Autumn 2015 Report

Since the last AGM ACER-CART executive members have been very active. The pre-election work has put our organization on the map, the number of coalitions in which we participated has finally permitted us to attain our longstanding goal that of creating links with like-minded organizations in order to advance our priorities.

Representations and Coalitions

In the past two years, ACER-CART has undertaken to strengthen our advocacy voice by collaborating with other national organizations whose goals are the same as ours.

The National Association of Federal Retirees

This Association is leading the Canadian Coalition for Retirement Security, a collaboration formed to protect public and private sector employee accrued benefits and retiree benefits.   ACER-CART is a member of this coalition IS represented Roger Régimbal who has attended their meetings and has shared our views concerning pensions.

Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC)

On February 22, 2015, under the leadership of Pat Kerwin, President of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) a meeting of like-minded seniors was convened to prepare a brief to the Federal Government and to organize the 25th anniversary of the UN Day of Older Persons on October 1, 2015.

In follow-up meetings many retiree organizations including ACER-CART, RTO/ERO and the BCRTA became signatories of the coalition “Seniors Vote”. common letter concerning housing, financial security, health care and income inequality, the A letter sent from signatory seniors’ organizations to the federal political parties as they were preparing their platforms.

Seniors Vote Coalition

Brian Kenny and Norbert Boudreau represented ACER-CART at the many meetings of this “Seniors Vote” Coalition.  The October 1 assemblies did indeed take place across the land– ACER-CART’s president, in attendance at the AGM of the National Pensioner’s Federation in Ottawa on that day, was able to attend the assembly on Parliament Hill.

McMaster University on the Optimal Aging Portal

ACER-CART’s AGM in June 2015 having approved a partnership with McMaster University on the Optimal Aging Portal, Roger Régimbal, Brian Kenny and JoAnn Lauber on September 4, 2015, teleconferenced with McMaster University to plan a strategy that would engage ACER-CART’s Members in this excellent on-line resource. McMaster’s Optimal Aging Portal aims to ensure that Canadians know about and have access to high-quality information that can help them remain healthy, active and engaged as long as possible, and to manage their health conditions.

Canadian Medical Association

During the past summer Executive Director Roger Régimbal and Tom Gaskell, ACER-CART’s Past President, attended events on our behalf and on the invitation of the Canadian Medical Association: Roger and Tom attended a roundtable on seniors care in parallel to the Premiers Council of the Federation meeting in Saint-John’s Nfld on July 16: CMA Roundtable Addressing the Needs of Canada’s Aging Population.

Tom Gaskell also attended the AGM of the CMA on August 23 – 26.  Of interest to ACER-CART, among the 50 resolutions dealt with were these issues discussed at the AGM and reported to us by Tom Gaskell: support by the CMA for a national seniors strategy and a national pharmacare program (a 92% vote in favour), acknowledgment that much work needs to be done before the scheduled implementation on Feb 6th, 2016 of assisted suicide, the establishment of a basic [living] wage for Canadians, work with insurance companies to be able to better provided travel information to patients.

President’s Report, JoAnn Lauber:

Chaired a group of seniors organizations who on September 28, with help from the Canadian Medical Association organized an afternoon Roundtable of BC “influentials” and an evening Public Forum urging the establishment of a National Seniors Strategy. Lead off speakers were Dr, Chris Simpson, CMA; Dr. Charles Webb, President Doctors of BC; and Dr. Neena Chappell, gerontologist and researcher, U Vic. ACER-CART was a supporter by virtue of the president’s involvement in the initiative. Declaration by the Roundtable participants pending.

Over the summer, worked with the Political Advocacy Chair and Executive Director to adapt BCRTA’s “Pre-Election Issues for Seniors” and distribute it for our purposes. Worked also to elicit responses from the federal political parties and to compile those replies into the document “Federal Party leaders Reply to Our Questions” August 2015. Gratitude to CTF for their guidance, to the BCRTA for their work and to RTAM for their enabling donation.

Attended the National Pensioners Federation AGM September 30 – Oct 2, 2015: Able to offer in person the desire and willingness of ACER-CART to work with this federation, with the Congress of Union of Retirees of Canada and the National Coalition for Retirement Security on issues of mutual interest.

Displayed ACER-CART’s banner and literature at a table at BCRTA’s AGM, distributing pre-election and other materials.

Thanked the Executive members who represented ACER-CART at various conferences (CMA, CTF, McMaster University’s Optimal Aging Portal).

Motion M 3, 2014: It was decided to defer the decision regarding the content of the motion.  JoAnn to explore the Métis Nation’s offer to “partner” to see what this might look like for ACER-CART and to bring information to the AGM for a further decision/action by the Association.

McMaster’s Optimal Aging Portal: It was decided that JoAnn, Roger and Brian would work with McMaster on behalf of ACER-CART to promote the partnership, to inform Members and promote the website. Brian offered to work directly with McMaster’s Committees, depending on what his responsibilities might be.

Executive Director Activity Report

ACER-CART Representation: CMA (Newfoundland), National Coalition for Retirement Security, CTF, McMaster Aging Portal.

Financial: finished the year with a surplus of 7 390 $ over the previous year; however if we do not take into account the RTAM donation of 9 000 we will have spent 1 610 $ more than our revenues.

Website: Now up and functional in both languages.  We will be billed by Karma Creative Solutions as we need Janna’s services; Executive was asked to contact Roger Régimbal, Nobert Boudreau and Vaughn Wadelius should any changes on the Website need to be made.  Within the nest few weeks Directors and presidents will be receiving an automated email with their login and passwords. Passwords are generated by the site and are extremely difficult to remember. It is suggested that you change your password to one you will remember. If you have problems contact the executive director.

Regional Liaison Reports

Region East: James MacAulay

New Brunswick. reported that they are very concerned with increases to Nursing Home fees.  They are also interested in joining other Atlantic organization to coordinates senior issues in the whole area.  PEIRTA is very concerned with changes to our health plan on July 01, 2015.  Our plan became 1st payer on this date.  Much discussion is taking place on this issue.  In addition to Tom’s report Newfoundland active teachers are very concerned about the future of the pension plan.  Tom wonders if ACER-CART could do a comparative study of pensions plans in Atlantic Canada.  How things are handled at age 65 is a real concern”.

Region Ontario:  Norbert Boudreau

Norbert Boudreau, Regional Rep: Oral: Dale Burley is feeling better after his challenge since we saw him last. The ACER-CART pre-election documents were well received and used; members were pleased with them. Further advocacy was encouraged by giving districts up to $3000 each to run ads in local papers. The Geriatrics Chair at U of T has been chosen.

The RTO/ERO Foundation is in constant communication with the five geriatric institutions in Ontario to see where the needs are. They were invited to submit projects for funding. Four of the five did so and one submitted two projects. Results will be announced soon. The name of the RTO/ERO Chair of Geriatrics is Paula Rochon, an international expert on women’s and seniors’ issues.

Region West: Wayne Hughes

BCRTA:

Gerry Tiede reported that an issue has arisen regarding car insurance for volunteers attending “working meetings”.  BCRTA is looking to find out definitely what type of insurance coverage is required for volunteers receiving Mileage compensation.

Grants to Members from Johnson inc.  may be subject to taxation even though ACER-CART Members are classified as “non-profit” entities. The matter is being looked at by the auditors. BCRTA investigating and will apprise of their findings.

ARTA:

Appreciative of the pre-election materials – good. Concerned about the impact of the weakening American dollar on insurance plans. Report that it is commonly held in the province that the NDP government of a few months’ duration is  responsible for all of Alberta’s current economic woes.

RTAM:

Administrative secretary is retiring and RTAM will be appointing an Executive Director. As well, re-examining the Association’s strategy.

Committee Reports

Communications, Norbert Boudreau:

The Winter issue of Options will be produced and distributed to members in January. The Summer issue featured Twitter 101. Executive members were asked to peruse the Website for errors and places where the Website should be updated.

Roger Regimbal is now the Website Account Manager. Options will be written and distributed in the summer after the AGM and in winter; and Roger will send out a communiqué in the fall and in March, with content similar to that of the former Quarterly Reports. Committees are encouraged to submit short articles outlining their work.

Health Services and Insurance, Brian Kenny:

Brian reported that he will be working face-to-face with McMaster University in the Optimal Aging Portal. He is personally is involved in a longitudinal study on aging which examines people from ages 50 to 80. The weakening Canadian dollar may affect the price of health plan premiums.

Tom Gaskell reported on his attendance at CMA’s annual general meeting in Nova Scotia: Issues he covered were declining enrolment in the CMA, challenges faced by doctors regarding assisted death. His report indicated that the CMA overwhelmingly called for a national pharmacare program, a basic living wage for Canadians, a more “generalist” approach to medicine, a way to better provide travel information to patients, investing its reserves in renewable energy resources rather than in fossil fuels. President elect Dr. Granger Avery called for the Federal Government to engage more fully in health care and pharmacare. With respect to changing the health care system, the CMA, he said, “has no partner to dance with.”

Norbert reported that he had attended the Seniors’ Vote Coalition health meeting last week and that an excellent presentation on a national pharmacare was presented by Julie Whyte of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada. It was noted that representatives of the Political parties at the meeting were in attendance except for those of the Conservative Party.

 Pension and Retirement Income, James MacAulay

The Committee is staying up-to-date on pension issues across the country.  By March a report will probably be available.  Due to individual pension plans across Canada there is no uniform way to deal with this portfolio.

Political Advocacy, Wayne Hughes:

It was requested that the President write to Member Associations asking if they had found the pre-election materials useful,

The executive was requested in the next few weeks to consider and suggest action that might be undertaken by the political advocacy committee

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