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Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on May 13, 2019, at Committee Room #2 City Hall.


Thomas S. Saras
Neel Nanda
Maria Saras-Voutsinas
Rosemary Sadler
Ricky Castellvi
Jonathan Annobil
Pooyan Tabatabaei
Mohammad –Bagher Samimi
Essie Wgmbui
Jean Pickard
Dimitris Voihaitis
Maria Swictarucki
Lynda Sun
Mohammad Tajdolati
Norman Hart
Sandie Defreitas
Ishhar Ghazarian
Anfisa Lyasota
Jonathan Arnobil
Emmanuel Ayiku
Arif Ahmed
FAIZUL choadhury
Aezar Rangu
Emmanuel Ayiku
Joe Volpe
Gezahagn Demissie
Michael Li (MP)
Marek Goldyn
Khalid Maghan
John Sraidaris
Nishantha Don
Ali Mahmoud
Hermie Garcia
Mila Garcia
Longan Logendralyngan
Yolanda Kathirgamar
Nisanta Dun
Lydia Sun
Leila MonteiroLins
Ali Mahmoud
Ranjit Wicks
Sandie De Freitas
Norman Hart
Khalid Magen
Mooka Tamil
Bobby Wang
Maria Swietoizacki
Elizabeth Muzalc
Susana Donan
S. Krishnalingan
Khalid Menan
Eugenia Boukchwou
Vanessa Wheatle
HaiTien Lin
Logan Longarigham
Nishrite Don
Isa Melo
Yuri Natcetoi
John Saraidaris
Said Henry
S. Krinalingam
Robin Beckosian

Agenda of the day:

  1. Welcome Remarks by the chair.
  2. Minutes of the previous meeting
  3. Report of the President/Discussions
  4. Presentation By Ontario Chamber of Commerce
  5. Presentation by Vincenzo Guzzo-Dragons Den
  6. New Members/New Business
  7. Adjournment

Welcome Remarks by the Chair:

Dr. Tajdolati chaired the meeting and declared the meeting open. Demetris Vohaitis moved a motion to approve the agenda. Arif seconded it. The motion was carried. .

Minutes of the previous meeting:

Minutes of the previous monthly to be updated later.

President’s Report/Discussions:

  • Thomas Saras welcomed everyone to the monthly meeting of May 2019. 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 and involvement with NEPMCC. The Government has allocated $10 million for the media industry and there are several programs where the members could apply for funding under this budget.
  • 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 a committee be formed that would recommend distribution of government funds to ethnic media based on the circulation and reach.
  • President Thomas Saras met with the minister of Canadian Heritage regarding funding for the members of NEPMCC. $10 million dollar is allocated for six major media organizations in Canada.
  • President Thomas Saras encouraged all to renew their membership in 2019 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 this 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 in Seneca College.
  • President Thomas Saras informed the members that he represented the ethnic media at the standing committee of the senate to educate the committee about the grievances of the ethnic media.
  • 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 your advantage to have it.
  • NEPMCC to build website for 20 members who do not have website.
    Motion: Thomas Saras suggested that a Committee be formed to do a needs analysis and the distribution of funds to the members based on their outreach and circulation under the leadership of Joe Volpe, M.D Tajdolati and Maria Saras- Voutsinas. Any member interested in joining the committee should contact Executive Director Maria Saras- Voutsinas.
  • The President spoke about 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. There was a suggestion that members receiving assistance for the internship program should make small donation to NEPMCC. The program has already started in January and is in the second phase which will start from April and only those members, who have applied and contacted Executive Director Maria Saras –Voutsinas expressing their interests in hiring Student interns for their media outlets would be given preference and allocated student interns based on first come first serve basis. Members were informed in the previous meetings that effective from April 1 in order to qualify of funding for interns- there should be a proper office for the intern to work. The program since has received an overwhelming response and members who could not participate this time may be given another chance in the next phase provided they meet the requirements of this program,
  • The next phase of the internship program would start from June 1 2019 to March 31, 2020.


    Presentation by Ontario Chamber of Commerce

    Cearra Copps Edwards Senior Communications Advisor
    Daniel Safayeni Director of Policy
    The delegation from Ontario Chamber of Commerce made a brief presentation on the mission, vision, purpose and history of the organization. They also shared some data on the need analysis as a result of various business researches predicting the economic trend and on the report on capitalizing on Ontario’s Cannabis advantage.

    For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan voice of Ontario business.
    The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members. The OCC’s vision is to foster a vibrant and economically sustainable province that is driven by an innovative, successful and ever-expanding business community. From innovative SMEs to established multinational corporations and industry associations, the OCC is committed to working with our members to improve business competitiveness across all sectors. The OCC represents local chambers of commerce and boards of trade in over 135 communities across Ontario, steering public policy conversations provincially and within local communities.
    With Ontario home to more than half the licensed producers of recreational cannabis in Canada and the majority of cannabis employment held right here in Ontario, we are positioned to lead Canada’s recreational cannabis industry on the world stage as per the Senior Advisor of Communications and Director of Policy of OCC. “Ensuring the private retail market is successful is critical to the long-term viability of the sector. As Ontario’s business advocate, we are committed to shaping responsible public policy to establish us as a competitive, global leader.”
    The report provides a comprehensive analysis of Ontario’s cannabis market from the perspective of industry and the role public policy can play to ensure the legal market remains competitive by seizing economic opportunity, eliminating the illegal market, and safeguarding public health and responsible adult consumption.
    The report makes a number of recommendations on a wide range of issues impacting the sector including:

  • Setting up the private retail market for success by proceeding with a merit-based licensing system and allowing consumers to purchase directly online from licensed producers for the next phase of private retail.
  • Adressing Ontario’s supply shortage by developing a common excise stamp to allow producers to more efficiently ship products, and investing in Health Canada’s capacity to license facilities at an accelerated rate without compromising the inspection process.
  • Getting regulations around edibles right by striking the necessary balance between prioritizing public safety while effectively eradicating the illegal market as edibles and other methods of cannabis consumption enter the market in late 2019.
  • Nurturing Ontario’s talent pool by working with Ontario’s post-secondary institutions, highlighting the variety of education and employment opportunities related to the legal cannabis sector.
  • While many questions remain, including how private retail will unfold in Ontario, the OCC will be working with all levels of government, investors, entrepreneurs, business owners, and post-secondary institutions to establish balanced regulations that consider both public safety and economic growth.

    Following the presentation the delegation answered questions raised by the members on various subjects related to their presentation. Daniel Safayeni and Cearra Copps – Edwards invited all the members of NEPMCC on the launch of the report on “Capitalizing on Canada’s Cannabis Potential”
    Michael Homzi, MareckGoldyn, Karim, and others participated in the roundtable discussions following the presentation

    Presentation by Vincenzo Guzzo - CBC Dragon Den

    Spoke about his Italian Heritage. As the only son of Italian immigrants, he always believed he could turn his dad’s small theatre business (along with his own law and business degrees) into the mega-scaled empire it is today. Guzzo is the president and CEO of Cinemas Guzzo, the number one operator in Quebec and the third largest movie exhibitor in Canada. His chain has a total of 141 screens: nine IMAX cinemas and ten locations with three more set to open later this year. Size does matter to Cinemas Guzzo.
    Vincenzo Guzzo explained what it is to be a Canadian of Italian heritage and takes pride in his ethnic heritage.He said Canada has enriched over the years due to its rich cultural diversity.
    DemetrisVohaitis, Maria and others participated in roundtable discussion following the presentation

    Presentation by Sean Pickard, Station Manager Voices4 Ability Radio:

    Voices 4 Ability is an online radio station that provides a variety of content, both entertaining and resourceful, for people with disabilities and their allies. Voices 4 Ability is unique in that it will be a social enterprise, for Connect 4 Life charity, and will have a training centre for introduction to broadcasting for people with disabilities. Our talk radio shows will be on various relevant topics such as accessibility, employment, breaking down barriers, relationships, advocacy, and barrier free living just to name a few. V4A will be a mix of music and talk radio highlighting people and organizations that have made a difference. We will be providing a resource for: people with disabilities & their families, caregivers, service providers, the aging population and so many others. Sean Pickard mentioned it is mostly run by volunteers and by donationsand needs ongoing help from various sections of society to keep it running.
    Michael Homzi, Khalid Magram,Dimitis Vohaitis and others participated in the discussions to suggest ways where the uniqure online radio can get help to fulfill its mission and vision.

    Maria SarasVoutsinas informed everyone about the workshop June 4, 4pm to 7 pm at Seneca College workshop

    New Members/ New Business:

    Maria Saras-Voutsinas informed everyone about the Career Recharge Workshop on June 4 from 4pm to 7 pm at Seneca College Newnham Campus. Career Recharge, presented by TD, is an innovative approach to the challenge of re-skilling mid-career individuals at risk of job loss due to disruptive changes in the labour market. Instead of simply training those individuals for another career, Seneca’s model is to change career DNA — helping to transform them into creative thinkers, designers, problem solvers, collaborators, communicators, and to build-up resilience as they navigate the ever-changing employment landscape and prepare for the economy of the future.
    This program is for individuals who want to prepare for their career-future, whether that be re-entering the workforce, advancing in their existing field, changing careers, starting a venture or understanding the impact of technological change on the world of work.


    Karim Mirshahi invited everyone to the waterfront awards 2019 which will take place in the Globe and Mail Centre. The WATERFRONT AWARDS 2019 is a red carpet charity gala, held in Toronto, this July, celebrating the achievements of outstanding women in the Greater Toronto Area.Sponsored by Toronto Waterfront Magazine, this annual event is in support of The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness (www.abusehurts.ca) a national, charitable organization since 1993.

    Newcomers Day: President Thomas Saras invited everyone to participate in the Newcomer’s  Day on May 16 at the Nathan Phillips Square. Members were urged to bring copies of their publication which would be displayed at the booth of on NEPMCC.

    Adjournment: Ricky Castellvi moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Susana Donan 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, June 10, 2019 at committee room N# 2 at the Toronto City Hall.