iChannel’s: The Transgender Project

July 31st, 2014

Canada’s leading public affairs network has launched The Transgender Project, a new website dedicated to exploring the discrimination facing transgender Canadians.

The site, trans.ichannel.ca will host a series of webisodes that tell us the compelling personal stories of 13 transgender individuals. The first three have been posted today, and a new one will be added each week during the summer.

Other features on the site include a series of photo essays, and a wealth of information resources related to transgender rights and terminology.

The Transgender Project will also feature a full-length documentary about discrimination against transgender people in Canada. According to research compiled by the Trans PULSE Project, transgender Canadians encounter many different forms of discrimination: approximately 40% have been turned down for a job, and more than a quarter have been physically assaulted.

The documentary will be broadcast nationally on iChannel this fall.

The Transgender Project’s Senior Producer Kevin O’Keefe says: “It’s a privilege to be able to share these powerful stories of strength, courage and determination that will resonate with anyone trying to lead an authentic life. While these stories don’t shy away from the challenges many Trans Canadians face, we also celebrate the amazing resilience they have to simply be themselves.”

The Transgender Project was produced with the support of the Canada Media Fund.

ichannel’s Your Money Or Your Life nominated for Rockie Award

May 8th, 2014


ichannel, Canada’s leading public affairs network, has received a 2014 Rockie Award nomination for its original webseries Your Money Or Your Life.

A companion to the ichannel documentary of the same name, Your Money Or Your Life has been nominated in the Best Webseries Non-Fiction category.

Your Money Or Your Life investigates the suffering that many new immigrants and refugees experience when they try to access Canada’s health system. The webseries features interviews with immigrants, refugees and some of the health professionals across Canada dedicated to providing care for the uninsured.

The Your Money Or Your Life website, launched in May 2013 at ymoyl.ichannel.ca, also features the complete documentary, along with a one-of-a-kind interactive “clinic finder” feature that helps immigrants and refugees locate the medical and health services available to them in their regions.

Award-winning filmmaker Kevin O’Keefe (Milk War, Bad Habits) produced the documentary and webseries for ichannel.

“Most Canadians aren’t even aware that as many as half a million people in this country have no access to public health care,” Mr. O’Keefe says. “We made the film and its online companion so that their voices would be heard.”

The Rockie Awards is one of the world’s most important program competitions, celebrating the “best of the best” of television and digital media content from across the globe. The 2014 nominees can be previewed here.

Winners will be announced at the Banff World Media Festival in June.

The documentary film Your Money Or Your Life was produced with the support of the Canada Media Fund. The complementary website was created with the support of the CMF’s Convergent Digital Incentive Program.

Baby it’s Cool Out There!

February 13th, 2014


Some exciting news from our friends at Stornoway Productions:

What is “cool” anyway? And why do certain fads and fashions appear and re-appear throughout the course of time? Now’s our chance to find out, with the launch of Stornoway Productions’ new web series and interactive website Where Cool Came From.

Featuring print and radio journalist, Dave LeBlanc, this original series explores all things “cool” in an entertaining journey that that looks at today’s design, architecture, fashion and fads through the influences of yesteryear.

From coffee, cars and beat poetry, to the ancient arts of tattooing and brew making, Dave looks at the history and evolution of cool in an eclectic array of engaging webisodes. Available exclusively through the interactive website www.wherecoolcamefrom.com the series offers viewers an opportunity to join Dave as he searches out the vestiges of authentic “cool.” Users can also cast their votes on the “cool-o-meter,” plot their own cool places on an interactive map, and join the “cool” community for updates and additional features.

Where Cool Came From utilizes Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to encourage visits to the website, and user-generated content. The website is available on standard, tablet and mobile devices.

This digital media project is supported by the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian specialty network ichannel, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

The Where Cool Came From blog is awesome, too. CHECK IT OUT!


ichannel remembers Alex Colville: 1920-2013

July 18th, 2013


Alex Colville, one of Canada’s most celebrated contemporary artists, died this week at the age of 92. ichannel honours his memory next week with a special airing of the documentary Portraits Of War, which looks back at Colville’s formative wartime experiences. Here’s the official announcement.

TORONTO, July 18, 2013: ichannel, a national television information service devoted to exploring political and social issues, will celebrate the life and legacy of renowned Canadian painter Alex Colville with a special broadcast of the documentary Portraits Of War on July 24.

Colville, one of this country’s most celebrated contemporary artists, died on July 16 at his home in Wolfville, N.S. He was 92.

Produced by Toronto-based Stornoway Productions, Portraits Of War offers an intimate look at Colville’s experiences with the Canadian Army during World War Two. As a military artist, he documented the troop landings at Normandy on D-Day, and was there as Allied forces pressed on into Germany.

Colville acknowledged that these wartime experiences powerfully influenced his later artistic work, informing the subtle sense of dread that often seemed to lurk just beneath the surface of even his most tranquil-seeming tableaux.

In Portraits Of War, Colville’s story is intertwined with that of another Canadian who documented the reality of World War Two: Harold Morden, a combat evacuation medic and amateur photographer whose candid pictures – snapped on the fly, when the Military Police weren’t watching – captured the nature of life on the front lines in ways that few civilians have ever seen.

The paths of Colville and Morden would eventually cross, on one of the war’s darkest days. Both men were among the few Canadians present when the Allies liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and bore witness that day to evidence of unimaginable depravity. It would change them forever.

ichannel presents Portraits Of War on Wednesday July 24 at 9 pm and Midnight ET. The documentary repeats on Saturday July 27 at 9 pm and 1 am ET.


Recovering Our Honour: A Special ichannel Event

March 26th, 2013


RECOVERING OUR HONOUR is a four-part documentary series that asks how we can bridge the growing divide between civil society and the military. Filmed in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., this thought-provoking series airs in ichannel’s prime time idocs slot the week of April 8. Here’s the official announcement:

During the Canadian combat mission in Afghanistan, people of all ages would line Ontario’s famed Highway of Heroes to pay respect as convoys passed carrying the bodies of fallen soldiers. It was a powerful symbol of the bond between ordinary Canadians and our men and women in uniform.

But are symbols enough? Has our military, in fact, grown estranged from the very society it protects?

RECOVERING OUR HONOUR: Building The Bond Between Citizens And Soldiers is a four-part documentary series that considers the state of civil-military relations today in Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain. Why do we have a military? What is it for – and what is our responsibility, as citizens, to those who serve in the armed forces? Most important, how can we strengthen the ties between the military and civilian worlds?

Recovering Our Honour airs on ichannel from Monday April 8 to Thursday April 11 at 9 pm and Midnight ET. The series is hosted by Senator Pamela Wallin.

Recovering Our Honour is produced by Breakout Educational Network in association with Stornoway Productions.


Monday April 8 – In The Beginning: Citizen Soldier
At a time when the military is largely invisible in much of the country, the Canadian Forces reserves can act as a “positive footprint” for the armed forces in our communities and workplaces. This documentary examines the experiences of reservists – the part-time volunteers who have become the backbone of the Canadian armed forces.

Tuesday April 9 – Leadership Lost: No Country For Young Men
Through much of the 20th century, Canadian universities hosted leadership and officer training for the country’s armed forces, helping to forge an important link between the military and civil society. Then, during the social upheaval of the 1960s, these university officer training programs were abolished. This documentary takes a look back at a lost tradition.

Wednesday April 10 – Leadership Found: For Queen & Country
While officer training programs at Canadian universities are long defunct, the tradition continues in the U.K., where the Officer Training Corps provides teaching in leadership skills for hundreds of students each year. This documentary asks why the OTC is considered the best club on campus – and whether such a program could work in Canada today.

Thursday April 11 – Leadership Renewed: Bridging The Gap
In the U.S., civil-military relations have reached a crisis point. Most Americans know little about their military, and few members of the country’s leadership class have any experience serving in uniform. The military, meanwhile, sees itself increasingly as a world apart. This documentary asks how the bond between U.S. citizens and soldiers became so badly frayed, and considers one hopeful sign of change: the re-emergence of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which was dropped by many Ivy League schools during the Vietnam era, but has lately been reinstated at elite institutions such as Harvard, Columbia and Yale.

CLICK HERE to visit the Bridging The Gap Web site.

Recovering Our Honour is the follow-up to the Gemini Award-nominated series A Question Of Honour, which examined Canada’s foreign and defence policies.



Debating EI Reform: #FAQMP talks to Liberal MP Mark Eyking

March 12th, 2013


THIS WEEK ON #FAQMP: Liberal MP Mark Eyking (Sydney-Victoria)

Catch this week’s new episode online at faqmp.ichannel.ca: Thursday March 14 at 2 pm ET.

This week on ichannel’s flagship political affairs series #FAQMP, host Kevin O’Keefe (above, right) sits down with Liberal MP Mark Eyking, from the Cape Breton, Nova Scotia riding of Sydney-Victoria, to field questions from viewers. Here’s a quick overview from Associate Producer Patrick Hickey:

Mark Eyking sees a gloomy future for Canada’s unemployed. “The Conservatives probably want to get rid of EI altogether,” he says.

Eyking has been leading a charge against the Conservative government’s changes to the Employment Insurance system. Under new rules effective January 1, seasonal workers now face a tougher time qualifying for EI benefits.  Eyking worries that these reforms will spell disaster for local economies dependent on seasonal labour.

Eligibility changes mean that frequent claimants will now be required to accept jobs up to one hour’s commute from home and at 30% less pay than their usual vocation. The Conservatives argue that these reforms encourage better utilization of Canada’s labour potential.

But for regions like Eyking’s riding, which rely on seasonal industries like fishing and tourism, stricter EI regulations will pull many off-season workers toward jobs elsewhere. Once gone, Eyking fears, many of these workers are unlikely to return. “When these people are starved out and driven out West, these industries will collapse,” he warns.

While supporters of reform, such as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, see the new rules as providing workers with better opportunities and greater stability, Eyking insists they do an injustice. “When hotel and fish plant workers in Cape Breton are laid off at the end of the season, it is not their fault. These employees and their employers have paid into the EI system and contribute greatly to our economy. Why is the Prime Minister calling them repeat offenders and destroying their livelihoods?”

For more background, CLICK HERE.

For another take on the Mark Eyking interview from #FAQMP host – and proud Cape Breton native — Kevin O’Keefe, CLICK HERE.

#FAQMP streams online at faqmp.ichannel.ca on Thursdays at 2 pm ET. Viewers can take part in a live chat with the #FAQMP team during the online broadcast.


Showing Foreign Criminals the Door: #FAQMP talks to Conservative MP Rick Dykstra

March 4th, 2013


THIS WEEK ON #FAQMP: Conservative MP Rick Dykstra (St. Catharines)

Catch this week’s new episode online at faqmp.ichannel.ca: Thursday March 7 at 2 pm ET.

Conservative MP RICK DYKSTRA is Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Jason Kenney. Among the topics of discussion on this week’s show: Bill C-43, which aims to protect Canada from foreign criminals. Here’s a quick overview from Associate Producer Patrick Hickey:

Conservative MP Rick Dykstra has a message for foreign-born criminals: You are not welcome in this country. “They make a mockery of our system. They make appeal after appeal after appeal. That is not going to happen anymore.”

Bill C-43 was first introduced by Citizenship & Immigration Minster Jason Kenney in June 2012 and has already passed its first two readings before the House of Commons “Canada is not a haven for criminals,” Dykstra told the House this past September. “We are going to make sure that the enforcements laid out in this piece of legislation are in fact finally put to rest and implemented.”

Among these new enforcements: a limitation on the appeals available to permanent residents who have been ordered deported due to criminal convictions. C-43 also seeks to prevent foreign criminals gaining entry to Canada via legitimate immigration. Under current rules, foreign nationals barred from Canada for serious criminality can apply to certain humanitarian programs within Citizenship & Immigration Canada to delay or prevent their removal from Canada. C-43 would eliminate these individuals’ access to such programs.

Critics have raised concerns that C-43 is too heavy handed. The Canadian Bar Association cautions that its ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ to denying deportation appeals doesn’t take into consideration an offender’s potential for rehabilitation or even the true seriousness of their crimes. Minor offences such as shoplifting or simple marijuana possession could fall within the scope of C-43.

The Harper government, however, has indicated that it will continue to move the bill forward. Says Dykstra: “At the end of the day it is a bill that makes sense and it is one that has the overwhelming support of Canadians.”

For more background from Patrick, CLICK HERE.

#FAQMP viewers also had questions for MP Rick Dykstra about immigrant and refugee healthcare – and, in particular, about cutbacks to the Interim Federal Health Plan (IFH), which provides health insurance for refugees and refugee claimants while they are waiting for their cases to be settled. For more on this issue from #FAQMP host Kevin O’Keefe (pictured above, right), CLICK HERE.

#FAQMP streams online at faqmp.ichannel.ca on Thursdays at 2 pm ET. Viewers can take part in a live chat with the #FAQMP team during the online broadcast.


#FAQMP nominated for Canadian Screen Award!

January 15th, 2013


We’re so proud of the team behind our original political affairs series #FAQMP: today we learned that they’ve been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award! Congratulations to the entire #FAQMP crew. Here’s the official ichannel news release with full details:


TORONTO, January 15, 2013: ichannel’s flagship political affairs series #FAQMP is among the first-ever nominees for the new Canadian Screen Awards.

The hour-long weekly program has earned a nomination in the category of Best Cross-Platform Project – Non-Fiction. This is the first time an ichannel original production has received an award nomination from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.

Launched in October 2011, #FAQMP (“Frequently Asked Questions for your Member of Parliament”) uses social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, along with its own interactive Web site (faqmp.ichannel.ca), to give viewers unprecedented control over the show’s content.

Canadians cast votes online to determine which Member of Parliament will be interviewed each week, and submit the questions that will be asked. A live chat during the broadcast allows viewers to give immediate feedback to the #FAQMP production team.

#FAQMP is an innovative program that harnesses the power of social media to help bring ordinary Canadians closer to the country’s political decision-makers,” said Don Gaudet, Vice President of Programming for Toronto-based Stornoway Communications, which owns and operates the digital specialty service ichannel. “We’re tremendously proud of the #FAQMP production team, and delighted to see their efforts receive well-deserved industry recognition.”

Added #FAQMP Senior Producer Kevin O’Keefe: “We owe an enormous thanks to the many Canadians who have voted, submitted questions and taken part in our live chats. The enthusiastic participation of our online supporters has been integral to the success of the program.”

ichannel will broadcast episodes from the current season on Sunday nights, starting February 10, at 10 pm ET. New episodes of #FAQMP will be streamed online at faqmp.ichannel.ca on Thursdays, starting February 28, at 2 pm ET.

Season two of #FAQMP is produced with the assistance of the Canadian Media Fund.

Introduced in 2013 by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the Canadian Screen Awards recognize excellence in film, television and digital media productions.



FUSION: Help Us Spread The Word!

January 7th, 2013


FUSION is the nation’s interactive station: a bold and innovative 21st century programming model designed to provide national, regional and local reflection. FUSION uses the latest digital technologies to engage youth and provide local reflection, with a strong emphasis on live interactive viewer participation from across the country and across multiple media platforms.

HELP US SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT FUSION! Click on the social media buttons at the bottom of this post to share with your social networks!

To learn more about the FUSION revolution, click on these links:

Contact Information:

Email: Martha Fusca – mfusca@stornoway.com | Email: Avinash Mohamed – amohamed@stornoway.com

Fax Number: 416-756-5526 | CRTC Fax Number: 819-994-0218


ichannel Founder Honoured

November 15th, 2012

NEWS RELEASE: Communications innovator and woman of firsts Martha Fusca awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

TORONTO, November 15, 2012: Martha Fusca, a leader in the Canadian broadcast and production sectors, has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Ms. Fusca was nominated by Senator Anne C. Cools to receive this honour in recognition of her “innovative contribution to Canada’s communications industry” and as “a woman of firsts.”

Ms. Fusca co-founded the television and film production company Stornoway Productions, and spearheaded the launch in 2000 of Stornoway Communications, which today owns and operates the specialty TV services ichannel, The Pet Network and bpm:tv.

Ms. Fusca also co-founded the Independent Broadcasters Group (IBG), an affiliation of independent pay, specialty and conventional television licensees. A leader in supporting women in the communications industry, she has served as President and Board member of the Toronto chapter of Women in Film and Television. She is also the recipient of the Entrepreneur Award from the Canadian Media Production Association and the Canadian Women in Communications Trailblazer award.

In keeping with her pioneering spirit, Ms. Fusca is currently leading Stornoway’s newest venture: FUSION, an application for a specialty digital licence under a 9(i)(h) order.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to commemorate the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada.

The medal is being presented, throughout the year, to deserving Canadians to celebrate significant contributions and achievements, and to recognize those who, like Her Majesty The Queen, have dedicated themselves to serving their fellow citizens, their community and their country.