December 6, 2020
More than twenty years ago, a group of dedicated community leaders, professionals, retirees and volunteers founded the Filipino Centre, Toronto with the dream of having our own community centre, a common place for the Filipino-Canadians to meet and participate in social, civic, educational, business, recreational, sports and other activities. The Centre would provide a major venue to showcase, enrich and promote our Filipino culture and heritage.
This dream came to fruition by the determination and hard work of the founding members and the Filipino community by purchasing a building at 597 Parliament Street. Due to the prohibitive cost of major maintenance issues, the building was sold on Jan. 30, 2017. Proceeds of the sale settled the mortgage, the real estate fees, legal fees, loans, and arrears of salaries of staff who were owed for years.
In April 2018, a new building was acquired by the Centre at a cost of $1.9M, which was paid in full. The new building is at 4395 Sheppard Avenue East (south/west of Sheppard and Brimley). Renovations to the building were approved by the Board – a new kitchen, full washroom, library book shelves for the Filipiniana collection, roof repair, new heating and air conditioning, patio, basement. The Centre has also put $1M in investment.
The “issues” that Maria CJ De Villa of the concerned members and Socrates “Soc” Moreno have been writing and being published in certain Filipino newspapers were addressed at the FCT’s Special Members Meeting of June 6, 2019 and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of 2017 and October 2, 2019.
- At the AGM of October 2, 2019, auditors from SRCO Professional Corporation, Chartered Professional Accountants were invited to explain to the members the review of the FCT’s 2017 and 2018 financial statements which the corporation prepared in accordance with Canadian accounting standards for not-for profit organizations. The auditors offered to stay after the meeting to answer questions that some members raised. No one among the concerned members stayed.
- Review of the 2017 and 2018 financial statements was recommended by the auditors, since an audit would cost a lot more, about $10,000 more for each year and the result would have been the same.
The FCT Board was being fiscally responsible when it accepted the recommendation by SRCO.
- A restatement of the 2016 financial statement was also presented to the members at the 2019 AGM. Upon recommendation of the SRCO, FCT has also changed its method of Accounting from Cash basis to an Accrual basis. It has also restated its Financial Statements from 2016 to reflect any amounts that were previously not properly disclosed.
- The accountants hired by FCT include:
Roman Chu – Certified Management Account – from 2004-2018
Peter Lee – 2018-2019 – Certified Public Accountant
SRCO Professional Corporation – hired in 2019 to do a review of FCT’s 2017 & 2018 financial statements
- At the October 2, 2019 Annual General Meeting of the members, a motion was raised and seconded that the 2016, 2017 and 2018 financial statement be approved. MOTION WAS CARRIED.
- The payables to Board Members being questioned were covered by a resolution passed by the FCT Board on May 2, 2006 and August 14, 2006. These two Board Members were paid according to the responsibilities that they carried and acted (one as Building Manager and the other as Office Manager). Some of the signatories to this Board resolution were also listed on Socrates “Soc” Moreno’s article as “petitioners of the Dec. 26, 2018 and Feb. 17, 2019 petitions
- The other member who was paid and the payment being questioned by concerned members and Socrates Moreno was the Building Superintendent. He was a member of FCT but not a Board Member. He was also hired per same resolution by the Board on August 14, 2006. The salary agreed upon was a lot less than the prevailing rate, as FCT could not afford the prevailing rate.
- These 3 individuals were owed money for a number of years. They were paid when there was money, otherwise it was an IOU note. Is there someone out there who would be willing to work and be paid only when there was money?
- The other amount paid was a loan and was paid off without interest when the 575 Parliament building was sold.
- The Board sent an email to Maria CJ De Villa inviting the concerned members to have a meeting to resolve the issues. The Board repeatedly requested for a current list of the concerned members to contact them of the possible virtual meeting. This request has been ignored.
The Board of Directors of the Filipino Centre Toronto thank all its supporters, volunteers and staff for their contributions to the continued success of the Centre. The Board calls for volunteers. We need your support, your dedication. Let us build, not destroy our community. Let us be UNITED, let us work together, let us be proud of what we can offer to Canada.
NOTE TO MEMBERS: FCT’s financial information is available to members only and can be reviewed at the Centre by making an appointment by phone or email.
Filipino Centre Board of Directors 2019-2021.