CBC PENSIONERS ASSOCIATION,
CBC Pensioners Association, Maritime Region Newsletter
| Volume 4, Issue 2
By John McKay
Things have been very quiet since the last news letter. As you know the local Halifax meetings end in June and restart in September.
I was not able to attend the September meeting and our Vice President, Don Tremaine was undergoing knee surgery so he was unavailable. I would like to thank Jack Ingram and Tom Pottie for running the meetings in my absence.
On the National level most have heard of the sad loss of John O’Mara. John was the representative for Newfoundland for a number of years. He took over the position of English Vice President in the spring and most recently agreed to represent the association on the Pension Board of Trustees. He was to replace Pierre Racicot who had to step down when he was elected President of the Association.
At the National meeting in October we had to fill those vacancies. Howard Simpson is now the English Vice President and Paul Gaffney will be our voice on the Pension Board of Trustees.
On the issue of the Pension Fund, Debra Alves, who has replaced Steven Cotsman as CEO, reported that the plan is in very good shape. The solvency deficit that was there last January is now a surplus of $138 million with an over all surplus of $427 million. The net worth of the plan now stands at $4.3 billion.
That's the good news but for some the bad news will be the increase in the cost of supplementary health care (GWL/ABC).
The rates will be adjusted in January to reflect the ever increasing costs of health care. The rate will increase by about 8% as of January 1st. This increase is actually less than what would be required if the plan didn’t have a surplus. The executive, at the suggestion of the CBC, applied a portion of the surplus to the rate increase to hold it down.
There was a long discussion over this practice and the National Executive will review this policy at our meeting next spring. The thinking is that the present members of the plan created the surplus and they are the ones who should benefit from it. So we will look at ways to use the surplus faster in the future.
The law suit is still proceeding slowly and George Smith continued with his discovery hearings on October 29th. This is a continuation of the summer discovery hearing.
The Association's legal fees are well within the budget as set by our Treasurer, Don Lambton.
Locally Pierre Racicot visited Moncton on October 2nd. Pierre gave a brief report to the National Executive, and described it as a great success.
Moncton is thriving under the leadership of Maurice Olson. He seems to have a great group of people assisting. Apart from Pierre's visit they had a very successful lobster supper this summer and are now planning for their Christmas dinner. See details of Moncton activities elsewhere in the newsletter.
We just had notification that Cape Breton now has 25 dues paying members on the National roster and hopefully they can form their own chapter soon. Bill Doyle recently retired and has indicated that he will assist in getting thing organized.
Finally December the 5th will be the date for the Christmas Dinner in Halifax so please mark it on your calendar and we hope to see all of you there.
Have a Merry Christmas and we hope that 2008 will be a good year for all of you.
REGIONAL CHRISTMAS PARTY - HALIFAX
Members and their partners from all parts of the Maritimes are invited to the Association's 8th annual Christmas dinner on December 5 at the Royal Canadian Legion at Hillcrest Street & Main Ave. in Fairview. The doors open at 11 am and the turkey will be served at noon. The dinner is free for members and their partners, and you'll each receive a complimentary bar ticket. Lots of prizes will be given out.
Louise Fredericks is organizing the event again this year. People are asked to confirm with Louise their plans to attend, and she needs to know who's coming by Nov. 29 so the caterer can be prepared. Phone 902-454-4359 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas party — Moncton
Our Christmas supper will be held on Wednesday, December 5th at the Beauséjour Curling Club as usual. Cost is $10 each per member and partner, or $20 each for non members. A bargain! There will be a cash bar happy hour with snacks at 5 p.m. A supper buffet with all the trimmings will be served at 6:30 p.m. Door prizes will be drawn. Yvonne Cormier is convening this party, aided and abetted by Maureen Lemay, Yvonne Richard and Claudette Drisdelle. Please note that you should reserve not later than Sunday December 2nd. Great fun in store. (No-shows who have made reservations will be asked to pay, as if they had attended.)
Reservations are available from Yvonne Cormier, by phone (506) 389 1051 or e-mail email@example.com
We hope to see you all there. Maurice Olsen, President
CBC PENSIONERS INVITED TO THE CBC STAFF PARTY
Thursday, December 6 — 5:30 TO 9:30 PM
HOLIDAY INN SELECT- SEASON BISTRO, ROBIE ST.
CASH BAR, LOTS OF FOOD, GREAT DOOR PRIZES
RSVP: DORIS HALL AT THE SWITCHBOARD, 420-8311
TAXI CHITS AVAILABLE IF REQURIED
LIMITED UNDERGROUND PARKING AT HOTEL
CHANGING DELIVERY METHODS
We're hoping to save some money on mailing costs on the newsletter. Starting with this edition we will not be mailing out copies to people I have on my e-mail list.
Instead we will notify you when the latest letter is up on the Web and ready to read. Then you can read it online or print it off, whichever you prefer.
You will remember that we used to do it that way before we started receiving a regular portion of our dues back each month. Once we could afford it we decided it would be good to send everyone a printed copy by Canada Post.
But now even the National Office is sending reports by e-mail to those people who are on line. If you don't like the change and would prefer to get your letter in the mail, just let me know and we'll have the mailman keep delivering your copy.
HELP IS AS NEAR AS YOUR PHONE
The Employee Assistance Program offers help for a wide range of personal problem. And even though we are no longer “employees” we are still covered under the CBC plan.
Your local EAP committee wants to remind you that you can access support and counselling through the EAP Resources Center by calling 1-800-387-4765. The service is free and entirely confidential.
As a cbc pensioner you are entitled to 5 hours of free professional counselling through the Employee Assistance Program.
This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One call to 1-800-387-4765 puts you in touch with a person who can help you right away.
If you want to talk to someone locally, Bill MacKenzie and Bob Marks are the Halifax Pensioner Reps.
Yvonne Cormier is your contact in Moncton.
By Maurice Olsen
On September 9th last, the sun shone bright over the greens at Mapleton Golf Course, Irishtown, just outside Moncton, for the annual “Texas Scramble” tourney. Twenty employees and a dozen guest pensioners launched into the challenge for fun and, obviously, to win!
It ended amid applause with two number-one teams, pensioners making up one of them. At the barbecue, came the tall tales and the prizes.
Our counsellor, Yvonne Cormier, won a smart fleece jacket with an RDI logo on it. Then she hit the jackpot, winning a fine sound system from the Sony Store (she exchanged it for a little extra money to get a laptop).
Lady Luck! Then, our Secretary, Ronald Cormier, came away with a DVD player and a cell phone. After which, prizes of all sorts for one and all went around like fireworks, amidst applause and catch-up and ketchup.
National President, Pierre Racicot, at Moncton.
On October 2nd last, Pierre Racicot, President of the CBC Pensioners’ National Association was in Moncton for a friendly and informative get-together with our Chapter. He had suggested to come down, get acquainted with the crowd, have lunch and exchange views. Fine with us!
The meeting was informal. During a roundup of current topics, Pierre broached the matter of our lawsuit about the CBC pension fund surplus, which is moving ahead slowly. On the topic of benefits, he described certain changes being sought by the Association: survivor benefits to the spouse at time of the pensioner’s death, rather than the spouse designated at the time of pensioner’s retirement as is the present situation. Furthermore, survivor benefits are being sought for same-sex partners.
Concerning income tax, the Association has lobbied for tax reform, to allow pension income splitting between marital partners, as of this year. Supplemental health insurance plan reform is now back on track.
Members’ questions were welcomed on all these matters.
To wind up Pierre’s visit, Moncton Chapter President, Maurice Olsen, presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation showing that, in his name, the Chapter would contribute $50 to the United Way Campaign, followed by warm applause. This amount was in addition to the $100 our group had separately approved to launch CBC Moncton’s in-house fund drive for the United Way.
SPLIT YOUR PENSION – SAVE SOME TAX
There will be quite a few changes when you sit down to do your taxes in 2008.
In the 2007 Economic Statement the basic personal amount was increased to $9,600, and the lowest
personal income tax rate was cut from 15.5% to 15%. But a very interesting change was introduced
in the budget last spring, the opportunity to split pension income with your spouse.
Our Association joined with other Pensioner groups to lobby for this change to the tax system.
It should be noted that the income splitting we’re talking about refers to payments from pension
funds like the CBC plan; splitting Canada Pension income has been possible for some time. So this
“income splitting” is about shifting income from a family member in a higher tax bracket to one
in a lower bracket. If both spouses – and that term covers both married and common-law
relationships here – are in the same bracket, income splitting won’t be of value to them. But,
if there’s a disparity between the incomes of you and your spouse, this new plan could benefit
As you might expect, the rules governing the program are complex – We just wanted to alert you
to the change in the tax rules. If you want to know more about how the rules work, the Canada
Revenue Agency has an explanatory page on their website. Following this link:
will take you directly to the page –
or go to the home page at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca and use their search engine for documents on
“pension income splitting”. You can call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281. Better still, sit down with a
chartered accountant. You should consider consulting a tax professional first.
is published Spring and Fall for CBC Pensioners in the Maritimes.
Editor: Ivan Munn
Translation: Maurice Olsen
John McKay, Pres. Maritime Region
Maurice Olsen, Pres. Moncton Chapter
John Stewart, Pres. PEI Chapter
Bill MacKenzie, EAP Representative.
END OF THE FALL 2007 ISSUE