CBC PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION,
CBC Pensioners Association, Maritime Region Newsletter
Halifax, NS Fall, 1998
ASSOCIATION TACKLES MANY ISSUES AT FOUR DAY MEETING
Floyd Eisan, President
The Association held its annual meeting Oct. 20-23rd, in Ottawa. The first two days dealt with regular business while the last two days were devoted to planning for the future of the Association.
Our first order of business was a visit by Perrin Beatty, the president of the CBC.
Mr. Beatty talked about the changes taking place in the Corporation, and said that things are starting to turn around and funding has become stable. There has been a sharp cut in overhead with a 60% reduction of Head Office staff, including dropping seven VPs. He said the two most positive steps taken were Canadianization of programming and the addition of new technology. Without the technology, the CBC could not do its job with the present staff. He said the Association is very important to the Corporation, and our opinions and suggestions are welcomed.
Turning to the pension fund, Mr. Beatty said the Association's advice will be listened too with regard to the fund surplus. We are partners and part of the family and the people making the decisions today know they will be part of the Association tomorrow, so it's a relationship they take seriously. He said he is aware of our concern about the use of surpluses for such things as purchasing equipment and giving raises to employees by granting contribution holidays. Mr. Beatty promised that in future our recommendations will be considered carefully.
Steve Cotsman, CEO of the Pension Board, talked about the performance of the fund over the past year. Although we lost about 10% over the summer when the markets dropped, we have gained that back. He said the book value of the fund at the end of the first week of October was $183 million above the book value at December 31, 1997.
Ivan Hale, the Secretary of the Canadian Seniors Network/One Voice joined us and discussed what his organization is involved with in regard to seniors. One Voice looks into all aspects of seniors lives from pensions to health care, and living conditions. They are an advocacy group involved with the concerns of aging Canadians. Mr. Hale urged that we get involved, by volunteering through local seniors groups, to help make a difference.
Richard LeBlanc of Staff Benefits and members of William M.Mercer Ltd. joined us in the afternoon. We discussed additional group life insurance over and above the $4,000 paid up policy we now have.
We had requested that Mercer's look into additional insurance at an affordable cost to pensioners. After some searching they came back with a proposal from Maritime Life which would give us additional coverage at the rate of $1.10 per thousand. However, this would only cover from age 65 to 70, an additional five years. The company was asked to keep looking for a plan that would extend coverage beyond 70, but they were not optimistic. They reminded us that we already have additional coverage through a lump sum death payment from the Canada Pension Plan of $3 to $4 thousand dollars. We pointed out to them that this was a taxable benefit to the estate of the pensioner.
Our Supplementary Health Care program is in trouble again. We were advised that the Atlantic Blue Cross plan incurred a deficit of $124,000 last year. We were further advised that we are now classified as a self assuring plan and would have to pay an additional premium to be held in trust to offset any further deficits.
Our prescription costs have risen to 78% of our premiums, and there were slight increases to other aspects of the plan. We have gone to a managed health care basis and to paying the dispensing fees. Pharmaceutical costs are increasing at the rate of 10% a year, much higher than the rate of inflation.The CBC has agreed to amortize the deficit mentioned above over a five year period, but the bottom line is we're facing an increase of 42.5% in Blue Cross premiums.
We in Atlantic Canada are being presented with two options, and you will have received details in the mail by now. I ask you to carefully weigh these options before voting. You will be choosing between Blue Cross and Great West Life. Should you choose to go with Great West Life you will be facing an increase of 22.6, again which includes 6% for repayment of the deficit mentioned above. Great West Life only pays 80% of prescription drugs costs, which means that you will have to pay 20% on each prescription yourself up to a maximum in any one year of $1,000 along with the dispensing fee.
I suggest you calculate 20% of the cost of prescriptions you took in the past year, divide by 12 and add this figure to the proposed Great West Life monthly premium to see how this compares to the new Blue Cross premium.
We cannot tell you how to vote, you must decide yourself. The majority will rule.
Please do not hesitate to call should you have any questions pertaining to the letter you receive. You may call me at (902) 865-1894 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last two days of the meeting were spent in completing a proposal you will be receiving early in the new year. It explains our plans for the future of the National Association, its structure, the numbers required for viability, and the fee required from those who join. Membership dues will be based on a percentage of your annual pension so that those on smaller pensions will pay less than those with larger pensions. Those who do not join will receive all information at first but after a year or so they will be dropped from the mailing list. The period that they will be carried will depend on whether we get some funding from the Corporation and the importance of the material involved.
I cannot give you more information at the moment as we may have to make some changes before plans are finalized.
From myself and the Executive may we wish one and all a healthy and Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.
Sharing the Wealth At CMHC
Not all pension plans handle their surpluses the same way. Canada Mortgage and Housing has a plan the same as ours. Like ours, it's reporting a large surplus but that's where the similarity ends.
More than a year ago CMHC began a study to determine how to divide the surplus. It set up a committee consisting of a chairman and six members, two representing CMHC, two representing staff, and two from the ranks of the pensioners. They collected and considered recommendations from all concerned.
It was decided that of the $290 million surplus, $161 million should be retained as a cushion and the other $129 million would be paid out. They worked out a formula that will see all parties receive 16% of their total contributions plus interest.
In a typical example, a 70-year-old individual drawing a $20,000. pension will receive a lump sum payment of $14,000 early in the New Year. Under an agreement reached with Revenue Canada, much of that amount will be eligible for rollover to an RRSP if so desired. Your executive is aware of the situation and is considering what action, if any, it can take to get the CBC moving in the same direction.
Meanwhile, enjoy your $500. cheque in January.
HOLLETT, Raymond Davis - 75, Halifax, died August 30, 1998, at the VG Site, QEII, palliative care. He served in the Navy in the Second World War. He was an employee of the CBC and a local businessman.
PARTRIDGE, Shirley K. Died in hospital in Charlottetown on Oct.11,1998, at the age of 73. Shirley had worked for CFCY and joined the CBC when it took over the TV operations of CFCY in 1968. She worked as a Continuity Writer and a Commercial Production Assistant and was a Switchboard/Receptionist at the time of her retirement in 1990.
POTTIE, C.G. (Clary) -80. Died July 3, 1998 in hospital in Halifax. A former employee of the Halifax Herald, he joined the CBC in 1953 and was supervisor of Television News for many years. Later he worked in Fredericton and Montreal.
URBACH, Howard K. - 75 Died Nov. 27 in hospital in Halifax. A native of Toronto, he served in the army in World War Two and then spent 36 years with the CBC. He retired in 1985 as Regional Engineer in the Maritimes. He was the first president of the Pensioners' Association in the Maritimes and was a member of the National Executive.
Hope Cottage Record
One Million Served; We Helped a Bit.
Hope Cottage marked a milestone Sept. 23, 1998, when it served its one millionth meal to the hungry of Halifax. Father Joe Mills started Hope Cottage 27 years ago and the number of clients has grown every year since. Michael Burke, the director of the Brunswick Street soup kitchen, expects that the staff and volunteers will serve more than 52,000 meals this year.
Hope Cottage is one of the charities that the Halifax Pensioners group supports, and we have been helping out there once a month for the past year-and-a-half. Wilf Pottie, the chairman of the Hope Cottage Committee, estimates we have prepared about 1,000 meals and served about 2,200 meals in that time.
Each month our volunteers prepare three casseroles of 15 to 20 servings each, which feeds about half of the people who arrive for supper. Two of our members serve those casseroles plus others prepared by the staff of Hope Cottage itself, for a total of about 120 meals.
“What I find rewarding,” says Wilf, “is the enthusiac response I receive when I ask the volunteers to contribute a meal. Plus 60% of them have helped out by going to Hope Cottage and serving the food.”
We started our work with 17 volunteers and the number has risen to 25. However, Wilf says he would like to see at least 36 get involved so that each one would only have to volunteer once a year.
A resident of Eastern Passage, NS, has plans to launch a community radio station. Wayne Harrett has set up a company called Coast Multi Media Communications that he hopes will soon win a broadcast license for a 30 watt, low power FM Community Station.
CKEP-FM (K-106) plans to cover community events as they happen, whether it's a function at Fisherman's Cove in Eastern Passage or a Church Service in Cole Harbour. The aim is to keep the communities well informed of local events, and local talent. A start-up committee is being assembled from the community and Wayne would welcome any of our members who would like to help.
At first any profits will go directly back into the station. "This will allow us to upgrade and purchase any needed equipment. Those that are willing to help will have a chance to purchase shares at a later date," Wayne said.
If anyone would like to get involved, call Wayne Harrett at 465-1250.
We're into the sales business helping to promote and sell an audio cassette featuring the highlights of 60 years of CBC radio broadcasting in the Maritimes. It features the best audio clips available from the CBC Archives in Halifax.
Ern Dick, former national CBC Archivist, started by calling together a group of retired CBC radio programmers to make suggestions for suitable material. Then researchers sifted through the Archives to find the clips.
The program is in the form of a documentary, voiced by Don Tremaine, and covers a period from 1936 to 1997. The highlights include:
* The Moose River Mine cave-in coverage with J. Frank Willis.
* A selection from the Gillans, a fictional Maritime Farm Family.
* Incident at Capstan Cove, a drama.
* Harmony Harbour, celebrating the seafaring traditions of the Maritimes.
* Don Messer and his Islanders.
* Rawhide, featuring the wit and many voices of Max Ferguson.
* Bill of Fare with J. Frank Willis.
* It also includes clips from AM Chronicle, Atlantic Airwaves, Information Morning, the Maritime Gardener and other shows.
We are pushing forward on many fronts. The cassettes are being sold at various craft fairs throughout the region. They are also being placed in book and record stores around the Maritimes. They are being promoted on CBC radio shows and we have advertised them in many "For Sale" newsgroups on the Internet and on our home page.
It sells for $10. which includes taxes, and shipping if you order by mail.
The Maritime branch of the Association will receive $2.00 for each copy sold. If you would like to help with this project or would just like to order your own copy, contact Cathy Allison at CBC Halifax, 902-420-4400, or Ern J. Dick by email, email@example.com
Golf Tournament Results
Ed Curtis, Tournament chairman.
Another golf season has come and gone and another tournament has entered the record books. This year’s tournament was held again at the Truro Golf Club under the auspices of the the CBC Pensioner’s Association. Play took place on Wednesday, September 16, and we were favoured with beautiful late Summer weather and a good time was had by all.
Your golf committee wishes to offer sincere thanks to those who were instrumental in procuring the prize donations. Contributors included the following: House of Bacardi; CBC Theodore Tugboat; Close Harmony Wood (Gordon MacGowan); Sobey’s Windsor Street Store; Frame Plus Art; Kidston Glass, and Wayne Pottie who donated golf balls. In addition the CBC footed the bill for the bus.
The tournament results, as calculated by our statistician Bob Marks, using the Calloway scoring system, are as follows:
THE BIG WINNERS
Overall Champion Gerry Wile
Ladies Champion Judi Milne
Ladies Low Gross Brenda Roach
Ladies Low Net Jane Merchant
MENS FIRST DIVISION
Low Gross Doug Aucoin
Low Net Ray Fralick
MENS SECOND DIVISION
Low Gross Roger Gentleman
Low Net John Brownell
MENS THIRD DIVISION
Low Gross Bob Blom
Low Net Bob Marks
Closest to the Hole Judi Milne
Longest Putt Jane Merchant
Closest to the Hole Doug Aucoin
Longest Putt John Brownell
Out thanks to the staff of the Truro Golf Club for a nice meal well served. My sincere thanks to the committee members who worked so hard to make this tournament a success: Tom Pottie, Bob Marks, Brenda Roach, and Ray Fralick. In the coming months the committee will be checking other courses for rates and accomodations before picking a site.