Options Newsletter: Winter 2008

Organizational Change
Past President Pat Brady, and Ontario Regional Representative Arnold Hull have taken on the task of reviewing and updating the organization’s constitution and bylaw, a task directed by the delegates at the 2007 AGM. The revised document is now in the translation stage and will be sent out to the Directors before the 2008 AGM. It may be posted to the website as well.

2007- 08 Directors Update
Since the 2007 AGM, there have been some new Director appointments to the ACER-CART Board by member organizations. The new RTO/ERO President and Director is Brian Kenny; Roger Doiron is the President/Director for New Brunswick’s SERFNB; and James MacCaulay is the new President/Director for PEIRTA. Regional Representative-Ontario is Arnold Hull, and Pat Steele (QPARSE) has been appointed Regional Representative-Quebec.

ACER-CART 2007 AGM Action Update
All motions adopted at the 2007 AGM have been acted upon. Support by member organizations in contacting their federal MPs by phone, letter, or email to advocate support was requested. The motions that lend themselves to this are:

  • Lobby the Government of Canada to restore funding for literacy.
  • Lobby the Government of Canada to restore funding for the Status of Women.
  • Lobby the federal Government to expand the $500 tax deduction for youth fitness to the plus 55 age group to encourage seniors’ wellness as well.
  • Express its concern re the process, the appointments, and the geographic distribution of appointments for the National Seniors’ Council.
  • Lobby the Federal Government to rectify the Government understating of CPI and reimburse the pensioners accordingly.

The Harper government is in the process of preparing its next budget. This is just the right time to let the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance know about these concerns.

Committee Reports
Reports of the activities of the ACER-CART committees are a regular feature of the AGM and indicate the effort expended during the previous year to advocate and publicize the positions proposed by the national organization.

Pension and Retirement Income Committee (Arnold Hull, Chair)

The committee is reviewing the impact of escalating property taxes on retirees.

Communications Committee (Vaughn Wadelius, Chair)

The website is a good source of information about the national organization. Links to all member organizations make it a good resource for those looking for comparisons among the members. A slide show photo presentation of the 2007 AGM was added, and a revamped “What’s New” page is used to link to publications of the members. Regular updated member organization contacts, and annual general meeting locations and dates are updated as the information becomes available. There were 1,245 visitors to the website in 2007.

Health Services and Insurance Committee (Thomas Gaskell, Chair)

Members of the committee are attempting to gather information about provincial health/drug plans for seniors, more specifically for retired teachers. The Chair has requested feedback from member organizations that might be beneficial to this project. Since the AGM is not that far off, any information on this subject would be appreciated (ex. who has a drug plan, who is covered, age at which coverage begins, age at which coverage ends, cost, etc.)

Ad Hoc Committee Work

To address another priority issue of the AGM, elder abuse, a special New Horizons project grant proposal developed by Pierre Drouin was considered by the Executive. It was decided to present this proposal to the 2008 AGM for discussion due to the need to ensure member organization support and commitment.

Seniors Abuse Report
The National Seniors Council, an advisory body to the Canadian Government, released its report on elder abuse on December 11, 2007. seniors1Noting that elder abuse has for too long been a largely hidden issue, the report calls for increased efforts to raise public awareness and help for those who work with seniors to share information. The report acknowledges the complexity of elder abuse, which can be physical, psychological, financial or sexual in nature. Neglect can also be a form of abuse. The report includes advice for public awareness, research, training and information sharing among those who work with seniors. See the full report at www.seniorscouncil.gc.ca

2008 AGM Deadlines
Nominations are being accepted for the 2008-09 positions of President, and Regional Representatives (Atlantic, Ontario, Québec, West). Nominating forms are available on ACER-CART’s website. And should be returned before April 20 to Executive Director Pierre Drouin with a CV of the nominee. Member reports are also due by April 20. The format of the report is available on the website. The earlier April date this year is to ensure that AGM documents are sent out to the delegates well in advance of the AGM, a request from the 2007 AGM delegates.

The President Comments (Helen Biales)

At our last AGM, several motions were passed asking the Executive to lobby the government on issues of concern to our membership. Letters were sent to the various federal government ministers with some replying to ACER-CART. As a follow-up, a letter was sent to the president of each member organization asking you to write a letter and/or visit, if possible, your local MP expressing the concerns raised at the ACER-CART AGM. I hope you were able to do this. If other members of your organization also met or wrote to their MPs on these issues, that is great. Hopefully when you submit your organization’s annual report to ACER-CART, you will be able to include any lobbying that your organization has done. We need to lobby as many politicians as possible to get our message out. Who knows when the next federal election will occur?

Also, for the 2008 AGM, I am requesting that each member organization come prepared with one or two priorities for ACER-CART, from which we may select at least three to work on during the year. If we have several alternatives to consider, we will be able to discuss and chose some for focus in the coming year.

Please submit your annual reports on time. I look forward to seeing the delegates at the 2008 AGM. Have a great new year!