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Ferne Downey


We are delighted to report that Past ACTRA National President Ferne Downey was conferred an Honorary Degree by Dalhousie University at the Spring Convocation.


(Photo credit: Danny Abriel)

Ferne Downey Spring 2017 Honorary Degree Recipient

Doctor of Laws (honoris causa)

Achieving a long and productive career as a working actor, playwright, script editor and theatre producer is impressive. When you combine that career with more than 25 years of local, national and international labour leadership — as Dal Theatre graduate Ferne Downey has — it’s extraordinary.

Ms. Downey’s screen credits include numerous feature films and television series, and she has specialized in producing new Canadian plays and musicals, notably Dream a Little Dream: The Nearly True Story of The Mamas and The Papas. She has served as President of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the union representing performers working in English-language recorded media in Canada, since 2008. The first person to ever serve four consecutive two-year terms in her role, Ms. Downey has made remarkable progress in collective bargaining, public policy reform, and the advancement of equality, diversity and inclusivity in the screen industry.

Ms. Downey was elected President of the International Federation of Actors (FIA) in 2012 (re-elected in 2016), which represents more than 100 performers’ unions in 75 countries. She is the first North American to hold this position. She has also been Vice-President on the Executive Council of the Canadian Labour Congress since 2011, and in 2012 graduated from the Harvard Trade Union Leadership Program. This is Ferne Downey’s first honorary degree.


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