President’s Message – International Women’s Day

Graphic with text that reads "International Women's Day" "March 8, 2023" #EmbraceEquity

Today is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. Today and every day we must fight bias, stereotypes, and discrimination and #EmbraceEquity.

This year, we are shining the ACTRA spotlight on member Ferne Downey by naming her the 2023 ACTRA National Woman of the Year.

As a union leader, a performer and an activist, Ferne has been an inspiration and role model to many of us. One of her many responsibilities included chairing industry-wide round tables on sexual harassment and institutional change. Ferne raised the bar for women in our screen industry and she has been a tremendous force of change in the labour movement.

All communities benefit by advancing gender equality. Together, we must keep taking steps to make a positive impact that empowers all women.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble
ACTRA National President

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President’s Message – Black History Month

Graphic with text that reads "BLACK HISTORY MONTH" and ACTRA logo on the side

February celebrates Black History Month and honours the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians in our communities, in our unions, in our workplaces, and in Canada, while also looking towards how we can collectively right injustices and build a better future.

This month, we’d like to specifically call your attention to two recent articles in the winter issue of ACTRA Magazine, which highlight some of the incredible contributions Black ACTRA members are making within the Canadian film and television industry: The Porter Q&A with ACTRA members Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell and Djouliet Amara, where they share why this Manitoba-shot production is a revolutionary series as Canada’s first all-Black led and Black-run series portraying Canadian Black history.

And, The Truth Behind the Path: Paving the way for the next generation of BIPOC actors by ACTRA National’s DEIB Committee Chair Mariah Inger, where Mariah describes how she’s making sure there is a sea of emerging artists who will be ready and willing to continue to carry the torch.

ACTRA is also seeing to it that we work towards creating systemic change in our industry:

In ACTRA’s recent federal budget submission, we are calling on the Government to ensure that all public and public-private funding programs for the film, television and digital media industry must be contingent on the achievement of appropriate targets and quotas to ensure women as well as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) have equal opportunities for work on-screen, in other creative categories, and as technicians, crew and support personnel.

On the fight for hair and makeup equity, ACTRA is currently collecting evidence for the upcoming Hair and Makeup Grievance Hearing in May, on the recently launched DEIB Microsite. As National Councillors, we encourage you to share this resource with your colleagues and encourage them to submit their lived experiences so that we can ensure their voices are heard.

Lastly, the murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis Police as well as the Monterey Park shooting during Lunar New Year celebrations serve as stark reminders that we must continue to fight to fix a broken system. We share in the collective grief over the senseless loss of lives and reaffirm our commitments to confront injustices in our industry and community. We recognize that events can still be triggering and we encourage members to prioritize their self-care and use their mental health benefits through AFBS, or HAVEN or Calltime Mental Health for UBCP/ACTRA members. 

A stronger, more diverse and equitable Canada requires all of us to advance initiatives that create social equality and economic equity in our communities, our industry and across the Canadian labour movement.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble
ACTRA National President

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President’s Message – December 15, 2022

Protect Your Image

Hello ACTRA members,

In this fast-paced digital world, new programs, software and apps have advanced creative capabilities in our industry. However, there is another side to these developments that’s worth shining a light on.
Recently, many new apps, most of which are easily accessible on our personal devices, are using powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) to manipulate and harvest images. These apps are marketed as fun and artistic ways to promote ourselves, which can then be voluntarily shared on social media platforms.
To use these apps, one must upload a photo of themselves for the technology to then be manipulated into several different stylized images. While this seems harmless on the surface, the problem is what happens with these original images afterwards.
Many of these apps, including the recently popular AI-selfie generator Lensa, have language in the terms and conditions of their privacy policy that are alarming. They detail how the images that users submit to generate selfie creations can later be used by Prisma AI, Lensa’s parent company, to help train their AI’s neural network.
These networks used by Lensa and other similar applications on the market study huge amounts of data, including these images, to improve the abilities of their AI products and to build marketable libraries aimed at our industry in particular. One look at Video Games and the use of CGI technology in film and television proves that this practice is well under way.
As ACTRA members, we know all too well about the importance of protecting and promoting ourselves. Our images should never become the test subjects for any technology company to use however they wish.
We caution against using apps such as Lensa and others like it which save and manipulate your image for their own purposes. There is no reason to gamble away your personal image. We encourage you to carefully read and understand the policies of these apps before agreeing to use them.
Your rights, your images and your livelihood are worth protecting.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble
ACTRA National President

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President’s Message – October 6, 2022

Canada’s New Stunt Hall of Fame & Inaugural 2022 Inductees

Hello ACTRA members,

Canadian entertainment history is being made with the launch of the Canadian Stunt Hall of Fame (CANSHOF) website and by the announcement of the very first Canadian Stunt Hall of Fame 2022 Inductees.

Today we are honouring the inaugural inductees for their legacy of work and all they have contributed to the evolution of our world-class stunt community in Canada.

The 2022 Canadian Stunt Hall of Fame Inductees are:

graphic that reads: 'the Canadian stunt hall of fame' '2022 inaugural inductees' and the names of the inductees in a list: "John Berger, Celine Fournier, Charles Fournier, Marcel Fournier, Tom Glass, Alex Green, Robert Hannah, Dwayne McLean, Dave Rigby, Jacob Rupp, John Scott, Jerome Thibergien, Betty Thomas, John Thomas, John Wardlow, Keith Wardlow

I want to express my appreciation to the Canadian Stunt Hall of Fame Committee Chair Rick Skene and members Colin Decker, Mike Scherer, Steve ‘Shack’ Shackleton, Ana Shepherd, Lori Stewart and Amy Szoke for their dedicated work to honour and serve Canada’s professional stunt community coast-to-coast-to-coast.

The new CANSHOF will serve as an online historical archive to celebrate the body of work that has established Canada as a recognized action film destination. It will pay tribute to the ground-breaking work by Canada’s stunt professionals to masterfully and safely bring creative visions of action to life! Please join me in celebrating these ACTRA members’ commitment to their craft and learn more about how you can nominate future inductees.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble
ACTRA National President
ACTRA National Stunt Committee Chair

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President’s Message – September 1, 2022

ACTRA Takes Action on Labour Day

Hello ACTRA members,

Minimum rights and pay.
Industry stability.

As proud ACTRA members, these are just some of the things we fight for.

Labour Day is the day we come together as workers in Canada, not only to celebrate labour’s collective victories, but to recommit ourselves to the fight for a fairer and more equal world.

For the first time in ACTRA’s 60-year work history in the commercial industry, we are experiencing labour strife that has been brought on by the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA). The ICA has violated the core principles of our union by walking away from the bargaining table and locking us out.

The ICA’s true mission is to scrap ACTRA’s National Commercial Agreement (NCA) – doing away with our minimum rights and pay – instead of working together to negotiate a modernized agreement.

The ICA’s backwards thinking continues to frustrate me.

They were sitting across the table from a performers’ union that has negotiated some of the best collective agreements in the world for professional performers and industry partners. The NCA has benefitted ACTRA members and the commercial industry for decades.

The ICA is not only harming members in our union, their shameful actions are also detrimental to Canada’s commercial sector.

The biggest weapon we have to fight against anti-union entities is our solidarity.

In this spirit, I sincerely thank each and every ACTRA member for your solidarity during this challenging time.

As respected cultural workers in Canada’s vibrant entertainment sector we have many friends behind us. We also have partnerships with the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and the Association des agences de communication créative (A2C). They know we bring professionalism, experience and true value to every commercial production.

As ACTRA members, we must always remember we are standing on the shoulders of the founding members who came before us – Canada’s first radio and TV performers who collectively demanded respect and ensured our rights would be protected when we step onto an ACTRA set.

I encourage you to find ways to promote and take part in our ACTRA Takes Action campaign this Labour Day. It marks an important day in the labour movement to collectively demand respect for all workers. Your solidarity sends a powerful message.

This Labour Day, let’s pledge our solidarity to each other. Let everyone know we have each other’s backs and we will demand respect, fairness and protection for all ACTRA members.

I wish you and your families a safe and happy Labour Day.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble

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President’s Message – August 12, 2022

Support from The AFC is available to ACTRA members

Hello ACTRA members,

Support from The AFC is available to ACTRA members across Canada who primarily work in the commercial sector and are in urgent need of financial support due to the lockout by the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA).

The AFC can provide short-term emergency financial assistance for essential household bills and costs, such as rent/mortgage payments, food, medication, or utilities that cannot otherwise be paid. The AFC has developed criteria to assess immediate financial need and will apply this same assessment in approving access to this new funding. Please note that The AFC does not provide compensation for lost earnings.

In recognition of the significant impact that the commercial dispute has had on ACTRA Members, ACTRA National Council approved the allocation of $100,000 in financial support to The AFC for ACTRA members who work under the National Commercial Agreement (NCA) and are experiencing hardship during the lockout. This support is offered as a proportion of The AFC’s Emergency Financial Aid available to ACTRA members due to the impact of the commercial dispute.

If you have been affected by the commercial dispute and are now in urgent financial need, I encourage you to please apply for the Emergency Financial Aid Program through The AFC at If you have questions about eligibility or the application process, please get in touch with The AFC directly. Call The AFC at 1-877-399-8392 (Toll-Free) or make an appointment at or e-mail for one-on-one assistance. Even if you are not eligible to receive emergency financial aid, The AFC is always available to help you find and connect to community and government resources in your area.

Please note that The AFC is not a crisis line. If you are in need of emergency services, HAVEN Helpline is a 24/7 national, bilingual counselling and support service available to members of ACTRA (excluding UBCP/ACTRA members). UBCP/ACTRA members have access to their own support resources.

The AFC is the lifeline for Canada’s entertainment industry: it provides emergency financial aid, helps people make a plan to address their situation, and connects people to various resources and services. Through compassionate and confidential support, The AFC helps Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity, and ability to work.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble

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President’s Message – March 17, 2022

Update on National Commercial Agreement (NCA) Negotiations

Dear ACTRA Members,

I have an important update to share about National Commercial Agreement (NCA) negotiations.

Our NCA Negotiating Committee has been hard at work since April 2021 with the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) and the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA) to renew ACTRA’s NCA.

While this set of negotiations has proven to be extremely difficult, we will be back at the bargaining table next week and will continue to work diligently to secure the best deal for our members working in the commercial sector.

The ICA/ACA have set a deadline for negotiations for the end of month so the next two weeks will be critical. If we cannot reach an agreement, we need to be ready and prepared to do whatever is necessary to support our dedicated NCA Negotiating Committee. This could mean a variety of actions, which may include asking our membership for a strike mandate.

We look forward to sharing more information as it becomes available. Please keep an eye on your inbox for important NCA 2022 updates as well as actions you can take to support our NCA Negotiating Committee.

If you would like to help reinforce the value of being a part of ACTRA, help spread the word about our new, national You’re in Good Company campaign. When we stand together, we make things better for all performers.

Thank you for supporting the work of our union and our NCA Negotiating Committee.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble

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President’s Message – February 1, 2022

Beyond Black History Month

Dear ACTRA Members,

Image of a person (shoulder and above) with long hair looking at the camera. This person is the President, Eleanor Noble.

In February, we celebrate Black History Month and honour the achievements and contributions of Black people in Canada and Black communities. It is also a time to reflect on the ongoing struggles and discrimination many Black people face in the labour market, which has resulted in Black employees receiving lower wages and facing barriers in all aspects of employment, from the hiring process to advancement and retention.

Beyond Black History Month, we support the Black Lives Matter movement to help further advance initiatives that create social equality and economic equity in our communities, our industry and the broader labour movement.

Within our union, ACTRA continues our efforts to have the industry recognize, acknowledge and eradicate the unequal provision of hair and makeup services to Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) performers on many of our sets. We remain committed to protecting our members and continue to work with our industry partners to eradicate harmful and discriminatory practices like these. If you would like to receive E-mail updates from ACTRA National about these efforts, please sign-up here.

We look forward to sharing the results later this year of the first-ever national ACTRA Member Census, which was held last summer. ACTRA conducted the Census to help us better understand the needs of our membership and to identify potential employment barriers experienced by members working in our industry in Canada. The Census results will provide solid metrics about the demographic composition of our membership and will be used to support our collective bargaining proposals, contract negotiations, policy and legal submissions and lobbying efforts. They will also be used to help us accurately measure the screen industry’s progress on equity and inclusion initiatives and support our work with industry partners to create real change.

We are inspired to see the great work being done to support Black Canadians working in the screen industry by organizations like the Black Screen Office and Reelworld Film Institute. The Black Screen Office has launched a number of funding programs to support Black content creators and has also commissioned three research studies that will be used to educate decision makers and create greater Black inclusion in the screen industry. Reelworld recently launched the Black Entrepreneurs Program, a first-of-its-kind training initiative for Black casting directors, agents, managers, and producers in Canada. Initiatives like these will empower Black creators to thrive and drive the change we need to make our industry all inclusive.

We invite you to celebrate UBCP/ACTRA Member Eleanor Collins who was honoured by Canada Post this year by being featured on a commemorative stamp. Eleanor is a trailblazer on many levels – she’s not only Canada’s first lady of jazz but the first woman and first Black artist to have her own national television series, The Eleanor Show. ACTRA was thrilled to feature Eleanor in the winter 2018 issue of ACTRA Magazine and highlight the contributions she has made as a ground-breaking performer in Canada’s entertainment history.

Throughout the month of February and beyond, we also invite you to celebrate the artistic works of Black creators to deepen our understanding of and connection with Black communities in Canada. The following are just some of the organizations that have curated Black History Month collections:

  • CBC Gem’s Black Stories Collection features shows that share the experience of Black communities in Canada.
  • REEL CANADA’s Black History Month collection features films that recognize the amazing contributions of Black Canadians past and present.
  • The NFB’s Black Communities in Canada channel features films by award-winning Black filmmakers, creators, and allies of the Black community, detailing a rich history to better understand the present.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble

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President’s Message – September 29, 2021

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Dear ACTRA Members,

image of person looking at camera. this person is Eleanor Noble, ACTRA National President.September 30th is the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Created in response to the Commemoration Call to Action 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2015 report, this day marks an important step in the reconciliation process with Indigenous Peoples of Canada. It is a day to honour the survivors, their families and communities and it’s a solemn reminder of the lives lost at residential schools.

September 30th also marks Orange Shirt Day, a day started in 2013 as a way to honour Indigenous children and educate Canadians about the impact of the residential school system. Wearing an orange shirt supports survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.

ACTRA is strongly urging our federal, provincial, and territorial governments to quickly implement the remaining Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2015 report and the 231 Calls for Justice in the Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 2019 report.

We can best support Indigenous Peoples of Canada by following their guidance as they help us build a new relationship based on equality, equity and respect, and ensuring there is accountability and a continuation of the healing process.

I invite you to please take the time to watch and tune in to the following:

  • ACTRA Member, and Officer of the Order of Canada, Tom Jackson’s stirring new single Lost Souls – a music video response to the discovery of 215 graves at the former residential school near Kamloops;
  • Historica Canada‘s video about the significant dates in the history of residential schools in Canada;
  • The many virtual events organized by the National Centre For Truth And Reconciliation for Truth and Reconciliation Week.

To our Indigenous ACTRA members, if September 30th events cause or reawaken pain or trauma, support is available through HAVEN Helpline (1-855-201-7823) or visit The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) also provides 24/7 support to residential school survivors and others who are affected.

In solidarity,
Eleanor Noble

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