How do cost-of-living increases to my pension work?

Every year the Teachers’ Pension Board of Trustees look at the September Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Canada. The September CPI measures inflation over the year – from September 2016 to September 2017. Then, if there is enough money in our Inflation Adjustment Account, the Trustees grant an increase to our pensions equal to the September CPI. The CPI for this past September was 1.6% and since our Inflation Adjustment Account is in a healthy position we expect that announcement from the Trustees soon.

The 2016 cost of living increase in our plan was 1%. The full cost of that increase was $106.2 million. When cost of living increases are made, those increases become part of our lifetime, guaranteed pension. That $106.2 million doesn’t just pay for the increased pensions during 2017, it pays for that 1% increase until each of the current retirees pass away.

This year’s cost of living increase will likely cost about $170 million and again, that will buy the 1.6% increase to all pensions currently in pay, guaranteed until each of us join the choir eternal.

Strategic Planning Session Held

The Board held a second, full-day strategic planning session this past week. We reviewed the process, compared our strategic plans with that of similar organizations, completed a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and began to review and update our goals. We were very capably led by Al Baliniuk, who besides being an expert on strategic planning, is the President of the Surrey RTA.

As often happens with this sort of exercise, we ran out of time before we ran out of work. So the Board is meeting again soon to complete the task. Watch for more communications and the details of our work near the end of January.

Thanks to those who submitted feedback on our plan. We continue to welcome your thoughts, ideas and question. Send them to Laurie@bcrta.ca.

Record Growth in Membership

BCRTA has set a record of 786 new members joining our association this year to date, thanks to our one-year free membership offer and our I-Pad contest. Johnson Insurance provided 10 I-Pad Mini tablets and all new members were entered in a draw to win one.

We congratulate these winners:

Shirley Wong, Surrey Branch
Laurie Faulkner, Sunshine Coast Branch
Vicki Hickenbotham, Coquitlam Branch
Doris Kuehn, South Okanagan Branch
Ann Kratzer, Surrey Branch
Stephen Fairbairn, Elk Valley Branch
Linda Wiens, Langley Branch
Jeannette Tabb, Delta Branch
Elliott, Kim D., Coquitlam Branch
Janice Gladish, Campbell River Branch

New members are welcome to join BCRTA and will receive free membership until September, 2018. However, the free I-Pad contest is now closed.

BCRTA thanks the iPad Giveaway sponsor:

COSCO – Promoting Healthy Living

Our BCRTA focus on well-being complements our affiliated group, the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of BC.  COSCO Health and Wellness Institute offers free PowerPoint presentations to senior groups in BC.  The brochure is available at www.coscoworkshops.org.  If you are interested in training as a presenter please contact Barb at barb.mikulec@bcrta.ca.

BCRTA Travel Offers from Collette

BCRTA Members Save 15% off a Collette Tour

Limited booking window is 12/26/17 – 1/13/18 for travel through 4/30/19

Applies to All Tours (excluding Icelands Magical Northern Lights, The Northern Lights of Finland and Alaska Discovery)

*Use offer code BOXINGDAY17 for 15% savings on your land tour. Offer is only available to BCRTA members by calling Collette directly at 800.468.5955 and is not available for online bookings. Offer valid on new retail bookings only made between 12/26/17 – 1/13/18 for travel between 12/26/17 – 4/30/19. Offers can expire earlier due to space or inventory availability. Space is limited and savings are only available on select departures. Space is on a first come, first served basis. Offers are not valid on group or existing bookings. Offer amounts vary by tour and departure date and is combinable with member benefits but not combinable with Hot Deal Offers during this booking window. Other restrictions may apply. Call 800.468.5955 for more details.

Preview Available Tours

Save on your next adventure with the BCRTA Members’ Advantage Program!

BCRTA Golden Star Awards

Your Pensions Targeted

BCRTA Social Concerns Committee Report
By Lynne Rodier, Social Concerns Committee Chairperson, McLeese Lake, BC

The major focus of the June 20th meeting of the Social Concerns Committee was to develop a strategy for protesting Bill-C 27. The Bill, if passed, allows Defined Benefit plans to potentially be converted to Target Pension Plans. As it currently stands, Bill C-27 has the potential to erode retirement security for millions of middle class Canadians who have Defined Benefit plan coverage and those who have accrued or earned Defined Benefit pension plans. JoAnn Lauber led the Social Concerns Committee (along with the Pensions Committee who joined us) to develop an action plan which includes telephone calls and letter writing. An Ad Hoc committee was formed as a result of the meeting and the social contacts networks will be asked to share information with the Branches. The committee encourages members to use a link provided by The Public Service Alliance of Canada which allows for a quick protest of the Bill—but hand-written letters are also encouraged.

http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=68&ea.campaign.id=60063

Also, at the June meeting, the merger of Social Concerns and Health and Housing Committees into a Wellbeing Committee was discussed. The draft responsibilities were reviewed and approved by the committee. The committee wishes the new committee well.

The committee wishes to thank JoAnn Lauber for all of her help and expertise with meeting its objectives, especially the one of promoting the “Declaration Concerning A National Health Care Strategy—For Seniors” developed by the Vancouver Round-table chaired by Pat Brady.

First Year Free and More

BCRTA Membership Committee Report
By Steve Bailey, Membership Committee Chairperson, Coquitlam, BC

Our “first year complimentary BCRTA membership” offer is in full swing. The re-designed membership application form is now available on-line. Hard copies are available from the BCRTA office. Later this summer the BCTF will be mailing this material to all known 2017 retirees.

Speaking of membership increases, we will be awarding branch growth membership awards again this year at September’s AGM. As a new twist, champagne awards will be replaced by chocolate and other goodies for the winning branch delegations to enjoy (and share)! Awards are based on August 31 branch membership figures.

Park ’N Fly, one of our Members’ Advantage Partners, has recently revised its Discount Savings program. Our YVR preferred rates are now $17.56 per day and $66.95 a week. See the BCRTA Park ’N Fly access code on our website. If you have trouble with access, please call the BCRTA office for assistance.

One of the goals of the Membership Committee is to develop a line of BCRTA merchandise.

Included in the Membership Committee budget for the coming year is money for a pilot project. Watch and see what develops.

Have a great summer. Remember to use your BCRTA membership card to garner savings through our BCRTA Members’ Advantage Program.

New Communications Initiatives

BCRTA Communications Committee Report
By Bob Taverner, Communications Committee Chairperson, Nanaimo, BC

After a series of sometimes intense meetings over this last year, reviewing all of the BCRTA’s methods of communicating with members, Communications Committee members were pleased to see most of their recommendations for change adopted by the Board. As a result, the makeup of the Communications Committee will be very different for 2017-2018. It will consist of ten members. There’ll be a chairperson and three subcommittees, each with three members.

One will be the PostScript subcommittee, which will consist of the PostScript editor and two BCRTA members chosen for their ability to offer helpful advice and assistance to the editor. If you believe yourself capable of filling one of these roles, because of your experience putting together newsletters, magazines, journals, etc., why not fill out a Committee Application form—one is included in the current, summer issue of PostScript—showing your interest in being on the Communications Committee.

A second subcommittee will be for the Liaison Priorities newsletter, and it too will consist of an editor and two assistants. Interested in being one of those assistants? Fill in the application form.

The third subcommittee will consist of an I.T. coordinator and two assistants. If you’ve had experience working on websites, are comfortable using two or more types of social media, and would like to assist our I.T. coordinator, fill in the form. We have an expert website consultant working for us over the next few months. Working with him could prove to be very informative, possibly even exciting, as we finally get the BCRTA website transformed into a professionally constructed access point for our members.

Note that the Board has now done away with the rule saying that members must be on two committees. Now you only need to be on one.

As June 20th was our last committee meeting of the 2016-2017 year, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our hard-working committee members for their interest and hard work: Sterling Campbell, Don Caskey, Charan Gill, Ken Kuhn, Annette O’Connor and Floyd Smith.

Excellence in Public Education

BCRTA Excellence in Public Education Committee Report

By Charan Gill, Excellence in Public Education Committee Chairperson, Richmond, BC

It seems incredible that another year has gone by so quickly. The Excellence in Public Education Committee has met all of the 2016-2017 objectives as set out by the Board of Directors. The highlight of every year is the presenting of the five BCRTA Golden Star Awards and the one BCRTA/BC Yukon Legion Golden Star Award to the public schools being honoured for the inter-generational work completed in their communities.

All ceremonies have taken place; full write-ups on each will be in future issues of PostScript and will be on the updated web page in the Fall. The application forms have been revised, so if you are talking with any of your active teaching colleagues who have programs involving students and seniors make sure they check out the website www.bcrta.ca for the newest information.

The Committee has also written official BCRTA policy language (Policy 1.4.1) regarding the funding of public education—and is also posted on the website. We hope everyone has a safe and relaxing summer — see you at the BCRTA Conference and AGM in September.