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CBC Pensioners Association, Maritime Region Newsletter

The Future of the Association Dominates National Discussions!

by Floyd Eisan

Regional Representative

Supplementary Health Care

The Great West Life plan is still in a deficit position. Premiums were increased last summer and once they have been in effect for a year it is felt that the deficit will be reduced. Both plans, Great West and Blue Cross, for the foreseeable future will be faced with increases in the vicinity of 8 to 10 percent annually because of rising drug costs.

Pension Board of Trustees Meeting

Our member on this Board is George Jones. He reports that the Board has recommended that any future surplus in the fund be paid out over a ten-year period to avoid possible future deficits. This will allow a cushion to build up rather than using all of the surplus to reduce contributions or increase benefits. In fact adjustments will take place every three years as actuarial valuations are made. Steve Cotsman , the new Chief Executive Officer of the Fund, has agreed to attend all meetings of the Association and keep us up to date on developments. The annual report has been extensively revised and improved giving a more detailed picture of where the fund is invested and will be distributed as soon as possible.

Regional Representatives Reports

Each representative gave a report about what is happening in their area of the country. My report for the Maritimes consisted mainly on what the group of us who meet each month in Halifax are doing. (See Page 4 for a review of our work)

Group Life Insurance

The matter of the $4000 paid-up policy has been brought up again. It is apparent there is nothing we can do to get this increased. We have asked Mike Bissonnette and Richard LeBlanc of Staff Benefits to come up with various options that might be available to us for the same amount of money. A report is expected at the fall meetings.

Future Role of the Association

The rest of the two day meeting dealt with my report on behalf of the Committee I chaired to deal with the future role of the Association. It was agreed that we must maintain an arm's length relationship with the Corporation for several reasons, including our younger retirees, the extra burden they are putting on premiums for supplementary health care, and our group life insurance problems. As downsizing continues, the pressure on the Association increases. This has caused some concern about the advice that the various branches across the country are being asked to give to new members. Such requests should be directed to the local Human Resources offices. Misleading or misunderstood information could lead to legal ramifications for the particular Association. It was agreed that the association does represent and assist pensioners to deal effectively in matters of pension income, health benefits, and insurance coverage. It was felt that we should continue in this role and look to expanding our role in the future. With this in mind, we discussed asking the membership to pay dues in order to maintain and improve our services. But before asking you if you would be willing to pay an annual fee to belong to the Association, it was agreed that there are important issues to be clarified:
1. Have Senior Management reaffirm it's commitment to the Association in the form of a written endorsement, including a promise of some form of stable funding.
2. Stay as we are as an Association and provide the same level of service.
3. Build on what we have by offering expanded services (to be discussed depending on the answer to 1. above).
4. Whatever is decided, we will give the results to all members. If we want to build on what we have, we will poll members and ask if there is enough interest to support a dues structure.

V.P. Human Resources

Mike Bissonnette again joined us representing the new Vice President of Human Resources, who could not attend. We told him about where we would like to see the Association go in future, and we questioned him about a budget for us. Mike felt that this was not advisable as our expenses now come from several sources and to combine them could lose us some flexibility. Mike said that Human Resources recognizes the contribution that the Association makes to the Corporation and its pensioners. He also confirmed that, even though the Association does not have precise numbers on its membership the Corporation still believes that we represent the best interests of all pensioners. We will not be asked at any time "exactly who do you represent"-how many members do you have? ( This fellow Maritimers is why you should fill out an application for membership if you havenít already done so. We would be pleased to send a membership application to anyone who asks for one).
The National Association has been fortunate to get Jacques D.Landry as our national newsletter coordinator. A national newsletter should be out soon. Mike Bissonnette has been asked to look at the feasibility of an 1-800 number that pensioners could use in light of all the cutbacks to our Human Resources offices. He will look into this and let us know.
Mike also advised that an internet website is being prepared by Head Office and will be available to the Association, both nationally and regionally. Itís not ready yet but we will keep you advised. That's it for now. We hope everyone has a good summer and you will hear from us in the fall.


Charity Work Gets Underway

After studying our options we have now gotten started on some of the charity projects we plan to carry out. At Christmas we made a $200.00 donation to Phoenix House, an organization that works with homeless young people helping them get off the streets. The director, Linda Wilson, (Bert's daughter) thanked us and said the money had been used to provide turkey dinners for the young people and movie passes afterwards.
We are also helping to feed the homeless at Hope Cottage in north end Halifax. Wilf Pottie's committee has undertaken to provide one meal a month. Three volunteers will each prepare one dish that will provide 15 servings. Two other people will pick up the food, take it to Hope Cottage and help to serve it. The Association will pay for the ingredients, which is expected to cost about $35. a month.
Our most ambitious undertaking is a move to use our skills as broadcasters to produce public service announce- ments soliciting funds for the charities we are trying to help. The idea is to borrow equipment from a cable tv outlet to record the material and edit it for use by tv stations in this area. The Dartmouth Cable company was less than enthusiastic about the idea, but Halifax Cable jumped at it. It's planned to shoot the announcements in the fall. We are looking in to setting up a Not-for-Profit company which would handle any money that might pass through our hands.
In May we donated $100 to flood relief in Manitoba through the Morningside Program.
All funds come from the the money raised through the collection of $1 from each member at our monthly meetings and the donations mailed in by other members throughout the Maritimes. Remember we can make good use of any sum you feel like contributing.


Golfing Time Again

By Ed Curtis

Our annual golf tournament is teed up for Sept. 17 at the Truro Golf Club. There will be three or four divisions for both ladies and men, depending on the turnout. Prizes will be awarded in each division and for longest drive and closest to the hole. Tee off will be at 10 am. The fee this year will be $55.00 which will cover green fees, dinner and prizes. All Pensioners and staff are invited.
We will be renting a bus in Halifax and encourage people to make use of it. Golfers are responsible for reserving their own carts by phoning the Pro shop at 1-902-893-2508.
Committee members are Tom Pottie, Peter MacNeil, Bob Marks, Fred Martin, Lorna Copp, and Ed Curtis. The contact at CBC Halifax is Sandy Falconer. Further information is available from any of the above.


IN MEMORIAM

Benjamin, John F. Died March 10 in the Lunenburg Hospital at the age of 74. John grew up in Dartmouth and served in the Second World War. He worked for 14 years as a CBC News cameraman in Halifax before turning his attention to local politics. He moved to Bridgewater after his retirement.

Dixon, John R. Died at home in Charlottetown December 4th at the age of 47 after a long battle with cancer. John joined the CBC in Halifax and later transferred to Charlottetown.

Hollett, Reginald A. Died at home in Halifax on February 6th at the age of 68. Reg worked for a time with the Nova Scotia Film Bureau before joining CBC Television as a film editor, where he worked until his retirement.

MacDougall, Stanley H. Died suddenly on Dec. 6th in the Middleton Hospital at the age of 71. Born in Bangor, PEI, Stan served in the RCAF in the Second World War. He was a technical producer at CBC in Halifax for 30 years until his retirement in 1985.

Morrow, Keith Died in hospital in Charlottetown on January 23rd at the age of 81. A native of PEI, Keith spent most of his working life with the CBC and held a number of senior posts. He was Regional Director in Halifax when he retired.

Williamson, Rod Died January 16th in hospital in Halifax at the age of 65. Rod worked at the CBC in Halifax for 36 years, serving as a radio technician, a night manager and as manager of TV operations. He retired in 1990.


What is Your Problem?

By Gordon Taylor

FIRST OF A SERIES ON EAP

A strange phenomenon occurs when we, as individuals, are faced with certain problems -- we deny they exist! Well, maybe not always, but it happens often enough to cause anxiety and grief to our nearest and dearest. The refusal to accept that something we do, something we experience, or something we endure, does not exist is --- DENIAL!
In dictionary terms, denial is the "Refusal to acknowledge or admit." In terms of human nature, denial is a universal mode of survival. Whether the problem concerns relationships, financial stress, alcohol or drug abuse, or just an inability to cope with aging, denial will not make the problem go away. Don't deny a problem -- face it, deal with it. Help is available from YOUR E.A.P.

(Gordon Taylor was one of the founding members of EAP. He worked at CBC Vancouver and moved to Halifax after he retired.)


BEING THERE FOR EACH OTHER

By Don Tremaine

The Local Pensioner's Association has been looking at ways to form a self-help group to provide assistance to each other in a time of need. At our December meeting Jack Goodhew, Sean McGoldrick, Audrey Sampson and Don Tremaine were named to a committee to examine the topic.
We met on Jan. 2nd and recalled the degree of interdependence required when we all worked together. Shows such as Don Messer's Jubilee and Singalong needed some 20 people to do the right thing at the exact second to make a show work. We counted on each other's professionalism to get it right. We should still be able to depend on each other should the need arise.
The committee stressed that we didn't need a heavily structured organization. For instance if a members opens a small business, he or she should make it known to the group so we could either patronize it ourselves or steer others to it. If one of us needs transport to the Re-hab, or if illness prevents grocery shopping, could we organize a car pool to save taxi charges? Could we be available to visit anyone confined to home or hospital? Could we in an emergency situation mow a lawn or get a snowblower to a blocked driveway? (No shovelling!)
We would not want to move into areas covered by the Employee Assistance Program which deals with situations where professional help is needed.
As a start the committee agreed that all members be issued a copy of the names, addresses and phone numbers of all retirees along with a list of emergency service numbers until such time as 911 is available in this area. Members would be available to direct or respond to any calls received.
With a list of 40 or so volunteers this would not impose a strain on anyone. The bottom line is that we should maintain the connectedness that served us so well for a large part of our lives and to remain aware that there is always someone to turn to even when it may seem there isn't.


Latest Retirements

December 31, 1996

Alice Porter, TV Halifax

April 1st, 1997

Linda Tynes, TV Halifax.
Earl Feltham, Radio record library
Joe Wood, Fredericton
Andre Chiasson, Fredericton
Pat Oakley, HR Halifax
Terry Crocker, TV Halifax
Jean Levesque, Halifax
Nigel Service, TV Halifax
Richard Gates, Halifax Radio
Bob McWilliams, Charlottetown
Jonathan Seaward, Sackville
Joe Judge, Engineering
Harley Smith, Sackville
Bob Conrad, Halifax TV
Ed MacDonald, Sydney
Richard Knowles, Engineering
Orest Chaban, Halifax transmitter
George Garland, Sydney
Gail Griffiths, Halifax TV
Wendy MacDonald, Sydney
Rufus Abbott, Halifax Radio
Brian Sutcliffe, Halifax Radio
Doug Arnold, Sydney

May 1, 1997

Ruth Cole, Sackville.


Guest Speakers Regular Feature

Our monthly business meetings are becoming busier and busier. In addition to committee reports on the many projects we now have underway, we have been hearing regularly from guest speakers on subjects of interest to our membership.
In December, Michael Nuschke, a financial planner and newspaper columnist, spoke about changes to government pensions under the senior's benefit legislation.
In January, we heard from the Optimists Club, one of the largest service clubs in the world. Ray Drake, the local president, said the club has a long history but is relatively new to this area. Their purpose is to provide leadership for youth and they offer projects such as "Respect for Law Week" for the benefit of young people. They would like any support we could offer.
In February Maureen Sullivan spoke to us about the Employee Assistance Program benefits.. She reviewed the various types of help available to Pensioners under the programs.
The speaker in March was Redvers Cainey from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. He is the Maritime representative and he outlined the benefits of membership in CARP. For the $10. annual fee, members receive a host of benefits ranging from travel discounts, to savings on many types of insurance plans and even on moving bills.
The local president of Canadian Pensioners Concerned, Mrs Joan Lay, came to our meeting in May to tell us about her organization. CPC is very active at the national level, and meets regularly with federal cabinet ministers to press the case for improved benefits for seniors. Their dues are also $10 a year, and CPC offers many of the same benefits as CARP.
Remember our meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month, except July and August, at the Royal Canadian Legion branch on Cunard Street beside the Commons. Get involved in your organization, attend the monthly meetings, help your neighbours and learn more about the benefits available.