Treasures of Vietnam Package Tour and Cruise

BCRTA Member Exclusive Offer

Join Grace Wilson, First Vice-President of BCRTA on this
Exclusive BCRTA Group Departure to Vietnam!

ACT QUICKLY: This tour is limited to 32 passengers

Treasures of Vietnam | 12 Nights
$2399 per person

*Prices are CAD per person, based on 2 people sharing
(Single Pricing is available upon request)

Round Trip Airfare from Vancouver is approximately $1000 CAD including all taxes (Trip Merchant is happy to assist with your flights)

*Optional 3 Night Extension to Cambodia: $999 CAD pp based on 2 people sharing (includes internal flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap)


or phone Trip Merchant at 1-800-481-9739 ext 3


Trip Highlights:

• Full day sightseeing tour of Hanoi
• Hanoi Street Food tour
• Overnight Cruise of Halong Bay
• Sunrise Tai Chi in the middle of Halong Bay
• Boat Cruise of the Perfume River in Hue
• Walking tour of Ancient Hoi An
• Craft Beer Tasting in Ho Chi Minh City
• Mekong Delta
• Cu Chi Tunnels

What’s Included:

• All sightseeing and meals as per itinerary (21 meals)
• Two domestic flights within Vietnam (Hanoi to Hue and Danang to Ho Chi Minh City)
• All tipping for guides and drivers for entire trip
• All entrance fees as per itinerary
• Arrival and departure transfers
• Local English speaking guides in each destination
• Vietnamese Visa – Single Entry for up to 1 month, Visa letter, Visa Assistance upon arrival
• All transfers and transportation with air-conditioned vehicles
• 2 bottles of mineral water per person per day on bus on days of transfer and sightseeing only
• Government tax and service charge
Not Included:
International Airfare, Out of Country Medical Insurance and Cancellation Insurance



or phone Trip Merchant at 1-800-481-9739 ext 3

AGM 2019 Highlights

The BCRTA held its Annual General Meeting and Conference Oct 3-5 in Richmond. Here are some highlights:

Survey Shows Member Satisfaction

A survey of members made available online and in PostScript magazine drew a large response of over 1,500 submissions.

Members expressed a strong desire for BCRTA to continue to focus on defending pension security for members and seniors, and a strong satisfaction with the job BCRTA is doing in that area. Areas that could use growth include branch engagement and use of BCRTA Advantage programs. See some more details of the 2019 Survey here.


Dr. Art Hister had delegates “in stitches”

The 2019 Conference Keynote Address was given by Dr. Art Hister, who had the delegates “in stitches” with his humorous health advice. Amongst his many bon mots was an injunction to be careful with medical advice that applies to “the average person.” After all, Hister quipped, “the average person has one testicle and one ovary.”

Following Hister’s talk there was a time for delegates to engage in some physical activity and a presentation on de-cluttering your home.

President Gerry Tiede updated the delegates on the association’s progress in pursuit of its strategic plan, and gave some further insights into current news in pensions.

Membership awards were given to branches with the most member growth.

The Friday evening banquet included the inaugural PostScript Excellence Awards, an event celebrating the contributions of members to BCRTA’s flagship publication. The winners were cheered by attendees. Dancing and socializing concluded the evening.

Finances in Order

On AGM day Grace Wilson, 1st Vice President and Treasurer, reported on BCRTA’s financial results for the year ended June 30, 2019,  which had a bottom line better than budgeted. A representative from auditor KPMG confirmed a clean bill of health for the financial statements. A budget for the 2019-2020 year was approved, along with a setting of member fees to $42 per year effective the year following.

Motions From the Floor

Two motions were made from the floor of the AGM:

Motion: “To eliminate the use of single use plastics and Styrofoam in our BCRTA meetings provincially and in the BCRTA branches.”

Moved by Barb Henshall, Campbell River

Seconded by Bonni Roset, Campbell River

Amended:  by Rosalind Kellett, Vancouver

Amended motion: “That BCRTA strive to eliminate the use of single use plastics and Styrofoam in our BCRTA meetings provincially and in the BCRTA branches.”



Motion: “That BCRTA encourage the federal and provincial governments to move quickly to ban flavoured juices used in vaping devices.”

Moved by:  Val Windsor

Seconded by Pat Thiesen,  Delta


2019 Member Survey Highlights

A recent survey of BCRTA members showed a strong commitment of members to the central purposes of the association and high levels of satisfaction.

A good cross-section of members responded to the survey.

Defending the pensions of our members and seniors in Canada has been a central goal of the BCRTA. Members indicated strong satisfaction with the association’s activity in this area.

While many members are comfortable with electronic communications, the majority of members prefer to receive our flagship publication PostScript Magazine as a full-colour print publication. PostScript is very popular with our members.

Members were asked about their experience in receiving support from the BCRTA office, and feedback was very positive.

The survey showed that the majority of BCRTA members provide some form of unpaid work in their communities. Based on the responses, BCRTA estimates that our members give more than 238,000 hours each month providing care to others, in the mentoring of young people, in service on non-profits and many other forms of volunteering. When valued at a modest hourly rate of $20, we estimate that BCRTA members provide some $57 million dollars per year of unpaid service to their communities!

The survey asked our members to indicate how important different activities of the association were to them. Here are some of their responses:

BCRTA’s Board of Directors and branch executives will be using the results of the survey to better serve our members.

Thanks to all who participated!

Health Funding Agreements 2019

A Comparison of the Health Funding Agreements
Between the provinces and Territories and
The Federal Government

Jo-Ann Lauber, a member of the BCRTA and an active participant in our organization has provided a comprehensive analysis and comparison of the 13 different health agreements reached with the Justin Trudeau Liberal government between their election in 2015 and 2019.  This was Jo-Ann’s last major contribution to our and other retired teacher organizations before stepping back for a bit.  It is a comprehensive, well-researched, and documented report.  I recommend to all BCRTA members to read and review this report.

You can view the report by visiting

Terry Green
Chair, Well-being Committee

Have You Had Your Shot Yet?

Just a short note to remind you to get your annual “Flu” shot. As a senior, it is recommended that you get the High Dose Fluzone version of the vaccine (costs about $80), but it will not be available for distribution until later in November this year. That being the case, if you are one of the more vulnerable in our society, you shouldn’t wait for the High Dose, you should get the standard (and free) version of the flu vaccine from your own doctor or pharmacist who are giving the vaccinations now. It is better to get basic protection against the virus that is already here in BC. It not only protects you from getting sick but all those people you come in contact with – friends, family (especially grandkids), and your community will have protection, too.

While you are getting your flu vaccination, check to see if you should up-date other vaccinations – shingles, tetanus, and pneumonia.

Pat Thiesen
Well-Being Committee

Quick Facts About Long Term Care in 2019

In October 2019, the Office of the Senior’s Advocate released the 2019 Quick Facts Directory (QFD) that provides information on all publicly funded long-term care homes in BC.  The data indicates a significant increase in care hours over the past year bringing public facilities closer to the 3.36 hours of care per bed per day, particularly for bed space that is contracted from private facilities.  In addition to funded hours of care, the QFD reports on a series of quality indicators and new for this year are the release of inspection reports that shows a total of 765 inspections which found 1,103 infractions; 21% related to care and supervision, 19% to record keeping, and 13% due to staffing issues.  The demographic data indicates the average resident age is 85 and 5% of residents are under the age of 65.  Other highlights included:  food costs have increased by 3% and ranged from $5.59 t0 $19.88 per day, the length of stay has remained stable, overall care per diems increased by 4.6% ranging from $182.23 to $272.35 per bed per day, the rate of reportable incidents remained constant and has dropped from 17.5 to 15.8 over the past five years, and the substantiated complaints has dropped over the past year from 7.4 per 1,000 beds to 5.9.

A summary of the QFD is available at

To review the full report go online to the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate at and search British Columbia Long-Term Care Facilities Quick Facts Directory.

If you are considering moving to or have a family member who needs to be moved to an extended care facility I would recommend taking a bit of time and refer to the summary and to the full report on the public facility you might be considering.

Terry Green
Chair, Well-Being Committee

AGM 2019 Photo Gallery

BC Pensions Outperform Benchmarks

The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), which is the investment agent for several pension plans including the Teachers’ Pension Plan, had an annual combined pension return, net of costs, of 6.1 per cent for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. This return surpassed a combined market benchmark of 4.5 per cent and generated $2 billion in added value for BCI’s pension plan clients. The excess return was largely driven by the outperformance of its private assets, finishing the fiscal year with significant returns from both income generation and capital appreciation. Its managed net assets increased to $153.4 billion from the previous year, reflecting investment gains of $9 billion, partially offset by $1.2 billion of client distributions.

“Our results reflect solid performance from all asset classes despite the uncertainty and volatility in the markets,” says Gordon J. Fyfe, CEO/CIO of BCI. “These contributions signal the success of our strategic focus since 2015 of adopting an active, in-house approach that emphasizes private markets.

Note: this data refers to all pension plan returns and is not specific to the Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Source: Pension and Benefits Monitor News

PostScript Excellence Awards Recognize BCRTA Members

On October 4th, 2019, the BCRTA celebrated the inaugural PostScript Excellence Awards. Three BCRTA members were recognized for their contributions to PostScript Magazine.

Sheila Gair Award

First up was the Sheila Gair Award, named for PostScript’s long-time editor and columnist. This category recognizes the best Personal Experience Article.

The nominees were:

One Hand on the Wall by Leslie Davidson (Summer 2018)
Art of Ikebana by Lynda Grace Phillipsen (Fall 2018)
A New Course: Life Aboard SV Khamsin by Gillian West (Winter 2018)
Making a Difference for Moms by Kate Patten (Winter 2018)
Northern Adventure by Cheryl Hofweber (Winter 2018)
A Rediscovered Joy by Pat Thiesen (Spring 2019)
CO2 Challenge by Norman Gleadow (Spring 2019)

The winner was Pat Thiesen of Delta.

Pat Thiesen receives her PostScript Excellence Award from Tim Anderson

Best Travel Article

The PostScript Excellence Award for Best Travel Article had plenty of strong contenders. The nominees were:

Vamonos Guatemala by Bev Hiscock (Summer 2018)
Ocean House Haida Gwaii by David Wei and Suzanne Clouthier (Fall 2018)
Leaping Tiger Gorge by Ed Armstrong (Fall 2018)
Time to Get Smart (travel tips) by Lenora Klappe (Fall 2018)
Cuba: Mojitos and More by Gary Yakimow (Winter 2018)
Fez by Garry Litke (Spring 2019)

The winner was Garry Litke of Penticton.

Garry Litke receives his PostScript Excellence Award from JoAnn Lauber


Best Photo

A number of strong photos were published in the past year. Most were submitted as part of an article. Nominees for the PostScript Excellence Award for best Member photo were:

Ocean House Haida Gwaii by David Wei (Series ) (Fall 2018)
Leaping Tiger Gorge by Ed Armstrong (Fall 2018)
Havana by Gord Yakmow (Cover Winter 2018)
Tannery in Fez, Morocco by Garry Litke (Spring 2019)

Here are the photos:

Ocean House floating resort at Stads K’uns Gawga (Peel Inlet) Haida Gwaii by David Wei


Leaping Tiger Gorge by Ed Armstrong


Havana, by Gord Yakimow


Tannery at Fez, Morocco by Garry Litke

The winner was David Wei.

David Wei receives his PostScript Excellence Award from Charan Gill.

Congratulations to all our winners and thanks to all contributing BCRTA members who together make PostScript Magazine a unique treasure.

Dale Lauber Awarded Life Membership

A highlight of the 2019 BCRTA AGM was the recognition of Dale Lauber for his many years of service to the association. Lauber was named a Life Member by the assembly, the highest honour conferred upon BCRTA members.

BCRTA President Gerry Tiede noted that Dale served on the Teacher Pension Plan Board of Trustees for some 18 years, first in his role as a pensions specialist with the BC Teachers Federation, and later as a retiree himself. All this experience proved invaluable for Dale’s service on the BCRTA Pensions and Benefits committee for many years.

More recently, Dale served as BCRTA’s representative on the board of the Canadian Association of Retired Teachers (ACER-CART).

Dale also teamed up with JoAnn Lauber to champion an intense lobbying action to protest the federal government’s introduction of Bill C-27 which would erode the security of defined benefit pension plans. The campaign resulted in over fifty petitions being presented in the House of Commons, and Ottawa insiders reported that the constant attention to the issue was a factor in the government not pressing forward on their plans. The bill died on the order paper with the dissolution of Parliament, but Lauber warned the BCRTA that renewed attempts to undermine pension security are likely to made in the coming years.

Dale’s acuity for policy and numbers is complemented by a spirit of bonhomie, a ready laugh, and a wide network of contacts developed over the years.

Delegates stood and applauded as Dale walked to the platform and received a certificate. In his comments, Lauber remarked that now his home office will be “balanced” with a Life Membership certificate on the wall over his desk that will match the Life Member award over his wife JoAnn’s desk, an honour conferred upon JoAnn just last year. Among Dale’s plans for the coming year are joining the BCRTA group departure to Morocco and Portugal in February 2020.

Thank you, Dale, for your outstanding service to our organization and to retirees in British Columbia and across Canada!