Options Newsletter: Winter 2007

Happy New Year

Our best wishes for 2007 to all retired teacher organization Directors, executive members and your families. As 2007 unfolded, the efforts of ACER-CART on your behalf have begun to bear fruit. Your support for our initiatives is appreciated

ACER-CART Policy Action Update

Motions from the 2006 AGM that have been acted upon:

  • Investigate the implications of being registered as a charity under the Income Tax Act. This is continuing, but is looking unlikely due to the federal requirements for charitable organizations. It may be discussed further at the 2007 AGM.
  • Become a member in the Canadian Caregiver Coalition for 2006-07. Fees for the ACER-CART Executive Director, Pierre Drouin, were paid. He continues in his role as a member of their Board of Directors, and is the secretary-treasurer.
  • Continue to advocate for the implementation of our health care policies. Ongoing.
  • Notice of Motion: The motion to increase the fee from 20 cents per member to 25 cents will be brought to the 2007 AGM. NBSRT has already endorsed this change unanimously at their semiannual meeting.
  • A new format for Financial Statements will be introduced at the 2007 AGM.

Affiliations

Common Front on Pension Splitting This has grown from three to 23 provincial and national associations of retirees/seniors representing 2.6 million people. ACER-CART’s major roles included research of existing policies, surveys of retirees/seniors, document translation, preparation of media releases, etc. ACER-CART VP Helen Biales’s presentation to the Federal Standing Committee on Finance advocating fairness was much appreciated. After the “Pension Tension Conference” held on October 3, 2006, a pension splitting bill passed in the House of Commons. Continued vigilance is needed to ensure the legislation is not revised, diluted, or deferred.

Congress of National Seniors’ Organizations (CNSO) With ACER-CART’s assistance in preparing documents, CNSO will apply for incorporation. Government established a Seniors’ Secretariat of various ministry bureaucrats and is still looking at the mandate and a method of appointing an advisory council. ACER-CART Past President Val Alcock is in her second year on the Coordinating Committee, and Executive Director Pierre Drouin is a technical advisor.

Incorporation of ACER-CART

The process is complete and letters patent have been granted, pending approval of some amendments to the ACER-CART Bylaws. A review of these required changes is underway.

Bylaw Amendments

Directors have participated in the development of a proposed updating of the ACER-CART
bylaws. This began as part of the work needed to comply with the requirements of incorporation as a nonprofit corporation. Two additional amendments have been proposed for the ACER-CART Bylaws by RTO/ERO.  These proposals, to be discussed at the 2007 AGM, are:

  1. a)         to change the number of regions [Bylaw 10-A-1] from three (Atlantic; Centre; West) to four regions, with the Centre region split into two (AREQ, QART, QPARSE, SERFNB as region 2, and RTO/ERO as region 3). The remaining Atlantic members would be region 1 and the West becomes region 4.
  2. b)         to add a new provision [Bylaw 9-H-11] stating that voting to amend existing Bylaws IX-I-2 (adopting bylaws, policies and procedures) or Bylaw X-I-3 (establishing fees to be paid by member organizations) should be a weighted vote with Directors casting votes equal to one vote per each dollar of fee paid by their organizations. Executive members would have one vote.

Committee Reports

Pension and Retirement Income Committee  (Helen Biales, Chair)

The Committee’s main activities revolved around the brief to the Federal Standing Committee on Finance, and the Common Front on Pension Splitting.   Successful results and the establishment of strong contacts with representatives from other organizations and government were the result.

Communications Committee (Vaughn Wadelius, Chair)

Updating of the website which has taken place since the last newsletter includes a redesign of the index page to better feature current items of interest, a change in the use of the “What’s New?” page to providing a direct link to the most recent newsletters of member organizations, updating of the listings on the Members, Meetings, and Links pages, and using a slide show format to exhibit the 2006 AGM photos.

It is proposed that webmasters/administrators of retired teacher organizations’ websites form an electronic/internet group to discuss technical items of interest. Please confirm with the Communications Committee chair whether or not there is interest by your official.

The President Comments (Pat Brady)

bradey-pat-presI hope that all of you had a great Christmas and are looking forward to “the best” in 2007.  Another year of the retirement benefits that we’ve all earned.

My comments for this issue will be brief as the major activities of ACER-CART since last I wrote have been thoroughly aired above.  There are two items I will comment on:  pension income splitting and the progress toward an effective national seniors’ consortium.

Through the efforts of many seniors groups, ACER-CART affiliates, and individual members of our affiliates, the federal government DID listen and instituted the pension income splitting concepts we were promoting.  The collective actions of all of us did bear fruit.  Sometimes we can influence “city hall”.  Congratulations to all of us and sincere “THANK YOUs” for your efforts.

The second issue is our continuing drive to see a national organization of seniors groups which can speak to governments on those issues that affect all of us.   Progress is being made – slowly.  Val Alcock (our Immediate Past President) and Pierre Drouin (our Executive Director) have had meaningful input into the activities of CNSO.  The federal government is, very gradually, working toward the establishment of a Seniors Secretariat.

The benefit of one national seniors group speaking to one government minister charged with the welfare of seniors are obvious.  The details, operation, and format are still being considered.  One of the major impediments to seniors having meaningful input to the federal government is the funding of the national seniors organization.  It is my belief that if the federal government can afford to fund other national “lobby” groups (arts, status women, cultural and ethnic organizations) it can certainly find funds to permit the effective operation of an organization of seniors.  We will continue to press the federal government and opposition parties on this matter.

Once again, let me wish you a productive and enjoyable 2007.

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