Executive and Board Highlights for October 2017

The Executive and BCRTA Board of Directors met on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. The president, Patricia Clough, welcomed everyone and gave special thanks to Kristi and Laurie, our staff members who have done so much and worked so hard for the organization and members. A focus for the Board has been to lobby in opposition to the federal government’s Bill C-27 – see the Pension Report in this edition. The Board plans to work with our branches to continue this lobby and would like to encourage all members to write letters to their MP requesting the bill not proceed through parliament or to be defeated if it does. Please visit the BCRTA Website feature on Target Pension Plans for more information on this issue.

The Board also recognized JoAnn Lauber for the extensive, thorough, and in-depth report she wrote for the National Pensioners Federation titled Responsive Primary Health Care, which includes thirty-four recommendations to improve health care in Canada. You can access a PDF of the report here: https://bcrta.ca/responsive-primary-health-care/. The NPF will be presenting this and other reports to the government.

The Board is also making adjustments to the BCRTA with a focus on membership recruitment and improved membership services. Make sure to keep posted on new initiatives and changes in structure. To this end the BCRTA held a strategic planning session in November 2016 and will be following up with another session in November 2017.

Communications Takes on New Forms

by Bob Taverner, Committee Chair

The October meeting of the Communications Committee was its first in its new, expanded form. Instead of having seven members it now has ten, with nine of its members divided into three advisory subcommittees: I.T. (website and social media), PostScript, and Liaison Priorities.

These were the people appointed to the subcommittees:

  • I.T.: Floyd Smith, George Main, Sterling Campbell
  • PostScript: JoAnn Lauber, Libby Thornton, Leckie Reynolds
  • Liaison Priorities: Terry Green, Gerry Tiede, Marion Hartley

The meeting agreed on two main objectives for the year:

  1. To help focus, align and coordinate the work of the BCRTA in the areas of I.T. and its print communications; and
  2. To advise the Board and its committees on best practices in their communications with members.

The Committee agreed with the proposal that would later be going to the Board for its consideration, namely to hire Alphabet Communications, whose Tim Anderson has been putting together our new, much improved website (bcrta.ca – check it out!) to continue work on the website, and to assist the Directors and our staff as we all work to improve services to members. (The Board subsequently agreed to hire the consulting company on a 3-month, part-time contract.)

The three subcommittees began work on their separate assignments, and when they reported back to the meeting of the whole, their ideas and obvious enthusiasm for their tasks gave promise of great improvements ahead in the area of BCRTA communications.

Excellence in Public Education Committee Announces Golden Star Winner

Excellence in Public Education Committee November 2017
At our first meeting of the year, we welcomed new committee member, Lynn Farquarhson.
Our committee objectives were set and were then approved by the Board of Directors at the October meeting. The Excellence in Public Education Committee objectives for 2017-2018 are to:

  1. Coordinate the administration, adjudication, presentation and publication of the intergenerational Golden Star Awards Program on behalf of the BCRTA
  2. Continue to write articles that celebrate the excellence of the contributions made to the BCRTA and/or ACER/CART by living past presidents
  3. Explore ways to identify and recognize the activities of teachers, administrators and others who promote excellence in public education
  4. Continue to attend monthly meetings of First Call and to support its initiatives, as appropriate
  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

Any suggestions as to how the Committee can meet these objectives are most welcome, please email charan.gill@bcrta.ca.

We will have up dated Golden Star application forms on the new and improved BCRTA website and will have archived information on all winners since the first awards were made in 2010. As a reminder, the 2017 Golden Star winners were:

BCRTA Golden Star Awards

  • Arrow Heights Elementary School, Revelstoke, BC.
    Amber Thompson, Teacher, Grade 3/4.
    Program Name: Mt. Cartier Court Garden Partnership
  • Belmont Elementary School, Langley, BC.
    Jason Proulx, Teacher, Grade 3.
    Program Name: Woodworking in Grade 3
  • Fraserview Learning Centre, Mission, BC.
    Sandra Norum, Teacher, Grade 7-12.
    Program Name: Fraserview Learning Centre Partnership with Lifetime Learners
  • Muheim Memorial Elementary School, Smithers, BC.
    Liaiana Pesce, Teacher, Grade 4/5.
    Program Name: Meadows and Muheim Buddy Program
  • Quilchena Elementary School, Richmond, BC.
    Andrew Livingston and Kevin Vines, Teachers, Grade 6/7.
    Program Name: Forming Grand Pal Relationships

Legion Golden Star Winner

  • W. L. Seaton Secondary School, Vernon, BC.
    Yvonne Fiala, Teacher, Grade 11 French Immersion SS 11.
    Program Name: Vernon WWI Veterans/ No Stone Left Alone

There will be articles in the next several issues of PostScript featuring each of the 2017 winners.

We look forward to another busy year and hope that BCRTA members will help promote the Golden Star awards program with their practicing teacher colleagues.

Finance Committee to Review Procedures

Finance Committee Report

The BCRTA is committed to supporting branch treasurers as they make every effort to comply with the rules for our non-profit organization. Any questions regarding fundraising or the use of members money can be directed to Grace Wilson, Chair of the Finance Committee.

An objective of the Finance Committee this year will be to examine our expense payment procedures. Some procedures may need revision and there is a need for some new ones. This objective is to provide clarity to members and direction to staff.

Heritage Committee Approves Grants

Heritage Committee Report

Barb Mikulec, chair

At our October meeting the committee members established Objectives for the coming year. Then we read the submitted forms and agreed to grants for some exciting Heritage projects with the Retired Teachers Association in BC.

  • Cariboo Chilcotin RTA will be working on an Historical Research Project at their historic 150 Mile ‘Little Red School House’.
  • Kootenay Columbia RTA will be preserving the school registers of one of their elementary schools, and involving the retired teachers in the recording of data.
  • Kimberley RTA will upgrade their Marysville School House heritage building which is used for demonstration classes for students throughout the district, in a 100 year old building. How wonderful to support efforts to preserve Heritage for our present and future students.

Each of these projects use retired teachers involvement and create a lasting influence for their communities.

Membership Committee Recommends Extension of Free First Year


Steve Bailey, Membership Committee Chair

The Membership Committee recommended to the BCRTA Board of directors that the First-Time Complimentary Membership Campaign be extended beyond its current time limit. The Board unanimously accepted this proposal. The campaign has resulted in significant growth in new memberships. Thanks to the BCTF for its mail out to all retiring members, and to the great work on the BCRTA website that helped make all this possible. Our outreach to retiring teachers through our pensions and benefits workshops and through the Pension Corporation workshops will continue to support this successful effort.

In this regard, please have a look at the Pension Corporation workshops scheduled in your area over the next several months to see if you can attend one in your branch area. Look for the registration page of the “Approaching Retirement” workshop on the teachers’ pension plan website and look at the schedule. There are two things to do to prepare to attend:

  1. Email Marla Madelung to request that you attend specific seminar (time and location) as a representative of the BCRTA. Her email is TPPseminars@pensionsbc.ca
  2. Request information and membership forms from Laurie at the BCRTA office ahead of time. These will be sent out to you.

Please arrive about one half hour before the scheduled start time to hand out information and talk to registrants as they arrive. Offer to help the seminar presenter in any way you can. Plan to stay for the first 15 minutes of the session to catch any late-comers. Please urge those within a few years of retirement to join the BCRTA as an associate member in order to take advantage of our Members’ Advantage and insurance programs. Ask them to have a look at the BCRTA website for more information.

The Membership Committee is undertaking a pilot project this year involving branding merchandise for the BCRTA similar to that found in other provincial retired teachers’ organizations. If you have any ideas, please let us know at steve.bailey@bcrta.ca.

Please urge your branch members to use the services of our Members’ Advantage partners. Do some comparative shopping for goods and services. A BCRTA Members’ Advantage partner might save you some money.

Well-being Committee Formed

BCRTA forms New Committee

The inaugural meeting of the Well-being Committee was held on October 24, 2017. This committee is an amalgamation of the former Health and Housing Committee and the Social Concerns Committee. The intent of the committee is to address and inform BCRTA members about developments and issues that relate to wellness in all its facets. The committee developed the following definition of Well-being:

Well-being is defined as the interconnected dimensions of the physical, mental, material, emotional, social and spiritual health of the members of the BCRTA including awareness of developments and issues relating to the well-being of retired teachers and seniors in general.

For this year, the committee’s goals are to have four pages of each PostScript Magazine devoted to well-being items and to work to inform our membership about supporting initiatives devoted to having the federal government create and implement a national single-payer pharmaceutical program. As a committee we will also be asking branches to consider aligning their committee structure to match this new committee so they can have input and provide advice to the committee.

Reported by: Terry Green