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June 1, 2009 — Toronto – The national governing council of ACTRA has elected Ferne Downey as ACTRA National President by acclamation. Her two-year term is effective immediately.

Downey has spent the past 28 years working extensively as an actor in radio, television, film, and theatre. She has served ACTRA members as an elected representative for 18 years. Past service to the union includes participation on collective bargaining committees, two terms as Vice-President Communications and President for ACTRA Toronto, and three terms as National Treasurer. She is ACTRA’s representative on the board of the ACTRA Fraternal Benefit Society. Downey is the second woman to be ACTRA’s National President in the organization’s 66-year history.

“I feel truly privileged to accept this responsibility on behalf of 21,000 Canadian performers. Our union has never been stronger, but we will not sit idle. I will work with performers from across the country, to build on ACTRA’s role as a powerful protector of performers’ rights and a champion of Canadian identity,” said Downey.

Accepting the position, Downey also paid tribute to outgoing National President Richard Hardacre.

“I am particularly proud to inherit this work from my friend and colleague Richard Hardacre. He is a passionate advocate for Canadian culture and for performers. His leadership successfully steered ACTRA through our first strike,” said Downey.

Newfoundland & Labrador National Councillor Ruth Lawrence was elected to replace Downey as ACTRA’s National Treasurer. Theresa Tova, National Councillor from ACTRA Toronto, will also join ACTRA’s National Executive. The new appointments bring gender balance to ACTRA’s National Executive.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada ? the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.


For more information: Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer, (416) 644-1519,

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