Conseil national de la presse et des medias ethniques du Canada

Canada’s Other Voices


Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on February 08, 2010 at Queen’s Park



Thomas S. Saras

Bikram Lamba Dr.

Asha Rajak

Muhammad Eli Bukhari

Suleyman Guven

Maia Cristea-Vierne

Dumitru Popescu

Iosif Spataru

Mario Spataru

Ned Blair

Bahram Bahrami

Hassan Zerehi

Robert Oriwal

Ismael Sambra

Vijayaletchhumj (Kathir Oli)

Assadollah   Zerrihmehr

Mohammad Tajdolati Dr.

Gerard  V Paul

Moorthy Sellathurai

Irene Keroglidis

Parry Long

Junani Niinisto

Teshome Woldeamanuel

Susana Donan

Jose Donan

Taha Hassiani

Hermie Garcia

Mila A. Garcia

R.T. Nathan

Sri- Thamboo

Ranjit Wicks

Ali Mahboub  ITC TV

Kevin Wang

Srimal Abeyewardene

Logan Logendralingam

Emmanuel Ayiku

Muluken Muchie

P. Thayaparan

Mohammad Jurany


Presenters on Behalf to Ontario Chambers of Commerce

Amy Terill

Stuart Johston



Neel Nanda

Hai Tien Lin

Kathy L. Lin

Ahmed Shah Hotaki

Clyde McNeel



1.            Welcome Remarks by the Chair

2.            A call to order

3.            Presentation by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

a.            Stuart Johnson, V. P. – Policy and Government Relations

b.            Amy Terill, V. P. – Communications and Marketing

                Business of the Day

4.            Minutes of the previous meeting (January 11th, 2010)

5.            Report by the President

6.            New Business (motions)

7.            Adjournment


Welcome Remarks by the Chair:

Dr. Bikram Lamba chaired the meeting, welcomed all the members and called the meeting to order.  Mr. Hassan Zerehi moved a motion to approve the agenda for the meeting and Mr. Suleyman Guven seconded it. The motion was carried.


Mr. Hassan Zerehi moved a motion to approve the minutes of January 11th, 2010 meeting and Suleyman Guven seconded it. Muhammad Ali Bukhari expressed a motion against the Minutes as carried. The Chair place the question to membership. All members present voted for the motion for the minutes to be adapted as they presented. Mr. Bukhari dissented.  The Chair declared the minutes of January 11, 2010 as being accepted as is.


Presentation: Ontario Chamber of Commerce by Mr. Stuart Johnson, V. P. – Policy and Government Relations and Ms. Amy Terill, V. P. – Communications and Marketing


-          Ontario Chamber of Commerce:

As representatives of Ontario’s business advocate and a federation of 160 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade from throughout the province.


Few policy priorities of the OCC


-          Vision of Ontario:

Ontario attracts people who want to invest, begin a career, create a business, study, raise a family and build a new life.  They are:

·         Seeking access and equality

·         Hoping for a better life

·         Seeking a place where there are many natural and human resources which will help them in their quest

·         Eager to live and contribute in a multicultural society

·         Willing to take a risk in an environment that encourages entrepreneurship

·         Anxious to build their dreams, and

·         Excited to share their success with their families and communities.


-           Global Experience @ Work(GE@W) :

GE@W is an initiative of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), funded by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  The initiative is part of an OCC strategy to better promote Ontario as a career, business and investment destination of choice, and to ensure that Ontario keeps pace with a global economy. Presently we are running 2nd phase of program where we are planning to provide link to employers in local communities through 11 approved projects with and involvement of 13 local chambers and 55 community partners like settlement agencies, educational institutions etc. They will be focused on:

·         The Development and distribution of resource guides

·         Job shadowing/Mentorship Matches

·         Focus groups, networking and information sessions

·         Job fairs

·         Diversity Training for employers and other workshop and training for SMEs

·         Many chambers will also provide post-workshop follow-up and support for local businesses through the Colleges of Ontario Network for Education and Training (CON*NECT) series of workshops titled Are You Ready?


-          Export Market Access (EMA):

EMA is a cost-sharing grant program designed to help small to medium sized organizations to take advantage of opportunities in foreign markets beyond the US. Eligible activities include market research, marketing tools, direct contacts and foreign bidding projects. EMA is an initiative of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, with support and funding from the Government of Ontario.  Successful applicants need not be a chamber member. EMA will help with funding to:

·         Showcase goods or services to potential international buyers

·         Participate in outgoing or incoming trade missions

·         Develop promotional materials; and

·         Support many other expenses required to develop export sales.



-          Tax Reforms:

Our policy work is focused on business competitiveness and economic prosperity. Through our grassroots policy development process that involves input from local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade throughout Ontario as well as their collective membership of 60 thousand businesses, we identify the issues that are challenging businesses in Ontario as well as various solutions.


On March 26, 2009 the Ontario government announced a bold direction for Ontario including a single sales tax as part of a comprehensive tax reform package for Ontario. This marked an important victory for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the chamber network throughout Ontario which had been advocating for sales tax reform (as part of a larger tax reform strategy) since 2004. On December 9, 2009 The Ontario Tax Plan for More Jobs and Growth Act, 2009 (Bill 218) passed third reading in the Ontario legislature. Positive impacts of a single sales tax, when combined with other announced tax reforms will include:

·         Cutting the marginal effective tax rate on new investment in half

·         Encouraging business investment in Ontario and the creation of jobs

·         Removing layers of embedded taxes in goods and services throughout Ontario valued at roughly $5 billion

·         Cutting in half the red tape suffered by businesses in Ontario in the collection, remittance and auditing of sales taxes, for an estimated annual savings of $500 million

·         Levelling the playing field with all goods and services in the economy so that all sectors contribute equally to revenue generation in the province; and,

·         Increasing competitiveness of Ontario business.


Report by the President:


-          President, Mr. Saras officially announced the Auditor’s report for the 2009 Professional Development Seminar. All the expenses have been paid by the Council for all the expenses including the payment for the Professors, hotels, reimbursement for those who paid but didn’t attend the seminar, caterer etc. And, the final report has been submitted to the Ministry. He displayed the final report (book) in front of the members inorder to review, if interested. He also announced that the final report has been accepted by the Ministry. At the present moment the Council’s finances are on deficit but however we are waiting for the remaining final payment from the Ministry which is due to be received shortly. This payment will help us restore our accounts. He thanked Asha Rajak, Hermie Garcia and Mila Garcia for their help and support in preparation of the Final Report.


-          A Press Release by the Department of Canadian Heritage has announced the launch of Canada Periodical Fund.  Aid to Publishers is now accepting applications for 2010-2011, and the application deadline is February 19, 2010. Please visit: for detailed information to find out who qualifies. (President, Mr. Saras took about 45 minutes to explain about how to explain about how to fill up the form step-by-step)


-          After a series of meetings, presentations and lobby over a period of  more than  2 year’s hard work, it has been agreed by the Govt. that all of us are now eligible to participate in Employment Insurance Extension  as  self employed Canadians. You can receive benefits for maternity, parental, sickness and compassionate care as well. Visit their website ( self employed workers. Contact them in 819-994-5559 and also let them know that you are interested to join pension plan as well.


-          Since July 1st is on Thursday we are going to hold our “Annual Canada Day” Celebration Event on Friday July 2nd, 2010. There is no charge involved to participate in this event. There will be dinner served with music and entertainment for this event. We have capacity of 220 persons. Please send your names to Asha ( by end of February.


-          On the second week of May we are organizing Our Second Annual Exhibition of the Ethnic Press at the Rotunda of the Toronto City Hall. We are going to send a letter requesting Federal, Provincial and Municipal Government of Canada to declare this week as “Week of Ethnic Media”. The Exhibition Committee that was established last year will be effective and responsible also for this year’s event.


-          With the help of Asha Rajak we are preparing thank you letters to all authorities helped us for a very successful year. Thanks  goes also to Hon. Kevin M. Johnson, Consul General of the United States to Toronto, for organizing a special reception for the members of the Board of Directors.


-          The President thanked all the members for their support and help during the year that ended, among them Irene Keroglidis, Kathy L. Lin, Iosif and Mario Spataru, Susana Donan, Hassan Zerehi and his team, Ned Blair, Dr. Bikram Lamba, Ahmad Shah Hotaki, Luba Chernada, also the Hon. Dimitris Azemopoulos, Consul General of Greece, Mr. David Agnew, President of Seneca College for the honour and the hospitality, Mr. Chris Dudley , from the faculty of Seneca College, for his treasured help, skills and endless hours of work in organizing the event and every one from the political spectrum of Canada who honoured the members with his presence starting with the R. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Jason Kenney, Minister of  Citizenship and Immigration, Minister Kent, the Hon. Bob Ray, Justin Trudeau, Gerry Phillips, Margarrett Best . Also the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the staff of the department of Magazines Mr. Scott Shortlife, France Patry. Special thanks to people of the PMO,  Dimitri Soudas, Sadia  Qureshi,


-          New Business:


Gerald Paul is going to visit Haiti and requested the members for their support in covering the news that will be sent from there by his team.


Ms. Irene Keroglidis thanked and congratulated the President for his contribution and his hard work for the success of the 2009 Professional Development Seminar.


In response to Mr. Ned Blair’s inquiry about printing order for business cards the President, Mr. Saras requested the Board Members, at least 30 members interested to print their business card, to come to the office and submit their name to print business cards on Council’s discounted rates offered by the printers.


Notwithstanding any other item in the agenda the chair asked for a motion that the meeting adjourned until March 8th, 2010.


Adjournment: Mr. Srimal Abeyewardene moved a motion to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Irene Keroglidis seconded it.  The motion was carried. The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:30 pm. The next meeting would take place on March 08, 2010 at the committee room N# 2, Main Legislative Building Queen’s Park, Toronto.