Board of Directors

MediaSmarts is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors, which includes representatives of leading media companies and stakeholder sectors, including education, libraries, and community and youth-serving organizations.

Executive Committee 2015 - 2016

Suzanne Morin
VP and Associate General Counsel
Quebec and Enterprise Chief Privacy Officer
SunLife Financial

Serge Carrier
Director, Business Development
Société de formation à distance des commissions scolaires du Québec (SOFAD)

Colin McKay
Head, Public Policy and Government Relations, Canada
Google Inc.

Erika Kramer
Vice-President, Production, Distribution and Administration

Rita Shelton Deverell
Independent Producer; Adjunct Professor
Mount Saint Vincent University

Board Members 2015 - 2016

Bill Abbott
Senior Counsel - Regulatory Law
Bell Canada

Mary Cavanagh
Associate Professor, School of Information Studies
University of Ottawa

Kevin Chan
Head of Public Policy, Canada
Facebook and Instagram

Jérôme Dufour
Director General, Distribution, Communications and Marketing
National Film Board of Canada

David Fowler
Director, Marketing and Communications
Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)

Michael Hoechsmann
Associate Professor and Chair of Education Programs
Lakehead University

Jean La Rose
Chief Executive Director 
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)

Craig McTaggart
TELUS Communications Company

Arlette Lefebvre, M.D
Psychiatrist, Child Psychiatry Section
The Toronto Hospital for Sick Children

Heather Smith
Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF)


Official Observers 2015 - 2016

Natalie Frank
Manager, Policy
Workplace Partnerships Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada

Nanao Kachi
Director, Social and Consumer Policy
Policy Development and Research
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

Helen C. Kennedy
Director General
Broadcasting and Digital Communications Branch
Canadian Heritage

Mark Matz
Director, Policy and Issues Management
National Cyber Security
Public Safety Canada

Sheila Smail
Manager, Access Programs and Policies
Digital Policy Branch
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Past Board Members


Biographies of Board Members

William (Bill) Abbott (first elected to the Board in 2012)
Bill Abbott is a Senior Counsel – Regulatory Law and the Bell Privacy Ombudsman with Bell Canada. He is responsible for a number of social policy areas including privacy, child exploitation, lawful access to communications, accessibility for persons with disabilities and anti-spam/malware. Bill is a graduate of Queen’s University (B.A. Hons) and Dalhousie University (LL.B.). Prior to joining Bell Canada in 2000, Bill practised family law in Cobourg, Ontario. Bill resides in Ottawa with his wife and three increasingly bewildering tween children, where he is an avid rower and sailor.

Serge Carrier (first elected to the Board in 1997)
Serge is SOFAD’s Director of business development. From 2005 to 2007, he was COO of FacePrint Global Solutions, a biometrics solution provider in California. Until 2005, he was the vice president, Strategic Development, at CogniScience, one of Canada’s foremost e- learning publishers. As CEO, from 1987 to 2002, Serge was responsible for developing Micro-Intel’s educational software, in collaboration with ministries of education across Canada. Before starting Micro- Intel, Serge developed educational software and taught science and computer science at the high school and college levels.

Mary Cavanagh (first elected to the Board in 2012)
Having completed her doctorate at the University of Toronto in 2009, Mary Cavanagh is now an Associate Professor with the School of Information Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her teaching and research focus on the future of public libraries, knowledge management and organizational learning, information ethics in the public domain and open access. Mary worked as a librarian and manager in both Ontario and Saskatchewan for 18 years. Between 2003 and 2009, she was coordinator of the SmartLibrary consortium in the National Capital Region. A number of Canadian public library organizations have engaged Mary as a consultant and researcher on projects related to library services for aboriginal people, libraries and the digital divide and professional practice.

Kevin Chan (first elected to the Board in May 2015)
Kevin Chan is Head of Public Policy, Canada for Facebook and Instagram, engaging on a broad range of issues that impact the Internet sector.

Previously he was Deputy Secretary-General of McGill University and a Non-Residential Fellow at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. Earlier he served in executive roles in the federal public service.

Kevin sits on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and the Dean’s Council at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management.

He graduated from Harvard Kennedy School, the Ivey Business School and the Royal Conservatory of Music, and is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Jérôme Dufour (first elected to the Board in December 2015)

Jérôme Dufour has been Director General of Distribution, Marketing and Communications at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) since March 2014. He is recognized for his creative approach and, during a career spanning nearly 25 years, he has acquired extensive experience in advertising, brand management, product development and relationship marketing, which he is using to develop an innovative, strategic marketing plan that will ensure that the full potential of the NFB’s productions, brand, intellectual property and expertise is utilized. He is also responsible for all services related to distribution, marketing and communications, as well as partnerships, platform development, institutional sales and education, and collection management.

Mr. Dufour was previously Vice President of Marketing at the Old Port of Montreal Corporation. In that capacity, he managed marketing and communications activities and product and service operations, as well as sales and customer service for all commercial activities of the Old Port, Montréal Science Centre and IMAX Theatre for five years. He has also held management and directorship positions in marketing and communications at various companies, such as Air France, Microcell Telecommunications, Loyalty Management Group and Cossette Communications.

David Fowler (first elected to the Board in 2012)
David Fowler is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), the organization that manages .CA, Canada’s Internet domain. Reporting to the President, he is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s marketing and communications strategies. This includes providing executive leadership for all corporate communications/advertising programs, managing the .CA product and channel relationships.

David joined CIRA at a time of organizational transition. As a rapidly-evolving organization with a new CEO, the time was ripe for a strategic leader to bring focus to and sharpen CIRA’s communications and marketing activities. David restructured the department, developed a new strategic direction and executed for results. Today, .CA is one of the fastest growing domains globally and within Canada is gaining market presence and share.

David is a leader who has extensive experience across a broad spectrum of sectors in both profit-driven and not-for-profit organizations. David holds a Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, and Diploma in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. He has also received ICD.D accreditation in Governance Essentials for Not-for-Profit Organizations.

Natalie Frank (first appointed to the Board in January 2014)
Natalie Frank is the Manager of Policy in the Workplace Partnerships Directorate at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), where she currently manages policies related to workforce essential skills, skills trends and supports within industry sectors, the national labour market information services and the national Job Bank. Natalie has been in the federal public service for 15 years, working on a wide range of cultural and social policies at the Department of Canadian Heritage, and more recently at ESDC (formerly HRSDC) since 2010. She has a B.A. from McGill University and a Master’s in Communications from Carleton University.

Dr. Michael Hoechsmann (first elected to the Board in 2012)
Dr. Michael Hoechsmann is an Associate Professor and Chair of Education Programs at the Orillia campus of Lakehead University. He is the coauthor of Media Literacies: A Critical Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) and Reading Youth Writing: “New” Literacies, Cultural Studies and Education (Peter Lang, 2008). From 1998-2002, Michael was the Director of Education of Young People’s Press, a national news service for youth, 14-24. His research and teaching is situated in media education, new and digital literacies, and cultural studies.

Helen C. Kennedy (first appointed to the Board in 2016)
Helen C. Kennedy joined the federal public service in 1989. She began her career in the Telecommunications Policy Branch of the Department of Communications. Since then she has occupied a number of positions in the government, including Senior Analyst of Strategic Policy in the Intergovernmental Affairs/Privy Council Office, Director of Programming Services in Broadcasting Policy and Deputy Director-General, Cultural Industries. In 2013, she was appointed Director General, Broadcasting and Digital Communications. Ms. Kennedy is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University (B.A. Honours), Queen’s University (M.A. Political Studies) and University of Ottawa (Public Sector Leadership and Governance).

Erika Kramer (first elected to the Board in May 2015)
Erika’s television career started as a founding member of VisionTV in 1988, doing everything from Traffic to Technical Producer, eventually becoming the Director of Technical Operations, Broadcast Systems and Traffic. Over 19 years she helped VisionTV grow into S-VOX, launching two more channels.

Since joining TVO in 2007, Erika added Production and Administration to her Distribution portfolio. She led teams to successfully implement several projects: Master Control rebuild, TVO’s digital over-the-air transition, decommissioning 164 analog transmitter sites, launching TVO HD, and a massive office-space re-organization. Two of these project teams received TVO recognition awards for outstanding achievement, and demonstrating collaboration, excellence and innovation.

Erika serves on the Finance Committee of MediaSmarts and is a member of CTAM Canada. She has served as Chair of the Canadian Broadcast Distribution Association, and Chair of Ontario DTV Over-the-Air Consortium. During her career she has served on various committees of the Specialty and Premium Television Association, Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and Canadian Digital Television Inc.

Erika is a graduate of the Radio and Television Arts program at Ryerson.

Jean La Rose (first elected to the Board in May 2011)
Jean La Rose is a First Nations citizen from the Abenakis First Nation of Odanak. He was raised in Ottawa where he studied Journalism at Algonquin College and obtained his B.A. in Social Communication at the University of Ottawa. He later began study for his Masters in Public Administration at L’Ecole Nationale d’Administration Publique (ENAP). He was named Chief Executive Officer of APTN in November 2002. Since his appointment, he has brought the network from a deficit position of more than $5.5 million dollars to a surplus position. The network has moved to a digital, high-definition platform and now employs over 130 people. APTN was one of the host broadcasters for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and carried over 10 hours per day of Olympic events in English, French and in eight (8) Aboriginal languages.

Mr. La Rose sits on the Board of Directors of the National Screen Institute, the Board of Directors of On-Screen Manitoba and the Nisga’a Commercial Group. He also served on the National Capital Commission Advisory Committee on its mandate review to provide Aboriginal perspective as it pertains to the future plans of the National Capital Commission (NCC), and the Advisory Committee on Indigenous Property and Authenticity Rights that was established by Heritage Canada. He has been a panelist and public speaker on a variety of forums, speaking to the issues and matters that pertain to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

Arlette Lefebvre (first elected to the Board in 2002)
A child psychiatrist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, Arlette specializes in working with children with disabilities. She is also a professor of Child Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Arlette has been involved in media education for many years: she pioneered the use of the Internet to help to connect disabled children to their mentors, friends, and the broad community. She was the founding president of Ability OnLine, and also wrote Taking Your Kids Online: How and When to Introduce Children to the Internet. Her career has earned her many awards - the most recent being the 2002 Dr. Richard Ten Cate Professional Community Award, the Bloorview MacMillan Children’s Centre’s Circle of Honour Award, the Order of Ontario, and the Order of Canada.

Mark Matz (first appointed to the Board in July 2015)
Mark Matz is the Director of Policy and Issues Management within the National Cyber Security Directorate at Public Safety Canada. Mark has worked in various policy positions with the Government of Canada, including with the Privy Council Office and Canadian Heritage. Mark holds a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

Colin McKay (first elected to the Board in 2012)
Colin is on Google’s global public policy team, where he tries to keep the internet brimming with discovery and delight.

In addition to privacy and data protection, Colin worked on innovation agendas, launched science and technology strategies, planned for copyright reform and encouraged the development of intelligent transportation systems over a 15 year career in the Canadian public service.

In recent years with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, his team researched the impact of the digital economy on personal privacy, and then built tools to help individuals understand their privacy rights.

Colin is also a member of the Government of Canada Advisory Panel on Open Government.

Always fascinated by information networks and new technology, he blogs and tweets more than he probably should. As a pre-teen, he preferred his Star Wars digital watch to the Casio calculator watch.

Colin has an M.A in international relations from the University of Toronto, although his understanding of politics was largely shaped by Monty Python.

Craig McTaggart (first elected to the Board in 2008)
Craig McTaggart was a member of TELUS Communications Company’s regulatory team from 2004 until 2015, when he was forced to go on medical leave. At that time, he was Director, Broadband Policy, with responsibility for Internet policy matters including copyright, child safety, and consumer policy. Craig earned his doctorate in law under the supervision of Professors Hudson Janisch and Michael Trebilcock at the University of Toronto in 2004. An Ontario lawyer since 1997, Craig holds a B.A.(Hons.) in history from Queen’s University, an LL.B. from The University of Western Ontario, and an LL.M. and S.J.D. from the University of Toronto. He is past chair of the board of directors of MediaSmarts/HabiloMédias, a two-time full and six-time half-Ironman triathlon finisher, and lives in Ottawa with his wife and two daughters.

Suzanne Morin (first elected to the Board in 2008)
In September 2015, after more than 20 years in the communications industry, spanning Stentor, the Bell Canada family including a brief stint as BlackBerry’s first global privacy officer, Suzanne shifted industries and joined Sun Life Financial Canada. She is now responsible to lead the team providing legal support to the business in Québec combined with overall leadership for privacy at Sun Life and its subsidiaries worldwide.

Since her call to the Bar, Suzanne has been working in the areas of privacy, copyright, communications and electronic commerce generally, including areas such as network neutrality, lawful access, unsolicited bulk email or spam, jurisdiction, consumer protection and online child exploitation. 

A big believer in giving back to the community, she continues to be involved with many organizations including the Canadian Bar Association’s National Privacy and Access Law Section, the Canadian Center for Child Protection and MediaSmarts, a leader in media and digital literacy. Suzanne was an appointed member of the board of the Standards Council of Canada for over a decade and was a member of the Canadian Spam Task Force. 

She speaks frequently at Canadian and international conferences and is an Advisory Board Member and occasional contributor to the Internet and E-commerce Law in Canada and the Canadian Privacy Law Review..

Rita Shelton Deverell, C.M., Ed.D. (first elected to the Board in 2005)
Rita is an Independent Producer/Director/Writer/Performer of television and theatre for RJ Deverell Productions. Her drama series “Solo Flight International” debuts on OMNI, versioned in three languages, in 2007-08. In 2005 she completed her term as the Director of News and Current Affairs, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, where she mentored her Aboriginal successor. Deverell’s career in journalism has been one of pioneering innovation and creativity. With an unceasing drive for social justice, she is one of the first Black women in Canada to be a television host and a network executive. A founder of Vision TV, the world’s first multi-faith and multicultural network, she held several senior positions there as well as the network anchor job. In 2006 she was appointed the first CanWest Global Fellow in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario. An inspiring mentor and teacher, Rita Deverell serves as a role model for young journalists and audiences alike. Rita is an adjunct professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

Sheila Smail (first appointed to the Board in May 2015)
Sheila Smail is the Manager of Access Programs and Policy at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Previous to this role, Sheila worked on SME technology adoption and use, ICT policy development in Africa and with the Broadband Canada Program. She has been with the federal public service since 1997. Sheila was recruited to the public service from an international posting in Bangladesh where she spent two years working in water development and flood mitigation in the NGO sector. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Concordia University in Montreal.

Heather Smith (first elected to the Board in May 2015)
Heather Smith, of New Brunswick Teachers’ Association (NBTA), was elected CTF President in 2015, serving until 2017.

Smith, who is the current principal and teacher at Janeville Elementary School, located outside of Bathurst, New Brunswick is the past president of the NBTA and Vice-President of CTF. She received national recognition in 2011 when she was the only New Brunswick educator named one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals by the Learning Partnership. Smith holds a Bachelor of Child Study degree in Elementary and Special Education and a Master of Education in Literacy from Mount Saint Vincent University. Smith brings a dedication towards providing comprehensive services for students with high needs to the position.

The majority of Smith’s 32-year teaching experience has been with kindergarten and grade four students, with teaching assignments throughout New Brunswick. Smith believes in individualized educational support, and feels that standardized testing isn’t as comprehensive a measure of learning as many educators consider it to be. Additionally, she is an experienced negotiator, advocate for teacher work-life balance and is invested in planned, collaborative learning.

Along with being elected President-Designate, Smith was appointed to Chair the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Human Rights for a second year.