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.

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.


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.


Friends For Life

June 26th, 2012


Posted by Brian Hamilton

What was the hottest drink on the menu at Saturday’s Friends for Life gala, you ask? A martini … shaken, not stirred (of course). Had I known beforehand that the FFL gathering had a James Bond theme this year, I would have chosen to wear the finest tuxedo from my extensive collection. But alas, a shirt and tie would have to do.

If there was one thing this benefit did not lack, was style, and lots of it. The room was crammed with beautiful people, all dressed to impress. It’s not hard to convince people to pose for a photo when everyone looks that good.

Partying is always fun, but partying for a great cause is better. The Friends for Life Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the fight against cystic fibrosis and childhood cancer. There were some powerful and touching speeches, and it was gratifying to know that, through this annual event, FFL raises money that helps to fund research and make the lives of those living with CF and cancer more comfortable.

Next year, I’ll be sure to check on the theme of this party ahead of time, so I can keep pace with this all too stylish crowd. I may still order the martini, though. Does shaken really taste different from stirred?

Check out the iNEWS video clips from the gala below and on our YouTube channel.





ichannel and Aboriginal History Month – First Nations Business

June 26th, 2012


Posted by Karyn Pugliese

In honour of Aboriginal History Month, ichannel is highlighting a series of one-hour @issue specials, hosted by Karyn Pugliese, that examine social justice issues, unique challenges and success stories from Aboriginal communities across Canada. You can watch the latest of these, “First Nations Business,” below.

First Nations Business. First Nations communities in Canada are often portrayed as places of unemployment, poverty and despair. But many have defied the odds, developing thriving economies through band-run businesses, partnership ventures and aggressive entrepreneurship. According to the Canadian Council on Aboriginal Business, First Nations are spawning entrepreneurs at five times the rate of the rest of the population. In this edition of @issue, host Karyn Pugliese finds out why Aboriginal businesses are booming.






ichannel and Aboriginal History Month – The Lubicon Cree

June 18th, 2012


Posted by Karyn Pugliese

In honour of Aboriginal History Month, ichannel is highlighting a series of one-hour @issue specials, hosted by Karyn Pugliese, that examine social justice issues, unique challenges and success stories from Aboriginal communities across Canada. You can watch the latest of these, “The Lubicon Cree,” below.

The Lubicon Cree. The Lubicon Cree of northern Alberta live on some of the richest land in Canada. In the 1970s, the Alberta government opened it for oil and gas development against the wishes of the Lubicon, who have never given up ownership of their land and resources. The results were devastating. Once a self-sufficient community of hunters, trappers and craftspeople, today the Lubicon live in poverty, without running water and other basic services – even as the province reaps more than $14 billion a year in revenues from the oil fields. And it’s not just a people’s way of life that has suffered; many Lubicon also believe that damage to their environment has been responsible for a host of health problems.






Power Plant 25th Anniversary

June 18th, 2012


All Photos by CHRISTINA DUN. Check out Christina’s blog HERE

Photographer and blogger Christina Dun joined Kalen Hayman and the iNEWS team last Thursday at the Power Ball, an annual fundraiser for contemporary art gallery The Power Plant. This year’s gathering, themed “Quarter-Life Crisis,” celebrated the gallery’s 25th anniversary. For the seventh consecutive year, HUGO BOSS hosted as presenting sponsor. Creative direction for the event was provided by artists Philippe Blanchard, Sarah Febbraro, Jesse Harris, Marisa Hoicka, and Jesi the Elder.





Luminato 2012 – 1000 Tastes of Toronto & Carretilla Initiative

June 13th, 2012


Photographer Pia Ferrari joined Kalen and the iNEWS team this past weekend as they checked out the President’s Choice 1000 Tastes of Toronto — part of Luminato, the city’s world-renowned festival of arts and creativity, now in its sixth year. One of the festival’s popular highlights, 1000 Tastes of Toronto gives participating chefs an opportunity let their culinary imaginations run wild, reinventing street food in unique, innovative and occasionally outrageous ways. Pia and the team also met up with Austrian artist Rainer Prohaska for an inside look at his ambitious Carretilla Initiative, an installation featuring mobile kitchens dispersed throughout the city. Members of the public are invited to participate in preparing and partaking of a meal — an engaging way to get people thinking about our relationship with food, and with each other.