Canada has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish itself as a global centre for screen-based industry production:  That was one of the key messages that emerged during a webinar hosted by Seneca featuring an expert panel of industry insiders on May 13th.

The Hollywood North 2.0:  How Digital Transformation has Canada poised to Take Centre Stage webinar is part of Canadian College for a Resilient Recovery, a ground-breaking pan-Canadian college initiative to bridge the skills gap for a post-pandemic future.

The panel featured Jeff Melanson, partner with the Stratagem Group and one of the most prominent executives in the Canadian arts and culture community.  Joining Melanson were Kadon Douglas, the Executive Director of BIPOC TV and Film, a Toronto-based grassroots nonprofit organization advocating for increased representation of screen-media professionals from Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities in front of and behind the camera, and Thiago Carneiro, who in addition to his work as a professor in Seneca’s School of Creative Arts and Animation, is also an Unreal 3D artist at Pixomondo. The webinar also included a presentation from student Charlene Joseph, who summarized the sustainability initiatives she has been a part of at Odeyto, Seneca’s Indigenous Centre.

Melanson pointed to the skyrocketing demand for screen-based content as driving this opportunity for Canada, noting that global production spending went from $44 billion in 2016, to $177 billion in 2019.  He suggested micro-credentials such as Film and TV Career Launch are a key to allowing industry and the college sector to partner for fast, agile training for jobs of the future. 

A resilient recovery has to be inclusive, and it has to make room for all of us to thrive. We have an opportunity to reimagine, reinvent, and reenergize our sector.  Let us not squander that.

Kadon Douglas, BIPOC TV & FILM

Douglas said she has been encouraged to recent developments in the industry, citing commitments to diversity made by Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Media Fund.  However, she said much work remains.

Carneiro gave a fascinating overview of “virtual production”, an emerging approach that leverages game engine technology to allow filmmakers to create any environment they want on site, without travelling to remote locations. 

“Virtual production is a huge industry disrupter,” he said. “It’s really changing how movies are being made.”

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Our Expert Panelists

Head Shot - Jeff Melanson

Jeff Melanson
Partner, The Stratagem Group

Jeff Melanson, one of the most prominent executives in the Canadian arts and culture community, is lauded internationally for his inventive approach to leadership, his bold strategies, and his practical vision. Prior to joining Stratagem, Jeff was President and CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, President of The Banff Centre, Dean of The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Community School in Toronto, and Executive Director of Canada’s National Ballet School. Jeff was the first arts leader to be appointed one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40, and has been named Wilfrid Laurier University’s MBA Alumnus of the Year. In 2010, he was appointed special advisor on arts and culture to the Mayor of Toronto. He is a recipient of a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and is a globally sought-after voice on disruptive innovation, creative economies, and creative entrepreneurship.

Head Shot - Kadon DouglasKadon Douglas

Executive Director, BIPOC TV & FILM

Kadon Douglas is the executive director of BIPOC TV & Film, a Toronto-based grassroots nonprofit organization advocating for increased representation of screen-media professionals from Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities in front of and behind the camera. Prior to BIPOC TV & FILM, Kadon championed gender equity and inclusion in screen-based media at Women in Film & Television-Toronto (WIFT-T) as the manager of communications and engagement. Most recently, she worked within the Dean’s Office at FCAD, Ryerson University’s faculty of communication and design. There she revitalized the brand and provided strategic guidance to the FCAD ecosystem as its manager of marketing and communications. Kadon also worked for several years in documentary as a production coordinator, researcher and digital marketing specialist, and is a two-time fellow of the Hot Docs Film Festival: Doc Accelerator (2013) and Shaw Media Diverse Voices (2015). Kadon is also an active member of the screen-based media community, volunteering her time on various committees and juries, and is the former chair of the Reelworld Film Festival.

Head Shot - Thiago CarneiroThiago Carneiro

Unreal Engine and 3D Generalist, Pixomondo

Thiago is an experienced 3D Generalist and Unreal Engine Virtual Production Artist with a demonstrated history of working in the higher VFX Industry and education industry. Skilled in Unreal Engine, 3D Modeling, Texturing / Surfacing, Look Dev and Environment Creation.
Currently working as a Unreal 3D Artist at Pixomondo Toronto.

Click here to view the webinar transcript.

On April 8, 2021, the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery hosted a dynamic webinar conversation on Canada’s transition to zero emission vehicles. The webinar featured four of Canada’s thought leaders on the zero emissions transition: Jojo Delos Reyes of Red River College’s Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre, Clara Clairman from Plug N’ Drive, John DeBoer of Siemens Future Grid and eMobility Solutions, and Jim Stanford from The Centre for Future Work.

It is changing everything. It is changing public transportation. It is changing the fueling stations and pumps that we've used for the better part of a hundred years. It is changing workplaces. It is changing factories. It is changing plazas. It is changing logistics centres, and parking garages, and public transportation, and social equity.

John DeBoer, Siemens Future Grid and eMobility Solutions


Jojo Delos Reyes HeadshotJojo Delos Reyes

Research Program Manager, Red River College

Jojo has over 10 years of industry experience with a solid background in system-level testing, hardware integration and R&D. He is currently the Research Program Manager at Red River College’s Research Partnerships & Innovation office where he oversees applied research and development initiatives related to heavy vehicle emissions improvement, performance testing and electrification.

John DeBoer HeadshotJohn DeBoer

Head of Siemens Future Grid and eMobility Solutions, Siemens

Siemens understands the space for innovation when it comes to electric vehicles and the future of mobility. With over 16 years of experience at Siemens, John is changing transportation and the electric grid with an industry leading portfolio of electric vehicle charging and photovoltaic solutions.

Cara Clairman HeadshotCara Clairman

President and CEO, Plug’n Drive

Cara is President and CEO of Plug’n Drive, a non-profit that is accelerating the deployment of EVs to maximize their environmental and economic benefits. Cara has taken Plug’n Drive from an idea to a thriving non-profit, recognized as a leader in the EV space. Cara has more than 20 years of experience working in the environmental and sustainability fields, including 12 years working at Ontario Power Generation, initially as OPG’s environmental lawyer and later in the role of Vice President of Sustainable Development.

Jim Stanford Headshot

Dr. Jim Stanford

Economist and Director, Centre for Future Work

Jim is one of Canada’s best-known economists. He served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers). He is quoted frequently in the print and broadcast media, and writes a regular column for the Toronto Star. He is also the Harold Innis Industry Professor in Economics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and an Honorary Professor in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney.

Jim received his Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York.  He also holds an M.Phil. in Economics from Cambridge University, and a B.A. (Hons.) in Economics from the University of Calgary.

Jim is the author of Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism (second edition published by Pluto Books in 2015), which has been published in six languages.  Stanford has written, edited or co-edited six other books, and dozens of articles and reports in both peer-reviewed and popular outlets.

Canada’s buildings are a leading contributor to climate change. To meet our climate goals, nearly every existing building in Canada will have to undergo retrofits to reduce carbon emissions, and new buildings will need to be extremely energy efficient. 

On June 10, 2021 Mohawk College, along with experts from the National Research Council of Canada and EllisDon, explored how we can train our workforce to build better and support tremendous growth in construction, skilled trades and engineering.

With the circular economy principle there are many opportunities for training and new sector growth. The opportunity here in Canada is within the end-of-life stage of building and how we can use materials and develop a sector with new training, new business and new skills.

Dr. Alexandra Thompson
High Performance Buildings Program Lead, National Research Council of Canada

The panel featured Dr. Alexandra (Lexi) Thompson, leader of the High Performance Buildings Program at the National Research Council of Canada’s Construction Research Centre. Lexi was join by Témo Cruz, an Assistant Program Manager within the prefabrication and modular department at EllisDon, and Dr. Tony Cupido, the Research Chair of Sustainable Building Technologies at Mohawk College. Moderated by C2R2 Sustainability Advisor, Dr. David Wheeler, the group discussed the challenges and opportunities within the Canadian building sector.

Lexi shared some of the work being done by the National Research Council to further examine high performance buildings, embodied carbon, and new sector growth. She emphasized the need to engage and work closely with industry, in a collaborative approach, to quickly impact building related emissions. Multi-disciplinary and coordinated approaches between policy from government policy, innovation from industry, and training from academic institutions was outlined as a vital requirement to ensure Canada can meet its carbon goals.

Témo explored EllisDon’s newest department focussing on prefabrication and modular construction. He broke the stigma of modular homes, explaining how they have been used through out history to rapidly and efficiently respond to a changing economy. As an emerging sector, Témo noted the employment opportunities and transformation of work that is occurring.

The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation at Mohawk College incorporates leading-edge energy harvesting and conservation technologies and techniques. At 96,000 square feet, the $54-million centre is Hamilton’s first zero-carbon institutional building, and one of the largest in Canada. As the lead on that project, Tony shared his experience of designing, constructing and monitoring a net zero building. Act as a living lab, Tony discussed the innovative technologies within the building and the opportunities for training and upskilling the future workforce.

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Our Expert Panelists

Lexi Thompson Head shotAlexandra Thompson, Ph.D 

High Performance Buildings Program Leader, National Research Council of Canada

Alexandra (Lexi) Thompson leads the High Performance Buildings Program at the National Research Council Canada’s Construction Research Centre. The Program recently won the 2021 NRC Outstanding Achievement Award for ‘Value for Canada’.  Prior to leading the HPB R&D Program, she was the Team Lead for the Lighting and Ventilation Quality group. Lexi has a PhD in human factors and has published widely on the human response to the built environment.

Temo Cruz Head shotTémo Cruz

Assistant Project Manager, Prefabrication & Modular, EllisDon

Témo Cruz is a Mohawk College 2013 Alumni from the Advanced Architectural Technology Diploma and 2017 Alumni from Conestoga College’s Bachelor of Technology Architecture and Facility Management program. Since his formal education including valuable co-ops, he has several years of industry experience, working along-side renowned architects, engineers, BIM technologists, superintendents, executives and project managers. His current role as an Assistant Project Manager within the prefabrication & modular division at EllisDon allows him to advance his mission. Previously, Témo launched LeafBox Concepts, a clean-tech startup offering up-cycled shipping containers for retail and event applications.

Témo’s career for city-building integrates his passions for sustainable architecture, prefabricated & modular manufacturing and emerging technologies. With a mission to advance solutions that build equitable smart cities of the future. He is committed to applying solutions to help solve the global problems of our generation: climate change, the ‘missing middle’ housing crisis & the COVID-19 pandemic.

His drive is fueled by his Mexican heritage & immigration journey to Canada. With the purpose to apply creativity, hard work and knowledge of city-building to his new home.

Tony Cupido Headshot

Tony Cupido, Ph.D, P. Eng.
Research Chair of Sustainable Building Technologies, Mohawk College

Tony is a professional engineer with 39 years experience in engineering, facilities management and capital development.  He has considerable institutional experience, particularly with McMaster University and Mohawk College where he is the inaugural Research Chair, Sustainability.  He is providing leading-edge research that will contribute to a low-carbon economy, while engaging students to develop a multi-disciplinary focus on finding real world solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges.

In his leadership capacity at Mohawk College, he was responsible for the planning, design, construction and operation of Canada’s largest institutional, zero carbon building – The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation. This award-winning facility became the first to achieve dual certification under the CaGBC’s Zero Carbon Building program.  He has participated, nationally and internationally, in numerous speaking engagements and formal lectures and has been a strong proponent for high performance buildings.  He has a doctorate degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on green buildings and policy and is a former adjunct faculty member at McMaster University.   He was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the CaGBC as the representative for Academia and Research.

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