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OMNI Advisory Council Mandate


OMNI Television provides free over-the-air television service to ethnic communities in Toronto, London, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Victoria. As an ethnic broadcaster, OMNI is committed to reflecting Canada’s diversity through ethnocultural and third-language programming at a local, regional, and national level.

The first OMNI Advisory Council (Advisory Council) was established when Rogers Broadcasting Limited (Rogers) acquired CFMT-TV (Toronto) from Multilingual Television Limited (MTV) in 1986 (CRTC Decision 86-586). This initial Advisory Council consisted of the original Board of Directors of MTV, which included independent directors and minority investors. Rogers confirmed in the public hearing for this acquisition that it would retain MTV’s Board of Directors and that representatives of the ethnic communities served by CFMT-TV would continue to form a majority of the Council.

In 1999, the Commission released the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy (Public Notice CRTC 1999-117) which encouraged ethnic broadcasters to establish advisory councils incorporating representatives of the ethnic communities in their service areas.

From the initial Advisory Council for CFMT-TV, OMNI Television developed others in Alberta and British Columbia as Rogers was approved for broadcasting licences for ethnic television stations in Calgary and Edmonton (i.e. CJCO-TV and CJEO-TV) in 2007 (CRTC Decision 2007-166) and acquired ethnic television programming undertakings CHNM-TV and CHNM-DT in Vancouver in 2008 (CRTC Decision 2008-72). All of the Advisory Councils were comprised of independent representatives from various ethnocultural communities in each of the markets served by OMNI Television. The Advisory Councils provided input and direction on ethnic programming which proved particularly valuable in the early years of OMNI stations.

In 2010, Rogers dissolved the Advisory Councils for the OMNI stations and replaced them with community liaison officers (CLOs) in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto. The rationale for the decision was to allow respective OMNI stations to focus their resources on fostering local and regional partnerships and program development rather than on the maintenance of formal Advisory Councils. Rogers believed that greater community outreach could be achieved through CLOs as the position is fully dedicated to community outreach and consultation.

CLOs provide a single point of contact between OMNI and various ethnocultural groups in each market. They are OMNI’s ambassadors and their primary purpose is to establish relationships with as many local community groups as possible. CLOs are full-time paid employees responsible for developing local productions, conducting community outreach and consultation, and fostering partnerships with local ethnic organizations and events.

In Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2014-399, the CRTC ordered the reinstatement of the Advisory Councils in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia as a condition of licence for all OMNI stations. The CRTC considered that Advisory Councils will assist local ethnic communities that wish to become involved with OMNI and ensure that Rogers provides an appropriate level of programming commensurate with the demographics of each market where OMNI operates.

In order to be effective Rogers believes the Advisory Councils must complement the role of the CLOs with respect to programming and community outreach. Accordingly, the newly formed Advisory Councils will work in cooperation with the CLOs to ensure that OMNI Television is fully engaged with the ethnocultural communities it serves.

Mission Statement

It is the Mission of the Advisory Councils to enhance the engagement and reflection of ethnocultural communities on OMNI Television at a local, regional, and national level.


The Mandate of the Advisory Councils will be focused on three core areas of OMNI’s operations – Programming, Sales, and Community Outreach.


The Advisory Councils will advise OMNI Television on its ethnocultural programming strategies taking into consideration the demographic makeup of each market, viewer engagement, and the financial resources available to the station. The Advisory Councils will also provide guidance on relevant community and ethnospecific issues related to the regional or local market and how these issues are positioned and addressed in our programming, where applicable. Guidance may also include feedback on relevant policy issues such as the CRTC’s Ethnic Broadcasting Policy.


The Advisory Council will be called upon to help identify sponsorship and advertising opportunities for OMNI Television. To assist with this commitment, OMNI Television will review sales results with the Advisory Council during scheduled meetings.

Community Outreach

Members of the Advisory Councils will also liaise with local ethnocultural communities who wish to become involved with OMNI Television and act as ambassadors for OMNI in this capacity. Members will promote and encourage participation by local ethnocultural groups and individuals in developing programming and other outreach initiatives that are aimed at enhancing OMNI’s role in the communities it serves. As part of this mandate, OMNI Television may request that Members of the Advisory Council attend OMNI events from time to time.

Council Membership

Three (3) Advisory Councils will be established representing each region served by OMNI Television: Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. Each Advisory Council will be comprised of not more than seven (7) and not fewer than five (5) Members. Each Council will consist of Members representing the various ethnocultural communities within OMNI’s broad service mandate and will also take into consideration demographic and gender balance as well as a diversity of skill sets and experience. Members are appointed for two-year terms with eligibility for renewal(s).

There will be one (1) Chair for each of the three (3) Advisory Councils. The first Chair of the Advisory Council for each region will be selected by OMNI Television from the Members of the respective Advisory Councils. All subsequent Chairs will be elected by Members of the respective Advisory Councils. The term of the Chair is two years with eligibility for renewal(s).

The Chair will oversee the business of the Advisory Council in fulfilling its Mandate. More specifically, the Chair will participate in the preparation of and approve the agenda for each Advisory Council meeting and preside over each meeting.


The Advisory Councils will meet a minimum of twice annually, every Spring and Fall. The Spring meeting will include a presentation of OMNI Television’s plans for the upcoming broadcast year with respect to Programming, Sales, and Community Outreach. The Fall meeting will include a review of the previous broadcast year with respect to the three core areas of the Council’s Mandate as well as a review of the annual report to the CRTC on the activities and accomplishments of the Advisory Councils.

A formal agenda will be circulated at least two weeks in advance of each meeting. Members will be invited to add items of interest to the agenda.

At least one representative of the Rogers management team will attend all Advisory Council meetings.

Attendance at ad hoc committee meetings may be required as the need arises, as well as other functions deemed necessary to fulfil the Mandate of the Advisory Council(s).

An honorarium of $500 will be given to each Member for participation (in person or via teleconference) at each Advisory Council meeting.


Council Members

Ontario | Alberta | British Columbia

Ontario Advisory Council


Cindy Fan is a Senior Broker at Homelife Gold Pacific Realty and an agent for the Taiwanese company Naruko Boutique. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1981, and graduated from University of Toronto with an Engineering degree. Fan is actively involved in the Taiwanese and Chinese communities in Toronto. She has taken on many important roles in these communities including, President of the Taiwan Entrepreneurs Society Taipei/Toronto, Director of the Taiwan Entrepreneurs and Investors Associations of Canada, and President of the Toronto Chinese School Parents Association. She is also a long-time supporter of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto (CCC). Due to her community engagement, she is also the Commissioner of the Overseas Community Affairs Council for the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).


Marcus Kolga is a Communications and Brand Strategist, Journalist, Political Activist, and award winning Documentary Filmmaker. His films GULAG 113 and Sinking the Gustloff have been screened and broadcast in North America and Europe to great acclaim. Kolga is also the co-Founder of the Central and Eastern European Council in Canada, a Director of the Estonian Foundation of Canada, Board Member of the Council to Protect Canadians Abroad, and Canadian Advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Justice for Sergei Magnitsky.


Wilbert Lai is currently an Advisor to SEAS Community Centre. Lai has also served on the Advisory Council of the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACCE); he was President from 1998–2002 and co-founded the Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs Awards in 1997. As well, he was previously the Vice-President of the Chinese Professional Association of Canada (CPAC) and its Education Foundation. Lai was a Financial Controller at Wonder Bread, Continental Can Company Canada, and Xerox Canada. He holds a B.Com (Hon.) degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. He is also a Certified Management Accountant. He frequently appears as a media commentator and columnist for OMNI Television, World Journal, Ming Pao Daily News, and Sing Tao Daily.


Richard Landau is an independent Documentary Maker and Broadcasting Executive known for creating and developing original public affairs television programming that deals with matters of ethics, public affairs, and faith. Landau worked as an Executive Producer for CTS TV and hosted and produced a range of television programs, earning more than 40 international awards for TV excellence and creating programming that reflects diversity. For 20 years, with both CTS TV and Vision TV, Richard was responsible for upholding a broadcast Code of Ethics aimed at guaranteeing a multiplicity of voices are heard. He has presented to the CRTC on five occasions and is a consultant to various broadcasters on matters of policy.Landau is an authority in conflict resolution and dialogue. He is the author of the e-book What the World Needs to Know about Interfaith Dialogue. In the wake of the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, this e-book has become a valuable resource. Beliefnet, the internet’s foremost site for faith and religion, selected this e-book as companion material to its online interfaith dialogue mini-course. He is author of articles about equity and diversity issues, including a recent academic paper for Canadian Diversity at the request of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.


B.K. Sethi came to Canada from his native India in 1972 after finishing his MBA in Marketing from Michigan University in 1971.After working with multinationals in Sales and Marketing for several years, he started his own Food Importing, Distribution and Marketing Co in 1982 targeting the growing Ethnic market in Canada. He became the pioneer in bringing the Ethnic Food into major Canadian Grocers and mentoring them to attract growing new immigrant population to their stores.Over the years, he produced several Ethnic Reports for Canadian Grocer, Western Grocers and his articles appeared in Strategy Magazine, Globe & Mail and other leading magazines. B K Sethi has also been interviewed on CBC-TV, CBC Radio, Omni, ATN and has participated in Conferences and presented seminars on Marketing to Ethnics.B K Sethi has also consulted Multinationals including Robin Hood Multifoods, Unilever, Kraft, Heinz, Dairy Board of Canada and others looking for Ethnic savvy.He has won numerous awards, including a Canadian Grand Prix New Product Award for his India House brand, Business Excellence Award by Scarborough Chamber of Commerce and others.He is married and lives in Woodbridge, Ontario.


Gina Valle speaks several languages and holds a PhD in Teacher Education & Multicultural Studies from The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Prior to receiving her PhD, Gina earned a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Bachelor of Education.Gina’s work focuses on issues of diversity, from the books she has authored, to her internationally recognized photo exhibit, hands-on workshops and award winning documentary. Through her organization Diversity Matters, Dr Valle champions multilingual children’s literature and heritage initiatives in her community. Gina was invited to be a mentor to young girls at the only Girl’s Leadership Academy of its kind in Ontario. Dr Valle received the Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Office of the Governor General for her significant work in diversity through her organization Diversity Matters.

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Alberta Advisory Council


Erick Ambtman is the Executive Director of the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers and knows firsthand the multicultural issues and challenges present in Alberta. He is well-known in Edmonton as the main organizer of the prestigious RISE Awards (Recognizing Immigrant Success in Edmonton).After working as the Program Manager for the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association and the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain House Native Friendship Centre, Ambtman headed to South Africa to work for the Msunduzi Housing Association to assist in the development of their social housing practices. Upon returning to Canada Ambtman began working for the City of Edmonton and is now a Senior Project Manager for Community Services.Ambtman was selected as a “Top 40 under 40” in Edmonton by Avenue Magazine in 2011. He holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics.


Beryl Bacchus is the Marketing Director for the West Edmonton Mall (WEM), North America’s largest mall boasting 54 million square feet. She organizes, markets, and executes over 350 events at WEM annually.Previously, Bacchus was the Executive Director of the Global Visions Film Festival, Canada’s longest running documentary film festival dedicated to documentaries from around the world. During her tenure she expanded the festival to 24 countries thereby introducing the event to new demographics, including ethnic communities. She secured new relationships with potential sponsors and partners and worked to bring increased awareness to the festival locally, nationally, and internationally.Her dedication and work in the community has been recognized as she was named a “Top 40 under 40” by Avenue Magazine as well as nominated as a “Woman of Distinction” with the YWCA Edmonton for arts and culture.


Judy Gabriel is a communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the broadcasting industry. As well, she is a documentary filmmaker and reporter in various markets across Alberta. Gabriel has produced over 130 programs for major television networks including the Biography Channel, W Network, Bravo, Book TV, Movie Central, Global television, City, CTV, and more.She has a strong passion for charities and enjoys telling their stories through film to raise awareness as well as much-needed funds. In 1998, Gabriel’s first documentary Wandering Souls, a film on the plight of the homeless in Calgary, was recognized with the Best of the Northwest in the NorthWest Filmmakers’ Festival, under the category of “Human Understanding.”


Slawa Gruszczynska Slawa Gruszczynska has been the Cultural Diversity Coordinator with City of Calgary, Culture Division for more than 25 years.Since 1996, Slawa has been supporting the Calgary Interagency Immigrant Services Network with the main objective of strengthening the service providers in the immigrant sector. Her education includes Master Degree’s in History and Philosophy, and Diploma from International Languages Institute in Italian and German.Slawa was one of the finalists of *Immigrants of Distinction Awards in 2003 and the recipient of numerous service awards with the City of Calgary.She is fully engaged with many intercultural celebrations on behalf of Culture Division, City of Calgary and actively involved as a volunteer in community development initiatives in Calgary to increase the social and interfaith harmony in our city.In early 1990s, on behalf of City of Calgary Slawa established the Annual Culturally Diverse Media Forum in Calgary. The Forum gained a significant profile among media throughout the years.OMNI Calgary successfully co – hosted the Diverse Media Forum in 2011 and 2013 in partnership with City of Calgary.


Todd Odgers runs the Centre for Intercultural Education at NorQuest College, the most culturally diverse college in Alberta. Over 55% of the student population was born outside Canada and more than 100 languages are represented on campus. Odgers is an intercultural relations specialist with over twenty years’ experience working in the field in Canada and internationally. He is fluent in Japanese, French, and English.


Yogesh Paliwal is a finance professional with Ernst & Young in Calgary. He is the Founder and current President of Rajasthan Association of North America (Calgary) (RANA Calgary). RANA is a not-for-profit society for the people from Rajasthan, a province in India, living in North America. He was a member of RANA (Canada) when he lived in Toronto, and he founded RANA (Calgary) when he moved to Calgary.

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British Columbia Advisory Council


Matt Astifan is the Founder of Web Friendly, Matt Astifan has been teaching business professionals how to untangle the complex world of Social Media since 2009. In 2012 he shifted his focus to work exclusively with Social Media consultants in the field of Brand Marketing to enable them to help small to large business generate leads, sales and brand exposure using popular tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. Matt concentrates on serving his local business community through the Internet Masterminds, a local Meetup founded in 2009 – at over 4000 members – is the largest internet marketing Meetup in the world. Website: www.webfriendly.ca


Queenie Choo has held many senior leadership positions in varied organizations. She was appointed as the CEO to commission the first culturally based seniors care home in Edmonton Alberta. In 2008 she led the Home and Community Care team within the Alberta Health Services as Director of Home Care in the Capital Region for an annual budget of $100M. She provided strong leadership in service redesign to meet the multicultural needs of the community. As well, Queenie has a strong background in quality and service evaluation focusing on service deliverables. Based on her excellent tracked record in this area, in 2010 she was appointed as the Executive Director responsible for redesigning the home and community health system within Alberta Health Services.With her strong background in community services and effective leadership ability, in 2012, Queenie was appointed as the CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., the largest non-profit social service organization in BC. Queenie’s role has been based on her ability to blend a rigorous and result oriented approach with a genuine sensitivity to people. Her unique contributions include, but have not been limited to, presentation to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada standing committee on women issues, Senate Committee on termination of entrepreneur investment programs, to name a few. She has led the teams to develop many innovative programs in the area of skills and training, employment, business development, settlement, language, family & youth for newcomers as well as seniors care and housing.Queenie was recognized as the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee award recipient for her significant contributions to the community. In 2016, Queenie is recognized as one of the most influential woman in BC by the BC business magazine. As well, she is nominated for the YWCA woman of distinction award. In June 2016, Queenie is recognized as the recipient of the RBC top 25 Canadian Immigrant award. Queenie received her master degree from the University of Alberta. She has also presented widely both nationally and internationally.


Alden Habacon is a diversity and inclusion strategist, and fearless advocate for multiculturalism and diversity in media. He is the Senior Advisor of Intercultural Understanding at the University of British Columbia, Founder and Publisher of Schema Magazine, Co-Founder of the Asian Canadian Journalists Association and Co-Producer of House My Style, a Mandarin-language real-estate reality program for OMNI Television. He is the former Manager of Diversity Initiatives for CBC Television, where he managed the national diversity portfolio for the CBC Television Network. He is a leading thinker in social sustainability, intercultural affairs and a sought-after speaker, consultant and facilitator in Canada and around the world, and has worked with various not-for-profits, universities, government agencies and immigrant settlement agencies in B.C. He is the recipient of the 2010 Power of Peace Award of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver and the 2011 Leadership Honouree of National Association of Asian American Professional (NAAAP) Vancouver. In 2012, Habacon was the recipient of the Maharlika Award in Leadership and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Award for his work in multiculturalism and intercultural understanding. He currently serves on the board of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and has served on the OMNI Advisory Council since 2015. For more information, visit his website aldenhabacon.com/about/ | 简体中文 | 繁體中文


Anita Huberman is the CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. She has been with the Surrey Board of Trade for 23 years, and CEO for 10 years. She guides a 16-member diverse industry Board of Directors to support a growing list of businesses, initiatives and government policies from an economic lens. Anita was a nominee of the 2013 YWCA Women of Distinction Award and a recipient of the 2011 Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 award. She is a Trustee of Canada’s National Film Board. She has also been appointed to:
1. The Metro Vancouver Transit Police Chief’s Community Council
2. Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology – SFU on the Dean’s Advisory Board
3. SFU India Advisory Council
4. Co-Chair, City of Surrey Local Immigration Partnership Committee
5. The First Indo-Canadian woman appointed as an Honorary Captain in Royal Canadian Navy.
6. Trustee, National Film Board

Since Anita Huberman became the Surrey Board of Trade’s CEO 10 years ago, she has worked tirelessly to deliver on the following promise: The Surrey Board of Trade exists to make the community a better place in which to live, work and do business. She guides a 19-member diverse industry Board of Directors to support a growing list of community groups, initiatives and government policies from an economic lens. She has developed the following unique award programs, which celebrate community, volunteerism, leadership, family and health, which are inextricably linked to a successful business community:
1. Top 25 under 25 Awards
2. Leadership Surrey Business Series focusing on policy issues of families/childcare, transportation, homelessness to name a few.
3. International Trade Initiatives and Awards
4. Workplace Development and Education issues/programs
5. Youth Leaders of Today – entrepreneurial program where over 200 Grade 10-12 Students have learned how to run a business, sold product, liquidated a business and taught to give back to a local charity.
6. Police Officer of the Year Awards
7. Surrey Industry Tour
8. Surrey Innovation Awards

Under her direction, the Board has produced and presented some very high profile policy papers to the different levels of government:
1. Business & Families: advocating for more and stronger services and childcare support for Surrey families to lower absenteeism, create less stressed employees and employers both and ultimately more productive workplaces.
2. Education Today Productivity Tomorrow: seeking government support of both k-12 and post secondary education in Surrey to ensure a properly educated cadre can meet the growing demand for employees and entrepreneurs.
3. Surrey Business Action Plan on Homelessness: both federal and local initiatives that homelessness is harmful for community and business.
4. Supported increases in the B.C. minimum wage: much of the board’s work was noted in the government’s minimum wage increase.


Neelam Sahota is the Chief Executive Officer of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, the longest immigrant and refugee serving organization in the Fraser Valley.  Neelam has extensive experience in the not-for-profit, corporate and government sectors in her career. Her passion lies with connecting the local community, especially newcomers, to resources that assist them in becoming connected and contributing members of society. She is an active community volunteer and leader and is currently on the Vancity Community Advisory Board, BC Social Purpose Real Estate Network and is a Surrey Libraries Trustee. Neelam has won the 2014 Surrey Board of Trade Women in Business Award in the Not for Profit Leader category.  Neelam is an alumni of Simon Fraser University and is also a Chartered Professional Accountant.


Sonny Wong Sonny is an award-winning marketer and entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in a wide variety of projects and initiatives. Throughout his career, as creative director of Hamazaki Wong Marketing Group, Sonny has led major campaigns for local and national blue-chip companies and brands including airlines, automotive, financial services, media, package goods, retail, mining and resources, and many others. He is also managing director of Artspoints Rewards, North America’s first loyalty program for the arts. Concurrently, Sonny established himself as a respected program and experiential producer where he’s helped to establish some of Vancouver’s signature events. He was a founding member of the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival serving as its managing director for over a decade, and has worked internationally producing major exhibitions and cultural programs.

Sonny is Chair of the Community Advisory Board of Seattle-based KCTS 9 (PBS affiliate in the Pacific Northwest); Founder & Chair of the Board of Change, a business network that advocates the pursuit of profit equally with the pursuit of sustainability; and has served on multitude of leading not-for-profit organizations in BC. Sonny has also served as marketing columnist for the weekly Business in Vancouver newspaper and was a sessional instructor of marketing in the Faculty of Commerce at the University of British Columbia. Sonny was named one of Business in Vancouver’s 40 Under 40, an achievement award given to top business leaders under the age of 40. He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC.

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