NEPMCC committee meeting minutes, other special meeting minutes and minutes for the monthly meetings held at the Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario are posted here.
Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on May 25, 2020, through video conference via Zoom
Thomas S. Saras
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
Agenda of the day:
- Welcome Remarks by the chair.
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- Report of the President/Discussions
- Presentation by Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- New Members/New Business
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
Mohammed Tajdolati chaired the virtual monthly meeting and declared the meeting open. Rosemary Sadlier moved a motion to approve the agenda. Hon. Joe Volpe seconded it. The motion was carried.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Mohammed Bagher Samimi moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting and Weera Fonseca seconded it. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting was approved unanimously.
- Thomas Saras welcomed everyone online to the online monthly meeting of May 2020. He said till situation improves this is the way might conduct future meetings and also hoped that we could also meet in City Hall when the situation improves. Since lockdown President Thomas Saras is working everyday so that members get help. 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 program has successfully closed for the year 2019-2020. The program in 2020-2021 will work for 6 months duration each period and the cycle would end in March 2021. President Thomas Saras mentioned that due to the Covid 19 pandemic the Government is trying to help the industry. Executive Director of NEPMCC is working very hard and is taking feedback from the members who are struggling in this difficult time.
- President is in touch with Federal Government and Provincial Government for funding members of NEPMCC during the crisis of Corona Virus. President is scheduled to meet with representatives of both Federal and Provincial Government in order to request more funds for the struggling ethnic media industry.
- 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- they should be an active publication. 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. Members interested in hiring interns should apply and contact Maria Saras-Voutsinas for more information.
- An education session may be arranged with the officials of the ministry in order to educate the members on the qualifying criteria for ATP. This would be for the benefit to all members especially during the current situation for future applications. Members who are receiving funding from ATP may not be eligible to apply for tax credit from Revenue Canada.
- Many members supported the idea that any members who received funding from the Aid to Publishers Program should make a donation to NEPMCC as it has worked hard to guide the embers to receive funding and also worked hard so that the government increase funding for the ethnic media industry.
- President Thomas Saras continued to educate 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 mentioned that the program has been very successful and is closed for the present cycle. He hoped that the program will continue to receive funds in future.
- 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 mentioned that due to ongoing pandemic most events scheduled earlier by NEPMCC have been cancelled or postponed due to the safety measures. He expressed optimism that NEPMCC would hold events once the situation changes and when it is safe for everyone as per Health Canada.
- 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 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 to build website for 20 members who do not have website.
Presentation by Hon. Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Dr. Tajdolati introduced the honourable minister to the council and invited him to address the members of NEPMCC.
Hon. Marco Mendcino started his speech by acknowledging the work that NEPMCC does on a constant basis.
He stressed that immigration is one of the biggest stimulus to the economy. Over the years Canada has attracted diverse groups of talent from various parts of the world. Immigration has helped to enrich Canada’s diversity. Going forward Canada will continue to attract young talents who would continue to build the economy and Canada is committed to reunite families with the family sponsorship programs. He stressed that each year international students bring approximately $26 billion dollars to Canada. Due to the flight closures his ministry is looking at ways that international students can still carry on their studies online till all flights operate normally. He mentioned of new pilot project to hire seasonal agricultural workers so that the production continues to flourish in the agricultural sector and the country has adequate supplies.
Manan Gupta, Bhaskar Sharma, Logan Logandralingam, Lisa Qureshi, Gezahegn Mekonnen, Hon. Joe Volpe asked a wide variety of questions on topics related to immigration and the effects of Coronavirus in this sector.
Hon. Marco Mendicino answered all questions categorically and thanked President Thomas for arranging a virtual roundtable with the members of NEPMCC
New Members/ New Business:
Vinnie Combow informed the members about “Practice Social Distancing not Ethnic Distancing campaign. At a time when the physical health of our communities is at stake, there’s no need for racial discrimination to enter the conversation. Not now, not ever. With Covid-19, we are fighting a common enemy with our collective welfare at the top of our minds. That’s yours and mine. Our families, our friends, our neighbours. Let’s heal together during this pandemic and not inflict another wound to ourselves in the process. “Practice social distancing, not ethnic distancing”. Because, it’s a health issue, not a race issue. He mentioned it is totally a voluntary effort and encouraged members of NEPMCC to join and promote the cause in their channels.
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
Adjournment: Arif Ahmed moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Logan L 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 22 through Zoom