Action Canada is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit organization and charity based in Ontario, Canada and led by Action Canada Alumni.
In 2017, Action Canada and the Public Policy Forum joined forces to expand Canada’s top accelerator of new leaders. Together we deliver the Action Canada Fellowship, a 10-month public policy leadership program that aims to enhance emerging leaders’ understanding of the country and public policy choices for the future.
Since its creation in 2003, the Fellowship program has achieved this goal by bringing together outstanding young Canadians whose talents, experiences and perspectives represent the mosaic of our country and by connecting them through shared experiences in communities and places across Canada.
In 2003, philanthropist Sam Belzberg and Simon Fraser University President Jack Blaney created the Action Canada Fellowship to support the next generation of Canadian leaders. As Mr. Belzberg said: “We want Canada to be the finest country in the world, and to achieve that we need outstanding leadership.” Under the direction of the previous Program Director, Cathy Beehan, the Fellowship flourished and welcomed a cohort of exceptional leaders every year for over a decade.
PPF & Action Canada
After a brief hiatus, the Fellowship returned under the brand Your Energy Future in 2017 as part of its first partnership with the Public Policy Forum. Fellows studied the impacts of a transition to a low-carbon future. The following year, PPF and Action Canada signed a three-year agreement to deliver the Action Canada Fellowship. This agreement has since been renewed.
With 244 Fellows in its network, the Action Canada community continues to shine as each year new Fellows join and contribute to making Canada a better place.
Action Canada Board
I am a second generation Korean-Canadian from beautiful North Vancouver, British Columbia. My values include integrity, humility, and generosity.As a Foreign Service Officer at Global Affairs Canada (GAC), I have had the privilege to represent Canada abroad as a diplomat working from Afghanistan, South Sudan, and the United Nations in New York City. Currently, I am serving as the Political Counsellor at the High Commission of Canada to Ghana responsible for the political relations for Ghana, Togo, and Sierra Leone.
From promoting the Francophonie culture to participating in the upcoming Sierra Leone elections monitoring, I am proud to promote Canadian values in West Africa. I am also committed to gender equality efforts in diplomacy by serving as the Women’s Network Co-Chair at GAC leading the largest employment equity group to empower women in leadership roles. I am passionate about Canadian foreign policy, the United Nations, and diversity issues.
I am a former Action Canada Fellow ’22 and current Board Member that organized the 20th anniversary of the Action Canada alumni conference. In my spare time I run marathons, snowboard at Whistler, and volunteered for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. I am a graduate of Princeton and Cambridge universities and recipient of the Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan.
Katie Davey is a 2019-2020 Action Canada alumna. She is the executive director of the Pond-Deshpande Centre at the University of New Brunswick where she leads the only social entrepreneurship and social innovation centre in the province.
Katie identifies as a public policy entrepreneur working at the intersection of our biggest social and economic challenges. She uses creative and innovative solutions to improve or solve existing policy, program, and system challenges, specifically those challenges that create inequalities and impact the most vulnerable people in our world. Her goal is to redesign our systems to create a more inclusive future for all.
Katie served as director of policy and PPF Media at the Public Policy Forum, a leading independent Canadian think tank. In this role, she built PPF Media and the Atlantic Initiative from the ground up. In 2021 Katie was recognized as a Young Impact Leader by Future of Good for her ‘intraprenuership’ at the Public Policy Forum.
In 2019, Katie created Femme Wonk — a policy and current affairs podcast with an Atlantic Canadian and intersectional flare that allowed her to interview politicians, community builders, and changemakers. Katie served as director of policy and stakeholder relations at the Office of the Official Opposition in New Brunswick, senior adviser for policy and stakeholder engagement in the New Brunswick premier’s office and president of the University of New Brunswick Student Union. She was a member of the Youth Working Group on Gender Equality for the Government of Canada, and a 2019-20 Action Canada Fellow. Katie holds a degree in political science from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Applied Politics from Wilfrid Laurier University. Katie advocates for the integration of economic and social policy.
Angèle McCaie had the immense pleasure to participate in the Action Canada program as a fellow as part of the 2019/2020 cohort.
Since 2013, she has occupied the role of Chief Administrative Officer for a small, rural, francophone and Acadian municipality in New Brunswick called Rogersville, her hometown. She is fervent in the pursuit of creative solutions to public challenges, and she considers herself a passionate feminist and a minority rights activist. She lives in Collette, New Brunswick with her partner and two children.
Born in Montreal on April 29, 1978, to a family of Quebec entrepreneurs, he spent his early childhood in the Laurentians region and later settled with his parents in Plessisville in the Bois-Francs region.After obtaining his master’s degree in political science from Université Laval in 2007, he continued his research on democracy and federalism at the University of Minho in 2012, at the European Academy of Bolzano in 2015 and at the University of Bristol in 2017. In 2021, he completed a certificate in negotiation with the London School of Economics and a certificate in administrative justice from the Foundation of Administrative Justice.
After a brief stay in Toronto, he moved with his wife to the Yukon in 2009. After a contract with the Council of Yukon First Nations, he joined the territorial public service in 2011 where he supported various departments for ten years in the area of policy analysis. In 2021, he joined the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada where he is currently the Director of Corporate Services for the Yukon Region.
Involved in his community, he was elected vice-president of the Association franco-yukonnaise in June 2011. In 2013, he was elected school trustee of the Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon (CSFY) and assumed the presidency of the council of commissioners in 2015. During his presidency, the CSFY signed a settlement agreement with the Government of Yukon in 2020 and opened Yukon’s first French-language secondary school the same year: Centre scolaire secondaire communautaire Paul-Émile-Mercier. Active on the national scene, he has represented the CSFY on the board of directors of the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires (FNCSF) since 2015 and was, from 2019 to 2021, second vice-president of this organization.
In addition to his involvement with the francophone community, Mr. Blais has served on numerous boards of directors including the Board of Directors of the Yukon Human Rights Commission. He currently sits on the boards of the Yukon Liquor Corporation and Action Canada. In 2020, Jean-Sébastien Blais was named a Fellow of Action Canada by the Public Policy Forum in recognition of his leadership. The same year, Francopresse recognized him as one of the ten influential personalities of the Canadian Francophonie.
Mr. Blais is married to Dorothy Williams, a teacher. Together they are the parents of three children.
Born in Québec City, Anne-Marie (Ana) Rouleau is a Foreign Service Officer at Global Affairs Canada.Ana joined the Federal Public Service through the Advanced Policy Analyst Program (APAP) in 2017. Thanks to the APAP, she had the opportunity to work in all the central agencies, including as an Analyst for the Privy Council Office’s Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat, where she supported the Prime Minister and various Ministers in their engagement related to the NAFTA renegotiation.
Ana also worked at Transport Canada on the International Team and as Issue Management Officer for the Minister and his team during the crisis surrounding the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 and the COVID-19 pandemic.
More recently, she served a senior advisor at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, where she managed a $3.5M grant envelope dedicated to Canada’s response to the Venezuelan refugee and migrant (VRM) crisis, and more specifically to the VRMs’ protection and migration needs in the Americas.
Ana places particular importance in her international experiences which gave her a more inclusive vision of the world. In her spare time, Ana loves learning new languages and cooking. She is also an international observer for electoral missions and is passionate about democratic issues around the world.
She is an alumna from the Action Canada Fellowship (2018-2019)
Dr. Shoshanna Saxe is an Associate Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering. She holds a masters from MIT and a PhD from the University of Cambridge.
She investigates the relationship between the infrastructure we build and the society we create to identify opportunities – and pathways – to better align infrastructure provision with sustainability. Saxe is a former Action Canada fellow, sits on Waterfront Toronto’s Capital Peer Review Panel, Metrolinx Project Evaluation Committee and the board of Action Canada.
She was awarded the 2019 OPEA Engineering Medal – Young Engineer. Her research and commentary have been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Toronto Star, The Financial Post, and Wired, including “What We Really Need Are Good ‘Dumb’ Cities” (New York Times, July 2019).
Ayesha joined Global Affairs Canada in November 2021, where she is the Director of the Task Force responsible for establishing a Canadian centre for democracy. This mandate letter and platform commitment was most recently announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the December 2021 Summit for Democracy and has as its aim to amplify Canadian expertise to support of democracy and good governance.
Prior to this, Ayesha was the Director of Strategic Issues in the Intergovernmental Affairs Secretariat of the Privy Council Office. In this role, she supported the Prime Minister and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in their engagement with provinces and territories and helped to deliver on the government’s key commitments in areas of COVID response, health, climate, and reconciliation. Previously, Ayesha also led the whole-of-government effort to prevent and counter foreign interference in Canada’s democratic institutions and the 2019 General Election.
Ayesha was recruited into the federal government through the Management Trainee Program, following the completion of an Honours undergraduate degree in International Relations and a Masters degree in Public Administration at Dalhousie University. Her experience in government has included time in the International Affairs Division of Public Safety Canada, where she led the coordination of the department’s multilateral engagement with the United Nations and the Organization of American States on policy issues related to human rights, law enforcement, counter-terrorism, border security and corrections. For two years, Ayesha managed the Virtual Risk Analysis Cell, where she contributed to the federal government’s response to national-scale emergencies like the 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray and in British Columbia, as well as 2017 floods in Ontario and Quebec, and assessed the impacts of natural and man-made hazards to Canada’s critical infrastructure assets and systems.
Outside of work, Ayesha serves as President of the Board of Directors of the National Capital Branch of the Canadian International Council, making her the youngest branch President and first person of colour to occupy the post.
She is a 2015-16 Action Canada Fellow and Chair of the Action Canada Board of Directors, and a regular participant in the Banff Forum. Her hobbies include sewing clothes for herself, bingeing true crime podcasts, and reading a mix of both fiction and non-fiction.
Darren Fung is an award winning Canadian film composer. He caught the composing bug at age fifteen when he wrote a piece for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composer Project. After finishing his degree at McGill and living and loving Montreal for twelve years, Darren is now based out of Los Angeles. Amongst his credits, Darren recreated Canada’s second national anthem, the beloved Hockey Theme, for CTV and TSN. Every weekday morning his music is heard on CTV’s flagship morning news program, Canada AM. His work was the focus of Bell Canada’s Orchestra spot, run during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and was voted as Canada’s top commercial by readers of The Globe and Mail. His critically acclaimed work on the mini-series Lost Years garnered him a 2012 Canadian Screen Award nomination.
His much-lauded score to The Great Human Odyssey, recorded with members of the Edmonton Symphony and Pro Coro Canada, was recently released on the prestigious Varèse Sarabande label. His feature and short film scores have been heard at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Toronto, Cannes, and Sundance. Darren currently serves as the Second Vice President of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and acts as a Program Advisor for the Canadian Film Centre’s Slaight Music Residency. He also sits on the Creative Ecologies Advisory Board for the Banff Centre’s Peter Lougheed Leadership Institute.
Action Canada Team
Numerous distinguished Canadians have contributed to the development and evolution of the Action Canada Fellowship. The program’s excellent reputation and the outstanding calibre of the Action Canada Fellows’ network is, in large measure, thanks to them and their commitment to nurture the nation’s future leadership. Many of these individuals are noted in the Friends of Action Canada section (link). The current team includes:
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