Membership Initiatives

This year’s “complimentary first year membership” campaign has resulted in a significant increase in BCRTA membership. The campaign is being extended in the wake of its success. The Committee is also looking at some other innovative strategies for membership enhancement.

We are working with Tim Anderson of Alphabet Communications to develop some promotional “swag” for BCRTA members and potential members. We are looking at different types of items. If you have any good ideas about the kind of things we should offer with the BCRTA logo as promotional items, please forward your suggestions to Steve Bailey at steve.bailey@bcrta.ca.

We also met with Susan Stern representing our Members’ Advantage partnership with First Memorial / Dignity Funeral Services for an update and with Mark Costales of Johnson Inc. to discuss our relationship with Johnson Inc. in the context of our Members’ Advantage Program. The new BCRTA website should make it significantly easier for members to access information about our Members’ Advantage partners.

One of our partners, Park ’N Fly, has announced a new corporate schedule which is on their website. Using Park ’N Fly still results in a good savings for BCRTA members. Get the Park ’N Fly BCRTA code from Laurie at the BCRTA office. Also please remind your Branch members to use their BCRTA membership card to see if they can get discounts from local businesses.

The Pension Corporation pre-retirement workshops have begun again around the province. Please check their website (bcpc.pensionsbc.ca) to see if there is a session planned for your Branch area. If you are able to participate in one of these sessions to promote BCRTA membership, please let Laurie in the BCRTA office know ahead of time so that she can forward materials for you to distribute. Remember to email Marla Madelung at tppeducation@pensionsbc.ca to let her know someone from your Branch will be attending.

George Main, former Membership Committee member and member of the Communications Committee is working on important updates for our Branch Membership Enhancement Guide. The revised Guide will be posted on the website for easy access. There are lots of practical ideas to support your Branch life.

 

Communications Update

The November meeting of the Communications Committee was largely about acknowledging the progress being made in BCRTA communications so far, and looking at ways in which to keep the progress happening.

Tim Anderson of Alphabet Communications, hired on an initial, part-time, 3-month contract by the Board, met before our meeting with the IT subcommittee, to continue work on the BCRTA website—looking at ways to further improve it, and to keep it current. They looked as well at ways in which to make it easy and practical to have branches linked to, and kept up-to-date on the website. Ways of individualizing and improving member ‘interactiveness’ with the website are also being considered.

Postings to the BCRTA Facebook page are suspended for a while, while we consider questions like who should post to it, and what the appropriate sorts of things are that should be posted on it.

The PostScript and Liaison Priorities subcommittees are now considering similar questions to the IT subcommittee, regarding who decides on the material going into our print publications, and what rules, if any, should be adopted regarding the types of articles, and ads, that are appropriate. The Committee was pleased to hear from these two subcommittees, how well they had been able to work with Kristi, in the office, and Tim Anderson, in putting together the recent issues of their respective publications.

Speaking of Liaison Priorities… the Committee recommended, and the Board agreed, that Liaison Priorities will henceforth be known as BCRTA Connections.

Through the IT subcommittee we came up with recommendations that the Board later adopted: to investigate the purchase of a small-office-sized, large-ink-tank printer, for the use of Directors (and members visiting the office), and to engage the services of LightStream Communications to ‘perform an assessment, and to prepare a proposal regarding the technological requirements of the BCRTA office’. The subcommittee is also taking a look at lower-cost, group access to Microsoft Office for staff and Directors.

We hope that you, when you visit our website, and read PostScript and BCRTA Connections, are pleased with what you see. And we hope that you will let us know if you think of ways in which we might make BCRTA communications even better.

TPP Cost of Living Increase – 1.6%

While the Board of Trustees hasn’t approved any cost of living increase to our Teachers’ Pension yet, the Canadian Consumer Price Index showed an increase of 1.6%, year over year, for the month of September. Since we know that the Inflation Adjustment Account has a healthy balance we can predict that our pensions will be increased by 1.6% beginning at the end of January. And once cost of living increases have been made they become part of our guaranteed pension.

How is it possible that our pension is in a healthy, sustainable position when the government and news reports that Defined Benefit Plans, like our, are unsustainable? Active teachers and their School boards contribute sufficient funds during the active member’s career. When that money is invested prudently over the life time of each member it becomes enough to pay the lifetime pension. You might be surprised to know that about 80% of the pension money you receive comes from investment income. About 10% for your pension is your original contribution coming back, about 10% is your employer’s contribution coming back, but the huge majority of your pension is investment returns. Our pensions are not subsidized by the taxpayers.

Interestingly, another Defined Benefit Pension Plan – The Canadian Pension Plan – has recently been shown to be sustainable for the next 75 years.

Sustainability of the CPP has been examined in this report: http://www.cppib.com/documents/1457/CPPIB_Sustainability_Backgrounder_Nov2016EN.pdf

So why is Bill C-27 still on the agenda of the federal government? Read http://bcrta.ca/target/

How do cost-of-living increases to my pension work?

Every year the Teachers’ Pension Board of Trustees look at the September Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Canada. The September CPI measures inflation over the year – from September 2016 to September 2017. Then, if there is enough money in our Inflation Adjustment Account, the Trustees grant an increase to our pensions equal to the September CPI. The CPI for this past September was 1.6% and since our Inflation Adjustment Account is in a healthy position we expect that announcement from the Trustees soon.

The 2016 cost of living increase in our plan was 1%. The full cost of that increase was $106.2 million. When cost of living increases are made, those increases become part of our lifetime, guaranteed pension. That $106.2 million doesn’t just pay for the increased pensions during 2017, it pays for that 1% increase until each of the current retirees pass away.

This year’s cost of living increase will likely cost about $170 million and again, that will buy the 1.6% increase to all pensions currently in pay, guaranteed until each of us join the choir eternal.

Strategic Planning Session Held

The Board held a second, full-day strategic planning session this past week. We reviewed the process, compared our strategic plans with that of similar organizations, completed a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and began to review and update our goals. We were very capably led by Al Baliniuk, who besides being an expert on strategic planning, is the President of the Surrey RTA.

As often happens with this sort of exercise, we ran out of time before we ran out of work. So the Board is meeting again soon to complete the task. Watch for more communications and the details of our work near the end of January.

Thanks to those who submitted feedback on our plan. We continue to welcome your thoughts, ideas and question. Send them to Laurie@bcrta.ca.

Record Growth in Membership

BCRTA has set a record of 786 new members joining our association this year to date, thanks to our one-year free membership offer and our I-Pad contest. Johnson Insurance provided 10 I-Pad Mini tablets and all new members were entered in a draw to win one.

We congratulate these winners:

Shirley Wong, Surrey Branch
Laurie Faulkner, Sunshine Coast Branch
Vicki Hickenbotham, Coquitlam Branch
Doris Kuehn, South Okanagan Branch
Ann Kratzer, Surrey Branch
Stephen Fairbairn, Elk Valley Branch
Linda Wiens, Langley Branch
Jeannette Tabb, Delta Branch
Elliott, Kim D., Coquitlam Branch
Janice Gladish, Campbell River Branch

New members are welcome to join BCRTA and will receive free membership until September, 2018. However, the free I-Pad contest is now closed.

BCRTA thanks the iPad Giveaway sponsor:

COSCO – Promoting Healthy Living

Our BCRTA focus on well-being complements our affiliated group, the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of BC.  COSCO Health and Wellness Institute offers free PowerPoint presentations to senior groups in BC.  The brochure is available at www.coscoworkshops.org.  If you are interested in training as a presenter please contact Barb at barb.mikulec@bcrta.ca.

BCRTA Travel Offers from Collette

BCRTA Members Save 15% off a Collette Tour

Limited booking window is 12/26/17 – 1/13/18 for travel through 4/30/19

Applies to All Tours (excluding Icelands Magical Northern Lights, The Northern Lights of Finland and Alaska Discovery)

*Use offer code BOXINGDAY17 for 15% savings on your land tour. Offer is only available to BCRTA members by calling Collette directly at 800.468.5955 and is not available for online bookings. Offer valid on new retail bookings only made between 12/26/17 – 1/13/18 for travel between 12/26/17 – 4/30/19. Offers can expire earlier due to space or inventory availability. Space is limited and savings are only available on select departures. Space is on a first come, first served basis. Offers are not valid on group or existing bookings. Offer amounts vary by tour and departure date and is combinable with member benefits but not combinable with Hot Deal Offers during this booking window. Other restrictions may apply. Call 800.468.5955 for more details.

Preview Available Tours

Save on your next adventure with the BCRTA Members’ Advantage Program!

BCRTA Golden Star Awards

Your Pensions Targeted

BCRTA Social Concerns Committee Report
By Lynne Rodier, Social Concerns Committee Chairperson, McLeese Lake, BC

The major focus of the June 20th meeting of the Social Concerns Committee was to develop a strategy for protesting Bill-C 27. The Bill, if passed, allows Defined Benefit plans to potentially be converted to Target Pension Plans. As it currently stands, Bill C-27 has the potential to erode retirement security for millions of middle class Canadians who have Defined Benefit plan coverage and those who have accrued or earned Defined Benefit pension plans. JoAnn Lauber led the Social Concerns Committee (along with the Pensions Committee who joined us) to develop an action plan which includes telephone calls and letter writing. An Ad Hoc committee was formed as a result of the meeting and the social contacts networks will be asked to share information with the Branches. The committee encourages members to use a link provided by The Public Service Alliance of Canada which allows for a quick protest of the Bill—but hand-written letters are also encouraged.

http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=68&ea.campaign.id=60063

Also, at the June meeting, the merger of Social Concerns and Health and Housing Committees into a Wellbeing Committee was discussed. The draft responsibilities were reviewed and approved by the committee. The committee wishes the new committee well.

The committee wishes to thank JoAnn Lauber for all of her help and expertise with meeting its objectives, especially the one of promoting the “Declaration Concerning A National Health Care Strategy—For Seniors” developed by the Vancouver Round-table chaired by Pat Brady.