NOTICE of 2019 AGM
74th Annual BCRTA Annual General Meeting (9:30am)
called for Saturday, October 5th, 2019
at the Vancouver Hilton Airport Hotel
5911 Minoru Blvd, Richmond, BC
NOTICE of 2019 AGM
74th Annual BCRTA Annual General Meeting (9:30am)
called for Saturday, October 5th, 2019
at the Vancouver Hilton Airport Hotel
5911 Minoru Blvd, Richmond, BC
Experienced educators understand the critical importance of maintaining healthy class size in schools, and the significance of understanding the needs of each child. After a long struggle to restore negotiated language on class size and competition was resolved by the Supreme Court of Canada, these standards are once again at risk.
On behalf of members of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association, President Gerry Tiede recently wrote the following letter to BC Premier John Horgan, and addressed this issue. As part of our mandate to champion the cause of public education, the BC Retired Teachers’ Association strongly supports active teachers in their need to maintain workable class sizes with proper support for the needs of students.
100 – 550 WEST 6TH AVENUE · VANCOUVER, BC · V5Z 4P2
June 19, 2019
The Honourable John Horgan, M.L.A.,
Premier of British Columbia
PO BOX 9041 STN PROV GOVT
I am writing to you today as President of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association, representing over 17,000 retired educators who have spent a lifetime in public education. We understand as well as anyone the conditions in which kids learn and thrive. Our association is working wherever we can to be champions of public education in British Columbia.
So as informed observers, parents and grandparents we are reaching out to you today to express our concern regarding a critical issue that once again seems to be at play in your talks with active teachers: class size and composition.
Class size and composition is not just another line item to discuss – it is the balancing point for all our hopes for effective teaching.
Because we have lived through the changes in public education in recent years, we are especially keen to not see mistakes revisited and to preserve the high goals that we sought in the classroom. In the last quarter century, some important and ambitious standards have been set, including:
We worked hard to make all these improvements possible, and the results have been remarkable. What is the common factor required to effectively address all the trends noted here? Attention. To give quality attention to the needs of students, teachers should not be rushed for prep time, divided in their goals, stressed by the uncertainty of support, or forced to choose which students to neglect.
Please also remember it is public schools where children with the greatest challenges come to learn. Private schools accept public funds much more quickly than they accept students with special needs.
You have been a close observer of the previous government and the real headwinds facing public education over the past few years. Stability and respect for education was in short supply for over a decade. The faulty thinking of that regime was repudiated in fifteen minutes by the Supreme Court of Canada, but the injustice visited upon teachers and students lasted for fifteen years.
Premier, degrading BC’s standards for classroom size and composition would not just be a disservice to teachers but would strike at the hopes for meaningful learning for the children of our province. It seems surreal that we are revisiting this issue. If there is any infrastructure that our society must build and preserve, surely it is the hearts and minds of our young.
Like you, we have set our identity on standing up for the needs of our society. For us, that meant serving those who turned to us for the most essential help there is – an education. BC’s teachers and students have endured uncertainty and mismanagement for decades. What happens next will be pivotal for the next generation of BC students.
Please, don’t fail them now.
BC Retired Teachers’ Association
On June 6, 2019, representatives from BCRTA joined dignitaries from our sister organizations across Canada to attend Parliament and see petitions for pension security presented in the House.
MP Bob Zimmer stood in for MP Mark Warawa who was absent due to cancer. Zimmer presented the ACER-CART e-Petition advocating for pension security. The petition, which attracted 13,720 signatures, is in the top 4% of all e-petitions filed with the House of Commons. 4,107 of those signatures came from BC. Great work, BCRTA!
At the same session MP Julian presented several of BCRTA’s written petitions opposing Bill C-27 and gave credit to the BCRTA as a leading activist. Again, congratulations to the Branches of BCRTA for their diligent and persistent work in support of protecting defined benefit pensions.
Thursday’s pre-AGM afternoon included the orientation of new delegates to ACER-CART and a presentation from the National Association of Federal Retirees (NAFR), who reviewed the basics of non-partisan issues advocacy in elections. Between now and the October federal election, we will be in conversation with candidates about the issues that matter to retired teachers and seniors. This session confirmed the processes we in BC usually use to plan and set up platforms to engage would-be MPs.
Owen Adams, Chief Policy Advisor for the Canadian Medical Association, provided the AGM with the issues deemed by the CMA as important in the upcoming election. The CMA agrees that the most important issue in this election will be Pharmacare. It is their opinion that it is now or never and that every organization that cares about this issue must demand a position from all candidates. CMA has the same fear as ACER-CART: that the Federal Government will propose a ‘filling the gaps’ approach. Filling the gaps approach is NOT the ACER-CART preferred action.
The second guest speaker was the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minster of Seniors. Minister Tassi is a lawyer who has been intimately involved in education. Minister Tassi thanked delegates for their contribution to education and reviewed the government’s commitment to seniors, especially low income seniors:
President – Bill Berryman, Nova Scotia
Vice-President – Gerry Tiede, BCRTA
Regional Rep. East – Margaret Urquhart, NB
Regional Rep. Ontario – Martin Higgs, Ontario
Regional Rep. West – Marilyn Bossert, Alberta
Executive Director – Roger Régimbal, Ottawa
Gerry Tiede, President BCRTA
JoAnn Lauber, Special Advisor ACER-CART
Dale Lauber, BCRTA Rep to ACER-CART
Tim Anderson, Executive Director BCRTA.
The early days of the Retired Teachers began in Victoria and Vancouver with the two groups of retirees meeting before W.W.II as a part of the BCTF. Eventually they formed their own registered Association. The Retired Teachers Pension Action group came into existence in 1942. The major interests concerned retirees pensions, cost of living and housing.
The Retired Teachers Association of BC became a registered group under the Provincial Act, in May 1955 and was incorporated under the Society Act of BC. By 1956 the RTA had about 1,100 members.
The housing needs of retirees on limited pensions was a grave concern. The President of the Federation, Mr. R. R. Smith, suggested that the retired teachers association should invest their money in Real Estate in Vancouver. This was done successfully, through Mr. Smiths’ real estate knowledge with the co-operation of the Finance and Advisory Committee. The BCTF was also helpful with financing, and was repaid by the retirees. Mr. R. R. Smith spoke about action taken to secure relief for some of the hardships suffered by retired teachers concerned about their housing costs.
At the 1952 BCTF AGM, the Retired Teachers Section had a panel discussion on Housing for Retired Teachers. Dr. Black served as chairman. Mr. Fred Turner described the housing plans for Senior Citizens at present being instituted by the United Church of Canada. Mr. R. R. Smith, President of the Federation, discussed a co-operative Housing Scheme which might be worked out to the advantage of retired teachers on low income. Those interested were asked to write their names and addresses on a slip of paper and hand them in to the secretary at the meeting.
At the 1952 AGM it was moved by Mr. Connor, seconded by Mr. Caulfield that Dr. Black, Mr. G. F. Turner and Mr. R. R. Smith, President of the Federation, become a committee to study the feasibility of a Housing Scheme for Retired Teachers.
This Committee was to report the result of its investigation to the Executive for consideration. Mr. Smith consented to write an article on the subject for the BCTF.
A meeting of the BC Retired Teachers Section of the BC Teachers’ Federation was held at John Oliver High School at 9:30 am on April 7th, 1953. Mr. Armstrong told the meeting of the purchase of property in Burnaby for a Housing Scheme for Retired Teachers and showed a map of the property.
Mr. Fred Turner spoke on the United Church scheme for Senior Citizens which is proving very successful. Mr. R. R. Smith addressed the retired teachers about the Housing project and described the types of buildings which could be developed on the property.
Since the property in Burnaby had been purchased through the BCTF Federation no further action could be taken until the matter had been discussed at the general meeting.
The annual meeting gave the retired teachers a year in which to show progress in the development of the property. If after a year no progress had been made the property was to be sold by the Federation. In May 1955 the senior executive officers of the BC Retired Teachers officially registered their Association.
A. Account with BCTF
|Paid by BCTF: purchase of Victory Heights Property||$12,750.00|
|Miscellaneous (architect’s fees, taxes, interest, surveyor’s fees, etc.||$1,197.60|
|Fully refunded by RTA to BCTF||$13,847.60|
B. Statement re: Victory Heights Property:
|Anticipated gross revenue from sale of land||$27,175.00|
|Charges: Purchase Price ( $12,750.00 less refund re services $1,395.62) Total Net purchase price||$11,354.38|
|Anticipated profit from sale of land||$13,311.40|
C. Statement re: Smith Avenue Property
|Total cost -land purchased from Joshua H. Mayer August, 1954||$19,000|
|Charges: Proportion of water rates, taxes, fire insurance, legal fees||$226.98|
|Total expenditures||$19, 526.98|
Having sold the Victory Heights lots with a substantial profit, the more expensive Smith Avenue property was purchased. Both active and retired teachers contributed to the funds to purchase the properties, with total pledges of $7,431.58.
Assets: Smith Avenue property at cost: $19,526.98
Money receivable from cash sale of Victory Heights lots: $13,311.40
Retired Teachers’ Housing Committee Statement of Receipts and Expenditures Dec 15, 1954
Mr. Smith’s report on the Investment situation stated the various investments made on behalf of the Retired Teachers’ Association, including Victory Heights, Smith Avenue, Shaughnessy Residential Club and the West 7th Avenue property.
The West 7th Avenue, Vancouver report-the properties at 1865, 1875, and 1885 West 7 Avenue had been purchased, giving a frontage of 150 feet on West 7 Avenue. The plans call for 32 suites: including 21 Bachelor suites and 11 one-bedroom suites. Tenders will be called during week of early April. Operations should commence about May 1, and completion by end of five months. Moved by Mr. Hill, seconded by Miss Dauphinee for plans to be accepted as read. Carried. Mr. Woodhead spoke in appreciation of Mr. R. R. Smith’s great assistance to the Retired Teachers in this housing project.
In the early years of the Retired Teachers Association, the Finance and Advisory Committee were working with Mr. Willway and his Victoria Committee, as well as Alan Spragge of the BCTF giving his assistance, too.
However in 1967, the Finance and Advisory Committee advised Mr. Graham Bruce and his RTA Executive to sell the Shaughnessy Residential Lodge for retired single teachers on West 41st Avenue. It was costing the RTA $1,600 to maintain over and above the income from the tenants.
These early documents of our BCRTA history indicate concerns about housing, and efforts to build accommodation for retired teachers, taken from the original sources of hand written or typed notes.
June is the month that BCRTA sets our budget, and a time when we review year-to-date results. For the current 2018-2019 fiscal year a projected budget deficit of $33,415 was approved at the 2018 AGM. This year we found that fewer teachers are retiring, so our membership growth was not quite as high as we anticipated. As we reviewed the trends, directors heightened their awareness of spending, without slowing our efforts to serve members through projects in progress and organizational momentum. A detailed review by staff of all business expenditures resulted in some savings. Some directors also found savings by having fewer committee meetings when possible, saving on travel costs. The result is that while income was slightly below projected, expenses were significantly less than budgeted and BCRTA is not in a deficit position for this year.
For the coming year 2019-20, the Finance Committee is taking a cautious but more confident approach to projected revenue and expenses. For clarity of reporting, the expense section of the projected budget will look slightly different. It will enable Directors to easily track committee expenses and will also be more transparent for members. The Board will be recommending a budget with a small deficit of just over $3,000.
To continue to provide and increase services to members, the Board will also be recommending a fee increase to $42 for the following 2020-2021 year, which begins on July 1, 2020. This five percent increase will be the first change to fees in three years, and tracks with inflation.
In May the Finance Committee formed an ad hoc committee to review committee members’ travel and accommodation eligibility. The purpose of the review was to bring clarity, consistency, and standard administrative procedures for handling expense claims. The following changes will be added to expense vouchers and the BCRTA handbook.
Please note that travel and/or accommodation requests that fall outside of existing policy will be considered on the basis of time, combined cost (e.g., road + air), weather conditions and disabilities.
Travel reimbursement has been increased to $ .54 per km. This is in keeping with the new BCTF rate.
1st VP and Treasurer
Look for the remarkable story of Connie Jervis and the teachers of Langley in the upcoming Fall 2018 issue of PostScript Magazine.
The BCRTA Heritage committee has been involved with the creation and placement of plaques to commemorate important moments in BC’s labour history. The story of 24 year-old Connie Jervis and her fellow teachers represents a landmark moment.
The Connie Jervis story has been documented in this short video by the Labour Heritage Centre and the Knowledge Network. The BCRTA is proud to have been a sponsor of this work.
To learn more about the work of the Labour Heritage Centre, visit their website www.labourheritagecentre.ca.
It was a concern: Despite about 1500 teachers retiring each year, membership in our Association declined by 121 members in 2014 and a further 20 in 2015. Some of our branches were struggling to fill executive positions and a few had closed. In response, in the fall of 2016, President Patricia Clough initiated a strategic planning process with the Directors of the BCRTA. An Innovation and Strategic Planning Committee (ISPC) was established and at the 2017 Annual Conference the Board presented our initial vision for the revitalization of our Association.
We received valuable comments from the conference and branches were asked to take the information to members for additional feedback. This dialogue was featured on our website. The ISPC has also recently equipped Directors with a detailed presentation that has been used to explain our plan and facilitate feedback at Zone and branch meetings.
Equipped with good feedback about our members’ needs, the Board of Directors made careful adjustments to our plans and moved into action.
The most important service we provide our retiree membership is to share information that improves their quality of life. To expand and professionalize our publications we developed a Communication Committee made up of three sub-committees, one for each of the main ways we reach members. A communication consultant was hired to advise and help with the technical aspects.
When researching other successful Retired Teacher Associations in Canada we discovered that their insurance plans offered great value to members while providing revenue to support the activities of the association. They have done this by harnessing economies of scale and moderating the profit margins of the insurance providers. This is an area where we will move carefully.
The culture of the BCRTA is defined by member participation and leadership. The Board revisited our committee structures to ensure they efficiently meet the needs of our membership.
To this point, much of the day-to-day work of the Association has been carried by volunteers. That is both a huge blessing for our members and a curse. We bring skills and enthusiasm to our roles but there is a limit to involvement because we want to enjoy the benefits of our retirement! And there are skills required that we do not have. Members expect that organizations such as ours will provide a high standard of communications and quality business practices. To achieve this, the Board of Directors determined that hiring a part-time Executive Director would enable us to achieve the professional standard we have set for our Association.
Remember, to this point BCRTA had only two people on staff to serve our 16,000 members. This is in sharp contrast to the Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association, who with only 4,000 more members has twelve people providing service to their membership. Five of the RTAs across Canada have an Executive Director. It was time.
From the foregoing I hope you can clearly see that we have aimed for a measured and disciplined approach toward the growth and revitalization of our Association. The changes we have made have already produced positive results. Net membership grew by 2.1% this past year, reversing the negative trend. Our publications are better than ever. Branches are beginning to take steps to revitalize themselves by collaborating with neighbouring branches. There is excitement around the Board and Committee tables as we see our improvements taking shape.
We have used this quote to motivate our planning processes:
“When you argue for your limitations,
you get to keep them.” (Evelyn Waugh)
Of course, change can be difficult as we leave our old comfortable ways to try something new. But there is a more vibrant, influential and valuable Association in our future if we wisely take hold of the right opportunities and build together.
The Innovation and Strategic Planning Committee is a committee of the Board. It brings recommendations to the Board which has the responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the whole membership. The ISPC Committee members are Patricia Clough, Bob Taverner, Grace Wilson, Stefan Cieslik, Steve Bailey, Arnie Lambert and Gerry Tiede.
Gerry Tiede is 1st Vice-President of the BCRTA
The BCRTA’s Board of Directors are very happy to announce that they have successfully reached an employment agreement with Tim Anderson, to serve the Association in the position of Executive Director.
In recent months we have contracted with Tim’s company, Alphabet Communications, to work with us to improve BCRTA’s systems and communications in the areas of our website and print publications. Tim has done amazing work in those areas and continues to do so. He has impressed us all with his knowledge and skills, and with the thoughtful and cooperative way in which he has worked with Directors, Staff and Branch representatives.
We are hiring him to be our new Chief Operating Officer and, in particular, to be the staff person most responsible for helping us develop and implement our ambitious strategic plan, aimed at growing the BCRTA through greatly improving service to members.
He begins work for us in his new role on June 1st.
Patricia Clough, BCRTA President
Tim Anderson is a communications professional with a long history of work in adult education, program development and marketing. His firm Alphabet Communications has an impressive client list, including BC’s Ministry of Health, BC’s Health Authorities, the Ministry of Education, Diabetes Canada and numerous others. You may know his work – he designed the BC Seniors Guide.
Tim has extensive experience in working with small organizations in business systems development and media platforms in both public and private sectors. An accomplished writer and editor, he is Executive Editor of PostScript Magazine and is actively developing partnerships to enhance the BCRTA member experience.
Tim’s wife Janet is an active teacher, and they have three grown daughters and two grandchildren.
BCRTA members consistently rank Extended Health Care and other insurance products as extremely important to their peace of mind. Recent articles discussing member experiences with the current Teachers’ Pension Plan default coverage through Green Shield have generated much discussion and feedback. Many members are inquiring about alternative coverage.
You should know that BCRTA members have choices beyond the TPP default insurance coverage! The BCRTA Pension and Benefits Committee has partnered with Johnson Insurance to create a line-up of products tailor-made to suit our members. Some things to watch out for include comparing each plan’s coverage of the particular medications you depend on, deductibles, and lifetime coverage limits.
We have set up an easy way for you to get a free-of-charge confidential insurance assessment, to see which plans work best for you.
BCRTA is pleased to highlight these exclusive insurance offerings:
This is our fastest growing insurance product. It provides:
Coming soon: Extended Health Care coverage. We are expecting to offer EHC coverage this fall for our members who do not travel or who find that our Medoc plan suits their needs fully.
BCRTA has continued to work with Johnson’s over the years because of the excellent service they provide. We recommend that you talk to a Johnson Insurance Professional when you are considering the alternative plans available. They will help you understand the technical differences between the plans and help you make the right decision for you, even if it means staying with your current provider.
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