The Honourable Marie-P. Charette-Poulin [Chair]

The Honourable Marie-P. Charette-Poulin brings to CSARN her experience and expertise from her work as Senior Associate and Editor in Chief at the Institute on Governance, as a parliamentarian in the Senate of Canada, as a partner with the international law firm Gowling WLG, as the founding CEO of the quasi-judicial tribunal for the self-employed in Canada’s cultural industry (CAPPRT), as a Deputy Secretary to Cabinet at the Privy Council Office of the Government of Canada, as a Vice-President/Station Director/Producer at the CBC/Radio-Canada. Her contributions and work have been recognized in Canada and abroad, including by the President of France with the “Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur”. She currently sits on a number of boards including the Actra Fraternal Benefits Society (AFBS), the Canadian Portrait Gallery, “Canada’s CEO of the Year” program, the Canadian Broadcast Museum. Mrs Poulin holds a Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) from Laurentian University, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa, and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Montreal. She is married to international portrait painter Bernard Poulin: they have two adult daughters.


Actor/Director and CSARN Advisory Committee member Sheila McCarthy talks about inspiration

Elise Orenstein [Past Chair]

Elise Orenstein has enjoyed a long-standing career as a lawyer, corporate director and active charitable volunteer. Ms. Orenstein commenced her legal career as the first Director of Business Affairs at CityTV/MuchMusic and then moved to the private sector, becoming a senior partner in two major Toronto law firms. Elise specialized in corporate/commercial law with special emphasis on intellectual property and its commercialization. As a strong believer in education and mentorship, Elise has been an active member of the legal community, chairing conferences, publishing and presenting papers and teaching in the MBA program at York University. As a director, Ms. Orenstein has served on the boards of several privately-held companies, as Vice-Chair of the Board of Telefilm Canada and Chair of its Audit and Finance Committee, amongst other positions. Elise served as an advisor or director of performing arts companies in dance and opera, and currently as a director of Tafelmusik. She was a founding member and, subsequently, Chair of the Artists’ Health Centre Foundation, leading the team that negotiated and established The Al and Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. Elise’s academic credentials include a B.A. from McGill University, an M.Phil. from Oxford University and a J.D. from Osgoode Hall School.


Garry Neil [Vice-Chair]

Garry Neil has worked more than 40 years in arts and cultural policy. During his career, he has been Executive Director of a number of important cultural organizations, including ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists), the Association of Canadian Publishers and CSARN. Since 1992, Mr. Neil has consulted for a wide variety of businesses, associations and governments in Canada and internationally. Mr. Neil has served on the boards of many arts service organizations and been appointed to various federal and provincial public bodies, including six years on the Board and Executive of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Following 10 years as a member of its Board of Directors, for six years Mr. Neil was Executive Director of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest social justice organization. As Executive Director of the International Network for Cultural Diversity, Mr. Neil was at the forefront of the global campaign which led to the 2005 adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. On three occasions, he led comprehensive UNESCO studies on the current state of implementation of its Recommendation concerning the status of the artist. Mr. Neil’s book, Canadian Culture in a Globalized World: The impact of trade deals on Canada’s cultural life was published in 2019 by James Lorimer and Company Ltd.


David Hope [Treasurer]

David Hope became the first full-time Executive Director of The AFC in 1995. David is proud to be part of the The AFC leadership team that received a Gemini Special Award for exceptional service to the Canadian television industry in 2011. Additionally, during his time at The AFC, the organization was recognized by the Toronto theatre community with a special Honorary Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding contributions to the performing arts industry in Canada, a Betty Mitchell Award presented on behalf of the Calgary theatre community, honorary membership in the Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology and a Canadian Actors’ Equity Association Award of Distinction. Prior to joining The AFC David was Development Co-ordinator for the Arts Foundation of Greater Toronto (now the Toronto Arts Foundation). His background includes work in campus and community radio and as a volunteer with Canadian Crossroads International in Côte d’Ivoire. He has also been a mediator and trainer with St. Stephen’s Community House Conflict Resolution Service in Toronto. David is a founding board member of CSARN, a board member of Young Voices Toronto Childrens’ Choir, an active volunteer with Scouts Canada, and is a Chartered Professional Accountant. David lives with his wife and two children in Toronto.


Robert Hunter

Robert Hunter is a recently retired Government of Canada executive. An art and architectural historian, Mr. Hunter worked for the governments of Ontario, Alberta, and Canada over his almost 40 year public sector career. Mr. Hunter held positions in the Ontario Heritage Administration, Alberta Culture, and several Government of Canada departments and agencies. As Director in the Arts Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Mr. Hunter was responsible for legislative, regulatory, policy, planning, research, and program initiatives related to the arts at the federal level. He has sat on a number of local and national boards, including serving as Vice-Chair of the City of Ottawa’s Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, as well as on the Public Lending Right Commission, and the Cultural Human Resources Council. Mr. Hunter lives in Ottawa, where he continues to support arts and culture at the local, provincial, and national level.


Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson is a Calgary-based actor, singer, and activist. His acting career includes countless marquee TV roles on hit shows such as North of 60, Shining Time Station, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Law & Order, Outlander, and Cardinal. Movie roles include Cold Pursuit, Deadfall, Mee-Shee: The Water Giant, and Grizzly Falls. The Essential Tom Jackson is a dazzling two-disc, 21-track retrospective spotlighting his inimitable talent as a folk-pop singer/songwriter of the highest order and an artist intrinsically linked to the world around him, both the real and the ethereal. Tom is also renowned for his extensive charitable work, including helming the long-running Huron Carole Christmas concert tours for Canadian food banks, plus multiple other initiatives benefiting disaster relief. With over $200 million in combined cash/in-kind value for food banks and disaster relief raised to date, it’s no wonder Tom, currently an Ambassador for the Red Cross, has been inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, and received the 2007 Juno and Gemini Humanitarian Awards, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2014.

Board member dtaborah Johnson on inspiration

dtaborah Johnson

dtaborah Johnson has been a fixture on the Canadian and global performing stages for more than 50 years. As an arts activist she sat on both ACTRA Toronto and ACTRA  National boards; co-chair of TAWC, Diversity committee and, as ACTRA’s Child Advocate of Ontario, she was part of a team that comprised for the first time all culture unions coming together to protect our vulnerable children working in our industry, union or not. dtaborah continues her arts activism, working with our sister union USW. She has sat on the boards of Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and PAL Toronto to name a few. Count Basie, Ray Charles, Ellis Marsalis, Elvis, Oscar Peterson, Rick James, Bobby Vinton, Mike Nichols, Martha Henry and Lena Horne were among her personal mentors and teachers.


Robert D. Johnston

Bob Johnston is former Executive Director (1999-2009) of Cultural Careers Council Ontario (now known as Work in Culture) which addresses human resource issues and supports employment and career development in Ontario’s cultural sector. He has had 34 years of experience as an arts administrator. He was General Manager of the National Ballet of Canada from 1979 to 1996. Prior to that he served as Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Culture & Recreation from 1976 to 1979. Before entering the cultural sector he held positions for 25 years in personnel and labour relations management in government and industry serving as Ontario Deputy Minister of Labour, Chairman of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, and Director of Industrial Relations for John Inglis Co. Ltd. He has received the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal and an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Waterloo.


Louise Profeit-LeBlanc

Louise Profeit-LeBlanc – “T’s Däna” – Beaver Woman – is a member of the Nacho N’yak Dun First Nation of Mayo, in Northeastern Yukon. She is a mother, grandmother, and a Story-Keeper. She presently lives in Wakefield, Quebec with her husband Bob. Louise comes from a long line of traditional storytellers and her repertoire consists of her own personal stories and, more specifically, ancient stories relative to her homeland, the Yukon. She is grateful of the privilege of having been passed down these stories by her Elders and honoured to be able to share them with all generations and people of all backgrounds, for the last 45 years. She has travelled extensively sharing these stories at many International venues, Storytelling festivals, universities and colleges, where she also has provided storytelling workshops using examples of stories to inform the audience of the importance of oral tradition for the healing of the nations. She recently accepted an invitation to be on the board for “Bearing Witness Canada,” established to assist in educating the public about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, and has  recently offered a workshop on “Seven Valleys Towards Reconciliation”  for the organization to help commemorate National Indigenous Day. Louise strongly believes that “the purpose of justice is for the appearance of unity” on the planet. Louise is also a visual textile artist, poet and short story writer and continues to demonstrate the necessity of utilizing the power of art and story, to heal, educate and provide opportunities for others to express their culture and strength through the arts.

Milly Ristvedt

Milly Ristvedt has maintained an art practice for more than 55 years and holds a B.A. (Honours) and M.A. in Art History from Queen’s University. Her paintings have been widely exhibited and can be found in major public collections in Canada and abroad, including the Canada Council Art Bank, Art Gallery of Toronto, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Winnipeg Art Gallery. She has curated exhibitions, taught at several universities in Canada, and sat on many provincial and national arts juries.  Ms. Ristvedt was a founding member and first President of Vehicule Art Inc. Montreal, one of Canada’s first artist-run centres, and Vice-President of Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre in Kingston. She founded Sheffield Lake, an annual one-week workshop attended by professional women artists from across Canada and the U.S. that ran successfully from 1991 to 1998.  She remains active within the local and regional community in which she lives on social, environmental and cultural issues, and was a member of the 2013 founding board of the KFLA Food Policy Council. Most recently she served as a Vice-President of the Governing Council of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and was RCA Advocacy Representative to the Visual Arts Alliance from 2008-2015.

Phillip Silver

During his 50-year career, Phillip Silver designed sets, costumes and lighting for theatres across Canada, including Neptune Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage Company, Young People’s Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Canadian Opera Company, Shaw Festival, The Grand Theatre, Edmonton Opera, Vancouver Opera, Manitoba Opera, Alberta Theatre Projects and Citadel Theatre, where he was Resident Designer 1967 to 1978.  Stratford Festival productions include Virginia (also seen in London’s West End and starring Maggie Smith), The Pirates of Penzance, An Enemy of the People and The Merchant of Venice.  His designs have earned him three Dora Awards and Edmonton’s Sterling Award. He joined the Department of Theatre at York University in 1986 and served as Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts from 1998 to 2008.  He has been a consultant on the design of performance facilities across Canada, including the Citadel Theatre and the Canadian Museum of History. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts and the Associated Designers of Canada, serving as president of ADC from 2009 to 2013.


Robert Underwood

Following a degree in finance with post-graduate studies in Macro Economics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Bob began his career in Toronto, and worked both in Canada and the U.S. for a number of national and international benefits  and actuarial consulting firms. He started his own consulting firm in Vancouver in 1980 providing consulting services to the BC educational sector.  Returning to Toronto, Bob worked as a consultant in the health-care delivery sector and joined Actra Fraternal Benefit Society in 1997 as President and CEO. AFBS is the insurance and retirement company for the Canadian entertainment sector, investing $800 million in assets for performers and screenwriters across Canada. Past President of the Canadian Fraternal Association, Bob sits on a number of boards, including CSARN, the Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation, and the Creative Arts Savings and Credit Union.