Canada's Federal Election

Senior’s Issues in the 2021 Federal Election – A Guide

BCRTA has joined with our sister organizations across Canada to highlight issues pertinent to seniors during the Federal Election. We seniors are the fastest growing segment of our society, and we are very aware that our specific needs have yet to be adequately addressed.

Now the election has been called for September 20, ACER-CART (Canadian Association of Retired Teachers) is sharing their brochure that identifies key issues of importance to all seniors.

Use the information in this brochure to:

1. Become familiar with the issues of seniors.

2. Evaluate the political platforms through the eyes of a senior.

3. Share this information with family & friends prior to the election.

4. Ask the questions, if given the opportunity.

5. Vote in person or by mail; it’s your choice.

We are seniors, and seniors vote!

DOWNLOAD THE BROCHURE IN PDF FORMAT

Wilson Heads 2020-2021 BCRTA Board

Grace Wilson Named President

The 75th Meeting of the BCRTA saw familiar faces moving into new roles, chief of which was Grace Wilson, named President for 2020-2021. Wilson steps into the role vacated by Gerry Tiede, who had completed the maximum two-year term as President, and will now serve two years as Past President.

In her remarks accepting her new responsibility, Grace emphasized the importance of serving our members and caring for the resources of the association.

Patricia Clough has completed her two years in the role of Past President, and Sterling Campbell had also completed the maximum number of terms on the board. Outgoing President thanked all those who had served on the board and committees in the past year, and Patricia Clough was given the unique honour of being named a Life Member.

There are new and returning faces on the BCRTA Board of Directors for 2020-2021.

BC Votes October 24

There will be a provincial election on October 24, 2020.

You may wish to register for a BC Election vote by mail package for the election. It is easy, and should take less than 5 minutes.

Go to  Voter Registration: https://eregister.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/ovr/welcome.aspx#

and follow the prompts.

Meeting the Challenges of These Times

Many things have changed over the past few months, but one thing that has not changed is our association’s commitment to serve the needs of retired educators. In this issue of Connections we see how BCRTA Committees, Board and staff are adapting to the circumstances to deliver value to members.

AGM TO BE HELD ONLINE

The BCRTA Annual AGM is being held online. We will use technology to hold a Conference Day on October 2nd and the AGM on October 3rd, 2020.

The decision was shaped by these circumstances:

  • Meetings of over 50 people are not allowed
  • It would be impossible to physically distance in our hotel (just imagine the elevator!)
  • There are fewer flights available
  • There is a significant possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall which is also flu season.
  • Our membership is the most vulnerable to major consequences if we are exposed to COVID-19

Organizing the event will be a very different experience but we will stay close to the conference and AGM format that we have done in the past.

Branch presidents have been sent information on the number of delegates they may elect or appoint to represent their branch.

Branches will still have the same number of delegates eligible to vote, and we will meet all our obligations for reporting and good governance. Preparations are underway to provide delegates with a quality connection to the proceedings, including the ability to conduct secure voting on motions and elections.

The conference day promises to be informative, with presentations by Seniors Advocate Isobel McKenzie who will address the needs of seniors in these times. Also lined up are two UBC professors and thought leaders: Dr. Steve Young, an expert in public health policy, who will address the prospect of universal Pharmacare and related issues; and Dr. Roger Wong, an internationally-recognized geriatrician who is familiar to BCRTA members for his regular column in PostScript magazine.

Other important elements of our usual conference and AGM will continue, including the Membership awards presented to branches, reports and updates from committees and staff, and the PostScript Excellence Awards, recognizing the achievement in print of BCRTA members who contribute to our quarterly magazine.

For a number of years BCRTA has worked closely with the Vancouver Airport Hilton in Richmond. When it became apparent that no meeting would be possible under the current guidelines, it was gratifying to see the hotel waive any cancellation fees, and when restrictions are lifted we expect to return to that location in years following.

Our greatest regret is that the online experience will not provide the usual social interactions we enjoy in meeting new and old friends.

Delegates will receive more information on the AGM in the coming months. Connections Newsletter will provide full reporting on the proceedings in the fall.

Finance Update June 2020

June 30th is the fiscal year end for the BCRTA. The Finance Committee presented a draft budget for recommendation to the AGM. The draft budget will be printed in the Summary of reports and mailed to all members in early September.

The Committee sent out a request for proposal for auditing firms to conduct the annual audit for a 3-year contract starting at fiscal year end 2021. Three Audit firms were selected to be interviewed and the recommended firm will be presented as a motion to the AGM.

Grace Wilson
1st VP and Treasurer

Golden Star Award 2020 Winners Announced

The Excellence in Public Education Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Golden Star Awards. School closures mid–March affected the number of applications we received but quality made up for quantity.

Congratulations to Tilia Prior and Marion Collins, teachers at Tecumseh Elementary School in Vancouver and Genny Redman, teacher at Thetis Island Elementary School on Thetis Island.

These teachers led intergenerational programs that exemplify the rich interactions and outcomes that can occur when students and seniors interact. When circumstances permit, the Committee looks forward to presentation events at Tecumseh and Thetis Island. Kudos to all involved!

2020 marks the eleventh year of the Golden Star Awards. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 restrictions, BCRTA staff members Laurie, Kristi and Tim have provided the support the Committee needed to implement this year’s Golden Star Award program. Additionally, members can now access the Golden Star Award archive of past winners from 2010 to 2019.

Pre-retirement Workshops Online

The restrictions on travel and gathering has changed the way BCRTA is reaching out to educators thinking about retirement. For a number of years, the BCRTA Pensions and Benefits Committee has been providing pre-retirement workshops around the province. Last year, over 1,000 active teachers attended seminars led by a small group of experts. It was an outreach program that required a significant investment of time and resources.

With travel and meeting restrictions, BCRTA staff and the workshop team are now giving the presentation online. The new format debuted in May, with a pair of workshop Pro-D sessions held for Surrey Teachers. These two sessions reached nearly 300 people.

Two more sessions were held on June 4 and June 11. Over 200 teachers signed up for those sessions, using an online portal on the BCRTA Workshop website that allows active teachers to sign up for access to resources and news updates.

A number of active teachers who attended the session took the plunge to BCRTA membership immediately, giving them immediate access to Advantage Partner benefits.

A Suite of Resources

Stepping into retirement can feel like a step into the unknown. The Pre-Retirement Workshop helps educators contemplating retirement with an overview of the facts they need to confidently step into this new phase of life.

Registrants have access to:

  • BCRTA’s Retirement Guide
  • Income and Expense Worksheets
  • A Retirement Checklist
  • Latest Information on EHC rates
  • Comparisons of EHC plans
  • Information about BCRTA benefits

High Participant Satisfaction

Attendees have been overwhelmingly positive about the workshop. A whopping 95% would recommend the workshop to a friend.

Thinking of Retirement? Register Today

Future workshop dates are being developed. Educators can register for a future workshop at https://bcrta.ca/workshop

Pensions and Benefits Committee

June 1 is Intergenerational Day

Intergenerational Day – June 1 – is recognized annually in Canada and abroad as a day to focus on promoting intergenerational programs and learning opportunities, and to assist in developing rich and sustainable connections between generations. During this time of social distancing and isolation, contact between the generations is more important than ever and requires a different approach. As individuals, we can all participate in Intergenerational Day.

Our members are using Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime, email, Canada Post and telephone calls to connect with grandchildren, family and friends. On June 1, make connections. Enjoy!

BCRTA wrote to David Eby, our Attorney General requesting that June 1 be declared Intergenerational Day. Two other organizations also made the same request and a positive response to them was shared with us. Check out the i2i Intergenerational Society (intergenerational.ca) and the Canadian Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (cnpea.ca)

Education Advocacy 2019 2020

BCRTA EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION COMMITTEE:  2019-2020

Committee Meetings:

The committee met at the BCRTA office in Vancouver on October 24 and December 3, 2019 and on February 4, 2020.  Zoom meetings were held on May 8 and June 9, 2020.  Considerable business has been conducted via email and telephone.  Committee members are to be commended for their willingness to adapt as the 2019-20 year unfolded.

Communication with Members:

Throughout the 2019/ 20 year, the Committee endeavoured to provide fulsome communication with members and others.  We wrote articles that were published in PostScript Magazine and BCRTA Connections.  An archive of all Golden Star Award winners is now posted on the web site, covering all years since the award’s establishment in 2010.  The Golden Star Awards Application Form has been revised and updated on the BCRTA website and offers both an electronic and printable version for submission to the Committee.  We appreciate very much the assistance we received from BCRTA staff members Kristi, Laurie and Tim.

Golden Star Awards:

The Golden Star Awards are made to public school programs that feature the interaction between students and seniors, in the belief that such programs connect the generations and add to the learning, understanding and appreciation of the skills and experiences of both groups.  The BCRTA also works with the Royal Canadian Legion to recognize the work that students do with Legion members and veterans and to provide a BCRTA/Legion Award to a deserving school.

Province wide school closures in mid – March due to COVID–19 restrictions resulted in far fewer applications than usual.  Schools remained closed and in person interactions between students and seniors were prohibited.  However, while the quantity of applications was reduced, the quality was excellent.  The Committee is pleased to announce that two Golden Star Awards for 2020 have been awarded to the following:

Tecumseh Elementary School, Vancouver:  Tilia Prior and Marion Collins implemented the Intergenerational Project involving grade 5 and 6 students and seniors from Shannon Oaks Seniors’ Home.

 

Thetis Island Elementary School, Thetis Island:  Genny Redman implemented the Intergenerational Learning program involving students from K to grade 6 and seniors from the Thetis Island community.

 

A cheque in the amount of $1500 has been sent to each school.  Monies will be used to purchase materials for each program.  Presentation events have been put on hold due to COVID–19 restrictions.  We will deliver the Golden Star Award trophies to the schools and Certificates of Excellence to the teachers and seniors’ groups involved.  Our hope is that this can be done in person when circumstances permit.  Pictures and articles for both winners will be published in PostScript Magazine.  A summary of each program will be posted in the Golden Star Archives on the BCRTA website. A power point presentation celebrating the winners will be shown at the 2020 BCRTA AGM.

The committee thanks Branch presidents, BCTF and its Locals, BCPVPA, BCSSA, BCSTA and BC Yukon Division of the Royal Canadian Legion for their support in publicizing the Golden Star Awards Program. Although there were no winners of the Golden Star/Legion Award this year, we look forward to continuing collaboration with the Legion in the future.  Thanks also to the editors of PostScript Magazine and BCRTA Connections for including coverage of the Golden Star Awards Program.

Intergenerational Day 2020:

The Committee was successful in bringing the following motion to the Board:

That the Excellence in Public Education Committee recommend to the Board that the President of the BCRTA write a letter to the Provincial Government asking that June 1st be proclaimed Intergenerational Day in perpetuity.

 

The following announcement was posted on the BCRTA web site:

Intergenerational Day – June 1 – is recognized annually in Canada and abroad as a day to focus on promoting intergenerational programs and learning opportunities, and to assist in developing rich and sustainable connections between generations. During this time of social distancing and isolation, contact between the generations is more important than ever and requires a different approach. As individuals, we can all participate in Intergenerational Day.

Our members are using Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, email, Canada Post and telephone calls to connect with grandchildren, family and friends. On June 1, make connections. Enjoy!

BCRTA wrote to David Eby, our Attorney General requesting that June 1 be declared Intergenerational Day. Two other organizations also made the same request and a positive response to them was shared with us. Check out the i2i Intergenerational Society (intergenerational.ca) and the Canadian Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse (cnpea.ca)

 

Support for Public Education:

The Committee was successful in bringing the following motion to the Board:

That the President send a message of support and encouragement to BC’s public school teachers, principals, vice- principals and support staff who are working in unprecedented challenging conditions.

The following message was sent and was widely circulated by the recipients to their members:

“A special message of support to active school staff from Gerry Tiede, President of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association:

Dear Teachers, Administrators and Support Staff across British Columbia,

On April 22, the Executive of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association took time to reflect on the unprecedented circumstances faced by our friends and active colleagues in the school system.

I am writing on behalf of our 17,000 members to express our concern for your well-being and to express our confidence in all of you. We know that however challenging it is to work with students in the new ways that the COVID-19 pandemic demands, that you bring the characteristics always shown by teachers, support staff and school and district administrators. When faced with challenges great or small, you have always stepped forward to meet the needs of students through creative problem-solving and good-will. Your students know it now more than ever, and so do we.

We are so very proud to be part of the same history and fraternity as you. Although we are required to be physically separated right now, we want you to know that we are cheering you on from the sidelines!

We wish you good health. Your work is appreciated by your retired colleagues.

Thank you and stay well.”

Respectfully submitted:  Caroline Malm (chair), David Brown, Terry Green, Cheryl Halsted, Margaret Sutton, Grace Wilson.