John Risley
John Risley

Last Wednesday, billionaire lobster tycoon John Risley said the film tax credit was “nuts.” Further, reported the CBC:

Risley calls Michael Donovan, the executive chairman of media production powerhouse DHX Media, a “local hero,” but adds he’s not interested in taxpayers paying up to 65 per cent of the company’s salaries.

DHX produces This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Just last week, DHX Executive Vice President David Regan told the CBC that if the planned cuts to the film tax credit aren’t reversed, DHX will leave Nova Scotia.

But Risley failed to mention his relationship with Amy Gordinier-Regan, David Regan’s ex-wife. Numerous sources have confirmed that Gordinier-Regan and Risley are romantically involved.

Moreover, Risley is the chair of the board of directors of Gordinier-Regan’s company, Skinfix, and Risley was reportedly an initial investor who helped Gordinier-Regan purchase the company. Gordinier-Regan is president of the company.

And while Risley objects to government financing of the film industry, with Risley and Gordinier-Regan at the helm, Skinfix has accessed $1.6 million in government financing.

Amy Gordinier-Regan

According to a court ruling related to the schooling of their two children, David Regan and Amy Gordinier-Regan disagree about when they separated, but she moved out of the family home in May 2010.

Amy Gordinier-Regan
Amy Gordinier-Regan

“Following the couple’s separation, Ms. Gordinier-Regan found employment, working four days each week,” wrote Justice Elizabeth Jollimore. According to her LinkedIn profile, Gordinier-Regan started working as a marketer at Ocean Nutrition in June 2010, and worked there through June of 2012.

When Gordinier-Regan worked at Ocean Nutrition, Risley was the majority owner of the company. Ocean Nutrition was sold in in May of 2013 to Dutch company DSM, for $540 million.

“Since the separation,” noted Jollimore, “Ms. Gordinier-Regan has purchased a house costing $405,000.00. From her Statement of Property, it seems the house is mortgage-free. I understand it is being extensively renovated. I don’t know the renovation cost.”

At the time of the court ruling, Amy Gordinier-Regan was making a salary of $64,000. Justice Jollimore did not say how Gordinier-Regan was able to purchase a $405,000 home without a mortgage.

Risley, Gordinier-Regan, and Regan did not respond to requests for comment for this article.


In August 2012, with help from Risley, Gordinier-Regan bought Skinfix. Since then, the company has five times received financing assistance from the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency, as follows:

• On October 31, 2012, ACOA gave Skinfix a $50,000 Non-Repayable Contribution to hire an accounts/production manager and a graphic designer;

• On December 31, 2012, ACOA lent Skinfix $500,000 for “marketing activities.” The loan was in the form of a “Unconditionally Repayable Contribution,” which typically means that the principal must be paid back, but without interest;

• On July 31, 2013, ACOA gave Skinfix another $50,000 to hire a marketing manager and a retail operations and office manager. That money was also in the form of a Non-Repayable Contribution;

• On November 30, 2103, ACOA lent Skinfix a second $500,000, for brand expansion across Canada. Like the first loan, this loan was in the form of a “Unconditionally Repayable Contribution”;

• On October 31, 2014, ACOA made a third half-million dollar loan to Skinfix, this one to support US marketing of Skinfix. Like the previous two loans, this loan was in the form of a “Unconditionally Repayable Contribution.”

All told, since Risley helped Gordinier-Regan purchase Skinfix, the company has received $1.6 million in financial assistance from ACOA— $1.5 million in interest-free loans and $100,000 in outright grants.

Additionally, as the Halifax Examiner detailed Friday, Risley’s companies have attained considerable government financing through ACOA.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Thanks for what you do and keep up the good work. If anything can help us dig our way out of the swamp that Nova Scotia is becoming, it is conscientious and diligent journalism.

  2. John Risley is an exceptional entrepreneur. He is an exception to his own “Junior Achievement” economics theories. His business motto could be, “Take my advice, I’m not using it.”