Garry Neil

Garry Neil [Chair]

Garry Neil has worked for 45 years in arts and cultural policy, in Canada and internationally. He provides consulting services to governments, cultural industry firms and non-governmental organizations. He has vast experience in policies for television, film, music, publishing, visual arts, performing arts, and digital media and the Internet. Mr. Neil is an acknowledged global expert on issues related to status of the artist, and how global trade and investment agreements affect cultural sovereignty. He has spoken around the world on these topics.

Mr. Neil was a member of UNESCO’s Panel of (Cultural) Experts, and led three global projects on the state of implementation of UNESCO’s Recommendation concerning the status of the artist, the most recent in 2019. In the 1980s, Mr. Neil was a member of the Canadian government’s Advisory Committee on the Status of the Artist. Since then, he has researched these issues extensively and consulted for the federal government, four provinces, several governmental agencies, and numerous non-governmental organizations looking to improve the economic and social well-being of professional artists.  

As Executive Director of the International Network for Cultural Diversity, Mr. Neil was at the forefront of the global campaign that led to the adoption of the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. The important role of artists, the unique way that artists work, and the ongoing need for governments to support them are a central theme of the Convention.

David Hope3

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 the Canadian Artists Network, 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.

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Patrick Close

Patrick Close is active as a practicing artist, writer and researcher. His visual art works are included in provincial, national and international collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, The Canada Council Art Bank and the Moderna Museet in Sweden. He has received awards from the Canada Council, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, CARFAC and the Canadian Museums Association. As an advocate, he has worked to advance Status of the Artist initiatives, legislation and regulations for more than 35 years. He has been a catalyst in the development of Industry Standards / Best Practices for the Canadian Visual Arts, Craft and Media sectors. He is a past President of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. Patrick Close has experience as a medical and scientific photographer, an arts council grants officer, a permanent art collection manager, an artist run centre director, a curator, a museum association education director, and the director of a provincial art service organization. He has served as a juror for the Canada Council, the National Museums of Canada, the CBC, and many other agencies and organizations.

Keith Martin Gordey

Keith Martin Gordey

Following his acting training at the University of British Columbia and the National Theatre School of Canada, Keith has forged a four-decade career in film, television and stage as a performer, coach, teacher, writer and director, appearing in 30 some professional theatrical productions and over 70 film and television productions.  Keith Martin Gordey currently serves as Vice President of ACTRA, Past President of UBCP/ACTRA, Past President of Western Gold Theatre (the only professional seniors theatre company in Canada).  He serves on the board of the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia, is a Past President of PAL Vancouver and a former Director of PAL Canada. 

Tom Jackson3

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, was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and promoted to Companion of the Order in 2020, and received the 2007 Juno and Gemini Humanitarian Awards, and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2014.


Ann Kaplan Web

Ann Kaplan

Dr. Ann Kaplan Mulholland is one of the stars of The Real Housewives of Toronto. Being corporate herself, she embodies the “unhousewife-housewife” – displaying her humorous antics and lack of tolerance for the intolerable weekly on SliceTv. In her “real” life, Dr. Kaplan works in Finance with a focus on consumer credit scoring (predictive scores for consumer loan risk). She founded iFinance, a North American consumer FinTech company – taking the Company from Start-up (1996) to one of the largest consumer finance Companies in Canada with loan applications exceeding $2B. Dr. Kaplan is regularly on the public speaking circuit, has written six books, is oft in the fashion scene promoting “positive social impact through fashion” … she unashamedly lives by the word “unscripted”. Recognized as The Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000, she also received the Award of Excellence for Canada as the recipient of the top honour, again, as The Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year fifteen years later. An award-winning businesswoman (she has received over forty international and national awards), author (4 books), popular speaker, and media personality, Dr. Kaplan has hosted television shows including Global’s NYtv, The Ultimate Makeover, and CosmedicTv. Because of her passion for business, Dr. Kaplan is frequently seen on the lecture circuit – discussing viewpoints on bank regulation, credit lending, entrepreneurship, and is a keen motivational speaker. She holds a DBA (Doctor of Business Administration), Masters In Business (MBA), Master in Science (MSc) and a Corporate Governance Designation (CD.D).


Louis-Alexandre Lanthier

Louis-Alexandre Lanthier recently joined PAA Advisory as Principal Advisor. Alex brings a mix expertise of corporate services, consultancy and political strategy. In the last 7 years, Alex worked with Government Affairs for a large transportation corporation and advised a large group of clients representing the different interests such as information technology, transport, infrastructure, trades, communication and health sectors. He is part of a small group of people who have more than 20 years’ experience on the political scene on Parliament Hill. He has worked with the public service, politicians, political parties, interest groups and stakeholders on a wide variety of political and policy issues.  From 2007 to 2014, Alex served in the office of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. During his seven years with Mr. Trudeau, he was responsible for the overall management of the Ottawa and Montreal offices, including managing the office budget and staff as well as acted as a media liaison and spokesperson (always in both official languages). Alex and his husband are the proud adoptive parents of a wonderful son.



Dan Lyon

Dan Lyon is an executive producer whose prior roles include actor, publicist for a ballet company, game inventor, theatrical producer, entertainment lawyer and film/tv distribution executive. From 2005 through 2020, he served as Telefilm Canada’s Regional Feature Film Executive for Ontario & Nunavut. Over 150 feature films have been financed, produced and released under his guidance.  The first project he championed upon joining Telefilm was “Away From Her”, which received two Academy Award nominations. Previously an entertainment lawyer at Goodmans, Dan joined Astral Bellevue Pathe Inc. and ultimately became Executive Vice-President, Distribution for Astral and its successor companies Coscient, Motion and TVA.  As a distributor, Dan was awarded the Golden Reel for the highest-grossing feature “The Art of War” and was the first independent buyer in the world (at the screenplay stage) for Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” which went on to win the Palme D’Or. Credits as executive producer for his indie company Dandelion Entertainment include Jacob Tierney’s debut feature “Twist” and “Everything’s Gone Green” written by Douglas Coupland. Additional awards include a Peabody, for “The Interrogation of Michael Crowe”. Dan is a produced playwright – his most recent play “The Great Conway Sideshow” received a sold-out staged reading in late 2019 starring Colin Mochrie and Debra McGrath.  He is co-author of the book PUBLIC STRATEGY AND MOTION PICTURES published by the Ontario Economic Council. Dan’s charitable activities include several terms as vice-president of the Board of the Performing Arts Lodge (PAL Toronto), and current president of Performing Arts FutureCare.


Jan Miller 2

Jan Miller

Jan Miller is an international consultant and trainer specializing in film and television coproduction and co-venturing. She also continues to present one of the world’s top Pitching and Content Development workshops globally, which have also crossed sectors into the music industry and animation, working with Women in Animation’s Animation Career EXCELerator program. A talent that makes things happen, Jan collaborated with Berlin’s Erich Pommer Institut to design the Trans Atlantic Partners (TAP), a unique 2 module international training program for establish film and TV producers. She also launched and served as Director of Halifax’s Strategic Partners, one of the world’s pre-eminent international coproduction markets. Jan was one of the driving forces behind setting up Canada’s first film school, the National Screen Institute, and continues to work with the NSI offering her expertise and workshops. Committed to supporting women working in the industry, Jan established Women in Film and Television-Atlantic. Jan also co-designed and presented four iterations of the Women in View’s Five in Focus training opportunities including one specifically for animators, as well as the 2021 iteration Five in Focus Indigenous. Jan has received a Women in Film and Television (WIFT-T) Crystal Award as well as ITV Women of Vision Award and BMO’s Progress Women of Excellence Award. She presently serves on the Women in View Board, the WIFT Canada Coalition and recently completed a term on the AFC Board.


milly ristvedt

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 National Gallery of Canada, 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.

Underwood photo

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 the Canadian Artists Network, the Canadian Broadcast Museum Foundation, and the Creative Arts Savings and Credit Union.


Lori Ward

Lori is a passionate Fund Development professional, who has served to advance the missions of inspiring Canadian charitable organizations for more than twenty years. Primarily focused on the arts and educational sectors, Lori has secured major funding for programs, capital projects and direct student support. Career highlights include leading the Dalhousie Performing Arts Campaign to expand and enhance facilities; inaugurating and growing a fund development program for the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative; and working on capital campaigns for the Coady International Institute at StFX and The Banff Centre. From 2003-2008, Lori served as a Director of the Banff Community Foundation, including two terms as Secretary of the Board. Lori holds a BA (Hons.) form Trent University, and a National Certificate in Fundraising Management from Mount Royal College.

Tonya Williams

Tonya Williams

Born in London, England, Tonya Williams is an award winning actress and producer who has worked in the entertainment industry for the last forty-five years in Canada and the USA.  She is best known for her nineteen years starring on the daytime drama The Young & The Restless as Dr. Olivia Winters.  She is also the founder and executive director of Reelworld Screen Institute, Reelworld Film Festival and Reelworld Foundation since 2000. She founded Reelworld to address the lack of opportunities, access and inclusion in Canada for Black, Indigenous, Asian and People of Colour in the screen industries.  Tonya currently sits on a number of boards including Wow Unlimited Media, The Black Academy, the Canadian Artists Network; is a founder and board member of the Black Screen Office; and also sits on the Telefilm Diversity & Inclusion Group, the Canadian Media Fund Black Industry Leaders Group, the Ontario Creates Advisory Committee and Canadian Creative Industries Coalitions Group.  She has won two NAACP Image Awards, an ACTRA Award of Excellence, a WIFT Crystal Award, the Harry Jerome Award and others. Tonya is based in Los Angeles.