Keynote 2020: Isobel Mackenzie Seniors Advocate of BC

Presentation and Q & A from BCRTA’s 2020 Conference, Oct 2, 2020. Isobel Mackenzie focuses on the needs of seniors in care, outlining recent statistics from our province.

TOPIC: Long Term Care in BC

Isobel Mackenzie has over 20 years’ experience working with seniors in home care, licensed care, community services and volunteer services. Isobel led B.C.’s largest not-for-profit agency, serving over 6,000 seniors annually. In this work, Isobel led the implementation of a new model of dementia care that has become a national best practice, and led the first safety accreditation for homecare workers, among many other accomplishments. Isobel has been widely recognized for her work and was named B.C. CEO of the Year for the not-for-profit sector and nominated as a Provincial Health Care Hero.

Keynote 2020: Dr. Roger Wong

This presentation and Q & A were part of BCRTA’s 2020 Conference on October 2, 2020.

TOPIC: Older Adults During COVID-19: Knowledge Translation in Pandemic

Dr. Roger Wong is Vice Dean (Education) in the Faculty of Medicine, UBC, a geriatrics specialist doctor, clinical professor of geriatric medicine, the 13th President of the Canadian Geriatrics Society, and a TEDx speaker. Dr. Wong is an internationally-recognized leader in elder care and lectures widely around the world. In addition to him many other responsibilities, he is better known to our members for his regular column on health in BCRTA’s PostScript magazine.

Success for Online 2020 Conference and AGM

BCRTA Online Conference and AGM Well-received

On October 2 and 3, BCRTA hosted its first online conference and AGM. The annual meeting weekend is a highlight of the BCRTA calendar and great effort was made to replicate some of the camaraderie that we experience at in-person meetings. An extensive package was sent out to delegates, with the usual reports and instructions, but also technical support and suggestions for how to create a feeling of connection. Dozens of delegates sent in photos of themselves wearing one of this year’s mementos, a BCRTA/Johnson scarf.

Conference moderator Arnie Lambert arranged a line-up of top-notch keynote speakers for this year’s conference, with a central theme of health. Keynote speakers were BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie and two UBC professors, Dr. Steve Morgan and Dr. Roger Wong. In this issue of Connections you will see several reports on the day’s presentations, with links to view the videos.

The primary concern for the Oct. 3 AGM was to allow delegates to fully review and vote on the standard business items that make up the annual meeting. The AGM kicked off right on time with outgoing President Gerry Tiede welcoming a full roster of delegates. The bulk of the meeting was chaired by long-time BCRTA luminary Pat Brady – a familiar and trusted voice who kept things moving with his customary good humour. Apart from one or two delegates who experienced technical challenges, delegates were able to log into the meeting and take part.

An evaluation survey completed by the majority of delegates showed very high levels of satisfaction with the overall structure of the meeting and especially the critical governance functions. A whopping 94% of delegates gave the secure online voting procedures the highest possible marks for ease of use.

Other features of the Conference Day included the Golden Star Awards, Branch Membership Awards and BCRTA’s PostScript Excellence Awards.

Months of planning and technical set-up had produced an intense but very informative and entertaining two days, and our association had properly met our responsibility to have members meet for our Annual General Meeting. In the face of significant disruption, our association once again asserted its adaptable goodwill.

Well done, everyone!

Here are some snapshots from the two days:


On the Conference Day, delegates showed off the BCRTA/Johnson scarves created for the event.

Some Delegate Comments

  • I really enjoyed the online conference. It was organized very well and the moderation of the segments was excellent. I hope there are more online events like this one.
  • Financial report was excellent. The Postscript awards interviews were a highlight.
  • Clarity of concerns, discussions, and decisions were excellent!
  • That took a great deal of organizing and we thank you.
  • Educated people know how to work together yet stay apart!!
  • Very well done. Even the glitches were interesting to watch.
  • Really good all round. I sure missed meeting up with other delegates but wearing pj’s was a joy.
  • It was very well done. I missed the people contact and the food at my house was not as good as conference food.
  • I was impressed with the ease of the voting procedure.
  • Very well-organized and informative.
  • Excellent job by Arnie and award presenters.
  • Thought the whole thing was good – was better than I anticipated.
  • AGM showed excellent team work and displayed a high standard of effort…..just what the BCRTA is all about.

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.

Clough Awarded Life Membership

Past President Joins Exclusive Group

As she completed her two year term as Past President on the BCRTA board, there was one final duty for Patricia Clough at the BCRTA AGM. That was to accept an exclusive honour from the meeting delegates, granting her Life Membership in the association. Only a handful of people have received this honour, one of them being meeting chair Pat Brady, who gave Patricia a cheerful welcome to that small group.

In his remarks leading up to the motion to grant Patricia Clough this honour, outgoing President Gerry Tiede highlighted the significant accomplishments of our association’s recent strategic initiatives, a process begun by Clough when she first became president. Tiede contrasted the state of affairs of the operations of the association at the beginning of that process to the present, listing a number of accomplishments and the engagement of the leadership group. He highlighted the fact that BCRTA is now viewed by many sister organizations as a leading example of effective organizational change, and that we now receive many requests for advice and consultation from other groups.

In accepting her award, Patricia thanked the meeting and the board for the honour. She remarked that it felt like a completion of her earlier work in the Teachers’ Federation, where she also received a Life Membership. Together these two honours are markers of her lifelong ambition to help teachers.


Golden Star Awards BCRTA Conference 2020

Excellence in Public Education Committee Chair Caroline Malm created a presentation for the 2020 BCRTA Conference celebrating this year’s winners of the Golden Star Awards.

This year’s winners hail from Thetis Island Elementary School and Tecumseh Elementary School. Feature articles on the winners will appear in the Winter 2020 PostScript Magazine.

View the 2020 Golden Star Awards Presentation here:


PostScript Excellence Awards – BCRTA Conference 2020

On October 2, BCRTA celebrated contributors to PostScript Magazine with the 2020 PostScript Magazine Awards.

Executive Director Tim Anderson made the presentations and had a brief conversation with each of the winners about their contribution.

Here is a complete list of nominees and winners:

Best Personal Experience Article (Sheila Gair Award)


“Paddles Up” by Cheryl Halstead, Summer 2019
“Moving to a Plant-based Diet” by Norman and Julie Gleadow, Fall 2019
“Graduation Day” by Ralph Martin, Fall 2019
“Book review, Bolder” by Lynda Grace Phillipsen, Winter 2019
“Time for Uke” by Lynn Hodge, Winter 2019
“Finding the Fourth” by David Sackville, Winter 2019
“Test Those Ears” by Terry Green, Spring 2020

Winner: David Sackville

Best Travel Article


“Sahara by Camel” by Garry Litke, Summer 2019
“Albania’s Ancient Roads” by Roberta Huber, Summer 2019
“Ladakh: Beacon at the Top of the World” by David Simms, Summer 2019
“Lisbon: Home of Fado” by Gord Yakimow, Fall 2019
“Routes des Vins” by Lorrie Williams, Fall 2019
“On the Chemin de St. Jacques” by Christine Sanders, Winter 2019
“L’Viv” by Gord Yakimow, Spring 2020

Winner: Christine Sanders

Best Artwork or Photograph


Ladakh series by David Simms, Summer 2019
Morocco Series by Garry Litke, Summer 2019
Lisbon: Home of Fado by Gord Yakimow, Fall 2019
Routes des Vins by Lorrie Williams, Fall 2019
Cover, Zoe in the forest by Kathryn Bourdon, Fall 2019
Paintings by Lyn Tretiak, Winter 2019
Cover, Boundary Bay by Peter Scurr, Winter 2019
Painting and sketches by Leonard Shane, Spring 2020
Photos, including cover by Lon Smith, Spring 2020


Kathryn Bourdon
Lorrie Williams

Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to our many contributors!


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:

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.