New Canadian Media

A study led by Western University researchers Stelian Medianu and Victoria Esses has found that visible minorities are significantly under-represented in senior leadership positions at City Halls in London and Ottawa, with Hamilton faring better.

In London, only 7.9 per cent of senior leaders in the non-profit and municipal public sectors were identified as visible minorities compared to 13.1 per cent of the general London population.

In Ottawa, only 11.9% of senior leaders in the studied sectors were visible minorities compared to 19.4 per cent of the general Ottawa population.

In contrast, it was found that 13.8 per cent of senior leaders in Hamilton were visible minorities, closely aligned with the 14.3 per cent of the general Hamilton population who are visible minorities, according to a Western University news release

New Canadian Media interviewed Prof. Victoria Esses by email. She is Director of the Western Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations. Access the study here: Visible Minorities and Women in Senior Leadership Positions: London, Hamilton and Ottawa

Q: What would you say were the top five findings from this study?

The top five findings from the study are as follows:

In London and Ottawa, our data showed that visible minorities and visible minority women were severely under-represented in leadership positions in the municipal public and non-profit sectors. Hamilton fared better overall.

The municipal public sector had the poorest representation of visible minorities and visible minority women across all three cities. Visible minorities and visible minority women were also severely under-represented in Ontario’s agencies, boards, and commissions.

There was also evidence of under-representation of women at the senior leadership level in all three cities and Ontario’s agencies, boards, and commissions, but these effects were less severe than those evident for visible minorities and visible minority women.

Q: What do you think was your most startling finding in the representation of minority groups ?

The most startling finding was with respect to the lack of representation of visible minorities in the municipal public sector.

Q: You have been a researcher in the area of immigration and equity for a long time. What are the legitimate conclusions Canadians can draw from this study nation-wide? Is there a need for studies in other immigrant-rich cities and towns across Canada?

There is a need for studies in other cities and towns across Canada. Similar research is currently being conducted in Vancouver and we look forward to seeing their results.

I believe that one conclusion that can be drawn from these results is that there is still work to do to ensure that senior leaders who are our decision-makers represent those for whom these decisions are being made. This work may occur at the level of recruitment, as well as selection of senior leaders.

Q: Did you interview corporations and hiring managers? How did they explain the gap between the demographics of London and the representation within their own companies/institutions? Are they doing anything to fix this gap?

As mentioned, we did not look at businesses. Instead we examined the public sector and non-profits. It is also important to note that our methodology involved examining the representation of visible minorities in leadership positions and we found evidence of under-representation, but we did not address the issue of why these effects are evident. 

 

Published in Top Stories
Tuesday, 04 October 2016 16:24

Surrey – the Canada of Tomorrow

Commentary by George Abraham in Surrey

Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific are suddenly aware that their world-famous model of multiculturalism is not working as well as it should.

People in the so-called “mainstream” want immigrants to do more to fit in – perhaps by abandoning customs and “back home” traditional mores that don’t jive with the rest of Canada.

While it is hard to pin down what exactly folks who belong to the “mainstream” would want us to do, this disconnect is evident in other ways. Take Canada’s media scene, for instance.

Mainstream media are losing ground, while ethnic media continue to thrive – with new outlets opening in new markets, adding new foreign languages to an already-saturated landscape.

Redefined by immigration

This disconnect was at the heart of a presentation I made in Surrey last week, organized as part of the Walrus Talks series, and titled “Cities of Migration”. Surrey was surely a great location to hold this event; a laboratory of sorts.  

Like a handful of cities across Canada, Surrey is being redefined by immigration. Its demographics are startling: the latest census data shows that 41 per cent are immigrants, 14 per cent have arrived since 2001. There has been strong growth in recent years from India and the Philippines.

Markham, Richmond, Brampton and York are in the same league. This is where the Canada of tomorrow is being born.

While in Surrey, I ran into three folks who seem to understand that they are participants in a social experiment that may well determine if Canada will survive as a cohesive society. It is in places like this that we will know if multiculturalism is actually working in practice.

The first was a well-spoken cab driver, Amarinder Singh Dhillon, who's been at the wheel over three decades. But, his source of pride is being “the only Rotarian to drive a taxi”. “Only in Canada,” he exclaims. I agreed.

Stephen Dooley, executive director of Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus, also gets it. He saw that this city was going to be a haven for refugees from Syria – home to half of all B.C. arrivals from that war-torn Middle East nation – and hence led a study that will inform settlement strategies. However, what struck me was not the study itself, but the fact that Prof. Dooley hired seven recent refugees from Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq and El Salvador as research assistants.

That to me suggests empathy.

The last true believer I ran into was Michael Heeney, principal at Bing Thom Architects, who spoke of creating a “third space” while conceiving the edifice that houses SFU’s Surrey campus. The architects ended up redeveloping a declining shopping centre, opening up the roof to overlay the university and integrating an office tower on it.

The local Wal-Mart and university have a shared roof.

Intersecting spaces

Dhillon, Dooley and Heeney are doing what Surrey needs to succeed: creating shared spaces, fostering conversations and melding the old with the new. I suspect they are not fans of “asymmetric” integration which holds that the onus is on immigrants to fit in.

My good friend and an authority on multiculturalism Andrew Griffith wrote this in Policy Options last month: "The integration process is asymmetric: it is more important for immigrants and new Canadians to adapt to Canadian laws, norms and values than it is for the host society to adjust to them. The meeting point is not ‘somewhere in the middle’ between the host society and the newcomers, but much closer to the host society (80/20 percent, in my view).”

My time in Canada (14 years) tells me that the meeting point is indeed in the middle. The host society must do all it can to make newcomers feel at home, while immigrants must make an equal effort to reach out.

The mainstream cannot adopt the sort of “benign neglect” that no less a Canadian than a former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson referred to in her book, Room for All of Us. [Video courtesy: Stephen Hui/Georgia Straight]

A New Conversation

My talk in Surrey dealt with creating a new Canadian conversation, beginning in the media. The two solitudes of “ethnic” and “mainstream” are as far apart as Gander and Coal Harbour.

We need to find common ground and ways to work together.

Paul Dhillon and Krystele Chavez are perhaps representative of a new breed of immigrant journalists who feel vested in Surrey’s future.

“Bringing innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit to the economy, it is because of immigrants that we have kept our city demographically young and culturally enriched, therefore enhancing our influence in the nation,” says Chavez, who comes from Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, and writes for Surrey604.

Dhillon has a longer horizon. “Surrey was largely an agricultural backwater until the Indo-Canadian builders and developers built it into subdivisions and strip malls. The impact of immigrants has been immense on the city's development and its current diversity is proof that its future will also be drastically shaped by a truly multicultural and metropolitan population,” says the editor-in-chief of the South Asian Link newspaper.

Theirs are new voices that need to be heard.

George Abraham is founder and publishing director of New Canadian Media

Published in Commentary

by Andrew Lam in San Francisco

If all politics are local, then candidate Hillary Clinton may very well need to speak a little Korean and Tagalog in order to win the 2016 presidential election. 

Why? In 2014 Slate.com published a fascinating article with this headline, “Tagalog in California, Cherokee in Arkansas.” It is a survey of the languages spoken in each state.

Of great political interest is the most common language spoken other than English or Spanish. In Alaska it is Yupik, In Nevada it is Tagalog (spoken by Filipinos), while Vietnamese is the third most popular language in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas. Korean fills that slot in Virginia and Georgia. 

Spanish, of course, is the second most common language spoken other than English in most states. It makes sense then that Clinton’s VP pick, Tim Kaine, made his acceptance speech for the Democratic Party’s nomination partly in Spanish. His language skill will surely come in very handy when he goes stomping in battleground states like Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. 

After all, getting Latinos, (along with African Americans) to come out and vote is an urgent and an absolute necessary affair.  “The growth among non-Hispanic white eligible voters has been slower than among racial or ethnic minorities in large part because they are overrepresented in deaths due to an aging population,” according to Pew Research Center. “By comparison, racial/ethnic minorities – who make up 31 percent of the electorate – accounted for 43 percent of new eligible voters born in the U.S. who turned 18.” Hispanic voters surged from 23.3 million since 2012 to 27.3 million in 2016, a 17 percent growth.  

Swing states

Yet in the swing states, where every vote counts, it would be a major mistake to not pay attention to the other minorities whose populations are growing very quickly. Korean voters in Virginia, Filipino voters in Nevada and Vietnamese voters in Oklahoma, for instance, though still relatively small groups in those states, can form a formidable voting bloc. 

According to Pew Research Center, Asian American eligible voters in the U.S. have increased 16 percent as well, that is, to 9.23 million in 2016. In Nevada, Filipinos make up more than half of the Asian American population, or 120,000, although many aren’t registered voters. A registration drive right now is not too late, and here’s a hint: Many read the Philippine News and Asian Journal, and they watch the Filipino Chanel’s popular bilingual news program “Balitang America,” which airs nationwide. 

Tim Kaine might want to get on that show, or better yet, Hillary Clinton might want to remind Filipino Americans of her record in keeping the South China Sea from falling completely into Chinese domination and that, as president, she would continue to keep it a priority. 

Slim margin

Should the Democratic campaign bother with an ethnic group, which, although growing fast, has such a low voter registration? Two words: slim margin. 

Think about it this way: In 2000, in that unforgettable and most controversial presidential election in modern U.S. history, George W. Bush won against Al Gore thanks to his 537-vote lead in Florida.

That razor-thin margin could have been turned around if the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed a recount and the fate of America might well have shifted away from wars, recession, debt, spilled blood and lost national treasure. 

So far, the Democrats have concentrated on black and Hispanic voters. Although it is true that blacks and Latinos make up formidable voting blocs and should be rallied for in every state, it is a strategic mistake for the Clinton-Kaine ticket to ignore potential sizable voting enclaves waiting in plain sight in each battleground state. 

Those swing states are Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

This is a challenge in terms of political organizing. If all politics is local, then all local politics may demand increasing outreach to ethnic media and to community organizations and their leaders. 

In Orange County, Calif., for over a decade now, no candidate has been able to afford ignoring Vietnamese- and Spanish-language media when running for public office. That is because the Vietnamese population in that county is 300,000--the largest not only in the U.S., but also outside of Vietnam. That’s a formidable force.                    

In Nevada, Filipinos have been moving steadily to Las Vegas and Reno. Initially, many were drawn there to work in hospitals, but over the last couple of decades others sought jobs in hotels, casinos and related service industries. Now they have become a potentially powerful swing vote. Although they make up less than 5 percent of the state’s population, they are the fastest-growing ethnic group there. 

Demographic shifts

Given that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are running neck-and-neck in several up-for-grabs states like Nevada and North Carolina, it would make sense for candidates to reach out beyond Latino and Spanish-speaking voters. 

When a state could swing by 500 votes, Koreans in North Carolina might be the very voting bloc that each candidate needs. Elsewhere, surprisingly in Oklahoma, the third most popular language spoken turns out to be Vietnamese. Also, in Arizona and New Mexico, not so surprisingly, the most populous language after English and Spanish is Navajo.

Clinton or Kaine could, for instance, give an exclusive interview to the Korea Daily or Korea Times, both of which are widely read among Koreans in Virginia and Georgia. Koreans have flocked to that state since Kia and Hyundai set up their factories there in recent years. They number over 100,000. And here’s a hint: The Korean church plays a major role in spurring voter registration and turnout. 

Trump, of course, wouldn’t bother with this kind of outreach. The GOP presidential candidate kicked Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos out of a primary-election rally for confronting him on his overt racism, and "The Donald" drives on being divisive, repeatedly playing the xenophobia card.

Demographic shifts are underway. After the 2020 Census, the map of America will turn bluer than ever before, as more minorities register to vote. But for now, in the age of slim margins, when this historic election could result in outrageous fortunes, one wonders if the Democrats are doing all they can to turn beige states to blue. Speaking a little Tagalog and Vietnamese might help.

Published in partnership with New America Media

Published in Other Regions

 


OTTAWA—Ti-Anna Wang didn’t really understand her father. His endless efforts to push China toward democracy sent him around the world, and his political activism put...

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Published in International

by Our Vancouver Correspondent

One of Canada’s most authoritative voices on immigration and demographic trends is worried that the abandoning of the long-form census will prevent experts like him from answering this crucial question: are ethnic enclaves also hotbeds of poverty and joblessness?

Dan Hiebert, professor of geography at the University of British Columbia (UBC) who has been studying and writing about Canada’s evolving demographics for over a decade, calls the shift from the long-form census to a voluntary National Household Survey (NHS) in 2011 “a major mistake.” The first findings from the NHS were released on May 8 – including a detailed snapshot of immigration and settlement patterns. For instance, it reported that 62.5 per cent of recent immigrants between 2006 and 2011 live in the cities of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

“What we really need is a long-form census in 2016 … Hopefully, the current difficulties we are having with the NHS will encourage the Cabinet to revisit this issue and reinstate a known and reliable method of collecting data of vital national significance in 2016.”

Prof. Hiebert released the third part of an ongoing study on the emergence of ethnic enclaves last summer (July 2012) which – based on 2006 census data – attempted to forecast the demographic landscape of Canada’s three premier cities in the year 2031. Driven by new immigration and high fertility among the newcomers, all three cities will see huge demographic shifts by 2031. In that year, only 50 per cent of Montreal’s citizens will be able to trace their family history to their grandparents’ generation in Canada. In Toronto, that percentage will be only 20 per cent and in Vancouver only 27 per cent.

Here are his main findings from the report titled “A new residential order?” –

·         Toronto 2031 – 63 per cent of the population will be Visible Minority; 1.4 million South Asian Canadians, 650,000 Chinese-Canadians, 270,000 Canadians of African ancestry, and 200,000 Arab-Canadians will live in enclaves dominated by specific ethno-cultural groups. The top five Visible Minority groups (in descending order) will be South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino and West Asian (Arab).

·         Vancouver 2031 – 59 per cent of the city will be Visible Minority, but the number of single-group enclaves will be fewer than in Toronto, but Whites and Visible Minorities will tend to live in different parts of the metropolis. The top groups will be Chinese, South Asian, Filipino, Korean and West Asian (Arabs).

·         Montreal 2031 – the city will see more “White citadels” with nine of 10 Whites living in White-dominated neighbourhoods. An estimated 750,000 Blacks and Arabs will live in Montreal in enclaves that will also tend to be poor. The main groups will be Black, Arab, Chinese, Latin American and South Asian.

Enclaves of poverty

It is this economic aspect that has Prof. Hiebert worried. He is keenly awaiting the release of neighbourhood-level data by Statistics Canada, to see if his forecast is on the right trajectory. Based on 2006 data, the UBC professor was not unduly alarmed, stressing in his report that it is wrong to necessarily link ethnic segregation with poverty. There were indications that Montreal was witnessing a coincidence of poor economic performance among immigrants and the growth of ethnic enclaves, but Vancouver showed no such trend – that is, segregation did not appear to influence average household wages. Toronto was somewhere in between.

Written in the wake of riots in Paris and London that pitted poor immigrants against an uncaring state, the Canadian demographer said his report raises similar “crisis of confidence” issues beyond immigrant isolation. Integration, he said, is what will make the difference. “[I]f integration fails, newcomers are unemployed and the children of immigrants fail in the education system, we could expect the strained social relations seen, for example, in the banlieue neighbourhoods of Paris.”  

Data quality in question

If there was a silver lining in his last report to the nation, it was that Canada does not have a true “ghetto,” which typically suffers from an extreme degree of segregation. Prof. Hiebert defined the term as a neighbourhood “where a single Visible Minority group constitutes at least 60 per cent of the population; at least 30 per cent of the group lives in these types of areas; and the incidence of low income is double that of the larger metropolitan population.” Although the term “ghettoization” has gained currency in recent years, Canada had no areas of extreme ethnic segregation and low income in 2006.

Do we have any ghettoes now? “It is too soon to say. We need the data. But we also might not be able to answer this question given the quality of NHS data.”

Prof. Hiebert’s latest comments should not come as a surprise. In a footnote contained in the study released last year, he said this: “Most unfortunately, the National Household Survey (NHS) that replaced the census of 2011 will not enable us to make an interim assessment of the projections, since no one can say what the degree of error will be in the NHS at the scale of Census Tracts. Until we know the true value of data collected in that survey, Canadians will ‘fly blind’ in terms of the micro-geographic patterns analyzed in this study.”

The translation: Despite spending a reported $650 million on the NHS, we may not have reliable data to validate or rebut Prof. Hiebert’s projections into 2031.- New Canadian Media

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in National
Thursday, 09 May 2013 07:04

Canada continues to be a settler society

By Ranjit Bhaskar

If you have not been watching MTV lately, the data from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) released by Statistics Canada would have come as a shock.

Especially if you haven't stepped out of Atlantic Canada or rural Canada or anywhere outside of Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver [MTV]. But if you live or even travelled to any one of these major cities, you don’t need statistics to tell you that Canada is staying true to its roots as a settler society that has always attracted migrants. Toronto leads the foreign-born stats with 46 per cent, followed by Vancouver with 40 per cent and Montreal a distant third with 23 per cent.

The schism between these cities and the rest of the country is because most of the 1.2 million immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2006 and 2011 settled in metropolitan areas. Just over six in 10 (62.5%) of these recent immigrants chose MTV.  In comparison, just over one-third (35.2%) of Canada's total population lived there.

What is surprising is the shock being expressed by some that we are a nation of newcomers; that one in five Canadians were born abroad and represent 20.6 per cent of the population. While this figure is up from 19.8 per cent five years ago and is higher than in most other rich industrialized countries, it is yet to cross the highest proportion of 22 per cent observed between 1911 and 1931.

The difference this time around is the dramatic shift in source countries of immigrants, thanks to policy reforms in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. In 1971, 61.6 per cent of immigrants were from Europe and only 12.1 per cent from Asia. By the late 1980s more than one-half (50.9 per cent) of newcomers were born in Asia. As a result of this shift, immigration has become associated with the increasing proportion of so-called visible minorities in Canada.

By 1996 three quarters of immigrants were persons with visible-minority status. Statistics Canada projects that by 2031, between 29 to 32 per cent of Canadians could be visible minorities based on current immigration and birth outlooks. It also estimates that 25 to 28 per cent of the population will be foreign born by then, surpassing for the first time the early 20th century peak.

So what we are seeing today is a case of having been there and seen it all. What we haven't seen yet is the consequence of the decision to cancel the mandatory long-form census. The current data is coming out of a voluntary short form version of it called the National Household Survey.

"The long-form census enabled policy folk and businesses to take out much guess work. It helped us answer the 'why' parts," said Michael Bach, founder of the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI).

There is a bit of irony here because of an indication in the CIDI's first report released on Wednesday called What Gets Measured Gets Done – Measuring the Return on Investment of Diversity and Inclusion. In its survey, some organizations said that they would like to mirror their demographic questions to the questions on the Canada Census to provide comparability to the greater population. They believed this would broaden their range of employee demographics beyond the four designated groups -- aboriginal peoples, visible minorities, persons with disabilities and women -- included in the Employment Equity Act.

"Now how would they be able to broaden their questions when, for example, there is no accurate numbers for the LGBT community," said Bach. "Value of data is not being understood".

Frances Woolley, a professor of economics at Carleton University, said even for the groups designated under the equity act, the census was the only data set that had enough questions on ethnic origin and education.

Writing in the Globe and Mail, Woolley said this type of information is vital when assessing an employer’s progress towards achieving employment equity goals. "An employer can hardly be faulted for not hiring visible minority employees if there are no qualified candidates. Yet if it hires none when statistical data shows there are many visible minority Canadians with appropriate qualifications, questions may be raised."

Reinforcing this point, Bach said without statistics we wouldn’t know that despite more than 50 per cent of new graduates being women since 1980, their representation in top corporate jobs is still a measly 15 per cent three decades later.

With the government’s perceived lack of interest in statistical data, Bach said, organizations like his had no option but to hold surveys of their own.  Asked if the government does not already collect enough data on residents, he said tying the data from various streams will be difficult to get the broad-spectrum view.

We have to wait and see how the NHS turns out to be, Bach said. “In the end it is about asking the right questions to know who your people are.” - New Canadian Media

Published in National
Monday, 22 April 2013 19:48

The citizenship-volunteer connection

 

 

by Gillian Smith

This week marks National Volunteer Week, the perfect time to highlight the connection between volunteerism and citizenship.

As the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s (ICC) Executive Director, I’m equally passionate about citizenship and volunteerism because citizenship is the most important thing Canadians share, and each volunteer effort (big or small) made by citizens strengthens communities, building a better country.

 All Canadians have a responsibility to be active, engaged citizens, but many of us aren’t sure how to do it; this is understandable because for most, the concept of citizenship isn’t top of mind. Take a moment to ask yourself - when was the last time you thought about what you do to be a good citizen?

Most Canadians automatically associate being a good citizen with legal responsibilities: obeying the law, paying taxes and voting. Although these are undeniably important, much more is involved.

Last year, the ICC collaborated on Canadians on Citizenship, a national survey asking what it means to be a good citizen in Canada. The responses revealed that Canadians also see giving back to one’s community, civic participation and respecting and accepting difference as vital measures of a citizen. These findings position citizenship in a more tangible, relatable way: citizenship is a series of everyday acts that contribute to the life of a community and to our country. 

What’s more, Canadians on Citizenship demonstrated that not only is this textured understanding held by all residents of this country, but we all believe that everyone can be a good citizen, regardless of whether your family has been here for four months or 400 years.

Volunteerism is how every Canadian can live up to the challenge of being an active citizen. When you give time, talent or treasure, your actions benefit your community and create a ripple effect that reinforces our country’s overall capacity to accept and include.

Added to the challenge of active citizenship, Canada’s demographics are changing, and changing fast. Did you know that, today, our labour force would shrink without new Canadians joining the ranks? Or that by 2030 – at the latest – Canada’s net population growth will rely solely on immigration?

These facts are crucial when considering the future of volunteerism. Who will be our future givers?

Citizenship is the uniting common denominator and volunteerism is a means to connect Canadians and build a stronger Canada.

If we don’t act now to create an inclusive, welcoming space that allows everyone to fully participate, we risk harming the foundations of our stable, successful society. We must get involved in our communities and embrace our roles as active, engaged citizens.

This is the citizenship-volunteer connection, and how we can ensure our great country grows ever stronger.

Gillian Smith is the Executive Director & CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. To learn more about the Institute for Canadian Citizenship visit icc-icc.ca. You can also follow them on Twitter, @ICCICC.

 

Published in Commentary
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 19:49

"This place is becoming too Immigranty"

“They were not him, he was not them, yet they were all the same”

I was waiting for the elevator along with another tenant in my apartment building in downtown Calgary. I commenced a courtesy chit-chat with this tenant. At one instance, I asked him how he liked living here (I meant in Calgary as most people who live here are not from this City) and his answer was so unexpected. He said he wasn’t too excited living in our building as it had (in his own words) just become too immigranty.

The usage of the word Immigrant as an adjective was new to me. Upon inquiring further, the person indicated that when he had moved in to the building it had a relatively good mix of demographics (presumably meaning more Canadian born residents) but now it had become full of immigrants (the new Canadians).

It was spring of 2011. Calgary was slowly recovering from the energy bust of 2009. Indeed I had noticed that over the previous 4 months, there had  been a sudden influx of new residents, most appearing to be new Canadians. What he stated was a fact.

Read More

Published in National

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

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The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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