Ontario Electoral Region
The Ontario region will elect seven Councillors.
◄ Back to Council Elections 2018
Read Maev's Statement
In my 12 years as an Equity member, I have worked on 35 productions and dozens of workshops and I have interacted with our Association under every theatre agreement, from the Collective to the Festival. I’ve done so as an independent producer, an actor, a playwright, a collective creator, an Equity Deputy, and as an activist.
I am eager to assist in making the changes necessary to help Equity become a flexible, positive, and proactive member-service resource - one that finds new ways of responding to and receiving our members’ concerns, whether it’s an independent theatre collective needing an agreement that allows them to make the show they want with their available resources, an individual reporting a violation of Not In OUR Space! and needing advocacy and support, a non-union member or theatre student seeking advice from what should be the leading authority on performing arts workers’ rights and best practices, or a theatre artist experiencing targeted or systemic discrimination that is keeping them from working. I believe, and would like to help Council and Equity become places where members can express their needs, have them heard, welcomed, and prioritized.
Read Alessandro's Statement
I became an Equity member in 2010, at the age of 17. Since then, significant changes have taken place. I have worked as an actor, director, and a producer on a variety of Equity contracts, including the Canadian Theatre Agreement, the Independent Theatre Agreement, and the Guest Artist Policy. I am fortunate to work as an artist in Toronto, as well as in my hometown of Sudbury, Ont., which provides me with a unique perspective on the state of the industry from both the large urban centre, as well as from smaller regional communities.
I think we are at a very critical moment in the history of our art form; changes must be made in our process and in the way we approach audiences to ensure theatre is not just sustained, but can also grow throughout our country and, most importantly, in regional communities. I believe our Association’s relationship to community is something that must be further developed and examined. I feel that our Council should be comprised of a diverse group of artists, and that there should be representation from artists under the age of 30. I hope to collaborate with a strong team of voices to create positive change.
Read Jessie's statement
Hello, everyone. My name is Jessie Cox, and I am running to be your Ontario Equity Councillor.
What I want to see in a representative is someone who already attends Equity meetings, someone who regularly discusses issues in our industry with fellow members, and someone who wants to make sure our members’ voices are heard. The issues that I think are going to be important over these next three years are:
I want to be your Councillor because I am passionate about our rights as artists. We are professionals and deserve to be treated as such. By representing our members, I want to ensure that we not only keep our rights, but also continue to make our working conditions even better. I would love to learn more about how our union functions, and how we make a difference. I am proud that our union is inclusive and values our differences, as well as our similarities. I believe we all have much to offer, and that together we can make a difference in this industry.
Read Ryan's Statement
A proud Equity member, I’ve worked as a theatre artist across the country under the CTA and ITA Agreements, and the DOT, Festival, and Collective Policies. Being part of an ever-better professional theatre community is my life’s greatest passion, and if elected, I’ll focus on:
A good Councillor listens, so find me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram at @ryanghinds to be heard. Here’s to a strong and effective Council!
Read Taborah's Statement
Why am I running for office?
I’d like to see where I might be helpful. I was a child Actor with no voice, an adolescent Actor when nudity was often required at auditions. I am more than just an “angry black woman”: double edged minority - black-ish- woman, elected to several ACTRA councils, National and Toronto branches, asked to sit on the Toronto Arts Council Board. I’ve put in hours of learning, listening, talking with peers in order to get a handle on shifting political landscapes.
I was part of a team lobbying to bring unions together to protect our most vulnerable sector (Bill 17). So, have things really changed or is it just the vocabulary, are we strong enough to join forces with our sisters and brothers in lobbying for our rights as necessary?
Are we recognizing that talent comes in all shapes and colours? Are we the vanguard in supporting victimized peers or sweeping challenges under the rug and re-victimizing, are we championing the governance behind intellectual property, copyright or ‘branding’?
If not, why not? And, who ‘gets’ to sit on Equity committees? Surely a way to encourage participation. Alternates?
Change takes courage!
Read Richard's Statement
I’ve been an Equity member for five years and have worked with Equity from many different perspectives: as a company member for four seasons at Soulpepper, as an actor at regional and indie theatres across Canada, and as a producer through my company, Puzzle Piece. Outside of the theatre, I also help with political organizing for anti-racism and labour rights actions in Toronto and beyond. These experiences have given me a lot of ideas for how Equity can work to serve our community better in the coming years. A few priorities that are inspiring me right now are:
I would be honoured to have the chance to combine my passions for theatre and justice by serving as an Equity councillor. If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read Nora's Statement
My name is Nora McLellan and I am running for Council.
I have been a member of Equity since 1974.
Why now? As a long time member of this Association, I have felt a disconnect with it in recent years. What I have tried in those years was to become the deputy to as many productions as I could, from the big Festivals to the small black box independent plays all over the country. This was done to try to keep on top of the rules, but also to see how our elected governance deals with any issues.
I believe that Not In OUR Space! is a start, but we need to do more to make sure that that our membership feels that they will be heard and cared for under any circumstances. I myself have tried to deal with Equity on my own issue and left disappointed with the result. Activism is needed here! As a member of Got Your Back I am hoping to be a part of change here.
Member engagement is at an all-time low. Hardly anyone votes on the issues we are given a chance to vote on. For me it often comes down to language and communication. Myself I want Equity to engage with me! I would like to change that. Our Council needs a fresh Start! Born in Vancouver, I live in Niagara-on-the-Lake and my home is Canada where any theatre will have me. Please consider giving me your vote. I will work hard for you to make you, dear member, more included in the everyday workings of this Association. Thank you!
Read Dale's Statement
My name is Dale Miller, and I’m running for Equity Council.
I have a Bachelor of Music in Performance and a Bachelor of Music Education from Acadia University. I spent two years teaching school in Halifax, was a resident artist educator for Young People’s Theatre in Toronto, and have been an Equity member in good standing since 2000.
I’ve been the Equity Deputy on more contracts than I can remember, and I feel that my experience can help multiple artists across multiple disciplines.
Some of the issues on which to focus include:
- actual action within the Not In OUR Space! campaign, focusing on supporting victims and protecting them from potential backlash or blacklisting;
- dialoguing with Council about allowing artists more opportunities to work outside “normal” contracts, making it easier for them to create their own work; and
- focusing on continuing, quality education for youth.
I’m hoping to learn what makes Equity an effective association and to learn from you what we can do to make it better. By choosing me for Council, you will help make important progress and ensure that your voice will be heard. I’ll make sure you will never be out of the loop.
Read Kristina's Statement
NEW GOVERNANCE is essential to EQUITY’S FUTURE and will ensure that it becomes a respected professional association for its members/owners and the world. Without CHANGE EQUITY cannot reflect a globally evolved theatre ecology nor RESPECT the resulting variations of creation practices. Recognition that INDEPENDENT THEATRE is our community’s life blood and providing flexible allowances for artists in ALL REGIONS and in all stages of their careers, is necessary for GROWTH.
TOGETHER we must draw a line under this moment and ensure that we CREATE POSSIBILITY for the next generation. EQUITY’s LEGACY now must be the creation of OPPORTUNITY for ALL VOICES and to de-colonize theatre performance/practices so that theatre flourishes and nourishes every day.
MY DREAM is to create GENDER WAGE PARITY for our members and to build audiences that mirror the demographics of our country with INTEGRITY and BOUNDLESS CREATIVITY. My experiential wisdom is the sum total of 33 years (and counting) as a professional Actress, Director, Producer, Casting Director and Teacher. I have worked coast to coast in our country in every condition possible, and ‘walk my talk’ through my advocacy for artists, creating ACTUAL work opportunities/connections and my unfathomable LOVE of THEATRE.
Read Jamie's Statement
Hello, Equity friends! My name is Jamie Robinson, and I am running for the Ontario region Council because I care deeply about the continued success of our industry. I’ve been an Actor/Director Equity member for more than 20 years, and I have never taken for granted the benefits of Equity’s support, yet have been keenly aware how important it is for the community at large, both regionally and nationally, to enact change within the union when called for.
My aim in running this fall is to strengthen current changes being made within Council in terms of cultural integration, workplace harassment, and fair governance, to name a few. A good Councillor is a great collaborator, and my love of this artform stems from the collective nature of our inclusive work. I want to be your collaborative voice when important decisions are being made, so that every generation of artists will be afforded the equitable benefits of membership for many more years to come. Equity needs to be a valuable and transparent aspect to our exciting careers, and I sincerely look forward to working for you by learning more about why Equity is still essential for us all. Your vote will make a difference.
Read Amy's Statement
Elect Amy Sellors to Equity Council. I believe in respect, passion, and discourse.
Engagement and turnout for Equity elections, meetings, and surveys are poor. Why? Complex communication. Messaging from Equity comes without clarity or context. Currently, Equity can make sweeping changes while we sit idly by. PACT members (the theatres in which we work) overwhelmingly rejected the proposed Canadian Theatre Agreement in May 2018, because of just such changes. I plan to address how Equity communicates with the membership. Clear two-way communication is the first step in fixing lack of engagement.
We are facing some big issues. I want to foster practical discussions on how to manage:
1. bringing more inclusivity and diversity to stages across Canada;
2. theatres pressured by their community to only hire local; and
3. Equity members working nationally, not just regionally.
The Not In OUR Space! campaign is a preventative start that lacks consequence. A warning and a poster are not enough to stop bullying and harassment. Not in my experience. We must feel safe at work.
Why vote for me?
Give me the opportunity to show you that your voice matters.
Read Allan's candidate statement
I know. Some of you are probably thinking: "You, again?"
When I first ran for Council, it was with one specific issue in mind. I soon realized that, with 5,800 people in the Association, there were many important things that needed attention. A major focus of this last term was safe and respectful workplaces for all of us, and Equity will continue to refine its work in this area. We will have a senior artist survey in the field shortly, as well as upcoming surveys covering mental health, and benefits and fundraisers. That’s just the tip of the Council iceberg.
I have worked continuously in Equity’s jurisdiction for 30 plus years, on performances ranging from co-ops and indie productions to major opera, commercial and repertory theatre. I, and many of my colleagues, have received a lot of support from Equity during that period.
I believe strongly in giving back, and I can offer you the time, energy, and experience to do that. So, yes, I’m up for another three years, and I’d be honored to continue to serve the membership on Council. I’m a stage manager, and we don’t go home until the work is done.
Read Tahirih's Statement
My name is Tahirih Vejdani, and I am an Equity member running for a Council spot in Ontario. I’m running for Council because I want to help my fellow members get the fair terms they deserve, and I want to implement changes that will benefit all within our industry.
If elected to Council, I will:
I will work toward these goals and more, and I will work hard to voice your concerns at Council.
Read Michaela's candidate statement
I have been a proud member in good standing for 15 years.
As someone with blended backgrounds and identities, it is my hope that if elected to Council, I may bring a unique perspective that helps us successfully move through the new era that is dawning in our artistic community. Running for Council is important to me because I have often heard more complaints and distress than I have members speaking of Equity as an organization that they are proud to be a part of and one that works for them.
The issues I am passionate about are:
Excellent communication skills, leading with compassion and curiosity, and being hopeful about a future where our members feel more represented and supported by their union are what I think would make me an effective
Read Jennifer's candidate statement
Equity needs to make member service the heart of its work. Our agreements must become more flexible, to foster dynamic and innovative theatre of all kinds. Many of us are creators wearing multiple hats. Our Association should be built to support and encourage our work. The recent non-ratification of the Canadian Theatre Agreement shows that producers are also seeking change. Now is the time to revise and reinvigorate our agreements to reflect our current theatre ecology.
Member service means protecting members from harassment and abuse. Since the dawn of the #MeToo era, conversations have begun about the way we treat one other and the way we practise our craft. I never imagined that we’d be talking openly about our experiences of harassment, or that so many of us would be working together to make substantive change. My work with Got Your Back has me listening, asking questions, and researching the problems that plague our industry. It has opened my eyes to how urgently our Association needs to evolve with the changing world.
Our Association suffers from a lack of member engagement. We must all participate if Equity is to represent us and advocate for our work and our well-being. I have years of experience as an activist, artist, and volunteer. I have served on numerous boards, and I have been an ACTRA Councillor locally and nationally. I am determined to make Equity more flexible, more inclusive, and more transparent.
Read Zeph's candidate statement
Dear Equity colleagues,
For those of you I have not had the pleasure to meet, my name is Zeph Williams, and I have been a proud Equity member for 20 years. I am originally from the Maritimes and have worked in many provinces, but I have called Ontario home for the last 15 years. I served as an Ontario Councillor last term, sitting on several committees, including the Safe and Respectful Workplaces Task Force, where our work included the roll out of the Not In OUR Space! campaign.
Why Equity Council? Teamwork is everything to me, and I have enjoyed working with Council and staff, tackling issues that are important to our members, specifically around safe and fair working conditions, and bringing to the table my training and experience from other industries, where I sat on several workplace health and safety committees. Our live performance industry is like none other, with unique challenges and opportunities for improvement. I would like to see the projects we started through to completion, as well as welcome new thoughts and perspectives. Equity is an ever-evolving organization, and I want to continue to support our members and the issues that are important to them. Thank you for your support.
Read Sandy's candidate statement
Once again, I am running for Equity Council, and I would appreciate your vote! I acknowledge my privilege as a grey-haired white guy, yet I feel that I have served in the past—and would hope to serve again—as a level-headed, see-both-sides participant in discussions, debates, and negotiations. I have been a Treasurer and a Vice-President of the Association; served on many committees in the past and continue to serve on the RRSP/Pension Committee; and I have represented Equity in quite a few PACT and Opera negotiations.
As a former Treasurer, I would like to have a chance to look closely at the impact our dues increase has had. Fiscal responsibility regarding our members’ hard-to-come-by cash is very important to me. This, of course, ties in to what benefits our members are getting from their dues. I would like to see the renewal of a professional development fund to which artists can apply to further their training or set up projects, when time allows. As well, our lucky well-paid long-contract artists deserve to know that their money is being spent to ensure the agreements under which they work are the best that we can negotiate, and that staff is there to back them up in times of disagreements with producers. Thank you for your interest! (Bio available upon request.)