CSRA Newsletter December 2022
Newsletter December 2022
News from Your CUPE Staff Retirees Association
Seasons Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Your CSRA Executive Committee and Board held a transitional meeting in late November to wrap up the current term and get ready for the new one that begins January 1, 2023. Our outgoing treasurer, Barry Thorsteinson handed the books over to Leanne MacMillan. Many thanks to Barry and also to Andrew Huculak for standing for election as well as for his work over the years as a chapter representative. We also said thank you and good-bye to Brian Farewell and Timon Azmier, who continues as retiree representative for EAP.
Following this year’s elections, we had a full slate except for Newfoundland and Labrador. After consultation with the handful of members in that province, the executive voted to combine it with Nova Scotia as was done some time ago with New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
We love it when a simple action gets results. We wrote recently to the National Officers to address several issues of concern. One that we have raised several times is whether recent eligible retirees who were unable to attend their ‘final’ national convention will be invited to attend at Quebec City in 2023.
The answer is yes. The National Officers have responded that, “This has been a courtesy extended by the National President and National Secretary-Treasurer over the years and it is one that we are planning on continuing.”
Did you know that as a retiree you are eligible for assistance from CUPE’s Employee Assistance Program? If not, we’re sure you’re not alone. We informed the national officers about an ongoing concern that EAP communications do not reach all retirees directly. Whenever we are asked, CSRA sends out EAP information but it only gets to the roughly two-thirds who are members of the association. We believe it is CUPE’s responsibility to inform retirees about the benefits they are entitled to. We also had a virtual meeting in November with the EAP coordinator to raise this issue.
Again, there’s good news. EAP staff are working with CUPE IT so that in the new year all staff retirees will have access to CUPE Connect, the internal network, for EAP purposes. They are also working with Pensions to create an email list for direct communication with retirees.
CSRA is affiliated to the National Pensioners Federation, which is also a volunteer organization. NPF has its hands full with the number of issues facing seniors and pensioners and is in desperate need of volunteers, especially to help with communications and committees. If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, let us know and we’ll connect you with NPF.
A key piece of legislation designed to protect workers with defined benefit pension plans in the case of employer bankruptcy has finally passed the House of Commons with all party support. Bill C-228 is before the Senate after years of hard work by the Canadian Federation of Pensioners but it still needs a push from all of us to make it law. You can find more information and send a message to the Senate at pensioners.ca.
Earlier in the fall, Pat and Barry also attended the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) virtual convention where long-term care was a key concern.
Benefit questions? Change of address?
For matters related to benefits, the contact at CUPE National Office is Fanie Corriveau-Leclerc, email@example.com, 613-237-1590. Changes of address and other personal information should be directed to Nathalie Lavictoire firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-212-4251 and all pension-related matters should be directed to Louise Payette email@example.com 613-212-4302.
CUPE EMPLOYEES PENSION PLAN
We regularly invite the retiree trustee, Nancy Parker, and alternate, Brian Edgecombe, from the Joint Board of Trustees to attend our virtual meeting with chapter reps so they can report on our pension plan and hear back from us. National Secretary Treasurer Candace Rennick is the current JBT chair, a position that will transfer to CSU trustee Emily Niles in 2023.
The board filed a valuation for January 21, 2022, resulting in a slight increase in the employer’s contribution. While the next required valuation is three years away, the JBT does one annually as it is needed to determine pension indexation. Year-to-date returns on Canadian pension plans are negative but our plan has done slightly better than the average. The solvency position has improved significantly, mostly because of higher interest rates. More details are in the recent CEPP Newsletter Fall 2022.
Cheryl Colborne, retiree rep on the CSU executive, also joined our meeting. One issue that has come up is coverage for dental implants, which seems to vary as predetermination requests submitted to GreenShield Canada by dental offices are inconsistent. There will be an update at the next CSU executive meeting.
Comings & Goings
Please join us in welcoming the following new members:
With condolences to colleagues, friends and family, we also bid farewell to:
Keep in touch
Our website, cuperetirees.ca is the place to go to contact anyone on the executive, including your chapter representative, and to find information like reports and our membership application. We were surprised by the number of retirees who contacted us during the CSRA elections because they thought they had joined, but had not. Thanks to Shelly for keeping the site up to date and also for taking care of our Facebook page, CUPE Retirees. We’ve grown from 70 people to 240 at last count. If you’re on Facebook and haven’t joined the page yet, check it out!
Wishing you all the best for the holiday season and better days ahead in 2023.
Pat Daley, President
Shelly Gordon, Vice-President
Barry Thorsteinson, Treasurer
Carole Lefebvre, Secretary