Minutes of the Monthly
Meeting held on June 14, 2010 at Queen’s Park.
Neel Nanda, Secretary General of NEPMCC
Khoda (Deshi TV)
Aggelonitis (Minister, Gov. of Ontario)
Vijayaetchuj (Kathir Oli)
Phiolbert HK Magazine
Welcome Remarks by the chair.
Minutes of the previous meeting.
Presentation by Minister of Consumer Services, The Honourable
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
chaired the meeting and declared the meeting open.
Khoda moved a motion to approve the agenda of the meeting. Muhammad
Bukhari seconded it. The motion was carried.
Minutes of the previous
Guven moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly
meeting held of May 17, 2010 Hassan Zerehi seconded it. The motion was
President Thomas Saras read a communication from the office of the
Honourable John Wilkinson on the various criteria to qualify for exemption
from HST for all ethnic publications. He clarified the doubts of all
members regarding exemption criteria for HST.
Thomas Saras proposed to the council that NEPMCC would create a new
department of auditing in order certify the circulation of its member
newspapers. He would propose one of the members of NEPMCC to be the
officer of oath, who would be authorized to certify the circulation.
The Board of Directors and the members , who attended this meeting,
clarifies that no agency is appointed as their agent and that NEPMCC is
the only true and official representative of the members of the ethnic
media. Mr. Saras clarified this point to all members. He referred to a
misleading communication sent to some of the members by Multi Com.
Thomas Saras suggested to members of doing community survey
highlighting issues facing their respective communities. There is
government funding available for doing community based research.
Members were urged to put stories of Canadians helping their
communities to integrate to Canadian society.
The Canada Day celebrations to be celebrated on July 2nd will
honour Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario, for his generous exemption to
the Ethnic Media from the HST.
Special Greek wine to be served during the Canada Day Celebration.
$600 -$800 to be spent for Wine for the Canada Day dinner
Thomas Saras invited suggestions from members of the Council in
honouring the Premier.
Motion: Irene Keroglidis moved a motion to present the
Premier with a portrait along with a personalized plaque. Ahmed Shah
Hotaki seconded it. The motion was carried.
Dr. Khan Khoda would donate samosas for the Canada Day celebration
President Thomas Saras informed the Council that payment has been
made towards Word on the Street Festival.
CNE annual ethnic press festival would be held during the Labour
The President had a special word of mention for Asha Rajak for all
her magnificent work she has done for the Council.
by Minister of Consumer Services, The Honourable Sophia Aggelontis:
President Thomas Saras introduced the honourble Minister to the
members of the Council.
Minister of Consumer
Services, Honourable Sophia Aggelontis Address to NEPMCC:
you, Tom Saras ----NEPMCC President, for the kind introduction. Ladies and
gentlemen it’s great to be here and to have this opportunity to address
the board and members of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of
Canada. As print and electronic journalists ---- you play an important
role in our country. You
educate and inform; engage and involve. As ethnic media and members of our
diverse communities, you do so much more......Diversity..... this is what
Ontario looks like. Through you, people all across this wonderfully
diverse province of ours are able to learn what happening in the world and
in their communities---- in a language they understand. There is no
overstating the importance. Like
you, I Know this well. My Parents came to Canada from small towns in
Greece in the early 1960s. My
mother came from a small area just outside of Sparta.
My father came from the southern tip of Greece. That was before
most ethnic media outlets began. They settled in Toronto when they first
arrived. It was a neighbourhood full of Greek Immigrants.
And the main way for them to hear local news or gather information
was through their close-knit Greek community. But before they learned
English, it was an isolating and very lonely time. Today, newcomers
enjoy a different experience.
They can buy a newspaper or listen to TV or pick up information in
any number of languages. You are at the heart of it all, and I thank you
for that! Ontario’s ethnic media has responded to a simple fact: In this
city alone, over 140 languages are spoken.
More than 30 per cent of Torontonians speak a language other than
English or French at home. We welcome more new Canadians every day. I look at Parliament
and the Ontario Legislature and I see many ethnicities---it’s a
beautiful mosaic. The ethnic media is now considered by many as the new
mainstream. It’s an awesome responsibility.
Through your growing network, new Canadians and often second and
third generation Canadians- are able to be better informed and aware. You
encourage their engagement as Citizens....You help them to understand
local issues...You Profile their rights in this province: their human
rights, their civil rights, their legal rights....So tonight, I am here to
discuss their consumer
rights---- one of my favourite subjects!---- so you and I together can
help your audiences be smart consumers too
of Consumer Services----which I am privileged to lead---has two major
roles. The first role is
consumer protection and education. The second role is overseeing the regulatory
environment---the rules, basically –in certain industry sectors.
Our role is to provide a fair, safe and informed marketplace.
And our work touches Ontarians in their everyday lives, whether
buying a car or renovating a house, or being able to trust in the safety
of the elevators they ride or the stuffed toys they give their children.
Quite simply: my ministry helps people.
That’s my number 1 goal. Let me give you an example.
Recently, a consumer complained to my Ministry about a cabinet
company that was supposed to install kitchen cabinets.
The consumer entered a contact worth nearly $ 12,000 with the
company and paid a deposit of $ 4,000 for kitchen cabinets to be installed
in six weeks. The consumer removed all his existing kitchen cabinetry, and
then waited for delivery of the new cabinets. After waiting for more than
a month for delivery, the consumer finally decided to cancel the contract
with the company. He asked
for a refund of his deposit. He
did receive a refund cheque----but it bounced! So the consumer complained
to our Consumer protection Branch. We
investigated and laid charges. And
just last month, the contractor did plead guilty to all charges and fully
paid back the money owed to the consumer. He also received two years probation with the condition that
he performs community service. The
company itself was fined a total of $ 17,500. Let me repeat that.
Not only did the contractor have to give a complete refund, but he
also had to pay a big fine. We did what we are mandated to do.
We helped a consumer, and showed that it doesn’t pay to break the
law in Ontario. Our Ministry helps people understand their consumer
rights. We provide
information and help them determine if their complaint is valid.
We mediate between consumers and businesses, and conduct
inspections and investigations on consumers’ behalf. Last year, the
Consumer Protection Branch received about 55,000 enquiries and complaints
from consumers across the province. I have visited these offices and we
have people who have worked in this branch for over 25 years. They are experts in what we do.
The complaints we receive range from harassment by collection
agencies, to being sold a defective appliance, to billing disputes with
phone companies. Through or involvement---goods were delivered, services
were performed and problems were solved in hundreds of cases.
We won $83,000 in refunds for consumers in the first four months of
this year alone. Let me share another recent case: Four separate
homeowners paid deposits to the same construction company for renovation
work. In each instance, the
work was stared--- then abandoned. The homeowners all turned to us when
the company refused to refund their money. We investigated and again laid
charges. The owner of the company was found guilty and served jail time.
He also was ordered to pay a large fine in addition to paying back
all four victims. Last year,
Our Ministry undertook 316 compliance inspections and we laid 1,300
charges. This led to over half a million dollars in court ordered
restitution, almost $ 400,000 in fines, and probation or jail time for
several individuals. We protect consumer rights.
But we also understand that many Ontarians---including many in your
audiences---- might not even know these protections exist.
where another critical role of our Ministry comes in: consumer education
and outreach. Last year, in one key initiative, we distributed over
300,000 Smart Consumers Calendars. You may be familiar with this great product which you can
download from our website. These calendars are filled with useful tips
about how to protect yourself from identity theft, how to recognize
counterfeit money, what to remember when buying or selling a house.
Do you need a sample letter to cancel a contract?
It’s all right there in the calendar. This is a simple but
effective way for people to have a wide range of consumer information at
their fingertips. And since
the calendars are available in multiple languages including Spanish,
Tamil, Punjabi and Chinese, we reach many new Ontarians. Also our Ministry
delivers about 100 community events each year---- again for the purpose of
educating consumers. For example, car purchases and repairs are
consistently among the top 10 consumer complaints that we receive each
year. That’s why, this
summer, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council---one of the arm’s
–length organizations our ministry works through----will be offering
car---buying seminars to ensure people have all the information they need
to properly buy or lease a car. There will be free, hour-long seminars
held in libraries, community centres, malls and schools across the
province. These too will be
delivered not just in English and French----but also in Italian, Arabic,
Ukranian, Greek, Chinese, and several other languages. I was very happy
with the media pick-up when we first announced the seminars----including
in various ethnic publications like Ming Pao Sing Tao. Our Ministry
regularly reaches out to Ontario consumers through the media. Broadly, we
distribute articles that focus on consumer protection to newspapers across
the province, including the ethnic media.
And that’s why I’m so pleased to be here tonight.
This is the vitally important role you play. We also reach out on
targeted issues. And you will
see some of this type of information on our website.
For example, if we notice that consumers are having a lot of
problems with hot water heater rentals, you will see it on our website.
That way we keep consumers as up-to-date as possible. Or, another
example, spring is when homeowner’s thoughts turn to home renovations.
So this past April, we proactively approached media across the province to
help us help consumers to ensure their projects go smoothly.
There was a great response. As Minister, I sat down with several
media outlets for interviews that specifically focused on helping
consumers avoid such common complaints as poor workmanship or shady
business practices by contractors. During the interviews, I also made sure
to emphasize a point that I make when speaking to any group:
Our Ministry has a terrific website. And we have a great tool on
that website----the Consumer Beware Database.
This Database Lists companies that consumers need to be aware of
before they sign a contract. And all a consumer has to do is type in the topic and a list
of those companies will pop up. It’s
a great tool. By calling up our website---www.ontario.ca/consumerservices,
Ontarians can find a huge amount of easy-to-understand information,
including helpful videos and brochures.
The brochures are available in nine languages.
And we post consumer alerts. I have brought copies of DVDs with
some information from our website that your audiences may find useful.
Regulatory Environment Our Ministry is fully committed to consumer
protection and education. This is complemented by second priority that I mentioned
earlier. Through my ministry, the government establishes the legislation
and regulations that govern a number of industry
sectors. We oversee
several arm’s-length organizations which are given responsibility for
day-to-day enforcement in these industries.
The experts in these organization help promote public safety and
enforce consumer protection. For example, I mentioned earlier the Ontario
Motor Vehicle Industry Council and their upcoming car-buying
seminars.OMVIC, as this organization better known, regulates new and used
car dealers across the province. As well, most of you will have heard of
the Real Estate Council of Ontario------ RECO.
As one of the ministry’s arm’s length organizations, it
enforces a strict code of ethics for real estate brokers and agents. Then
there’ the Travel Industry Council of Ontario------TICO.
It has many oversight responsibilities; including getting money
back for consumers if they have booked a trip through an Ontario travel
agent and the tour operator or airline goes bankrupt. Others make sure
that amusement rides are safe, that electrical installations work, that
home builders provide warranties on homes-----even that the integrity of
Ontario wines is preserved. Our Ministry also overseas two Regulatory
Agencies: One that regulates
Ontario’s liquor and gaming industries, and the other that you’ll be
particularly aware of a s members of the media------The Ontario Film
review Board, which provides the public with the information they need to
make informed viewing choices.Day-By-Day, these organizations and agencies
partner with our Ministry to make sure Ontarians are informed, safe and
protected. Working Together so today, I invite you to stand with us as
well. In order for Ontarians to be smart consumers----they need to have
timely information and to understand their consumer rights. The National
Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada is in a unique position to help.
As Members, You are immersed in the full mosaic of Ontario’s
multiculturalism. You reach
dozens of communities from Albanian to Greek to Vietnamese.
There is an opportunity for you to help people who do not speak
English as a first language to get the information that they need.
Ontarians enjoy some of the strongest consumer protections anywhere.
It’s one that all Ontarians deserve to hear.
We can do this best together. Certainly, as Minister, I am
available for interviews---as are the many experts we have on consumer
rights and protection across Ontario’s diverse sectors.
And our Ministry itself is a terrific resource. We can provide
information to help you report on a myriad of issues--------from
purchasing gym memberships, to obtaining estimates on car repair, to
online shopping as well as everything we’ve discussed today and more.
Together, we can make a difference. I look forward to working with the
National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada and the many dedicated
members of Ontario’s ETHNIC media in the future. Together, we can help
more consumers be smarter consumers. I would be glad to answer any
Bukhari, Dr.Khan Khoda, Mehrub Rahman, Aaron Behrame, Suleman Guven,
Gerald Paul, Srimal Abeyawardene and other members asked questions on a
wide range of topics and the Honorable Minster candidly answered all of
Thomas Saras invited the Minister for Canada Day dinner on July 2nd.
Bukhari wrote a letter to the Prime Minister about media crackdown in
Bangladesh. He read out the letter and appealed the members for support.
Many members gave their views on the topic. The matter was referred to
Hermie Garcia to come out with the verdict. Hermie Garcia would hear from
all parties concerned and review the matter thoroughly before giving his
suggestions to the council on whether NEPMCC could support this issue.
Tajdolati proposed a motion prohibiting members to use organization’s
name without the consent of the board of NEPMCC while communicating to any
government official. Irene Keroglidis and John Saras seconded the motion.
Dr. Khan Khoda voted against and Shahidul Islam Mintu abstained from
voting. The motion declared past and carried.
welcomed the following member
Charles – Tamil Mirror monthly
John Saras moved a motion to adjourn the meeting, Dr. Khan Khoda seconded
it. The motion was carried. The chair adjourned the meeting at 9 pm. The
next meeting would take place on July 12, 2010