The June 2-3, 2006 Annual General Meeting was held once again at the offices of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation in Ottawa. Representatives for the 13 retired teacher organizations from every province in Canada attended and participated in the opportunity to renew acquaintances, make new friends, submit reports on the activities of their organizations and discuss in detail issues of importance to their organization. A full AGM report is posted on the ACER-CART website. This was the 15th annual meeting of the national organization of Canadian retired teachers, and it coincided with the year of retirement for CTF’s Secretary General, Dr. Julius Buski. In gratitude for the continuing support of CTF, a memento gift was presented to Dr. Buski. A commemorative 15th anniversary pin was also made available to the ACER-CART Directors.
The annual election of officers saw the incumbents returned to office for another year. Re-elected as president for 2006-07 was Pat Brady (BCRTA). The three Regional Directors re-elected were : Fred Ripley (PEIRTA), Helen Biales (RTO/ERO), and Vaughn Wadelius (RTAM). Helen was elected as 2006-07 Vice-President. In addition, the Directors established an immediate Past President position, then named a Past President, Val Alcock (RTO/ERO), to fill the position for 2006-07. Val will also continue to be the official representative on the Congress of National Seniors Organization (C.N.S.O.). A full report on the backgrounds of the elected Executive members can be found in the Summer, 2005 issue of Options archived on the ACER-CART website.
The Board was pleased to be informed by Pierre Drouin, Executive Director of ACER-CART, that he was available to remain in this position for another two years. CTF support staffer Lynne Richard will continue her secretarial support role for ACER-CART as well.
(L-R) Vaughn Wadelius (West); Pat Brady (President); Val Alcock (Past President); Lynne Richard( CTF); Helen Biales (Centre & Vice President); Pierre Drouin (Executive Director); Fred Ripley (Atlantic).
International Assistance – Book Development Project
RTAM proposed at the 2005 AGM that ACER-CART devote 1% of its budget to educational assistance in developing countries, and recommended the CTF International Fund’s collaboration with the Pan African Teacher Centre’s Book Development Project. The motion had been deferred to the 2006 AGM, but no action was taken after the debate revealed that some organizations preferred their own charity projects while others were concerned about the tight ACER-CART budget’s ability to pay.
ACER-CART Positions Taken
Motions were passed to direct the organization to:
- a) Apply for incorporation as a non-profit corporation.
- b) Investigate the implications of being registered as a charity under the Income Tax Act.
c) Becoming a member in the Canadian Caregiver Coalition for 2006-07.
- d) Apply for membership in the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
- e) Support the United Nations’ declaration of June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
- f) Update the per diem allowances for business expenses.
- g) Establish the Communications Committee as a Standing Committee.
- h) Continue to advocate for the implementation of our health and pension retirement policies with emphasis on pension income splitting and our health care policies.
- i) Request Member organizations to lobby MPs and communicate with the Federal Minister of Finance to allow pension income splitting between spouses in the same manner as the CPP.
It was announced that a motion to increase the per member fee by five cents will be brought to the 2007 AGM.
Thorough reports of the activities of the ACER-CART committees were provided to the AGM delegates, and indicated that much effort had been expended during the previous year to advocate and publicize the positions proposed by the national organization.
Pension and Retirement Income Committee (Helen Biales, Chair)
The Committee was given the task of studying and reporting on two concepts that impact on retirees:
- a) The establishment of joint RRSPs for couples, being able to pool RRSP accounts into a joint account with rights of survivorship.
- b) A flat rate RRSP deregistration.
The committee chose not to make any recommendations, but the arguments for and against these concepts were very informational.
Communications Committee (Vaughn Wadelius, Chair)
The website has gained popularity since its official startup in 2004. This year’s primary focus was on updating standard features, incorporating the new logo, and expanding document information. The full text of the October 6, 2005 “Brief to the Standing Committee on Finance” and two press releases were placed on the website. Further changes are under review.
Two editions of the ACER-CART newsletter, OPTIONS, were produced in 2005-06 providing updates and news that could be utilized by Directors and editors of member organization publications. There were four surveys that were promoted for Director and member organization response. These were later made interactive on the website. Two media releases in October, 2005 responded to specific items of interest (October 6 – ACER-CART brief, and October 14 – BC Teachers’ Strike).
Health Services and Insurance Committee (Fred Ripley, Chair)
This committee initiated various surveys on health and service issues. It was stated at last year’s meeting that there were a number of changes taking place coast-to-coast. Some of the premium increases have been astronomical and this may require updating of the health policies of ACER-CART and also sharing the information with C.N.S.O.
Don Brooks from Johnson Inc. made a presentation to the Annual General Meeting on international travel insurance. He agreed to write articles on his presentation theme that could be published in member newsletters and also posted on the ACER-CART web site.
The AGM authorized pursuing the concept of pension splitting with federal officials. A draft letter to your MP has been developed for use by members. Also to be sent with the letter to your MP is a background information sheet. [The letter and info sheet can be accessed by clicking on the previous words.]
The President Comments
It was a pleasure to share ACER-CART’s 15th Anniversary with retired colleagues from across the country. The AGM affords us a once-a-year opportunity to share ideas, update what is happening in our provincial jurisdictions, and plan actions to further our national policy positions.
This year we will again make a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, emphasizing a number of issues we would like the House to address in order to better the lot of retirees. Our presenters will be Helen Bailes (our first Vice President) and Pierre Drouin (our Executive Director). Particular emphasis will be given to the issue of pension income splitting for income tax purposes. The October 3 conference on pension income splitting will see a large number of national seniors’ organizations, academics and politicians addressing the issue. Hopefully, this will translate into specific legislative changes in a future federal budget.
ACER-CART is now a member of the Congress of National Seniors’ Organizations (CNSO) and through that organization’s influence and actions we expect this “voice of Canadian seniors” will be able to promote policies and procedures which will benefit all seniors. The “bullet effect” (as opposed to the “shotgun effect”) of lobbying/representation could have significant impact on our federal politicians. With strong representation, promotion of common goals and making politicians aware of the number of seniors represented, we look forward to some successful outcomes in the near future.
I hope you are thoroughly enjoying your summer. I know I am!.