Maritimes shines with talented actors, designers, and technicians. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

I am thankful for local producers like Mike Volpe who gave us eight stellar seasons of Mr D.  Think how many of our members literally grew up on this show. If you’ve not yet read the recent economic study, it is very impressive:

Thank you to Floyd Kane, Bill Niven, Jay Dahl, Terry Greenlaw, Karen Wentzel, Doug Pettigrew, Nelson MacDonald, Nancy Urich, Ginny Duzak, David MacLeod, Marc Almon, Melani Wood, and all the producers determined to keep NS Film ‘open for business’.

I feel such goodwill toward our many local writers and directors whose creativity and vision give us great characters to play and bring our stories to life. Thank you Trailer Park Boys, Thom Fitzgerald, Andrea Dorfman, Cory Bowles, Mike Melski, Ashley MacKenzie, Jason Eisener, Jason Shipley, Rob Cotterill, Stephanie Clattenberg, Nicole Steeves, Megan Wennberg, Mark Little, Andrew Bush, Michael Amo, Koumbie, Shelley Thompson, Heather Young, Seth Smith, and Taylor Olson, to name just a few.

And ACTRA had much to cheer about this year. We celebrated our 75th Anniversary, we implemented an industry-wide Code of Conduct, and we successfully negotiated both our National Commercial Agreement and our Independent Production Agreement.

However, I am not quite ready to declare “it’s a wonderful life”. There are still some outstanding items on our wish list…like increasing the film incentive fund to a level that is competitive with other Canadian markets, bringing back equity funding for low-budget productions, and building that oh-so-crucial sound stage. But we’ve made it this far through pretty dark times, and we are still here.

So my New Year’s resolution is to try more often to look on the bright side. Yes, there are still three (four?) more long cold months of NS Winter to endure but hey, put on a sweater, and remember that it is always darkest before the dawn.

It has been my pleasure to serve the last two years as your President, and I look forward to continuing to represent ACTRA Maritimes as your National Councillor in 2019.

In solidarity and with optimism,

Francine Deschepper

President’s Message – December 3, 2018

Dear Fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

As you may have already heard, ACTRA has successfully reached a tentative settlement with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) with respect to the Independent Production Agreement (IPA).

After listening to the interests of members across the country (including two focus groups from here in the Maritimes) ACTRA entered into these negotiations determined to address and prevent harassment in the workplace; improve safety, health and working conditions on set for all members; increase work opportunities; and achieve industry standard rates of pay.

Ratification of this settlement will bring significant improvements to the IPA, including several that our Maritime focus groups identified and I have underlined here:

  • Improved measures on harassment prevention, nudity, and respectful workplace language. Producers will ensure there is a workplace harassment policy in place and a procedure for reporting harassment, and that all cast and crew are aware of the policy and procedure.
  • An annual general increase of 3% in each of the 3 years;
  • Stunt Coordinators rates will increase 5% in the first year and 3% in each of the subsequent two years;
  • Recognition for ACTRA Additional Background Performers; and an increase in the Background Performer Count. Here in The Maritimes this will increase the required ACTRA BG vouchers to 12.
  • A Letter of Understanding for Background Conditions that will see: Wardrobe racks in Background holding areas to hang Performers’ clothing; the inclusion of Background Performers in Safety Meetings for scenes in which they are involved; a daily Callsheet posted in Background holding areas; and a provision of sufficient space in Background holding areas to avoid overcrowding.
  • A self-tape will be considered an audition or audition recall when the Producer requires the Performer to submit a self-tape.
  • Two additional Use options have been added for Animation Productions to increase work opportunities for ACTRA Animation Voice Performers.

You can read further information regarding the IPA negotiation on the ACTRA National website here:

The package comes to you for ratification from both your Negotiating Committee and the ACTRA National Executive with the unanimous recommendation to vote YES in the online ballot referendum.

As your ACTRA Maritimes’ President and National Councillor, I too am recommending that you vote YES. Each Full Member who qualifies to vote should have received an email with a confidential PIN and instructions to vote online. To qualify to vote, full members must have worked under the current IPA contract.  If you have not received a PIN and think you qualify, please contact Richard at

I encourage you to exercise your right to vote on ratification of this agreement by completing the ballot online no later than 3:00pm EST on Friday, December 14, 2018.

In Solidarity,

Francine Deschepper
Branch President
ACTRA Maritimes


President’s Message – October 12, 2018

A Call for Nominations

To All Full Members of ACTRA Maritimes Branch

We are fast approaching the end of the current Branch Council’s two year term of office. A new term will begin in January 2019. So the time has come to invite nominations for a new Branch Council and new Branch President (the positions of Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary are elected internally by the new Branch Council.) I am happy to say that a number of our current councillors are planning to re-offer but we would love to add some new faces (and voices) to our boardroom table.

As a member of ACTRA Maritimes’ Branch Council you will be directly involved in decisions that impact the running of your Branch. You will be joining a team of motivated, engaged, and committed members who volunteer their time and energy in an effort to increase and improve working opportunities for a membership 600 strong.

The position of Branch Councillor is rewarding but it requires commitment. The term is two years, during which time you are expected to attend monthly meetings, membership meetings and events, support several committees, participate in political action and vote on numerous branch decisions. If you have ever thought about getting more involved, or been curious about how this National union works; if you have been frustrated with any aspect of it and felt that you

would do things differently…now is your chance! Councils work best when our voices and perspectives are diverse. Democracy works best when councils are not acclaimed but choices are presented and elections are held.

Nomination forms are linked below.  There are separate nomination forms for Branch Councillor and Branch President. We have included both forms in two formats. One is a fillable excel form and one in is a printable pdf. Only one version of a form needs to be completed. Both the Nominator and Nominee must be full members of the Maritimes Branch in good standing.  The form must be signed by both the Full Member making the nomination and the Nominee.

Branch President PDF                              Branch Councillor PDF
Branch President Excel                            Branch Councillor Excel

NOMINATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY 5:00pm, Friday, October 26th 2018.

Fully completed nomination forms may be scanned & emailed or mailed to the ACTRA office at:
103-1660 Hollis Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1V7

Unless all positions are acclaimed, ballots will be sent out October 29, 2018 and elections will then take place with the membership being asked to vote. A new Council will be announced after the election and then take up the reigns in January.

It has been my pleasure to serve as your Branch President for the last two years. I have met and talked with many smart, passionate, proud fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ members who I know would make great Councillors. I really hope to see some of your names nominated.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about sitting on Council, please don’t hesitate to write me at the address below.

In solidarity,

Francine Deschepper
President and National Councillor
ACTRA Maritimes


President’s Message – September 11, 2018

If you don’t already have it marked in your calendar, September 13th-20th is the 2018 FIN Atlantic International Film Festival. There are many ACTRA Maritimes’ performers featured in this year’s line up including: The Opening Night Gala Splinters, Hopeless Romantic, Halloween Party, The Reel East Coast Shorts Gala, five Atlantic Shorts screenings, as well as the exciting Script Pitch, and Script Out Loud. I encourage you all to come out and support your friends and colleagues, see some terrific films, and enjoy the parties.

Need more incentive? ACTRA Maritimes has 200 single- regular screening ticket vouchers (not galas) available for you. Each member gets two tickets while they last…so don’t delay…simply pick them up at the ACTRA office during business hours, 9:30-5:00pm Monday to Friday.

For a day-to-day schedule of films, please visit

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I’ve got a fantastic bonus offer too. We are giving away a full FIN “The Big Binge Pass,” value $175.00  to one lucky member. We will be drawing the winner at our next ACTRA Council meeting on September 10th, just in time for the Festival, and we’ll announce the winner on our Facebook page. The contest is open to all ACTRA Maritimes’ Members who have a profile on ACTRAonline. You can’t be entered if you aren’t registered “so act now”! To enter, just email Tami at with the subject line “Big Binge Pass Draw”.

If you don’t have a profile on ACTRAonline, please contact Eva or Tami at the office at or and they will send you instructions on how to set up your profile.

UPDATE: The winner of the FIN Big Binge Pass is Ryan Willis. Congratulations Ryan!

And guess what? We had so much fun, we are going to give away another one! This time to be entered you simply have to post a quick video of yourself telling us what Atlantic short or feature you are most excited to see at this year’s festival using #ACTRAbinge. We will make the draw on Wednesday September 12th so don’t delay.

In solidarity,



President’s Message – September 2018

Dear Fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

I hope you are all having a fun and productive Summer (I refuse to say it is coming to an end until the very last official day). With Pure Season 2 and Mr. D Season 8 complete, and two more CBC series, Cavendish and Diggstown presently shooting, I can happily say it has been a great film season. Of course, I will always ‘root, root, root for the home team’, but more on that another time.

If you don’t already have it marked in your calendar, September 13th-20th is the 2018 FIN Atlantic Film Festival. There are many ACTRA Maritimes’ performers featured in this year’s line up including: The Opening Night Gala Splinters, Hopeless Romantic, Halloween Party, The Reel East Coast Shorts Gala, five Atlantic Shorts screenings, as well as the exciting Script Pitch, and Script Out Loud. I encourage you all to come out and support your friends and colleagues, see some terrific films, and enjoy the parties.

Need more incentive? ACTRA Maritimes has 200 single-regular screening ticket vouchers (not galas) available for you. Each member gets two ticket vouchers while they last…so don’t delay…simply pick them up at the ACTRA office during business hours, 9:30-5:00pm Monday to Friday.

Enjoy these last precious days of Summer and hope to see you at the Festival.

In solidarity,


President’s Message – May 2018

Dear Fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

 Is it just me? I feel as if I am emerging from my hibernation den and slowly venturing out again. That was indeed a quiet, sleepy Winter here in the Maritimes, but things are starting to pick up.

 Auditions are already in progress for Season 2 of Pure, and Season 8 of Mr. D will soon follow. I have been contacted by the Casting Directors in town who’ve asked that our members please update their ACTRAonline profiles. Not already on ACTRAonline? Need help signing up? Your ACTRA Maritimes Councillors are coming to your rescue. On Saturday May 12th from 1:30-2:30 PM (just before the Annual General Meeting) in the Windsor Foundation Theatre of the Art Gallery of NS, we will have volunteers on hand to help you register. It’s free, it’s easy, and it just might get you work. What are you waiting for?

If you want to put some ‘Spring in your step’, here are two upcoming ACTRA events we would love for you to help us celebrate:

 On Saturday, May 12th (as mention above) we are holding our Annual General Meeting from 2:30-4:30PM in the Windsor Foundation Theatre of the Art Gallery of NS. Now I know what you are thinking – a two hour meeting is not exactly my idea of a fun time – but, If you have never attended an AGM before you might be pleasantly surprised. It is a great chance catch up with fellow members, find out what is happening within the local industry, and raise your own questions or concerns. Our special guests this year are ACTRA President David Sparrow and Regional Representative Daintry Dalton. They will be giving us updates on what is happening nationally, including the recently penned Industry-Wide Code of Conduct, and efforts being made at the federal level to support work opportunities for Canadian performers all across the country. The conversation is always spirited and I am always impressed with the passion of our members. Speaking of ‘spirited’, all members who attend the AGM will be given a free beverage ticket for the reception immediately following the meeting. Yes, you may call this a shameless ploy…I like to think of it as incentivizing.

 It is ACTRA’s 75th birthday! So we’re going to have a little party. From 5:00-7:00PM in the upstairs Galley of the Farmer’s Market (1209 Marginal Road) we will raise a toast to 75 years of Canadian story-telling and the continued success of our proud union members – you! There will be some nibbles, a cash bar, and birthday cake. Fun, right? It’s free to all members with guest tickets available for puchase. Please RSVP

 The second event you won’t want to miss is the 4th annual Screen Nova Scotia Awards Gala, taking place Wednesday, May 16th at 8:00 PM in the Schooner Room at Casino Nova Scotia. The event will be co-hosted by some of Nova Scotia’s brightest talents, including ACTRA Maritimes’ members Jonathan Torrens and Bette MacDonald along with ACTRA Newfoundland member Cathy Jones.

 “Home-grown Maritime productions have again provided our actors with the opportunity to shine,” said David Christoffel, Chair of the ACTRA Maritimes Awards Committee. “Our local projects have showcased wonderful performances by some very talented established and emerging artists.”

 For ticket information and a complete list of nominees visit the Screen NS website:

 I hope to see you all very soon and look forward to celebrating with you – my friends and creative colleagues.

 In solidarity,
Francine Deschepper
Branch President and National Councillor
ACTRA Maritimes


Presidnet’s Message – January 2018

Dear fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

We are just three weeks into 2018 and it has already been a busy and eventful year. So let me tell you what your ACTRA Maritimes’ council and staff have been up to so far.

Our Training Committee kicked things off with our Training and Talent conference. Joanne Miller and Dave Rossetti organized a day packed with workshops and discussion panels aimed at increasing work opportunities for our members; including local Casting Directors, a fantastic Voice & Dialect Coach (who just happens to be an ACTRA Maritimes Past-President), and special guest acting coach Lewis Baumander of Toronto’s Casting Central. Staff and Council were on hand for New Member Orientation and to help with signing up for ACTRAonline. Councillor Koumbie along with her film-making partner Taylor Olson and ACTRA Maritimes’ IPA Business Representative Eva, gave a very informative tutorial on creating your own films using our MIP agreement. In addition, we introduced our ‘made-in-the-Maritimes’, newly revised AIP agreement. Your Council listened to feedback from local indie producers, and we believe these changes will make it easier than ever for them to hire professional ACTRA performers for their next project.

I have to give special thanks to the mother of one of our youth members. When a power outage threatened to cancel our afternoon sessions, she made a phone call and literally saved the day!

The two workshops that did have to be postponed (Being an ACTRA Parent with Angela Poole and Self-Tape Auditions with Chris Cuthbertson) will be re-offered, so keep an eye out for the new dates.

On the Political Action front, Branch Representative Richard Hadley and myself continue to advocate on behalf of our local industry; meeting with provincial MLAs, and collaborating with Screen Nova Scotia to increase production to pre-2015 levels. We are very happy that Development Funding has been announced for local screenwriters and we remain hopeful that Equity Financing will also be reinstated. Please keep telling your own provincial politicians how important this is to our success.

ACTRA Maritimes’ Women’s Committee hosted a meeting with local industry partners (SNS, IATSE, DGC, CMPA, WIFT, and AFCOOP) to share updates on steps that are being made both nationally and regionally to end harassment of all kinds, and foster safety and respect in our workplace. Three working groups have been tasked with creating an industry-wide code of conduct, safe reporting systems, and education and training initiatives. This work will also include the goal of achieving gender parity and diversity both on and off camera. Women’s Chair Shelley Thompson and myself with be attending the ACTRA National Women’s Committee meeting in Toronto in early February where we expect to finalize these enhanced policies and procedures. The time for change is now. I am proud of the overwhelming and unanimous support of all Canadian artistic organizations to make this change a reality.

And here are a few more things I am proud of: The 2018 Canadian Screen Awards have been announced and several Nova Scotia-shot productions have made the list. This Hour Has 22 Minutes garnered five nominations including Best Sketch Comedy Program or Series; Mr. D has three nominations and Pure also has three including Best Dramatic Series. I would especially like to congratulate our nominated ACTRA Maritimes’ members: Jonathan Torrens, Best Host in a Program or Series (Your Special Canada); Jennie Raymond, Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Sex&Violence); Jeremie Saunders, Best Documentary Program (host of Sickboy); and producer/director Cory Bowles, whose feature Black Cop is nominated for the prestigious John Dunning Discovery Award.

Did you know that 2018 marks ACTRA’s 75th Birthday? Well you will very soon. Celebrations are in the works starting with two special anniversary editions of ACTRA Magazine. The first one (due out at the end of this month) features an interview with ACTRA Maritimes’ members Cory Bowles and Koumbie, a congratulatory ‘applause’ to our Past President and Past National Councillor Jeremy Webb, and a heartfelt ‘farewell’ tribute to our beloved John Dunsworth.

When I look back at the tremendous work we’ve produced here; the talented professionals who are determined to continue to call the East Coast home, and the commitment of those professionals to always do better; I’m confident this community will continue to thrive. Let’s make this year one to truly celebrate.

In solidarity,

Francine Deschepper
Branch President and National Councillor
ACTRA Maritimes


President’s Message – November 2017

Dear fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

I am recently returned from Vancouver where I attended my first ACTRA National Executive meeting as your National Councillor for ACTRA Maritimes. I was warmly welcomed by staff and other councillors, and was once again inspired by their dedication. We discussed many items over the two days – all with the goal of improving working opportunities and working conditions for our members country-wide.

The one subject that dominated much of our time was the recognition of ongoing sexual discrimination, misconduct, and harassment within our industry, and what we plan to do to put an end to it.

On November 23rd, 2017, ACTRA National hosted an industry round table on sexual harassment within our industry, welcoming decision makers from the following organizations:

  • Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA)
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
  • Writers Guild of Canada (WGC)
  • Directors Guild of Canada (DGC)
  • Academy of Canadian Cinema &Television.
  • Talent Agents & Managers Association of Canada (TAMAC)
  • Canadian Media Guild (CMG)
  • International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
  • NABET Unifor and other members of Canadian Unions for Equality on Screen (CUES)

This is the joint statement sent out to members as a result of that meeting:

As representatives of the Canadian creative industry, we gathered together today to collaborate on an industry-wide response to sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, and violence.

We agree to zero tolerance for such behaviour. We recognize that increasing gender equality and diversity across our industry is an important part of the solution.

The first steps we are committed to include:

 1) Enacting an industry-wide code of conduct, clearly defining expectations of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, enforcement and consequences.

 2) Creating more effective reporting mechanisms and supports, which ensure all individuals can report allegations without fear of judgement or retribution.

3) Ensuring more effective enforcement of existing industry policies.

 4) Launching a multi-level education and training program, including an industry-wide awareness campaign designed to establish and strengthen a culture of safe workplaces.

This moment presents us all with an opportunity to focus a spotlight on the prevention of sexual harassment. We are committed to working in partnership to build solutions and will continue to provide updates as they become available.


Your ACTRA Maritimes’ Council and Women’s Committee are in full support of these first steps, and will be active in implementing and enforcing all policy and procedures. We are devoted to creating a safe space for victims to speak out without fear of retribution or being stigmatized. Let’s work together to shine a bright light on this systemic problem that has lurked in the shadows of our industry for far too long.

As always, we will keep you updated as plans progress. In the meantime, if you would like more information on sexual harassment services available in Nova Scotia, here are some very informative web-sites:

In Solidarity,

Francine Deschepper
Branch President and National Councillor
ACTRA Maritimes

President’s Message – September 2017

Dear Fellow ACTRA Maritimes’ Members,

I am writing to you today while sitting on the deck of my family cottage overlooking Nova Scotia’s lovely Grand Lake. We are technically in the first few days of Autumn, but the sun is shining, the temperature is 26 degrees, and the cicadas are chirping. Sure feels like those ‘Lazy Days of Summer’.

I am trying to kick back and relax, and yet an underlying current of urgency keeps interrupting my zen. A niggling sense of purpose telling me to get back to work. I’ve always felt this way in the Fall. Perhaps it’s a natural instinct – harvest and prepare. Or maybe just my memories of the excitement of returning to school. In any case, I’m ready to once again put my nose to the proverbial grindstone.

Your ACTRA Maritimes’ council & staff strive to make the job of creating more work for you our number one priority. So let me give you a few updates:

Firstly, I am happy to announce that ACTRA has voted in favour of ratifying the 2017-2020 National Commercial Agreement’s (NCA) Local and Regional Addendum (L&R), which covers production and use of local and regional commercials. In the words of our National Executive Director (and Chief Negotiator), Stephen Waddell, “Unions around the world continue to face employer demands for cutbacks at the bargaining table as well as increasing competition from the non-union sector. ACTRA members are the best in the business, and this Agreement will help make it easier to hire the most talented performers in Canada and ensure they are compensated fairly for their work”.

Secondly, I want to extend a big congratulations to Jeremy Webb on his new job as Artistic Director of Neptune Theatre. Jeremy has been a fixture at ACTRA for no less than 18 years! He has served on numerous committees, was President of ACTRA Maritimes for 8 years, and your National Councillor for the last 6 years. Due to the demands of his new position, Jeremy has decided to step down from council a few months before the end of his official term. His insight, humour, and ‘get it done’ spirit will be greatly missed around our council table. We wish him much success and happiness!

It was Jeremy who first inspired me to join council, and so it seems fitting that I should run with the baton for him now. As President, I will be taking over as Interim National Councillor until we hold the next election. (Keep an eye on your email boxes, as it will be announced very soon). As part of my new duties, I will be attending the National Executive meeting in November, and I have joined the National Magazine Editorial Committee, as well as the Constitution Committee.

And finally, your council is currently organizing a couple of events to boost work opportunities and champion our industry. Specifically, the Political Action Committee is scheduling meetings with MPs and MLAs, and the Training & Special Events Committees are putting together a very exciting and informative series of workshops for early in the new year. So stay tuned for further developments and then let’s all get back to doing the work we love!

In solidarity,

Francine Deschepper
Branch President
ACTRA Maritimes


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