The 19th ACER-CART Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on June 4-5, 2010, was preceded by a special information session on the afternoon of Thursday, June 3. An information handout on federal Bill C-516 (Guaranteed Income Supplement changes) was reviewed by Regional Representative-Québec Ed Zegray. This was followed by an informative session on lobbying by John Staple of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. At the AGM 13 (of 14) retired teacher organizations in Canada gathered at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel to address various reports and resolutions from the Executive and Member Associations. Delegates also renewed acquaintances, met new friends, shared ideas, and reported on the activities of their associations since the last AGM.
A major portion of the meeting was used to discuss events and issues of the member associations based on their well developed written reports. Johnson Inc.’s Lori MacDonald-Blundon gave a presentation on “Cross Canada Drug Costs and Plan Coverage” which was both informational and concerning. As well, a new AGM Handbook binder format was introduced this year.
2010-11 Election of Officers
The annual election returned all but one of the previous executive officers: Vaughn Wadelius (RTAM) from The Pas, MB remains as president. The four Regional Representatives are Atlantic: Dr. Thomas Gaskell (RTO-NSTU) from Little Bras d’Or, NS; Québec: Ed Zegray (QART) from Montréal, QC; West: Dean McMullen (ARTA) from Vermilion, AB; Ontario: Brian Kenny (RTO/ERO) from Dryden, ON was newly elected and is the 2010-11 vice-president. The past president is Helen Biales (RTO/ERO) from Windsor, ON. The executive is supported by Executive Director Norbert Boudreau with secretarial assistance provided by CTF support staff person Lynne Richard, and financial management by CTF’s Debbie McCarthy.
Regular annual reports from the ACER-CART committees, provide a view of the many efforts during the 2009-10 year to advocate and publicize the positions proposed by ACER-CART.
Communications Committee (Vaughn Wadelius, Chair)
The website is a source of communication and information, with updates done regularly to the standard website pages. Visits since its development are approaching 7000. Information releases on our issues are circulated and put on our website, including any briefs to government. The Summer edition of the ACER-CART newsletter OPTIONS is produced for use by member associations. A special Directors’ website access page for AGM documents was used again in 2010 to provide access to AGM documents in advance of the meeting. In addition, this feature was used to deliver the Executive Director’s Quarterly Reports. The committee produced an ACER-CART logo banner, an information pamphlet to promote our association at events we attend, and service certificates for presentation at the AGM to departing Directors.
Health Services and Insurance Committee (Thomas Gaskell, Chair)
This committee, with a focus on the issues of the Canada Health Act, developed a paper reviewing the necessity of supporting the development of a national pharmacare program. It raised the concern of the growing efforts to privatize Canadian health care, and the wide variation in the cost to seniors of provincially approved generic prescription drugs.
Legislative Committee (Helen Biales, Chair)
A full review of our policies was completed, and most were affirmed. A revised Reserve Fund policy was approved at the AGM. It set upper limits on the size of the Fund. Also presented and approved were policies outlining the process in case of the dissolution of ACER-CART, the duties of the Regional Representative, and the use and protection of our logo. Policies are to be reviewed at least every five years, and a new format was produced for distribution to the Directors.
Pension and Retirement Income Committee (Arnold Hull, Chair)
This committee took direction from a 2009 AGM resolution that we lobby the federal government for a National Securities Regulator and prepared a paper supporting this issue. Copies were forwarded to various federal ministers and member associations, requesting their support. A summary report article “Are Canadians at Risk of Outliving Their Retirement Savings” had also been approved and distributed.
Other Action Taken in 2009-10
ACER-CART is a member of the Congress of National Seniors Organizations (CNSO), and President Wadelius participated in its executive discussions on federal issues. A response was produced to the National Seniors Council Report (“Canada’s Aging Population”), and to the Special Canadian Senate “Report on Aging,” and distributed to the appropriate federal Ministers. Direct contact with various ministers was also used by ACER-CART. A revitalization of the CNSO is underway.
ACER-CART Positions Taken
Motions were passed at the 2010 AGM directing the organization to:
- Seek trademark protection for the ACER-CART logo
- Clarify budget lines for regional and national representation
- Extend the budget line for development of communications in both official languages
- Pursue with other seniors’ groups the goal of lobbying the federal government on the issue of investment fraud against seniors
- Lobby the Government of Canada:
a) to restore funding to the “Lest We Forget” program
b) to increase the CPP/QPP, OAS, and GIS benefits and to take measures to protect seniors
from living in poverty
c) to change tax legislation to allow charitable donations up to $1200 be accorded the same
treatment as political contributions
d) to support Bill C-516 to improve the GIS, and ask member associations to contact their MPs
to do the same.
Referred to the executive for a feasibility review were the issues of the poverty among retired teachers in Canada, and membership in the National Pensioners and Senior Citizens Federation.
2010-11 President Vaughn Wadelius Comments
As we enter our 20th year as an association, we can be proud of our efforts over the years to promote issues affecting retired teachers. Equally important is the forum we provide for the exchange of ideas among our member associations, and with like-minded national groups of seniors. In gratitude to the support of ACER-CART Directors and Officers over the years we have set out to develop a database of their names and service, and this June we began presenting a Certificate of Service to more recent directors retiring from the Board.
Our new Ontario Regional Representative, Brian Kenny, has ably stepped in to replace Arnold Hull who has been ill for several weeks, but is now well on the road to recovery. Brian himself also recovered from a serious accident this year and these incidents were suitable backdrops to the 2010 AGM presentation identifying the great discrepancies in calamitous illness drug coverage across Canada.
This year we made additional efforts to provide our communications equally in French and English. Executive Director Norbert Boudreau was tireless in following up on this task with memos, letters and documents so that delays were minimized.
Some lobbying efforts and goals identified at the AGM work best when all our member associations and affiliated organizations communicate with a common position to government. We will work to include, with our requests for member assistance, some support materials such as background papers and briefs.
Service Award Recipients this year were:
Patricia Bowslaugh (RTAM)
Patrick Brady (BCRTA)
Fred Herron (STS)
George Little (NBSRT)
Patricia Steele (QPARSE)