FIA 2012: Canada's Ferne Downey Elected President of International Federation of Actors

The national president of ACTRA, the Canadian performers union, replaces Agnete Haaland as head of the Brussels-based organization representing artists in 75 countries.

TORONTO – Ferne Downey on Sunday was voted president of the International Federation of Actors (FIA) in Toronto.

Downey, national president of ACTRA, Canada’s actors union, replaces Agnete Haaland, the Norwegian actor and director.

She will now lead the Brussels-based organization that represents performers from around 75 countries.

Her election took place at the 20th World Congress of FIA, and was preceded by rival candidates for the top post dropping out to make Downey's appointment by acclamation on Sunday.

The election also caps off a successful 30-year career for Downey as a Canadian actor in radio, TV, film and theater.

Downey was elected national president of ACTRA in 2009, representing around 22,000 Canadian performers in English-language media.

Her election as FIA president marks the first time a Canadian has led the global organization, which develops global contracts for performers and devises ways for national actors unions to meet common industry challenges.