CRA Newsletter January 2020
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Happy new year from your retirees’ association. Your new executive held its first face-to-face meeting at the Ottawa Area Office on January 20th where we reviewed our priorities for the year and approved a 2020 budget.
Communicating with members
A key priority will be getting information out to members on a regular basis. Don’t worry! We won’t fill your inbox. You should expect to get an email like this one at least twice a year, following executive meetings. If anything important comes up in between, we’ll keep you posted.
Email doesn’t work for all of our 564 members. If you or another CUPE retiree you know are not online, please contact the Chapter Representative for your province to make sure he or she has your phone number.
Any changes in your contact information should be communicated directly to Julie Bisson, clerk-typist, CUPE Employees Pension Plan, 1375 St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa, ON K1G 0Z7 or email@example.com to ensure that all lists are up to date.
Not sure who your Chapter Rep is?
The complete list of executive members and their contact information will be available mid-February at www.cuperetirees.ca. In the meantime, we have attached the information sheet for your convenience. We’re happy to report that all positions are now filled and CUPE retirees are represented across the country.
Focus on benefits
For CUPE retirees, our benefits package is key to a secure retirement. However, CRA members have raised some questions about access to coverage. Your executive decided in 2019 to contract a researcher to look into how differences in provincial health plans may affect the way benefits are applied. For example, visions tests may be fully covered in one province and not in another.
We expect to have that report as we head into spring and will look at whether there are issues we should be raising with CUPE and staff unions. We have also been meeting with Unifor in Quebec where the provincial drug plan for retirees over 65 years old appears to impose an additional financial burden on retirees. Further research is being conducted there.
Several members have reported serious problems with out-of-country health coverage and the way they have been treated by Allianz, the company contracted by Green Shield to handle claims. While individual benefits issues should be taken up first with Green Shield and then with staff at CUPE, these problems seem to be more systemic in nature. We have reported this to CUPE and are waiting to hear how Green Shield proposes to resolve this problem.
Protecting privacy and keeping health care public
We have raised two other concerns with CUPE. First, you have probably received more than one bulletin from Green Shield promoting their Change4Life program and health risk assessments. Until we receive assurances that any information provided will not be available to Green Shield to use for denying benefits because of pre-existing conditions or any other grounds, we recommend that you use caution if participating in these programs.
Green Shield has also recently promoted a discounted fee for you to use a virtual doctor’s service called Maple. This is a private service providing online or telephone medical advice. It is difficult to understand why Green Shield would promote this private service, which is not covered by benefits. CUPE will raise this issue with them as it runs directly counter to our support for public health care.
Remember, if you have problems with your benefits, the first step is to contact Green Shield directly and then, if necessary, CUPE National Office. Our benefits booklet is available online at www.greenshield.ca for details about coverage.
Join the CUPE/SCFP retirees’ Facebook group
CUPE Retirees have a private Facebook group (in English). Join us! There you will find information and discussions about issues of interest to pensioners, information about CUPE events so that you can join in if you want and CUPE Retirees’ Association material. Hope to see you there!
We will continue to post information updates, such as EAP referral agents, on our website www.cuperetirees.ca. Check in when you can and expect to receive another general communication from your executive in the fall.
Pat Daley, President
Shelly Gordon, Vice-President
Barry Thorsteinson, Treasurer
Carole Lefebvre, Secretary