About CEMA

The annual membership fee covers attendance at regular meetings to which members are invited to meet with and hear leading personalities from the world of politics, education and the arts and sciences. In addition, two gala dinners are held each year.

CEMA upholds the principles of Canadian citizenship and multiculturalism; and maintains the right of freedom of expression without ethnocentric bias.

The emphasis of CEMA is on the exchange of ideas rather than lobbying. However, when necessary statements are made on pressing topics, such as the exclusion of ethnic journalists from sources of news and information open to mainstream media.

CEMA operates as an independent organization without financial support from governments.

CEMA Constitution (Link and PDF Download)


In 1978, Sierhey Khmara (Marian) Ziniak, editor/publisher of the Byelorussian Voice, poet and essayist, founded the Canadian Ethnic Journalists and Writers Club (now CEMA).

Until that time, existing ethnic press associations were for publishers of print media only, and excluded editors and reporters.

Marian Ziniak believed there should be an inclusive organization for ethnic journalists who practised in all media: print, radio and television.

He also felt that there should be a place in the Club for men and women writers of poetry, non-fiction and fiction.

CEMA Activities

From September through November, and February through June, CEMA holds meetings to which prominent speakers are invited to address the organization.

No charge is made to members to attend these meetings.

In recent years, speakers at CEMA meetings have included:

• Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec

• Preston Manning, former leader of the Reform Party

• Dalton McGuinty, Ontario’s 24th to 2013

• Mike Harris, Ontario’s 22nd 2002

• Gerry Phillips, Former member of Ontario Provincial Parliament and Management Board Chair

• Marie Bountrogianni, Ontario MPP (1995 -2007) – Former Ontario Minister of Children’s Services, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal

• George Smitherman, Ontario MPP (1999 – 2010) – Former deputy premier and Toronto Regional Minister and Minister of Health and Long-term Care

• Ronald I. Cohen, former National Chairman of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

• Howard Hampton, leader of the Ontario NDP

• Former Toronto Mayors David Miller, Mel Lastman and Barbara Hall

• Rosemary Sadlier, president of the Ontario Black History Society

• Frances Lankin, former Ontario MPP and former president United Way of Greater Toronto

• Representatives of Census 2001, the 2008 Toronto Olympic Bid, World Youth Day 2002 and Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples.


This is an anthology of writings by club members. It showcases the rich diversity of talent that flourishes in Canada’s ethnic media.

Copies of the Second Edition are available to CEMA members and the public at $15.00 each.

CEMA Awards

Each spring the Canadian Ethnic Media Association presents juried awards to journalists for excellence in their fields.

The competition is open to all journalists, in any language, whether or not they are members of the Club.

In addition, the Sierhey Khmara Ziniak Award, in honour of the founder, goes to a single person, based on a body of work celebrating Canada’s diversity.

Season’s Dinner

A gala Season’s Dinner is held in late November or early December annually as a salute to the festivities of goodwill and friendship observed by people of all faiths and origins at various times throughout the year.

Special Events

Members also receive invitations to special outings and press conferences of interest to the ethnic media.

CEMA regularly updates its website to advise members of meeting details and other events in their fields of interest.

CEMA also sends out e-mail notifications and regular Internet updates to members.

CEMA’s Current Board of Directors

Chair: Madeline Ziniak – National Vice President, OMNI Television

President: Kiumars Rezvanifar – TV Producer, “Pasargad Today” and “Iran Zameen Today”

First Vice President: Bill Yancoff – TV Producer, “Macedonian Heritage Hour”

Second Vice President & Secretary: Gina Valle – Author and TV Producer

Treasurer: Irene Chu – Advisor Toronto Chinese Writers Association and C.C. Times Weekly; Publisher of Ginger Post

Board Members:

• Dat Nguyen – Publisher and Editor, “Thoi Bao” and TV/AVP Producer

• Elena Zolotko – Journalist/Columnist, Russian/Canadian media

• Jules Elder – Journalist and Educator

• Alexander Gershtein – Journalist and Documentary Producer


There are three categories of membership: Active, Associate, Student and Non-Resident – for individuals living outside of the Greater Toronto Area.

MEMBER — Voting Membership:

• Anyone receiving regular remuneration for his or her work in the fields of journalism, production in the electronic media or creative writing.

• Any person editing a regular bulletin or newsletter on interracial or intercultural relations for a non-profit organization.

• Annual Fee $30 — due on January 1 each year.

ASSOCIATE MEMBER — Non-Voting Membership:

• Any person working in related fields, such as public relations or corporate communications in non-profit or for-profit organizations.

• Annual Fee: $40 – due on January 1 each year.

STUDENT — Non-Voting Membership:

• Students enrolled in college or university programs in journalism, radio, television and film, public relations, and media and design.

• Annual Fee: $15 – Due on January 1 each year

E-mail Madeline Ziniak

or click here to register your membership online.

Posted in ABOUT US.