BCRTA looks at Universal Pharmacare in Canada

There has been an increasingly comprehensive discussion in Canada regarding a move to establish a universal, single-payer, Pharmacare plan in Canada. In late 2016 the Parliamentary Budget officer put out a report indicating there would be substantial savings over the long term in having such a program. A more recent report by the House of Commons Committee on Health has also looked favourably on such an option for Canadians and Dr. Eric Haskins was appointed to develop an implementation plan for the federal government.

The Broadbent Institute has also produced a report written by Greg Marchildon and Andrew Jackson. This report is clear and succinct and easily read and understood. The report outlines the history of working towards a national and universal Pharmacare program that began in the mid-twentieth century and has continued to be advanced to the present day. The report outlines the history of Pharmacare, the status of the hodgepodge of public and private plans operated at the provincial and territorial levels, and discusses two approaches to providing a national and universal Pharmacare program. One option is to have the federal government oversee through legislation, national standards, and funding to the provinces and territories who would assure a universal program in their jurisdiction. The other is to have the federal government finance, administer, and regulate a national single-payer program for all of Canada. The report then discusses their preference for the second option.

The question of a universal, single-payer, pharmacare program is becoming much more of a necessity than a topic of discussion as the present status of prescription medications is seeing significant cost increases for individual Canadians, the recognition that Canadians cannot afford their prescription medications, and the ever increasing costs of private health benefit plan premiums for those fortunate enough to be able to afford such a plan. The Well-Being Committee of the BCRTA is presently preparing a petition to present to members and others in support of a national universal and single-payer pharmacare plan and would encourage your support of our efforts by reading the excellent report from the Broadbent Institute.

Terry Green
Chair – BCRTA Well-Being Committee

HERITAGE NEWS: BCRTA HISTORY PROJECT

The Heritage Committee is preparing a BCRTA history for the years 2000 to the present. We would appreciate any pictures or news stories you have in your files. Some suggested items are pictures of speakers at our AGMs, installation of plaques, Golden Apple Awards, special events in your branch. Some items in the history to 1999 came from branch newsletters. Items can be e-mailed or sent as hard copy. If you want hard copies returned, be sure to label them or send instructions. Send materials to:

janice.androsoff@bcrta.ca

or

Janice Androsoff, Heritage Chair
c/o BCRTA
550 West 6th Avenue, Suite 100
Vancouver, BC, V5Z 4P2

Video Initiative from Communications

The Communications Committee, like all our Board committees, is reviewing its role and the appropriate Policy and Procedure sections of the BCRTA Handbook. This is an opportunity to review and remind ourselves of the work we do as volunteers for the BCRTA, and update sections of the Handbook as the organization continues to grow. As a member-led organization with staff, we balance roles and responsibilities to reflect this.

The Committee is pleased to report that readership of both PostScript and Connections continues to grow. Members are, as always, encouraged to submit articles/ideas/suggestions via email either at postscript@bcrta.ca or connections@bcrta.ca

The IT sub-committee with the help of BCTF production staff had a successful round of video interviews with Directors and with members of a number of BCRTA Committees. Sterling Campbell and Dave Scott were wonderful interviewers, putting us at ease and making the experience both interesting and exciting. The questions ranged from why we value the BCRTA, to why retirees should join the BCRTA, to what we personally are doing to have a successful retirement. This material will be used in our Pension Workshops and to promote ourselves to retired educators around BC.

With this early success, it may be that new careers are opening up for some of our group! Interviews with our Board and special guests will continue throughout the coming year.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Charan Gill
Chair, Communications Committee

Revolutionary Thoughts for Retirees and Seniors

At different stages of our lives there are many pressures that we face and this is true for those of us on our journey as seniors and retirees. Here are a couple thoughts you might wish to reflect on. They may be counter-intuitive.

Don’t Be Frugal.

It’s time to use the money you have saved up. Use it and enjoy it. Don’t just keep it for those who have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Also remember, there is nothing more dangerous than other people with big ideas for your hard-earned capital. So heed this warning: This is usually a bad time for risky investments even if they seem wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries. This is a time for you to enjoy some peace, quiet, and enjoyment out life.

Your Kids Need Your Love, Not Your Money.

Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and/or grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter, and support. The responsibility is now for them to take flight and fly for themselves.

Life is Serious Business. Until You Have Some Fun.

Who knows, by watching you, your kids might learn a few things about self-care in the senior years!

BCRTA Well-Being Committee

Finance Updates January 2019

Between the end of November and the end of January we signed up 91 new members.

An executive review of our PST expenses showed that we were paying the provincial tax on the printing of our publications, though such spending is PST-exempt. Office staff combed through the last four years of printing bills, submitted a claim and in January the BCRTA received a refund cheque from the BC Minister of Finance for $16,500.

The Board has authorized the purchase of some new computer equipment, as our existing systems have completed their depreciation cycle, and in some cases were no longer supported. The need for reliability in our data and backup systems made the purchase a number one priority. A new backup system is now in place. We are also pleased to inform you that we can now accept payments using credit cards in person and by phone.

Also on the technology and systems front, the BCRTA is working with our auditor to identify and implement accounting software solutions that will meet the needs of our changing organization.

In every household, there comes a time when the accumulation of material becomes such that there is a need to purge. That time arrived in the BCRTA photocopy room in November and continues. Apart from “just house cleaning” the necessity of rearranging office space was imperative. The executive director needs an office and board members will benefit from a discrete work/meeting space. To that end the Finance Committee recommended and the Board agreed to spend up to $20,000 from the Growth and Expansion Fund for renovations to our existing office space and up to $10,000 for furniture/fixtures from the Capital Fund. Authorization, labour and timelines for this renovation are under the jurisdiction of the BCTF as they own the building.

Finally, we continue to seek efficiency in spending and investing. One GIC matures in February and a decision has been made to cash that in and hold it in our high interest (1.85%) cash account until needed.

Grace Wilson
1st VP and Treasurer

TRIP MERCHANT – personalized travel advice and offers

We are pleased to introduce a new BCRTA travel website by Trip Merchant.

This website is password protected for members only access.

Click on this link https://bcrta.tripmerchant.ca/

Once you click on it, you will have to enter your password, which is BCRTATM18

Helpful Hint: If your computer asks you if you want to save your password, select “yes” so that you don’t have to re-enter your password each time.

Trip Merchant has negotiated special membership savings directly with travel suppliers, some as much as a 30% savings on travel experiences. Trip Merchant works with a wide variety of travel suppliers that represent different travel styles in order to accommodate many traveler preferences.

You will see these “Travel Styles” in two different places in the top menu bar and also halfway down the home page.

These Travel Styles include:

  • Ocean Cruises
  • River Cruises
  • Guided Tours
  • Adventure & Active Travel
  • African Safaris
  • Rail Journeys
  • Solo Travel (no single supplements for single travelers)
  • Long Stay Vacations
  • and more..

Search Bar Function: Members are able to search using the search bar on the home page – titled “Search For Your Bucket List Experience” should you want to be more specific on what you’re looking for.

How to Make a Booking Request? – Once you find the travel product you’re interested in, simply click on it and it will open up to a product page that will feature a summary of the travel product selected (this will include the offer, pricing, inclusions, highlights and dates available, member benefit). We also have other tabs which are; itinerary, map, gallery of images, and videos specific to that travel product and/or destination.

To receive a quote based on your requested departure and air gateway, call the number provided or simply click on the “Request a Quote” button and put in your details. Once you click submit, it will automatically go to a travel specialist for that request and they will get back to you within 24 hours during the work week. These special offers cannot be taken and used to book with any other travel agent. It all must be done through this site and through the supplier partners featured. Otherwise, the savings will not apply, and the Loyalty Program noted below will not be applicable for you to earn travel dollars over and above these savings.

Loyalty Program – If you decide to make a booking. Please ensure you send an email with your proof of purchase to loyalty@tripmerchant.com. They will then activate your Loyalty Account, enabling you to register. Information about the Loyalty Account can be found by clicking on the “Member Benefits” tab in the top menu panel and selecting in the drop down “Loyalty Program”. All the benefits and how it works will be explained in that section of the travel site. You will only be able to enroll after once you have made your first booking, and Trip Merchant has added your email address to the back end of the system allowing you to register. These rewards enable you to accumulate travel dollars to use for redemption on future travel experiences.

Sharing Travel Experiences – When you go on a trip and you want to share a travel experience with other members, go to “Member Benefits” tab in the top menu panel and select “Member Experiences” in the drop down. Trip Merchant will begin to publish these as they receive them from members that travel. We look forward to seeing your travel stories.

Travel Tips and News: Keep up to date in the world of travel. In this section they will have travel tips/blogs on different experiences and destinations, as well as the latest travel industry news and regulations.

Why Trip Merchant? You can read more about “Why Trip Merchant”, by going to the “Member Benefits” tab in top menu panel and click the drop-down menu to select “Why Trip Merchant”.

Friends and Family – Offers available on this site are extended to your friends and family.

Single Travelers – Trip Merchant recognizes the challenges that single travelers are often penalized by having to pay the single supplement. Trip Merchant has a travel style titled “Solo Travel”, here is where departures are featured that waive the single supplement cost. Also, in the “Group Departures” section all the programs that are shown below the title “Featured Group Departures” have an option when you select the “Register Now” on your selected trip that “if you’re single and looking for a traveling companion”, Trip Merchant will attempt to match you up with somebody from your association of the same gender that is also a single looking for a share.

Sign Up Today for Trip Merchant’s twice monthly newsletter directly on the site, so that you can be notified of group departures, new deals, live online travel presentations, last minute offers and other travel news to keep you up to date!

Visit https://bcrta.tripmerchant.ca/ and use the password BCRTATM18

National Petition for Pension Security Launched by ACER-CART

The Canadian Association of Retired Teachers (ACER-CART) has posted an e-petition on the House of Commons petition site to encourage government to increase the security of retirement income. The petition seeks to minimize attempts to cause seniors to surrender rights to their earned pensions, and also to provide insurance for pensioners when their failed employers cannot or will not fulfill the promises they made.

As part of this initiative, ACER-CART has made information available on the website pensionsecurity.ca which provides the wording of the petition and links to sign it.

The rationale for this new petition:

  • The number of defined benefit pension plans in Canada have declined even though they are the most efficient and secure way to fund retirement income.
  • The introduction of Target Benefit plans, whereby members surrender their secure defined pension benefits, would transfer the risk to plan members, which inevitably reduces pension payments to vulnerable seniors.
  • Private sector pension plans members, like Sears Canada employees, suffer when a business closes because the pension plan promises are at the lowest priority, behind investors, management bonuses and corporate profits.

This petition asks government to affirm the principle that pension promises cannot be broken for any service that has already been earned.  It also asks government to protect the pensions of retirees by providing an insurance plan, paid for by pension plans, that would guarantee the benefits of retirees if their plan closes.

See the wording of the petition.

You may participate in this e-petition even if you have already participated in previous paper petitions concerning Target Pension Plans as this petition language is different.

Flash Sale – France, Spain & Portugal – Limited Time

Don’t blink or you’ll miss the savings!

 

From February 11-19, 2019 you can take advantage of Collette’s incredible 12% off sale on tours to Spain, Portugal & France.

 

Choose from 17 tours and over 100 individual departures.

Which adventure will you choose?

 

Sunny Portugal

  • From $2,111 pp*
  • 10 Days
  • 14 Meals

Travel Portugal’s dramatic shoreline, meandering cobblestone streets, oceanfront promenades and quaint bays.

 

Spain’s Costa del Sol & the Portuguese Riviera

  • From $3,449 pp*
  • 13 Days
  • 17 Meals

Enjoy a splendid trip to the Iberian Peninsula. From Madrid to Seville to Lisbon to peaceful stays on the Mediterranean, join us on this cultural tour.

 

Spotlight on Paris

  • From $2,463 pp*
  • 7 Days
  • 7 Meals

Revel in the allure of Paris on this spectacular tour which includes its spectacular sights, history, architecture, art, and – of course – fine food and wine.

 

Savings end 2/19/19

Save 12% on tours to Spain, Portugal, & France

For reservations or more information, call Collette at 844-310-5258  or contact your local travel professional.

Use offer code BCRTASAVE

Let them now you are an BCRTA member and save an additional $100 per person* on top of this already incredible deal!

 

Visit collette.com/bcrta to view all 160 tours.

 

*Use offer code to save 12 percent on land portion of specified tour departures to Spain, Portugal and France. Offer valid on bookings made 2/11/19- 2/19/19. Offers are not valid on group or existing bookings, or combinable with any other offer, excluding member benefits. Other restrictions may apply. Offer may be withdrawn at any time. Call for details.

TPP announces 2.2% increase for 2019

The BC Teachers’ Pension Plan has announced a 2.2% cost of living increase for 2019. Cost of living increases are not guaranteed, but once received they establish a new baseline for pensions.

To see a recent history of annual increases, go to https://tpp.pensionsbc.ca/what-cost-of-living-adjustments-have-been-granted.

The pension payment dates for 2019 have been set as follows:

January 30
February 27
March 28
April 29

May 30
June 27
July 30
August 29

September 27
October 30
November 28
December 23

 

The BCRTA Pensions and Benefits Committee recently did an in-depth analysis of cost of living adjustments for BC retired teachers, and how teachers in BC fare compared to other provinces. You can view that report here.

10% Off ALL* Collette Tours

Now is your chance to save big during Collette’s New Year’s Sale! When you book your 2019 trip between January 2 and January 14, you’ll get 10% off any* tour. This sale applies to our family of brands, including the new Explorations experience!

Start your New Year off right and book your 2019 getaway now!

For more information call 844-310-5258, visit collette.com/bcrta or contact your travel professional.

Use offer code BCRTASAVE and save an additional $100 for being a BCRTA member!

Terms & Conditions:
*Use offer code to save 10 percent on the land portion of all tours (EXCLUDING British Landscapes, Magical Rhine & Moselle River Cruise, Alaska Discovery, Northern Lights of Finland, Greenland & Iceland, Journey to Antarctica, Adventure to Antarctica and ALL Oberammergau Passion Play tours). Offer valid on bookings made 02/01/2019 – 14/01/2019 for departures 1/1/19-30/04/20. Offers are not valid on group or existing bookings, or combinable with any other offer, excluding member benefits. Sale not valid on online reservations; call to reserve. Other restrictions may apply. Call for details.