BC Retired Teachers message of support for active teachers

Message of Support for Active Teachers During the Pandemic

A special message of support to active school staff from Gerry Tiede, President of the BC Retired Teacher’s Association:

Dear Teachers, Administrators and Support Staff across British Columbia,

On April 22, the Executive of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association took time to reflect on the unprecedented circumstances faced by our friends and active colleagues in the school system.

I am writing on behalf of our 17,000 members to express our concern for your well-being and to express our confidence in all of you. We know that however challenging it is to work with students in the new ways that the COVID-19 pandemic demands, that you bring the characteristics always shown by teachers, support staff and school and district administrators. When faced with challenges great or small, you have always stepped forward to meet the needs of students through creative problem-solving and good-will. Your students know it now more than ever, and so do we.

We are so very proud to be part of the same history and fraternity as you. Although we are required to be physically separated right now, we want you to know that we are cheering you on from the sidelines!

We wish you good health. Your work is appreciated by your retired colleagues.

Thank you and stay well,

Gerry Tiede
BC Retired Teachers’ Association


Benefits of BCRTA Membership

As a retired teacher/administrator member of the BCRTA, I have been able to participate in many valuable and rewarding opportunities at both the provincial and local RTA levels.

I have been a member at the Provincial and local RTA since my retirement in 2007. I hold an executive position in my RTA and have been on two provincial committees for the past three years. It has been my hope that by doing this that I am contributing to the welfare and betterment of all provincial members. The friendships that I have formed through both the provincial committees and local association have resulted in lifelong connections.

My local branch has as its aim to “live for today and tomorrow, not yesterday.” Our past gives each member a common history but it is not our driver. My local branch meets four times a year for about 90 minutes. If there should be important provincial information it is shared at that time or via email or snail mail throughout the year. We often have a guest speaker to provide information on topics that have been suggested by members. We have also been fortunate to send two local members to the Provincial RTA and AGM each Fall. This keeps us connected in positive ways.

I would encourage all retired educators to open the door to the benefits of becoming a member of BCRTA and their local RTA if they are fortunate to have one. I also recommend that you look at the BCRTA website and see the many things available to active members. I recently used the Endless Savings and More App and saved enough money to pay for my provincial and local membership to the BCRTA for the coming year. It is reassuring to have an executive at the provincial level that supports our pension, our medical and dental benefits, and other opportunities that allow us to age with dignity.

Elaine Thompson
BCRTA and Local Association Member

BCRTA Member Survey 2019

The Survey is Now Complete

Thank you to all who participated.

CUSO International

CUSO International is currently seeking Education Assistants for the year 2018-19 who will be placed in various schools in the Northwest territories with the objective to improve education outcomes for Indigenous children and youth. We cover the costs of flights, accommodation, medical, training, and provide a monthly stipend.

See a full description of the placement here.

CUSO International also has other opportunities in Education in 7 countries around the world.

Partner Mailing Update

One of the benefits of belonging to BCRTA is access to the Member Advantage program. From time to time members receive mailed offers from Advantage partners. We are working to improve this program.

Here are some answers to questions we have had about the mailings.

1. Mailing Lists and “Who Sent This?”

We will be moving to more clear labelling on envelopes, to indicate that this is a mailing generated as a benefit of membership, with offers for services from Members’ Advantage Partners. Instead of getting one offer, we may bundle them together as one mailing. We follow up with partners to gauge the effectiveness of mailings. We want members to receive offers that are relevant and useful.

Your information is always protected. Advantage partner firms are not given access to your information. We have an arrangement where the Advantage partner forward their ad to a professional “Mailing House” which prints the material, uses the mailing list that BCRTA manages, and sends the finished pieces through the mail. The only way the Advantage Partner learns about you and your details is if you choose to respond. Members can be assured that their privacy is always protected.

We are currently reviewing the language of all mailing materials for tone and clarity, and the packaging of the mailing. We want to make sure members understand clearly what the offer is, and the offer is the best it can be. The content will clearly state the nature of our relationship with the Advantage Partner.

Advantage Partners pay the cost of the mailing.

2. Why Bother Mailing?

Our Members’ Advantage Partner programs offer members good deals on products and services, and this is a benefit of membership valued by many. We have received a handful of emails expressing concerns about mailings, but many more members have responded positively, expressing interest in exploring the offerings. Positive responses outweight negative responses by a factor of twenty to one.

Our Advantage partnerships provide members with discount and preferred offers, and some send a portion of your purchases to support the work at BCRTA. You can see the numbers in each annual report. It amounts to many thousands of dollars each year. These funds help keep your annual membership fees at a very reasonable level.

So there are plenty of positive reasons to provide this service to the members who want it. But that doesn’t invalidate the concerns of those who prefer to not receive mailings, and we want to respect all members’ wishes. So that leads us to the next point.

3. How Do I Make it Stop?

We are developing some more detailed information to go into future mailings that explain the program and will offer members an easy way to shut off all future mailings of this kind. If you are not interested in getting these promotion pieces, we don’t want to bother you with them.

You can take action now, if you like. If you wish to not receive any mailings, please email office@bcrta.ca and simply say “Do not send me any further partner promotional mailings.” Please include your name and address so we can be sure to take you off the mailing list.

4. The Bottom Line

The BCRTA values your membership in our association and we value your direct and honest feedback about your experience. What sort of offers are helpful to you? Let us know. Your feedback helps us do better and be better. We measure “better” by the quality of our member experience. We want your experience to be the best it can be, and we trust that the steps we are undertaking will help do that.

For-Profit Health Care: A Fact Sheet

Produced by the Canadian Health Coalition

Medicare has existed in Canada for 50 years guaranteeing access to physicians and hospital services regardless of a person’s ability to pay. In recent years, Canada has experienced creeping privatization and for-profit delivery of health care services which has led to the illegal billing of patients, lower quality of care, unnecessary medical tests, and pressure on patients to buy.

  • Two reports in 2017 showed for-profit clinics across the country are illegally billing patients or misleading them into thinking they have to pay for publicly covered services.
  • Boutique clinics are common in major urban settings in Canada.  They offer “executive” services which have been shown to lead to unnecessary medical tests which may do more harm than good.
  • A doctor in British Columbia has taken his province to court arguing for the right of physicians to charge both the public system and the patient for the same procedure. He also argues there should be no cap on private fees for health care so doctors can charge whatever the market will bear.

88 private clinics across Canada have been illegally billing patients.
Ontario Health Coalition, 2017

  • For-profit diagnostic imaging centres have been established in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  Although they provide fewer images than the new public MRIs, the provincial governments promote then as an “innovation” in health care delivery.
  • The for-profit plasma industry has opened clinics in 2 provinces in Canada, with plans to open many more.  They set up in vulnerable communities and pay people for their blood plasma and then sell it on the international market.
  • For years patients in Quebec were charged for services such as eye drops (up to $300), inserting an IUD (up to $200), and instruments and medication for a colonoscopy ($500)

The Federal Government’s Role and Responsibility

The federal government is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Canada Health Act (Act). All provinces and territories must provide medically necessary heath care services that are publicly administered, universal, comprehensive, accessible, portable and delivered without user fees or extra billing.

To enforce the Act, the federal government can withhold health transfer money from offending provinces and territories.  However, in the recent years, the federal government has chosen to turn a blind eye.

Content from the Canadian Health Coalition, research provided by JoAnn Lauber

Frequently Asked Questions

Green Shield Plan Questions

The BCRTA office staff are spending quite a bit of time dealing with questions and issues around Green Shield Canada (GSC) – the Extended Health Benefit provider for members in the Teachers’ Pension Plan. The move to Green Shield was a decision of the Teachers’ Pension Board of Trustees – not the BCRTA. The decision was made following an open competition; other insurance companies were invited to submit proposals and GSC won the competition. The BCRTA plays no role in this as we have no direct contractual relationship with GSC.

Please share this information:

  1. The GSC plan is like the former Blue Cross plan both in design and service. GSC has worked to ensure affordability by not increasing premiums this year and has also worked to be more precise, strict and consistent in interpreting the agreement and in accepting or denying claims.
  2. If a problem occurs:

a) Contact Green Shield directly and try to solve the problem with an agent of GSC.

b) If not satisfied escalate your demands by asking to speak to a supervisor. To request an escalation in service call toll free 1-888-711-1119 Mon. to Fri. 5:30am to 5:30pm or email: customer.service@greenshield.ca. Be specific.

c) If still not satisfied, access Green Shield’s Customer Complaint Resolution process at the following URL: http://www.greenshield.ca/en-ca/get-in-touch/we-re-happy-if-you-re-happy
You may also write the Teachers’ Pension Board. TPBT@pensionsbc.ca