Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on January 11, 2021, through video conference via Zoom
Thomas S. Saras
Leila Monteiro Lins
Mohammed Bagher Samimi
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
Gezahegn Mekonnen Demissie
Kathy L. Lin
Hai Tien Lin
Muhacumad Naeem Ul Islam
Agenda of the day:
• Welcome Remarks by the chair.
• Minutes of the previous meeting
• Presentation by ICCRC
• 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. Yuri Natchetoi seconded it. The motion was carried.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Roberto Hausman moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting and Yuri Natchetoi seconded it. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting was approved unanimously.
• Thomas Saras welcomed everyone to the first online monthly meeting of 2021. During this difficult time the President reflected on the measures taken by NEPMCC to help its fellow members through various projects such as internship, LJI and others. He appreciated the hard work from everyone including Maria Saras- Voutsinas, Hon. Joe Volpe, Dr. Tajdolati and all other members who worked extremely hard during the exceedingly difficult year 2020 as a committee on various projects of NEPMCC. Although 2020 was a tough year for many, but NEPMCC had successfully implemented various projects for the benefit of its members. He hoped 2021 will be a better year for all. He urged everyone to follow public health guidelines and maintain physical distancing.
• President Thomas Saras thanked all the members who generously donated to NEPMCC.
• President Thomas Saras that new programs undertaken by NEPMCC are open to members.
• President Thomas Saras mentioned that elections for the board of NEPMCC will be held in March 2021. President Thomas Saras reminded all members to renew their membership in order to take part in the elections in 2021. Any member interested in serving the board should inform the office of the President. Members serving as officers should have the time and commitment to serve the board of NEPMCC.
• President Thomas Saras made a written submission on behalf of NEPMCC to the House of Commons Standing Committee on finance for the pre-budget consultations in advance of the upcoming budgets. The details of which were shared via email with all members before this monthly meeting in December. The submission was made in the best interests of the ethnic media industry in Canada.
• President Thomas Saras gave an update on special measures for journalism under the Canada Periodic fund and advised that Maria Saras Voutsinas has been following up with the concerned officials on the progress of the program.
• President Thomas Saras informed both LJI and internship program are progressing well. Although the internship program did not have many participants as expected. The internship program and LJI would invite new applications in 2021.
• Since the lockdown President Thomas Saras, is working everyday so that members get help. NEPMCC had another productive year and the organization is working on several 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 extremely hard and is taking feedback from the members who are struggling in this difficult time. The LJI fund will be distributed in two phases for the duration of 6 months in each phase.
• President Thomas Saras urged the members for different projects that are available. If there is lack of adequate participation, the funds would go back and in future the allocations of such funds could be limited. • The President is in touch with Federal Government and Provincial Government for funding members of NEPMCC during the ongoing Pandemic. 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 2021 in cooperation with the schools of journalism. Internship will be from 3 – 6 months. The program will cover $15 per hour per student for the maximum 18 hours per week and the rest must 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 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 April of 2020 and is in the new phase in August of 2020 and only those members, who have not received funds through the LJI program are eligible to apply this year and should contact Executive Director Maria Saras –Voutsinas, expressing their interests in hiring a Student intern 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. Members in order to qualify for various projects undertaken by NEPMCC, they must be in good standing. If any member has not yet paid membership fees, they need to pay the fees and be in good standing for the programs that they qualify for.
• The internship 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 also continue 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. The current time of Applications will expire September 30, 2020.
• 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.
• 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 an unemployed journalist 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 will close from accepting new applications in September 30, 2020, for the present cycle. He hoped that the program will continue to receive funds in future. The program also pays for mailing expenses of the copies of the publication to remote communities and provides special prepaid kits to members participating in the program.
• 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.
• 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.
Presentation by ICCRC – John Murray -President and CEO of ICCRC
Chris May – Director of Public Affairs and Communications, ICCRC
Charity May – Public Affairs Coordinator, ICCRC
ICCRC aspires to be a role model for other regulatory bodies in the way it regulates the profession, carries on its business, and protects consumers.
ICCRC establishes and delivers effective policies, practices, and procedures to regulate and educate immigration consultants and promote the use of authorized representatives to the public.
The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) is the national regulatory body that serves and protects the public by overseeing Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs).
Our federal mandate originates from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Citizenship Act, which require anyone providing Canadian immigration or citizenship advice or representation for a fee or other consideration to be a member in good standing of ICCRC.
Exceptions are members in good standing of a law society in Canada or the Chambre des notaires du Québec. ICCRC began regulating immigration consultants in 2011 and citizenship consultants and international student advisors in 2015. This strategic plan guides business planning for the next three years. As it sets the strategic direction, it prescribes focus and activities along with measurable goals.
After raising the minimum instructional hours from 180 to 500 hours in 2015, the Council is taking steps toward developing immigration consulting into a full post-graduate diploma program. ICCRC is currently developing an implementation plan and working with post-secondary institutions and provincial governments to establish requirements and identify opportunities to launch this new program.
The Council is also in the process of implementing a specialization for RCICs and has engaged the IRB to discuss furthering the education requirements of RCICs to augment their knowledge and skills to competently represent clients at tribunals. Furthermore, an advisory committee has been put in place to develop an interactive and experiential admissions course that will be mandatory prior to taking the licensing exam to become an RCIC. To ensure ICCRC implements robust and comprehensive education standards, a multi-sectoral consultation framework will guide the development and implementation of education programs. Broad stakeholder consultation will provide multiple perspectives, with a consumer protection focus to achieve the regulator’s mandate As the regulator, ICCRC has a duty to serve and protect the public interest.
ICCRC is committed to the following organizational values:
Transparency: Important decisions, policies and procedures are provided to Members, and, where appropriate, the public on the ICCRC website.
Excellence: Achieve a high level of excellence in all endeavours.
Fairness: Policies, practice, procedures and decisions are justified and well-understood.
Accountability: The Board of directors and staff take full responsibility for actions and decisions. Integrity: The highest moral and ethical standards are maintained.
Communication: Members, stakeholders and the public are welcome to contact ICCRC on any matter relating to the regulation of the Canadian immigration consulting profession.
Manan Gupta, Rosemary Sadlier, Said Henry, Maria Seietorzecki, and other members participated in the roundtable discussions with the panel from ICCRC.
The chair thanked the delegation from ICCRC for their presentation.
President Thomas Saras encouraged members to educate their readership on the mission and vision of ICCRC.
Many members appreciated the office of the President of NEPMCC for submitting an incredibly detailed recommendation to the standing committee on Finance and hoped that the recommendations would be implemented. Members also thanked Executive Director Maria Saras- Voutsinas for providing consistent and valuable help tireless for members with their issues during the pandemic year.
Adjournment: Roberto Hausman moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Manan Gupta seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair Dr. Tajdolati adjourned the meeting at 8.30 pm. The next monthly meeting would take place on Monday February 8, 2021 through Zoom
The above notes from the meeting of January 11,2021 prepared by the Secretary General and Senior VP of the NEPMCC Neel Nanda.
Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on January 11, 2021, through video conference via Zoom