Minister Rodriguez Shares with the New Executive Director of Telefilm Canada the Government’s Vision and Priorities for Public corporation
From: Canadian Heritage
Gatineau, December 3, 2018
The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, sent a letter to Christa Dickenson, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada.
The purpose of the letter was to inform her of the Government of Canada’s vision and priorities with respect to the public corporation.
Here is the full text of the Government of Canada’s welcome letter.
300 Saint-Jacques Street, Suite 600
Montréal, Québec H2Y 1P5
Dear Ms. Dickenson:
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Canadian Heritage Portfolio and to Telefilm Canada (Telefilm). Please accept my sincere congratulations on your appointment as Executive Director for a term of five years, effective July 30, 2018. I am confident that, in light of your professional background and experience, you will make a most valuable contribution to Telefilm.
You are starting your term at a crucial period for Canada’s audiovisual sector, and I am confident that your leadership and substantial experience will be invaluable in helping strengthen Telefilm.
Over the next few months, you will learn a great deal about the inner workings of Telefilm. You will be briefed on its mandate, organizational structure and specific challenges by its interim Chair, its officers and staff. You will no doubt become one of its most committed advocates.
While I recognize and respect the arm’s-length relationship between Telefilm and the Government, I count on your organization to continue to fulfil its statutory obligations to carry out its mandate in the broader context of federal policies related to culture.
I believe it is vital for Telefilm to continue to support the Government’s Creative Canada vision of investing in Canadian creators, cultural entrepreneurs and their stories, and promoting discovery and distribution at home and globally. With this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to enumerate some of the priority areas I expect Telefilm to continue to act upon. I would like to thank you and Telefilm officials in advance for your engagement on these issues.
Investment in Creators
Our Government believes in supporting our cultural industries, which is why since 2016-17, we have provided a total of $29.5 million in additional funding to Telefilm. I encourage you to continue to work to ensure federal support meets the needs of Canadian creators and cultural entrepreneurs from across Canada. I recognize that Telefilm is already working to ensure that emerging creators have the support they need in today’s rapidly changing environment through programs like Talent to Watch. I encourage you to continue this important work.
Creative Export Strategy
Our creative industries have a wealth of talent with incredible economic potential in international markets. Our Government made a commitment to support and strengthen our creative industries on the world stage, and our new Creative Export Strategy will do just that. I know that Telefilm will continue to be a key partner in delivering on that Strategy and in promoting Canada’s economic growth, creating well-paying jobs and especially showcasing Canadian talent throughout the world through Telefilm’s renewed emphasis on content discovery and treaty coproduction. In the interests of maximizing the benefits of Canada’s new membership in Eurimages and positioning Canada as an audiovisual coproduction partner of choice, I encourage you to explore the possibility of development and production support for “fourth-language films.”
I also strongly support the important work of Telefilm towards gender parity in its funding and towards achieving its goal of building, by 2020, a representative and diversified feature film portfolio that better reflects Canada’s population. I am pleased by the recent announcement that Telefilm is on its way to achieving a balanced production portfolio (at all budget levels) that reflects gender parity in each of the key roles of director, writer and producer.
The issue of workplace integrity is one of utmost importance to our Government. There must be zero tolerance for harassment in workplaces in our arts and cultural sector. As you know, since February 2018, Canadian Heritage has worked closely with its programs and corporate partners to review existing funding instruments to ensure that clear messaging is provided to funding recipients to inform them of their responsibility to provide a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination. I wish to thank Telefilm for its progress and leadership on this issue, and encourage you to continue your important work on workplace integrity measures.
Support for Indigenous Creators and Content
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission highlighted the importance of Indigenous languages, arts and culture to cultural resilience and in the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Too often, Indigenous creators have faced systematic barriers in the audiovisual industry that have made it difficult to share their stories. Telefilm is a key source of financial support for Indigenous creators, allowing them to tell their stories to Canadians and to the world and continued investments in Indigenous productions will have an important impact. I also applaud Telefilm’s role as a partner in the creation of the Indigenous Screen Office and I encourage you to work with partners to help ensure the stability and ongoing operations of the ISO in the first two years of its new mandate.
I would also take this opportunity to highlight the importance of collaboration with other key federal government partners for the benefit of Canada’s audiovisual industry. As outlined in the Creative Canada Policy Framework, I encourage Telefilm to continue to work with the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office to explore ways to streamline the application process for producers applying to both organizations. I also encourage you to explore closer collaboration with other funding partners such as the Canada Media Fund, where feasible.
Ethical and Political Activity Guidelines for Public Office Holders
Prior to being appointed, you signed a document certifying that you would observe the Ethical and Political Activity Guidelines for Public Office Holders as a condition of holding office in the Government. As a Governor in Council appointee, you are expected to perform your duties in the public interest as well as to uphold the highest ethical standards so that public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of the Government are conserved and enhanced. You have the duty to act in the best interests of Telefilm within the framework of its statutory mandate, and to exercise care and due diligence. I encourage you to speak with your Interim Chairperson if guidance or advice in this area is required.
In addition, a handbook to help explain your new duties within the broader Government context and within the Canadian Heritage Portfolio is enclosed. This handbook also clarifies some of the new terminology you will encounter and the reasons for some of the processes your organization undertakes on a regular basis.
As Executive Director of a Crown corporation, you are subject to the Performance Management Program (PMP) established by the Privy Council Office. In accordance with the PMP Guidelines, you are required to develop your performance agreement for the current fiscal year. This document is a mutual understanding between you and the Board of Directors, establishing clear and challenging performance commitments and measures for what is expected by the Board of Directors and the shareholder during the performance cycle which is ending on March 31, 2019. A copy of the PMP Guidelines is attached as well. The Interim Chair of Telefilm Canada, Mr. Grant Machum, will send me a copy of your performance agreement for fiscal year 2018-19.
Thank you for accepting to assume these responsibilities with Telefilm Canada.
Please accept my best wishes.
The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, P.C., M.P.
Mr. Grant Machum, Interim Chair, Telefilm Canada
Ms. Hilary Leftick, Office of the Prime Minister
Ms. Kristen Bassett, Privy Council Office