OPTIONS – Summer, 2014

2014 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 

The 23rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of ACER-CART was held on Friday June 6 and Saturday, June 7, 2014 in the Ottawa office of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF). Participants from all thirteen member organizations were in attendance.

Pre-AGM Seminars:
Prior to the AGM, delegates met on Thursday, June 5 at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel to participate in pre-AGM seminars that included an orientation session for new delegates presented by Vaughn Wadelius, a practical session on lobbying given by MP Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (a former Attorney-General),   a dialogue with the CTF President Dianne Woloschuk, and a social media training session on using Twitter given by FrancineFillon, the CTF Director of Communications.

Executive Reports:
The Friday AGM session received reports from the Executive officers, the standing committees and the political advocacy ad hoc committee. The report of 2013-14 President Thomas Gaskell highlighted action taken during his term on rethinking our lobbying approach, continued care and concern for retirees, forging new relationships among like-minded organizations, and action needed as a result of the demise of the national Health Accord. Action taken on the resolutions from the 2013 AGM was also reviewed.

The Executive Director, Roger Régimbal, reported that finances were on a sound footing, with a balanced budget proposed for 2014-15. After two years of discussion, the 2010-13 fees paid to the now defunct CNSO were returned. Régimbal represented ACER-CART at meetings with politicians, CTF staff, and organizations such as the Canadian Medical Association and Cyber-Seniors. ACER-CART membership had increased by 2.9% over the previous year.

Committee Reports:
Communications – Use of the website to provide various documents and information for Directors during the year; the publication of two newsletters; conference calls used to facilitate discussion.
Health Services & Insurance – Health care trends across Canada; commonly used drugs and paramedical services; and information on initiatives to stay healthy.
Legislation: Action to make Political Advocacy a standing committee; recertification of ACER-CART’s non-profit status.
Pension & Retirement Income: Recommendation on allying with other organizations on pension issues.
Political Advocacy – Numerous discussions and recommendations for improving advocacy; launch of a Face Book closed group to facilitate internal discussions among Directors.

ACER-CART Positions Taken: 
Major issues discussed at the AGM included the following:

a) Continued support for the CTF “Hear My Voice” initiative urging that Government practice greater transparency, heed the voices of Canadians concerned about the state of democracy in Canada, and refrain from attacks on unions.
b) Political Advocacy was made into a standing committee.
c) A new brochure to facilitate ACER-CART advocacy will be published.
d) Basic beliefs regarding Canadian health care were endorsed.
e) Continued advocacy encouraged for the negotiation of a new national health accord.
f) Support for the Canadian Medical Association’s “Choosing Wisely Canada” campaign to reduce medical costs through public education.
g) Encourage ACER-CART members to use “all candidate forums” during the next federal election.
h) Work together to address the shortage of geriatricians and gerontologists.

Member Association Reports:
The ACER-CART member associations reported on the activities they have undertaken in their respective provinces and territory. There were many issues of common concern brought forward, especially in the areas of pensions and health care. Various resolutions were proposed by some of the Directors.

Kudos:
Recognition was paid to the assistance to ACER-CART by CTF staff (Lynne Richard and Donald Swalsky), and the financial support of Johnson Inc. The Friday banquet saw service awards presented to three departing delegates: Norbert Boudreau (Director – RTO/ERO), Wayne Hughes (Director-RTAM), and Vaughn Wadelius (Director and Executive member 2005-14). In addition guests were treated to a presentation by Canadian author/humorist Terry Fallis. An additional treat was a gift of wild rice from The Pas area to each delegate.

Presentations:
A Saturday morning presentation by Richard Harrison, Senior Consultant with Johnson Inc., reviewed the changing age dynamics in Canada, the effect of aging on medicare costs, and various aspects of health care expenditures and shortcomings.

A presentation by CMA representatives François Lessard and Kristin Smith explained the “Choosing Wisely Canada” campaign which is supported by 30 medical specialty societies. Its goal is to reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures by empowering physicians on current best practices, and the public through education.

2014 AGM Delegates - sm

Executive, Directors and Observers at the 2014 AGM

The ACER-CART Officers for 2014-15 are:  
President: JoAnn Lauber (BCRTA) from New Westminster, BC
Vice-President: Brian Kenny (RTO/ERO) from Burlington, ON
Past President: Dr. Thomas Gaskell (RTO-NSTU) from Little Bras d’Or, NS

The three Regional Representatives are:
Region East: James MacAuley (PEIRTA) from St. Peter’s Bay, PEI
Region Ontario:  (pending)
Region West: George Georget (STS) from Saskatoon, SK

Priorities:
The following priorities were chosen for ACER-CART action in 2014–15:

  1. Enhance ACER-CART political advocacy through its member associations and through collaboration with like-minded organizations on issues of common concern;
  2. Urge the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to negotiate a new, strengthened health accord;
  3. Articulate, in a comprehensive document, ACER-CART’s policies and priorities concerning health issues;
  4. Articulate health, pension and relevant seniors issues for member associations to use in political advocacy work for the next federal election;
  5. Develop a long term strategic plan.

A Message from President JoAnn Lauber

Lauber-JoAnn- smIt was when I first began teaching that I became involved in teacher advocacy. At age 23 I worked alongside Principal Lars Olson, who was then a former president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. Mr. Olson’s message to us new teachers in the District was that we had a moral duty always to be active in guarding the welfare of our colleagues, that the ATA was formed as a support association for teachers at a time when their work was not regarded as a profession, when their wages were not guaranteed but were determined by the whim of school boards, when their salaries kept them in threadbare jackets. Activists had personally travelled the province to sign up their colleagues to establish a united body; it was our responsibility to protect this association as a force to safeguard and advance the rights of our peers. Mr. Olson’s message resonated with me. It stayed with me throughout my teaching career, through a decade and more of volunteer work for the BC Retired Teachers’ Association and for ACER-CART.  It stays with me to this day.

And so it is with enthusiasm, and in the spirit of support and advocacy, that I offer my service to retired teachers and to seniors across the land. As your newly elected president, I promise to make every effort to serve with the commitment and dedication of previous executives. I am grateful for the opportunity and for the confidence accorded to me by my ACER-CART colleagues.

As the year unfolds and the next federal election approaches, ACER-CART and its member associations will be placing before federal candidates the issues that concern our members, issues inherent in our policies and those that have been suggested as action drivers for the coming year. Among these is a call for the renewal and strengthening of the health accord to include national strategies for pharmaceutical and seniors care.

As ACER-CART lobbies government on our issues, its voice is considerably strengthened by the supporting action of the provincial and territorial member associations. ACER-CART’s Executive consists of only seven individuals: the Executive Director, the President, Past President, Vice-President and three Regional Representatives. Our strength lies in our members. Therefore, advocacy action on your part is crucial to our success. Your individual and organizational efforts to contact MPs and MLAs are powerful advocacy initiatives.  Clearly, it is the issues that our elected representatives find in their mailboxes, their e-mail messages, and most powerfully, in their conversations with you that become their legislative business and part of their political platforms for coming elections.

I look forward to your support and involvement as ACER-CART strives to make life better for retired teachers and for all seniors across the country. Let us move forward together to make a difference.

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