Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on January 13, 2020, at Committee Room #2 City Hall.
Thomas S. Saras
Hon. Joe Volpe
Leila Monteiro Lins
Mohammed Bagher Samimi
Paraii Media Group, (Mooka Tamil)
Michaal Jamil (Vhorer Alo)
Shail (India Journal)
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
Athanasios Kourtesis (Hellas News)
El Syed Nasr (Arabia News)
Gezalegym Demissie (Ethiopian News)
Kathy Gerasklis (Greek Press)
Weera Fonseka- Rupane
Sean Pickard (U4A Radio)
Robert Steves (U4A Radio)
Muhammad Ali Bukhari (Bangla News)
Marek J. Golden (European News)
Hermie Garcia (Philippine Reporter)
Mila Garcia (Philippine Reporter)
Luba Cherny (Canadian Courier)
John Saraidaris (Patrides News)
Raji Arasaratnam (Tamil News)
Agenda of the day:
- Welcome Remarks by the chair.
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- Report of the President/Discussions
- Presentation by Zoroastrian Society of Ontario.
- New Members/New Business
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
President Thomas Saras initially chaired the meeting and declared the meeting open. Jonathan Annobil moved a motion to approve the agenda. Pooyan Tabatabaei seconded it. The motion was carried. Hon. Joe Volpe chaired the meeting and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Marek Goldyn 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 January 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.
- 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 starts the new financial year and new applications will be accepted by the NEPMCC.
- The Aid to Publisher Program is still under review as the Department 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 Department 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 unemployed 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. He reminded that the deadline has been extended by one week and after that the application process will stop for LJI.
- 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 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 on Friday evening of May 1, 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.
- NEPMCC Annual Dinner which took place on, December 13, 2019 at the Greek Community Centre of Toronto was an overwhelming success. The event was attended by all levels of Government including Premier Doug Ford, the former liberal premier Kathleen Wynne, MPP Aris Babikian, MPP Michael Coteau, the Mayor of Markham Mr. Frank Skarpitti, representatives from the York regional police department and members of the federal Parliament and cabinet as well as other dignitaries. The event had spectacular multicultural performances along with exquisite international cuisine. The vent was sold out and was very well organized.
- There were suggestions on the floor that any members received funding from the government under ATP may make a donation to NEPMCC as NEPMCC has worked hard to ensure members receive funding. The suggestion was unanimously endorsed as it is the duty and responsibility of the members to ensure that NEPMCC is in strong financial position as it tirelessly works hard for the interests of its members.
- 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 are drafted, the office of the President of NEPMCC would organize an educational roundtable discussion with the government officials to clarify and educate the members of NEPMCC on the new rules, regulations and criteria governing various funding programs for publishers.
- President Thomas Saras encouraged all to renew their membership for 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 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 at 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 to build website for 20 members who do not have website.
Presentation by Zoroastrian Society of Ontario.
Zoroastrian Society of Ontario is one of the largest associations in North America serving the Zoroastrian community in Ontario. The delegation representing the Zoroastrian Society of Ontario shared the mandate and the goals of the organization.
New Members/ New Business:
Ricky Castellvi one of the Senior Vice Presidents of NEPMCC will be leaving Canada for three months as he is visiting the Philippines.
Ricky Castellvi is one of the most active members of the council and has had tremendous contribution towards the organization. The chair recognized Ricky’s contribution on behalf of all the members and wished him well.
Mareck Goldyn informed NEMMCC that Isa Melo recently lost her mother in Brazil and she lived more than 100 years. The council paid their last respects to the departed soul.
Marek Goldyn moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Karim Mirshahi seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair Hon. Joe Volpe adjourned the meeting at 9 pm. The next monthly meeting would take place on Monday, February 10, 2020 at committee room N# 2 at the Toronto City Hall.