Options Newsletter: Winter 2014

2014 AGM (June 5 to June 7)

Details related to the ACER-CART  23rd Annual General Meeting (AGM):

Pre-AGM meeting:  Thursday, June 5 –   Marriott Hotel Ottawa, 100 Kent Street
Afternoon Program:
1:00 p.m    New Directors Orientation, Vaughn Wadelius
2:00 p.m.   Lobbying Presentation and discussion with MP Lawrence MacAuley
3:15 p.m.   Dialogue with CTF President Dianne Woloschuk
4:00 p.m.  “Twitter” workshop with Francine Filion, CTF Director of Communications

AGM:  Friday and Saturday, June 6 & 7  in the Offices of the CTF, 2490 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, ON

Evening program: Friday, June 6
Pre-dinner reception: 5:15 pm — Hospitality Suite, Marriot Hotel, Ottawa,
Dinner: 6:00 p.m. Mackenzie Room, 27th floor
Guest Speaker, Terry Fallis, author The Best Laid Plans 

Directors are asked to submit the AGM reports from their associations to Executive Director Roger Regimbal (regimbal.roger@sympatico.ca) by April 18, 2014. The format of the member organization report is available on the website.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2014-15 positions of president, vice-president, and regional representatives (East, Ontario, West). Nominating forms are available on the ACER-CART website and should be returned with a CV of the nominee by April 18 to Executive Director Roger Régimbal.

Please submit reports and CVs in both official languages.

 2013 AGM Action Taken

Addressing the June 2013 motions, President Gaskell has sent letters to federal ministers and others to advocate on behalf of ACER-CART members. The June AGM will report on responses (or non-responses) from Ministers of Health Aglukkaq and Ambrose, Finance Minister Flaherty, and Dominique LaSalle (Human Resources).

Issues that were raised included, but were not restricted to, the following: the need for a national organ donor registry and a safe drug recycling program; a tax credit for the fitness expenditures of seniors; changes to OAS (budget 2012) and CPP; and Medic Alert/Life-Line programs as an allowable medical tax deduction for income tax purposes.

Reaching out:
Directed to reach out to other like-minded organizations to collaborate on issues of common concern, ACER-CART has worked jointly with CTF in the first two stages of “Hear My Voice”, a CTF initiative urging that Government practise greater transparency and heed the voices of Canadians concerned about the state of democracy in Canada.  The first step was to announce ACER-CART’s collaboration with CTF, and the second was to encourage member association engagement. The next action will be related to the third part of the initiative – to urge transparency in Government.

ACER-CART has invited other organizations as well to work jointly to pursue common interests; these organizations include the National Pensioners’ Federation and former members of the Congress of National Seniors Organizations.

Other News

Our new Facebook page:
Thanks to the efforts of George Georget, Chair of the ad hoc Political Advocacy Committee, and his committee members Ed Zegray and Cliff Boldt, a closed Facebook page has been established to allowACER-CART Directors to post and respond to issues of current concern and interest to retired teachers across the land.

Supporting Defined Benefit Pension Plans:
The Pension & Retirement Income Committee and the Political Advocacy Committee — James MacAuley, Gerry Tiede, George Georget, Ed Zegray, and Cliff Boldt — collaborated to create  appropriate documents responding to Pension Plan myths and to write generic letters for use by Association members on this topic. These will be available shortly.

Executive Director Roger Régimbal and James MacAuley, Rep Region East, met on separate occasions,with Liberal Health Critic Hedy Fry to discuss health and pension issues.

President Tom Gaskell and the other members of the Executive have commented on the fine publications of ACER-CART association members and have expressed appreciation for the feature articles about ACER-CART in those publications.

Webmaster Vaughn Wadelius has analyzed the numbers reflecting ACER-CART membership from 2012 -13 to 2013 -14:  he has found that during that time we have had a national increase in membership of 3,549 members. ACER-CART directors are encouraged to send information about key current activities in their associations to Vaughn so that it might be posted on the website. info@acer-cart.org

Regional News

Region East
: James MacAulay, Representative

Region East will gather at a forum in Halifax in the fall of 2014.
PEIRTA has visited a number of MPs on health and pensions issues.
Sheridyth MacNeill is the new President of PEIRTA.

Region Ontario: Brian Kenny, Representative

Members of the  RTO/ERO Executive continue to meet regularly with MPs and MLAs. They also use the services of professional lobbyist Len Domino. These efforts have placed RTO/ERO firmly on Premier Wynne’s radar.

RTO/ERO now has more than 63,000 members; 55,000 of them are members of the health plans, which provide coverage to more than 85,000 plan participants.

RTO/ERO gave a grant of $ 3 million to support the campaign they initiated to establish a University of Toronto Geriatric Chair.

Region West: George Georget, Representative

Region West has adopted the practice of holding its own regional conference calls prior to ACER-CART conference calls;  this allows for communication between, and input from, Directors in the large geographic area of the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Topics discussed have included pension myths, the value of defined benefit pension plans, contribution of retired teachers to their communities, the Canadian Health Accord, engaging and serving new retirees, and the need to strengthen working together across the country.

The BCRTA, in collaboration with BC’s large seniors association – the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations (COSCO) – is currently engaged in an extensive campaign to raise awareness of the expiry of the present health accord on March 31, 2014. Groups of seniors in every federal riding in BC are visiting their members of parliament to request stable and adequate health care funding beyond 2017, federal leadership in health care service, and the establishment of both a national seniors health plan and a national pharmaceutical strategy. Region West Representative George Georget will approach the Advocacy Committee of the STS to discuss possible action on the health accord expiry.

The BCRTA is more than willing to share its campaign documents with other ACER-CART members. For electronic copies of the health accord campaign advocate’s and MP kits, contact JoAnn Lauber:  (604) 523 1653  jlauber@shaw.ca

Report of President Gaskell

Gaskell-ThomasThe Ides of March was a fearful time for the Emperor of Rome. As March 2014, is upon us, let us be mindful of the end of the Canada Health Act as we have known it. While many of us will not see the long term harm that may result, future generations will indeed feel the impact of decisions made now if we are unable to change the direction Parliament appears determined to pursue. Efforts like those in BC, Ontario and Saskatchewan are going to be necessary if the ” fearful time” is to be changed into a time of reflection, and indeed, an opportunity to improve our health system. As I have repeatedly said, being 20th in terms of service and first in cost definitely calls for an overhaul of our system. That overhaul, as objective studies have shown, could lead to a much better delivery of care as well as include a national drug program to benefit all Canadians.

Hopefully we will be able to suggest a plan of action for those who may require it, but accolades to those member organizations that have initiated action. The time for action, either as a stand-alone organization or in concert with like organizations, is now. As an Executive we are acutely aware of the situation, and a considerable part of our agenda in March will focus on health care.