The 18th ACER-CART Annual General Meeting was held on June 5-6, 2009. Representatives from 13 of the 14 retired teacher organizations in Canadian gathered at the Canadian Teachers’ Federation office in Ottawa. This AGM was an opportunity for the executive, directors and observers to renew acquaintances, meet new friends, share ideas, and to report on the activities of the association since the last AGM. Member organizations also presented issues and concerns of their respective associations.
A Reserve Fund investment policy was approved and the 2009-10 operating budget was finalized with some funds from the reserve used to create a new category for improving liaison by the Executive within the ACER-CART regions. The Bylaws, approved by Industry Canada last year, were confirmed along with a section on Articles used for ACER-CART operational aspects. A Policy and Procedures section will be reviewed and developed for the 2010 AGM.
Considerable time was devoted to discussing events and issues of the member associations based on well developed written reports from each. Lori MacDonald-Blundon from Johnson Inc. gave a presentation on “Out of Province/Canada Travel.” She explained coverage needed, limitations to insurance and pitfalls to avoid. She reiterated the need to be aware of ever-changing insurance provisions and common client misunderstandings. Her presentation provoked many questions on travel issues which she handled skillfully.
2009- 10 Election of Officers
The annual election of executive officers saw some new faces added. Vaughn Wadelius (RTAM) from The Pas, MB was elected president. The four Regional Representatives elected were Atlantic: Dr. Thomas Gaskell (RTO-NSTU) from Little Bras d’Or, NS; Québec: Ed Zegray (QART) from Montréal, QC;Ontario: Arnold Hull (RTO/ERO) from London, ON; West: Dean McMullen (ARTA) from Vermilion, AB. Arnold Hull was elected as the 2009-10 vice-president. The Past President is Helen Biales (RTO/ERO) from Windsor, ON. The executive is supported by ACER-CART Executive Director Norbert Boudreau. Secretarial assistance is provided by CTF support staff person Lynne Richard and financial management by CTF’s Debbie McCarthy.
Thomas Gaskell (Atlantic), Ed Zegray (Québec), Dean McMullen (West,), Norbert Boudreau (Executive Director)
Arnold Hull (Ontario, Vice-President), Vaughn Wadelius (President), Helen Biales (Past President),
Reports from the ACER-CART committees, a regular feature of the AGM, indicated the efforts during the previous year to advocate and publicize the positions proposed by the national organization.
Communications Committee (Vaughn Wadelius, Chair)
The growth of website visits each month indicates that the website is a source of communication and information. Updates were done regularly to the standard website pages. Two media releases (Executive Director Hired, Elder Abuse Awareness) were circulated and put on-line, as were briefs to government. One edition of the ACER-CART newsletter OPTIONS was produced in 2008-09. Numerous topic alerts for Directors were utilized. A Federal election special page was attempted but didn’t reach its full potential due to limited responses from some political parties to questions posed by ACER-CART. A special Directors’ website access page for AGM documents was developed again in 2009.
Health Services and Insurance Committee (Thomas Gaskell, Chair)
This committee had focussed on the issues of the Canada Health Act, concerns about “for profit” medical care replacing our national health system, and adequate insurance coverage for seniors. It recommended we take a coordinated approach by ACER-CART and its members to articulate our policy position and support for the Canada Health Act principles.
Pension and Retirement Income Committee (Arnold Hull, Chair)
This committee took direction from a 2008 AGM recommendation seeking ways to support the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in obtaining sustainable funding for infrastructure projects and upgrades. Its report commented on the municipal concerns for public safety and emergency preparedness, the need to address environmental issues, affordable housing, obesity and related health problems. It also noted rural and northern infrastructure essentials and strategies.
Other Action Taken in 2009-10
During her tenure as our representative with the Congress of National Seniors Organizations (CNSO), Helen Biales forwarded ACER-CART’s federal budget recommendations to the Minister of Finance. A submission on health care was also sent to government and the opposition parties.
A new Executive Director, Norbert Boudreau, was hired and started in January 2009. A reorganization of Bylaws and Articles was completed, a Director’s Handbook was produced, and finance operational arrangements were revised.
ACER-CART Positions Taken
Motions were passed at the 2009 AGM directing the organization to:
Apply to become an Associate Member of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.
Work to improve its communication in both official languages, and to communicate with francophone members in French.
Request a meeting with the federal Minister responsible for health, and with opposition critics, to provide them with the position of ACER-CART as outlined in our policy on Health Care in Canada, and to solicit similar support of MPs from our member associations.
- Lobby the Government of Canada and opposition parties to:
a) establish a national Securities Regulator through legislation that enhances the rights of investors and to seek support of other national seniors’ organizations.
b) implement the Canadian Health Coalition Report (2008) recommendations for a universal pharmacare plan with a national formulary
c) phase in a national prescription drug strategy which would begin with coverage for key catastrophic drug costs.
- Advocate for adequate financial support for Radio Canada and the CBC in all parts of Canada.
- Explore and schedule, if feasible, a presentation at the 2010 AGM on how to lobby government.
2009-10 President Vaughn Wadelius Comments
We have two new members on the 2009-10 executive. Welcome Dean McMullen and Ed Zegray! This meant the retirement of two veteran members, Patricia Steele and Patrick Brady, who have contributed for several years to our discussions. Thanks to them for their advice and support during that time. Farewell also to the Directors who will not be back next year. Your important connection to our member associations was much appreciated.
As an organization we realize the need to improve our ability to communicate equally in French and English. While there may be some financial roadblocks in meeting this objective, we have committed ourselves to making progress in the coming year.
The lobbying efforts and goals we identified at the AGM require the involvement of all member organizations in communicating with government. We stand a better chance at being heard when working together. Specific requests for member assistance will be forthcoming as background papers and briefs are developed this year.
Our application to be an associate member of CTF, while costing nothing, will allow us to access information produced by CTF researchers and allow member organizations to participate in other CTF activities such as Project Overseas. More about this after our membership is approved.