CRA Newsletter Fall 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Little did we know when your executive met last January that our fall meeting would be conducted online rather than face-to-face. Happily we are all managing to keep well in our new reality and hope the same is true for you.
Report on benefits for over-65s
Last year CRA contracted retired CUPE researcher Cheryl Stadnichuk to prepare a report looking at how provincial health services — and specifically drug plans — affect the benefits of CUPE retirees once they turn 65. That report is now complete and we have attached a fact sheet that summarizes many of the findings. The full report will be available soon at www.cuperetirees.ca.
Most of the issues have been raised in the past with CUPE. Pat Daley and Carole Lefebvre were able to discuss them again in a September Zoom meeting with new Managing Director of Human Resources Cavelle Lane. We expect a response and will continue to press for changes to ensure retirees are not out of pocket for expenses that may not be covered in their province because of either provincial or Green Shield Canada decisions.
Retirees in Quebec face a specific challenge in that they must join and pay premiums for the provincial drug plan (RAMQ) once they turn 65. In addition, Quebec is the only province where GSC coverage is considered a taxable benefit. Your association joined with Unifor and CSU to seek a legal opinion, which found that these issues cannot be litigated and are matters for negotiation. We look to Quebec retirees and Unifor to develop bargaining proposals. In the meantime, we have also attached a fact sheet listing individual health care premiums and employer taxes by province.
Winter travel outside Canada
Most of us are likely to stay within Canada this winter, especially given the sorry handling of COVID-19 in the US. For those who will continue to travel outside the country, we strongly encourage you to contact Green Shield and make sure your out-of-country health coverage is there for you. Green Shield continues to contract those services to Allianz, which gives us great concern following reports sent in by at least two members who had terrible experiences while ill. We continue to urge CUPE to press Green Shield to drop Allianz and find a better way to handle out-of-country claims.
Welcome new members
With this update, we are starting a practice of welcoming new members. It’s easy to lose track of comings and goings once we’ve left the workplace. Here’s a big welcome to retirees who have joined since January, bringing our total to about 580:
BC Cheryl Colborne
AB Janice Valentine
SK Karen Carle
ON Isabel Hermano-Lau
QC Laurie Guertin
NB Céline Poitras
On a sadder note, we have also lost members this year. We offer condolences to family and friends of:
BC John Malthouse
AB Yvonne Fast
MB Eugene Kostyra
ON Ruby Chisholm
QC Shirley Ann Mannion
NB Lorne Saunders
NS Susan Barton
Web site maintenance
We are looking for someone to maintain our web site, https://cuperetirees.ca/
We thank Linda LeGroulx very much for her assistance over the years and now she has also decided to “retire” from this work.
If you are interested, have the necessary skills, and can maintain a bilingual web site, please send us a message at email@example.com. It takes a few hours each month and we pay an annual stipend.
Stay in touch
We have had communication from a couple of members asking how they can keep in touch with other retirees. While we cannot release personal contact information, we do have a Facebook page that this year has gone from 50 members to 190. Thanks to all. If you haven’t yet and are on Facebook, look up CUPE Retirees and send a request to join the group. Not only is it a good place to share news and information, you can message other members privately. A French Facebook page that is not administered by the Association has also been created. It is called Retraitées et retraités du SCFP.
Going forward, retirees who join CRA will receive a personal email with information about the association.
Until next time, stay well and stay safe.
Pat Daley, President
Shelly Gordon, Vice-President
Barry Thorsteinson, Treasurer
Carole Lefebvre, Secretary