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.
BCRTA and Local Association Member
The Survey is Now Complete
Thank you to all who participated.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
Memberships and advertisement fees are non-refundable.
Annual Member fee covers period of July 1 to June 30.
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:
- 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.
- 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: email@example.com. 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
BCRTA Pension Advocacy Activity Regarding Bill C27
Contacts Made to January 23, 2018
- MP Cathy McLeod, Con. Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo: visit by 10 retired teachers + one letter
- MP Joyce Murray, Lib. Vancouver Quadra: 1 letter
- MP Fin Donnelly, NDP, Port Moody – Coquitlam: 4 contacts — 1 letter, 2 emails + 1 “contact”
- PM Justin Trudeau, PM, Lib. MP for Papineau: 6 letters and 1 email
- MP Ron McKinnon, Lib. Coquitlam –Port Coquitlam: 1 email
- MP Finance Minister Morneau, Lib. Toronto Centre: 10 letters and one face-to-face encounter
- MP Nathan Cullen, NDP. Skeena—Bulkley Valley: 2 emails and a letter, one letter contained 34 signatures; RTA met MP Cullen at an Open House.
- MP Elizabeth May, Green. Saanich—Gulf Islands: 6 letters and 1 email,
- MP Todd Doherty, Con. Cariboo–Prince George: 12 contacts: 9 “messages” and 4 letters
- MP Alistair McGregor, NDP. Cowichan — Malahat — Langford: 2 letters
- MP Andrew Scheer, Con. Leader of the Opp, MP for Regina—Qu’Appelle: 1 letter, 1 email
- MP Peter Julian, NDP. New Westminster, Burnaby: 3 letters
- MP Ken Hardie, Lib. Fleetwood –Port Kells: 1 email
- MP Jenny Kwan, NDP. Vancouver – Mt. Pleasant: 1 letter sent by email
- MP Don Albas, Con. Central Okanagan — Similkameen — Nicola: 1 long visit + a letter
- MP Kennedy Stewart, NDP. Burnaby South: 1 letter
- MP Tom Mulcair, NDP. Outremont: 1 letter + 1 email
- MP Mel Arnold, Con. North Okanagan- Shuswap: 2 visits, one involving several people
- MP Stephen Fuhr, Lib. Kelowna – Lake Country: 1 visit and 1 letter
- MP Jane Philpott, Lib. Markham – Stouffville: 2 letters
- MP Scott Brison. Lib. Kings-Hants, President of the Treasury Board: 1 letter
- MP Diane Watts: Presently Lib leadership candidate BC: 1 letter
- MP Carla Qualtrough. Lib. Delta: 1 call – several other calls had been received
- MP Patty Hajdu, Lib. Min. of Employ’t, Work Force Dev, Labour: Thunder Bay-Superior: 1 letter
- MP Sheila Malcolmson, NDP. Nanaimo Ladysmith: 4 emails + 1 letter
- MP Murray Rankin, NDP.Victoria: 2 letters
- MP Rachel Blaney, NDP. North Island –Powell River: 3 emails
- MP Gord Johns, NDP. Courtenay—Alberni: 4 written contacts
- Robyn Benson, National President Public Service Alliance of Canada: 1 email
- Wayne Stetski, NDP. Kootenay—Columbia: 2 contacts
- Richard Cannings, NDP. South Okanagan — West Kootenay: 2 contacts and several others
- Pamela Goldsmith, Lib. West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast- Sea to Sky Country. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade: 3 phone calls and 1 email.
- Dan Ruimy, Lib. Pitt Meadows — Maple Ridge: 1 contact (email)
- Gordie Hogg, Lib. South Surrey — White Rock: 1 contact (call) + email
- Ed Fast, Con. Abbotsford: 1 letter — reply received
- MLA Judy Darcy, New Westminster: 1 letter
- MLA Claire Trevina, Campbell River: 1 letter
- MLA Michelle Stillwell, Parksville—Qualicum: 1 letter
Approximately 110 BCRTA members have engaged in the Bill C27 Advocacy, most writing, calling, or visiting directly, others advocating in groups either visiting MPs or signing onto a common letter. In some cases, such as in the Wine Country Branch, estimates were made for this analysis when it was reported that “several members had contacted the ‘riding’ MP.” Contacts have been made with 34 MPs – including the Prime Minister and Finance Minister — and 3 MLAs.
Some contacts (4) were made by people other than BCRTA members; they asked that their action be noted in our file.
The following BC MPs, to our knowledge, have had no contact at all:
John Aldag, Lib. Cloverdale – Langley City
Randeep Sarai. Lib. Surrey Centre
Sukh Dhaliwal, Lib. Surrey – Newton
Hedy Fry, Lib. Vancouver Centre
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Lib. Vancouver-Granville
Don Davies. NDP. Vancouver- Kingsway
Harjit Sajjan, Lib. Vancouver South
Jati Sidhu. Lib. Mission – Matsqui – Fraser Canyon
Terry Beech. Lib. Burnaby North – Seymour
Mark Strahl, Con. Chilliwack –Hope
Mark Warawa, Con. Langley – Aldergrove
Jonathan Wilkinson, Lib. North Vancouver
Bob Zimmer, Con. Prince George – Peace River –Northern Rockies
Alice Wong. Con. Richmond Centre
Joe Peschisolido, Lib. Steveston –Richmond East
Garrison Randall, NDP. Esquimalt – Saanich – Sooke
The Well-Being committee will be providing four pages of articles for the spring edition of PostScript including one on the present disjointed BC Pharmacare program, one on senior recreation involving Pickle Ball, one on a personal experience showing the need for a will, and an article on the need to keep on top of eye health. The Well-Being Committee is also asking Branch Presidents, when practicable, to survey their membership to identify specific factors in their region that either help to support or are a detriment to the well-being of members and seniors. The Well-Being Committee deems it part of their role to advocate and advance areas that either need improvement or provide improvement to senior well-being.
As the Well-Being Committee we are also asking BCRTA members or people that our BCRTA members may know to contribute articles on Well-Being topics to us for publication in PostScript magazine.
The definition of well-being is a broad definition lending significant opportunities for our members and the readership of PostScript to assist our committee in our support of member health and well-being. The definition is as follows: Well-Being is defined as the interconnectedness of the physical, mental, material, emotional, social and spiritual health of the members of the BCRTA including the awareness of developments and issues relating to the well-being of retired teachers and seniors in general.
Contribution may be sent to:
Terry Green/Chair Well-Being Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or if you have questions please call at (250) 494 1406.
There are no upcoming events at this time.
BC Retired Teachers’ Association
550 West 6th Avenue, Suite 100
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4P2
Toll Free 1.877.683.2243