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.


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 2018 2019



Excellence in Public Education Activities in 2018- 2019.

The Committee objectives for the 2018/19 year were to:

1. Coordinate the administration and adjudication of the (intergenerational) Golden Star Award Program on behalf of the BCRTA.

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.

The Committee is pleased to announce that five Golden Star Awards plus one award sponsored by the Royal Canadian Legion have been awarded to the following in 2019:

Arthur Stevenson Elementary School, Kamloops, Teacher, Sharon Parker, Grade 4.
Program name: Arthur Stevenson Elementary School and Crib at The Hamlets at Westsyde.

Muheim Memorial Elementary School, Smithers, Teacher, Liliana Pesce, Grade 4 – 5.
Program name: Buddies at The Meadows.

Qualicum Beach Elementary School, Teacher, Lynne Murray, Grade 6 and Grade 1 – 2.
Program name: The Real Toy Story.

Strawberry Vale Elementary School, Victoria, Teacher, Marjorie Ireton Roach, Grade 1.
Program name: Strawberry Vale/ Berwick Royal Oak Grandparent Program.

Westcott Elementary School, West Vancouver, Teacher, Sandy Kwan, Grade 4 and 5.
Program name: Intergenerational studies at La Maison Seniors’ Residence, West Vancouver.

Legion/Golden Star winner is: L.V. Rogers Secondary School, Nelson, Teacher, Carla Wilson, Grade 10- 11
Program name: Growing Together/Rising Strong.

Presentations of the trophies and the cheques have been made to all six recipients. Pictures and articles for all six winners will be published throughout the coming year in “PostScript”. A summary of each program will be posted on the BCRTA website. A power point presentation celebrating the winners will be shown at the 2019 BCRTA AGM and then will be available on the BCRTA website. Branch presidents are thanked for their participation in the presentations

BCRTA Golden Star Award 2019/2020 application forms will be on the website in September. Branch presidents are asked to again promote the Golden Star Awards with the active teachers in their areas.

2. Continue to write articles that celebrate the excellence of the contributions made to the BCRTA and/or ACER-CART by living past presidents.

Articles for both Bob Taverner (BCRTA) and JoAnn Lauber (ACER-CART) were published in this year’s editions of PostScript magazine as their terms of office as past-presidents were recently completed.

3. Explore ways to identify and recognize the activities of teachers, administrators and others who promote excellence in public education.

Work is on-going with the Communications Committee to accomplish this goal.

4. Continue to attend monthly meetings of our affiliate First Call and to support their initiatives as appropriate.
Committee members Margaret Sutton and Charan Gill as our representatives to First Call have kept us informed of issues and initiatives. The BCRTA has provided letters of support for changes in legislation governing employment standards which protect children and youth from work-related exploitation and injury. Our combined advocacy efforts have paid off. Thanks to recent changes in legislation, BC no longer has the lowest child employment standards in N. America.

5. Encourage retired teachers to exercise their franchise in the best interest of public education.

6. Continue monitoring the funding of public education in BC and to advocate for a fully funded public education system.

The Excellence in Public Education Committee was successful in lobbying the BCRTA Board to modify our Education Sector Policy 2.4.1 by adding a part (b):
The BCRTA believes that public funding of private schools be eliminated.

Respectfully submitted: Stefan Cieslik (chair), Val Dyer, Lynne Farquharson, Charan Gill, Caroline Malm, Floyd Smith, Margaret Sutton.

Office Hours and Accessibility Update – March 16 2020

Dear BCRTA Members and Partners

Effective immediately, BCRTA’s offices will be closed to visitors except as pre-authorized by our staff.

We will continue to answer phone calls and emails during normal office hours of 8:30AM to 4:00PM, Monday to Friday. Deliveries and mail services to our office will also continue per normal.

Following the recommendations of BC’s Provincial Health Officer and Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, we are adapting our operations to increase the safety of our staff and the public. BCRTA’s staff are on the job and continue to serve the needs of our members. However, from time to time that work may be done remotely.

We anticipate no interruption in services.

We will keep you informed as to the status of our office.

Thank you and stay safe everyone.


Simply Connect Offers BCRTA Members Savings

SimplyConnect is a cell phone provider designed with retirees in mind!

Now BCRTA members can use the BCRTA Advantage Plan to sign up with great discounts of 10% off Talk & Text plans and 15% off Smartphone plans.

Whether you want to talk with your loved ones on the other side of the country, access information on the go from the convenience of your fingertips or have peace of mind when you leave home, you can! SimplyConnect makes it easy for you to experience the various benefits of having a cell phone.

Choose from SimplyConnect’s affordable plans starting from $16.20/month and a wide selection of cell phones starting from $0. SimplyConnect also has a reliable national LTE network coverage plus the option to travel seamlessly in Canada and the U.S. with Canada/U.S. plans.

SimplyConnect’s dedicated Canadian customer service is based in Burnaby, BC and accessible seven days a week at convenient hours via phone, email or live chat. To find a plan that is right for you, call 1-866-669-7212 and quote the promo code “BCRTASAVE2020”.

* Click this link to see SimplyConnect’s popular plans and phone.*