Options Newsletter: Summer 2011

 2011 AGM

The 20th ACER-CART Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on June 2-4, 2011 was preceded by a special session on the afternoon of Thursday, June 2 at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel. As this was our 20thanniversary, the emphasis focused on Organizational Review. Brian Kenny (RTO/ERO) led a Strategic Planning Seminar. Participants were asked to discuss and identify what they perceive to be the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, in reference to ACER-CART. The input given will be used as we continue our Organizational Review.

The AGM itself was held once again at the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) building, where CTF generously provided meeting space and hospitality for us. Twenty-six delegates representing 12 (of 13) retired teacher organizations in Canada gathered 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.

2011-12 AGM Delegates-1-sm

2011 AGM Reports

A major portion of the meeting was used to receive reports from the President, the various committees and the member associations. This led to a fruitful discussion of events, and issues were raised for future consideration. Johnson Inc.’s Lori MacDonald-Blundon gave a presentation on “Out-of-Province/Canada Travel” which was both informational and thought provoking. This included the notion of appropriate travel insurance coverage, key provisions in policies, de-bunking myths from facts, and new developments for travel to certain destinations.

2011-12 Election of Officers

The annual election brought about a change in executive officers: Helen Biales (RTO/ERO) from Windsor, ON finished her term as past president and leaves the executive. Arnold Hull (RTO/ERO) from London, ON was elected as president. The four Regional Representatives are Atlantic: Dr. Thomas Gaskell (RTO-NSTU) from Little Bras d’Or, NS was re-elected and becomes vice-president; Québec: Ed Zegray (QART) from Montréal, QC was re-elected; Ontario: Brian Kenny (RTO/ERO) from Burlington, ON was newly elected; West: Dean McMullen (ARTA) from Vermilion, AB was re-elected. The past president is Vaughn Wadelius (RTAM) from The Pas, MB. 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.

Committee Reports

Regular annual reports from the ACER-CART committees provide a view of the many efforts during the 2010-11 year to advocate and publicize the positions proposed by ACER-CART.

Communications Committee (Vaughn Wadelius, Chair)

There were 1492 website visits in 2010, a 14% increase over 2009. Two editions of the ACER-CART newsletter OPTIONS were produced in 2010-11.  The Summer edition was primarily devoted to AGM news that could be utilized in member association publications. The Winter 2011 issue was posted on January 6. The Executive Director’s Quarterly Reports were posted to provide more timely information and documents for Directors. Unlinked pages (special Directors’ website access pages) were used again to provide access to The Quarterly Reports, Executive conference call meetings and 2011 AGM documents in advance of the meeting. A special page detailing basic information about the Congress of National Seniors Organizations (CNSO) was added this year. As well, a photo and the biography of every Past President can be accessed on the website’s History page.

Health Services and Insurance Committee (Thomas Gaskell, Chair)

The committee continues to be concerned about drug pricing and the use of generics. It cited examples of drug pricing that appears out of control, and efforts of certain provinces to deal with the high cost of drugs, in particular, Ontario’s price ceiling for generics at 25%, with rebates eliminated. The committee warns that there is a continued need to focus on health care, and is encouraged that many of our provincial affiliates have taken an active role in contacting MPs and MLAs to express their concerns over health care.

Legislative Committee (Helen Biales, Chair)

There were no proposed amendments to the Articles and Bylaws received this year, but the Executive recommended and the AGM approved the addition of one policy on the Performance Appraisal of the Executive Director: “A performance appraisal of the Executive Director shall be conducted by the President with input from the Executive and the Executive Director, within two years of the last evaluation”.

Pension and Retirement Income Committee (Arnold Hull, Chair)

This committee acted to comply with two 2010 AGM resolutions: that we lobby the federal government to increase CPP/QPP, OAS and GIS benefits, and that we support Bill C-516 on the automatic inclusion of eligible pensioners for GIS benefits. President Wadelius wrote the federal minister responsible and sent a copy to the CNSO President for additional support. The committee will continue to monitor the progress of Bill C-516. On the motion to develop a position paper on poverty amongst older retired teachers, given its complexity, difficulty of obtaining relevant data and resources required, the committee concluded that this study is not feasible.

Other Action Taken in 2010-11

ACER-CART is a member of the Congress of National Seniors Organizations (CNSO), and President Wadelius was elected its Treasurer at its AGM in October 2010. The 2010-11 priorities of CNSO were: Aging in Place, Elder Abuse, Pharmacare. CNSO accepted  three new associations for membership in 2011: HelpAge Canada; Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association (CGNA), National Initiative for Care of the Elderly/ Initiative nationale pour le soin des personnes ages (NICE).

ACER-CART Positions Taken

Motions were passed at the 2011 AGM directing the organization to:

  • Accept, with regret, the withdrawal of AREQ as a member.
  • Convey to AREQ sincere appreciation for its involvement and contributions during its membership in ACER-CART and extend an invitation to continue to work cooperatively to achieve shared objectives.
  • Reaffirm its support for the five basic principles of the Canada Health Act (1984) and pursue the preservation of these principles (universality, access, comprehensiveness, portability and public administration).
  • Review its organizational structure and include consideration of programs, expenditures and membership fees.
  • Approve the 2011-12 budget including increases in travel expenses  ($0.48/km); and
    meals (B $16; L $23; D $36).
  • Donate 500 $ to the Canadian Teachers Federation Trust Fund, in gratitude for CTF support to ACER-CART
  • Deny an association’s right to vote on money matters if it fails to contribute the fee set by ACER-CART.
  • Lobby the Government of Canada:
    a)    to eliminate the tax on the CPP/QPP Death Benefit
    b)    to make Canadian adult passports effective for ten years
    c)    to extend any tax credit for registration costs for wellness and/or recreation programs
    to seniors, similar to that provided for youth
    d)    to urge the federal government to act, in conjunction with the provinces, to establish a
    national formulary as well as a national drug plan.

2010-11 President Vaughn Wadelius – Some AGM Comments

vaughn_wadelius2“Who could have predicted some of the major changes that took place following the 2010 annual general meeting? Two unforeseen issues – the loss of AREQ’s membership and the loss of CIDA funding for Project Overseas – instigated action. Member association support for our collective action on these and other issues was evident, is growing and much appreciated. Considering that this is our 20th year as an association, we must continue to review what we do and how we do it to keep effective. The seminar discussions concerning our goals, the nature of our organization, and our strategic priorities will, I hope, help us re-energize our focus in light of our organizational renewal.

In gratitude to the support of ACER-CART Directors and Officers, this is the second year we are presenting a Recognition Certificate to those retiring from the Board. This 20th anniversary AGM was also the occasion to recognize past presidents, past executive directors, The Canadian Teachers’ Federation and Johnson Inc.”

Executive Decisions

At the post-AGM Executive meeting the following committee assignments were made: Ed Zegray – Communications; Vaughn Wadelius – Webmaster; Dean McMullen – Health Services and Insurance; Thomas Gaskell – Pension and Retirement Income; Vaughn Wadelius – Legislation and also Nominations; Brian Kenny – Ad hoc Committee: Developing A Plan For Going Forward. In addition, ACER-CART will continue working with CNSO with Arnold Hull as official representative, Vaughn Wadelius as treasurer and Norbert Boudreau as observer.

Comments – 2011-12 President Arnold Hull

Hull-Arn2-sI would like to share with you some of my background.   In 1960 I graduated from London Teachers’ College and began my teaching career in Port Arthur, Ontario, now the city of Thunder Bay.  My academic credentials include a BA from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, a BEd from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and an MEd from OISE – University of Toronto.

My vocation began as a classroom teacher followed by an assignment teaching students with exceptional needs, a resource teacher, a vice-principal and an elementary school principal.  Retirement came in 1995 after 35 years in the profession.  Before and after retirement I wrote curriculum and taught at the Technology Leadership Centre at the University of Western Ontario.    I joined The Retired Teachers of Ontario and became involved in the local District.  In 2005 – 2006 I served as provincial president.  My involvement with ACER-CART dates back to 2004 when I was an Observer to the AGM, then a Director, and subsequently in the role of Regional-Representative-Ontario until June of 2011.

In my community I have served  on the Board of Directors for the London Council of Seniors,  served  eight years as a member of the Ethics Review Board for non-medical research –University of Western Ontario,  continue to serve on  the interview selection team for students seeking admission  to the UWO School of Medicine,  served as an evaluator for the Prime-Ministers Awards for Teaching Excellence,   served on the Advisory Committee of the Dearness Home – a Long Term Care Facility operated by the City of London, as well as a  volunteer  at the Teen Challenge Farm  – a rehabilitation centre for youth with drug and alcohol problems  only to mention a few.

Also joining the 2011-12 Executive Committee as Regional Representative – Ontario is a former RTO/ERO Provincial President, Brian Kenny.  His knowledge and expertise of social and environmental issues is commendable.   He facilitated the pre-2011 AGM symposium which included an Organizational Review and Strategic Planning for the future direction of the organization. He will be preparing a report and recommendations with the Executive Committee, for consideration at the 2012 AGM.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the contributions of outgoing Past President Helen Biales.  She served ACER-CART in many capacities for a number of years.  Her expertise and knowledge of the governance aspects of the organization will be missed.  We wish her the very best as she continues to enjoy her retirement – especially the opportunities for world-wide travel.

The presentation entitled “Out-of-Province/Canada Travel” by Lori MacDonald-Blundon, Johnson Inc was enjoyable and informative.   On behalf of the Executive and Member Organizations of ACER-CART appreciation is extended to Johnson Inc for their continued partnership and support.   Our Annual General Meeting was held in the Boardroom of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.    Their hospitality can best be described as “awesome” and CTF staff continue to assist in many ways to make our meeting a success.  In appreciation to CTF for their continued support of ACER-CART, a donation was made to the CTF Trust Fund for Project Overseas.

Our congratulations and appreciation to the many Service Award Recipients for their long-standing support of ACER-CART and their contributions to education and the communities in which they live. This year the Executive Director and your Executive Committee team will work on your behalf to ensure the priorities of the organization are accomplished.  Thank you for the support and confidence you have placed in us.

The 2011 Service Award Recipients are listed below. In addition, a 20th Anniversary Souvenir Booklet was specially prepared by Vaughn Wadelius for the AGM Banquet along with a visual presentation honouring those who have led and supported ACER-CART over the years.

Bill Jones (STO/ERO) ; Helen Biales (RTO/ERO); Bruce Watson (BCRTA);
Paul-Émile Boisvert (ARTA); Floyd Sweet (ARTA); Phyllis Côté (RTO-NSTU);
Val Alcock-Carter (RTO/ERO); Margaret Couture (RTO/ERO);  Jim Dobson (RTANL);
Roger Doiron (SERFNB); Herb Duplissea (NBSRT);   Mariette Gélinas (AREQ);
James MacAulay (PEIRTA).
Robert Barker (Executive Director),  Pierre Drouin (Executive Director)
Canadian Teachers’ Federation,   Johnson Inc.