Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on February 10, 2020, at Committee Room #2 City Hall.
Thomas S. Saras
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
A. R. Nathan Vianakkam TV
Sandie De Freitas
Julianoi D’ Lucca
Shahidul Islam Mintu TV
Gerahgn M. Desissie
Louise (Solo Magazine)
Violette Goldyn Moussoni
Denis Poirier (Le Metropolitain)
Muhammad Ali Bukhari
Agenda of the day:
- Welcome Remarks by the chair.
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- Report of the President/Discussions
- Presentation by Hon. Stephen Lecce Minister of Education Government of Ontario
- New Members/New Business
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
Mohammed Tajdolati chaired the meeting and declared the meeting open. Shahidul Islam Mintu moved a motion to approve the agenda. Pooyan Tabatabaei seconded it. The motion was carried.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Pooyan Tabatabaei moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting and Jonathan Annobil seconded it. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting was approved unanimously.
- Thomas Saras welcomed everyone to the monthly meeting of February 2020. NEPMCC had another productive year and the organization is working on a number of important projects this year which will benefit all the members. President Thomas Saras said that this year the Government will reward all legitimate ethnic media houses as it has a budget for it. All members that are in good standing with NEPMCC stands to get benefitted by its association. The Local Journalist Initiative deadline is fast approaching and President Thomas Saras encouraged members to apply for this program who qualify and are eligible for the project.
- Members who qualify for LJI and the internship program can apply from April 1st 2020 for the next calendar year.
- The President spoke about the ongoing student internship program in cooperation with the schools of journalism. Internship will be from 3-6 months. The program will cover $15 per hour per student and the rest has to be covered by the respective organizations .Maria Saras-Voutsinas is in touch with student intern coordinator from Seneca College. The program has started from January 2019. Any member interested in hiring students for their publications should contact Executive Director Maria Saras-Voutsinas as it is on first come first serve basis due to limited funds approved by the Government on this project. This is a win- win situation as it will benefit the students as they will gain from the valuable experience as well as the members as they will get additional help in a very subsidized rate to run their publications. The program has already started in January of 2019 and is in the new phase in January 2020 and only those members, who have not received funds through the internship program are eligible to apply this year and should contact Executive Director Maria Saras –Voutsinas expressing their interests in hiring Student interns for their media outlets .Members eligible to apply will be given preference on a first come serve basis. Members were informed in the previous meetings that in order to qualify of funding for internship program- there should be a proper office or workspace for the intern to work. The program since had received an overwhelming response and members who could not participate last year may be given another chance in the next phase provided they meet the requirements of this program. Members hiring interns now can only be eligible for part time as the students continue also their studies. The part time interns will be working with the publications for 18 hours per week X $ 15.00 dollars per hour, which is making $ 270.00 dollars per student per week X 12 weeks = 3,240.00 for the period of January the 1st to March 31, 2020. As of April 1st 2020 the new financial year starts and new applications will be accepted by the NEPMCC.
- The Aid to Publisher Program is still under review as the ministry has just formed. The new programme will be launched soon this year and the office of the President will notify the members about the rules and regulations for the Publisher Programme. An education session will be arranged with the officials of the ministry for the benefit of all members. Members who are receiving funding from ATP may not be eligible to apply for tax credit from Revenue Canada.
- President Thomas Saras educated members on various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and especially on the LJI. President Thomas Saras informed about the local initiative program The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire journalists or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. The content produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed. He mentioned under this program a publisher can hire qualified journalist or a journalistic student in the final year and get up to a maximum of $30,000 per year. He encouraged everyone who qualifies to fill out the form. Thomas Saras urged members to apply before the deadline expires. The program also pay the mailing expenses for the publications in order to reach underserved communities. To this extend the members in the program must send one invoice to NEPMCC with a list of the underserved communities they serve and ask for the funds they will pay for delivery to Canada Post or other Courier.
- The media fund would be distributed to the qualified members of the ethnic media industry. Qualified members are those who belong to one of the six media organizations. President Thomas Saras suggested that the committee formed earlier under Hon. Joe Volpe would recommend distribution of government funds to ethnic media based on the circulation and reach.
- President Thomas Saras informed the members of the various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and how members could benefit from federal programs for ethnic media. He mentioned about the tax credit by employing two full time or part time journalists or reporters in the News Room.
- President Thomas Saras reminded the members of all the upcoming events in 2020. Press Freedom Day will be the first event taking place in May 1st, 2020, followed by Canada Day celebration with a picnic perhaps, National Ethnic Press festival at CNE in August, Annual Awards and concluding with the Annual Get-together.
- President Thomas Saras is trying to arrange another meeting with the officials of Heritage Canada after the new cabinet is formed to educate the member on the new rules governing the funding programmes for publishers. Once guidelines of the Aid to Publishers program is drafted, the office of the President of NEPMCC would organize an educational roundtable discussions with the government officials to clarify and educate the members of NEPMCC on the rules, regulations and criteria governing various funding programs for publishers.
- President Thomas Saras encouraged all to renew their membership in 2020 to take advantage of the privileges of the membership. NEPMCC has been over the years fighting for the rights of the members to stand in shoulder to shoulder with the mainstream media.
- Educational conference/seminar will be held later next year in 2021 for 3 -4 days. A survey will be sent to the members to finalize the curriculum of the seminar. Daniela Spirlac from BeSoacial Event will send out a survey to the members.The seminar will most likely take place in Seneca College.
- The president also encouraged all the members to apply for an ID or Media Pass of the organization. There are so many benefits; the president said that it is to one’s advantage to have it.
- NEPMCC will try to build website for 20 members who do not have website, in cooperation with the Department of the Canadian Heritage.
Presentation by Hon. Stephen Lecce Minister of Education Government of Ontario
Scarborough Agincourt MPP Aris Babikian introduced the honourable minister to the council and invited him to address the members of NEPMCC.
He started his speech by acknowledging the work that NEPMCC does on constant basis. He had worked as the chief spokesperson for former PM Stephen Harper and is aware of the importance of ethnic media. He praised the work of MPP Aris Babikian the first person from Armenian origin to be elected in the Ontario legislature.
Education Minister Hon. Stephen Lecce does not believe in the status quo, he wants improvement in the quality of education. He mentioned that his team it is focussed to make sure that the system is working for the students and parents. He emphasised on maths literacy and proposed a compulsory maths test before student can graduate from high school to be effective from the academic year September 2020. He said that his government is making sure that curriculum is working in the labour market in terms of skill transferability. He underlined the importance of qualifying merit to be the guiding principle in hiring new teachers. The Ministry of Education is providing financial support to parents to assist with costs they will be incurring on account of a labour disruption. Financial support will be provided for each day of school missed due to labour disruption. He mentioned that he is determined that students in Ontario are given the best tools to succeed and is committed that student receive optimum support in reaching their potential. He emphasized that the resources should be focused towards student academic growth with the valuable contributions from teachers and parents. He stressed the importance of the role a teacher plays in grooming a student.
He then opened the floor for questions.
Muhammad Bukhari, Maria Saras- Voutsinas, Arif Ahmed, Erwin Sniedzins, Marek Goldyn, Milan Gupta, Nishantha Don, Khalid Magram, Pooyan Tabatabei Dr Tajdolati, Mila Garcia and others asked questions on wide variety of questions on Education and related topics to Education in Ontario.
The Honourable Minister Stephen Lecce candidly answered all questions on a wide variety of topics including some misleading ads with facts and figures.
New Members/ New Business:
The Afrikan Expereince- Expereince Africa from different perspectives. An online marketplace with hundreds of African story books in English and French.
Zuhair Alshaaer - Editor in chief, Arab Canadian Newspaper
Dianne Ojar Ali- President and CEO, Olive Media Network
Nazeeg Haneshian - Senior Correspondent, Horizon Weekly
Marek Goldyn moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Ranjit Wicks seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair Dr. Tajdolati adjourned the meeting at 9 pm. The next monthly meeting would take place on Monday, March 09, 2020 at committee room N# 2 at the Toronto City Hall, the Hon. Rob Phillips, Minister of Finance Ontario and the President of the Ontario Teachers Union, will be our special speakers.