A Message from President Gerry Tiede
Greetings to all thirteen Provincial and Territorial Associations and their membership that currently totals a growing number of over 160,000!
June 5, 2020 marked a first for ACER-CART – our first Annual General Meeting via Zoom. While we missed the social interactions, the exchange of ideas and camaraderie of being together in Ottawa, our meeting moved efficiently through our business.
COVID-19 generated a disturbing effect around the world, but it has brought those of us who are retired teachers closer together in a common purpose. The pandemic has exposed issues that illustrate the overwhelming vulnerability of seniors. This directed us to adopt an ambitious agenda for this coming year in support of our members and other retired seniors across Canada.
- We will advocate for the development and implementation of a National Seniors’ Strategy that includes a universal pharmacare plan with a national formulary. We will monitor the bilateral health funding agreements and advocate for a system that prioritizes home care for seniors and enforces regulations that govern Retirement and Long-Term care homes, emphasizing the need for patient respect, and the working conditions, training and wages of staff.
- We will continue to defend defined benefit pension plans focusing on how the pandemic will affect pension plan funding obligations. Given the current low investment returns and the huge debt load that governments are amassing, our concern is that pension plan sponsors, including governments, will seek relief through weakening pension promises and downloading risk on seniors.
- We recognize that TOGETHER we are stronger and will have a greater impact than one group acting alone. Our Seniors’ Issues for the 2019 Federal Election Brochure which was distributed right across Canada and the 13,720 signatures that we collected in support of pension security and the withdrawal of Bill C-27 show the benefits of collective action.
- ACER-CART will seek to elevate our profile and collaborate within our Provincial Associations. We have Executive members spread across the country and encourage Provincial Associations to regularly include reports and visits from ACER-CART Directors or Executive members at your general meetings.
Many of our concerns are shared by other Associations representing other groups of active and retired members. We will continue to seek out and work with other like-minded groups such as the Canadian Health Coalition, The Canadian Teachers’ Federation and the National Association of Federal Retires using bodies such as Vibrant Voices to coordinate our efforts.
Please join us as we speak, for not just the retired educators, but for all seniors in Canada.