CBC Pensioners Association, Maritime Region Newsletter
Halifax, NS Fall, 1999
A STRONGER ASSOCIATION WITH PLANS FOR THE PENSION SURPLUS
By Floyd Eisan
Let me start by apologizing for not having a spring newsletter. Those who meet once a month in Halifax were putting a looney in the pot. It now has risen to a tooney each month. The money collected is used for mailing out newsletters, and get well cards and for donations to our two charities (Hope Cottage and Phoenix House) in memory of those who have passed on. Even after doubling our contributions the pot does not meet our needs.
What we need is some support from all pensioners in the Maritimes. We are not asking for a fixed amount, and we would welcome any donation you wish to make. This is a one time request as we anticipate that once we become an independent organization collecting regular dues, the portion going back to the local organization in each region will allow them to continue with the work they are now doing.
Back in May, the National Executive held its spring meeting in Ottawa. It was reported at that time that Atlantic Blue Cross was in a surplus position to the tune of approximately $2,200.00. Should this trend continue to the end of the year, we should not have any increase in premiums next year.
We have entered into an agreement with Carlson Wagonlit Harvey's Travel Limited, for various tours. They are offering three options to groups of CBC pensioners: a trip to Ireland in the spring, an Alaskan Cruise in the summer, and a Wine Tour to France in the fall. They will also book any travel to be taken by individual pensioners or groups of pensioners. There are benefits to the Association, which we will report on at a later date.
As you know we are striving to build a stronger, independent Association. The National Committee hopes to mail out ballots this fall asking you to join the new association and approve the deduction of membership fees. We are planning to have the deductions commence in January, with a founding convention to be held in the spring. This will save us from borrowing money for start-up costs. This will be explained in a covering letter which will accompany the above. The present Executive will hold office until the Convention to provide continuity of leadership.
The majority of you have already read and heard that Canada Mortgage and Housing retirees have benefitted from a large surplus in their fund. They have received cheques, or transfers to their RRSPs already.
We are keeping a close watch on he surplus in our plan. The CEO of the Pension Board of Trustees, Steve Cotsman, joined us at our spring meeting and gave an update on the condition of the fund and where it is going. They are predicting that we will have a surplus in excess of $450 million by the end of the year. We will be seeking our fair share of that. A draft letter has been prepared, but we'll be looking it over carefully before we send it to the Corporation.
There are two main points we want to emphasize: (a) Provide for the financial viability of the fund by setting up an adequate reserve.
(b) Provide for a fair and equitable distribution of the balance to the respective stakeholders (CBC, Pensioners and Employees). To this end, use a formula that pro-rates the distribution based on the accumulated contributions, plus the compounded actuarial rate of interest made by each stakeholder since the inception of the Plan. This formula was utilized by CMHC and approved by Revenue Canada in 1998.
There are any number of other suggestions that can be thrown into the mix but often they only benefit one special interest group over another. During the week of Sept. 20 there was a lively discussion among Pensioners who are on-line, and the consensus was that they favour the CMHC formula as the only fair method of dividing up the surplus. We are in touch with union representatives through our membership in the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits and we will be pushing for a fair distribution of the surplus.
SURPLUS STILL GROWING
In our last Newsletter, we told you about the way CMHC was moving to share its pension surplus with its Pensioners. 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. They decided it would be safe to pay out about 45% of their $290 million surplus.
The committee worked out a formula that would give each contributor 16% of their total contributions plus interest. Their work ended with everyone receiving their cheques at June 30 this year.
So what does that mean for people like us? Well it sets a precedent, if nothing else, as our situation is directly parallel to the CMHC case. Even better, Parliament has passed legislation that strengthens our position with regard to the Surplus. Bill S-3 came into force last October, except for the provisions for dealing with the surplus, which came into effect on April 1, 1999. The amendments introduce new provisions with respect to the refund of surplus to the employer.
To be entitled to the refund under the Act, the employer must obtain the consent of 2/3 of the members and 2/3 of the former members and other persons set out in the regulations. In other words, 2/3 of the staff and 2/3 of pensioners would have to say, "we don't want the surplus, why don't you take it, CBC?" Fat chance!
Meantime the Pension Fund is doing well and the surplus is growing. The next actuarial valuation is due at the end of this year when we should get the true picture. With the Association in the process of reorganizing on a stronger basis I think it would be fair to say that there will be talks about dividing up the surplus in the not-to-far-distant future.
Bennett, Edgar. - 81, 1333 South Park St., Halifax, died April 27, in the QEII. Born in Sydney, he was the youngest son of the late Robert and Elfreda (Davis) Bennett. He began his career in broad- casting with CJCB Radio in Sydney and joined the CBC in 1956. Edgar produced The Gillans, and AM Chronicle among other programs. He retired in 1983 with more than 27 years service.
Keenan, Mrs. Leona Died Feb 4, 1999 at the age of 78. She was a resident of Keswick Ridge near Fredericton, and was the widow of Ed Keenan, who worked in Fredericton and before that at EHQ. She had contracted ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease less than a year before her death. Mrs. Keenan was interested in the work of the Association and followed events through email and the Internet.
MacDonald, Euphemia A. "Phemie" - 81, Halifax, died February 17, 1999, in the QEII. Born in Bellevue, P.E.I., she was the daughter of the late Hugh and Elizabeth (MacDonald) MacPherson. She was predeceased by her husband, Norman, who worked as an attendant in Radio Technical, and later in Building Maintenance at the TV Transmitter.
MacInnis, Joseph P. 72 died Feb. 15 1999, at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney. He been employed for 32 years as an audio-video technician. Prior to that he served five years in the Navy and two years with the Air Force. Joe joined the CBC in Sydney when CBIT opened there.
MacLeod, J. Donald 76 died in Halifax Sept. 10. Born in North Sydney, Don spent several years with United Press in Montreal before joining the CBC. He worked in the Radio Newsroom in Halifax and retired in the mid 80s.
Pidgeon, Arthur Leslie 84. Died Sept 6 1999 in hospital in Halifax. A native of B.C., he served in the navy from 1942 to 1947. He worked for RCI most of his career, managing the Ottawa office before his retirement in 1979. He and his wife moved to Halifax a few years ago.
White, Henry Morton Died Jan 2, 1999, in Lower Sackville at the age of 81. A native of Colchester County, N.S., he grew up in Kennetcook. He worked in the Staging dept. for many years and was the Staging truck driver.
Winser, Phyllis 88, died Sept. 14. Born in Britain, she served in the RAF and came to Canada in 1954. She joined the CBC in Ottawa and retired in 1971.She moved to Melvern Square, Annapolis County, N.S.
KOSOVARS BLENDING IN
By Peter Loucks
“Shume Mire....” Yeah...there’s no doubt about it....the effort is appreciated. Our two Kosovar families think we’re very good sponsors ..."Shume Mire Sponsori" in Albanian. But it hasn’t been easy folks. Looking back ....it seems like a long, long time and many, many frustrations since we began this journey ...and we’re just the sponsors. Imagine how it must feel to the refugees! They’d already come a long way.... been through a lot....before we ever met them.
Enver and Makfire Halili walked 13 hours from Pristina to Macedonia ...Enver’s 27 and Makfire’s 26 and she was in her final month of pregnancy at the time. Their new son, Adrian was born three days after they arrived in Canada.
Nerxhivane Koprani got her two little boys (Muharrem’s 9 and Labinot is 7) out of the Stankovich camp and onto the plane to Canada not knowing where her husband, Nuh, was. Not knowing if he was still alive.
From the Windsor Park camp in Halifax she eventually reached relatives who told her he’d made it to a camp in Albania. Immigration processed him there and flew him to join his family a few days after we’d moved them into their apartment in Dartmouth. It was the first time they’d been together in five months.
And even since then...even after we finally had the families in their apartments....there were weeks of crisis and uncertainty. The agony of finding that family members had died....the uncertainty of not knowing the fate of others...the indecision over whether to stay ..... the pain of watching friends leave on the early repatriation flights. And the strangeness of this place....
But as sponsors, we were there for them.
The apartments are well furnished. They’ve had, and continue to receive, excellent medical and dental care We were able to help them a little with English instruction over the summer and now the adults will be attending ESL classes...and the two boys are enrolled in school. And we’re taking the first steps to find at least part time employment for Enver and Nuh.
The members of this committee have done trememdous work. In some ways, perhaps more than we should have...certainly much more than was required. And we’ve found a wonderful response in the greater community.... from merchants, from the landlord, from medical and dental practicioners... from school staff.
Dealing with the bureaucracy has been a major frustration, of course. And very often, dealing with the Kosovars has been frustrating. They’re human with human failings like us....they come from a very different culture and they’re under a lot of stress.
It’s been hard work...but we’ve had a lot of fun together so far, I think ....and we’ve accomplished much. This story is far from over so I don’t think we can do a final post mortem on it yet......but it sure has been interesting so far.
HOPE COTTAGE PROJECT
Hope Cottage is in the midst of an expansion, improving its kitchen facilities so it will be better prepared to provide meals for the needy in Halifax. This has meant that they have had to move out over the Summer and into temporary quarters in the basement of St. Patrick’s Church. Meanwhile the Association has been continuing its work of providing one meal a month. Three people each prepare a large cassserole and two of our members deliver them and help to serve the meal.
The staff are usually able to meet the needs of the people who come to their door, but they’ve encountered some diffculties this Summer. The move to temporary quarters has left some people thinking the work has stopped. Our committee chairman, Wilf Pottie, said the organization found itself short of food on a number of occasions this Summer. In July, Wilf spent $45 to buy supplies for Hope Cottage and the Association approved the expenditure at our meeting in September.
Wilf has been in touch with Fred Martin of the TV Promo Committee and it will undertake to prepare a couple of spots to remind the public that the need for food and donations is greater than ever. The expansion is expected to be completed this fall and then Hope Cottage will be back in its own building with improved kitchen facilities to serve meals. We will continue to prepare meals once a month and will see that the work of Hope Cottage gets wider publicity.
The annual CBC Golf Tournament was held again this year at the Truro Golf Club. The number taking part this year dwindled to 20, but those who played seemed to enjoy the outing. However, I would like to have twice as many next year. Our sincere thanks go to the Truro Golf Club Staff and to those firms who contributed prizes.
Donors were Kidston Glass, the Royal Bank, Payzant Building Supplies, Wilsons Fuels, Kingston Auto, CBC Radio, Sobey's Windsor Street, and the Super Store on Young Street.
Results as calculated by our statistician, Bob Marks, are as follows:
Overall Champ Ray Fralick
Ladies Champ Judi Milne
Ladies Low Gross Brenda Roach;
Ladies Low Net Lorna Copp
First Div: Low Gross Doug Aucoin
Low Net: Mike Hartlen
Second Div: Low Gross: Bob Williams
Low Net: Bob Marks
Third Div: Low Gross: Bob Blom
Low Net: Max Gallagher
Ladies nearest the Hole: Judi Milne #2 and #6.
Mens nearest the Hole: Jack Brownell #11,
Orest Chaban # 15
My thanks to those who did all the work to make this tournament a success: Tom Pottie, Bob Marks, Brenda Roach, and Ray Fralick.
Ed Curtis, Tournament Chairman.