A general membership meeting was held December 10, 2014 at the Royal Canadian Legion, Kingsway Branch. As with the past few meetings, the doors opened early to allow members time to socialize. When signing in at the door all volunteers were provided with a rose and pen in recognition of their service. 133 members attended including Board Members.
Also in attendance were three guest speakers from the Alberta Health Advocates Office and Roy Goodall, one of two National Directors for the Prairies and NWT District of the Association.
CART (Communications Access Realtime Translation) captioning was used during the meeting since many members found the service beneficial at previous meetings.
The meeting was call to order at 12:05 pm by President Brian Emdin.
Because he had to leave early for another commitment, Roy Goodall was invited to speak prior to the meal. To apprise us of his background, Roy outlined his activities with the National Association of Federal Retirees (the Association) which started in 2006. He has served as a Director, Treasurer, and President on the Calgary Board and was instrumental in its incorporation. He also wrote the Calgary Branch bylaws and participated in re-writing the national bylaws. He said that new national bylaws dictate that, as National Director, he: a) represents all Association members without bias; b) attends Branch meetings when invited at the expense of the Branch. He noted that many meetings of the National Board of Directors are held “in-camera” now which limits information sharing. The President and National Office are solely responsible for official communications.
The new mission of the Association is to significantly increase the quality and security of the retired members and all Canadians and to lead in areas of concern (pensions, benefits, other issues) so that they enjoy dignity and security in their retirement years. Roy asked members what they thought of the Association advocating on behalf of all pensioners. Many members felt that the Association was formed to advocate on behalf of superannuates ONLY.
Roy concluded by saying he is the Chairperson of the Fees Committee and that he will be meeting in January to develop a fee increase proposal. He asked members to consider how much of an increase they can tolerate.
After the meal minutes from the last general meeting and agenda for this meeting were presented and approved.
Guest Speakers Deborah Prouse (Alberta Health Advocate), John Cabral (Interim Seniors’ Advocate) and Carol Robertson-Baker (Alberta Mental Health Advocate) from the Alberta Health Advocates Office spoke generally of their separate responsibilities. Each Advocate is there to help the public/patients through complaint processes. They also report and make recommendations directly to their respective Ministers. The Health Advocates Office is the common point of contact for the public for all three Advocates, and allows collaboration on complaints that involve overlapping jurisdictions between the three Advocates. They shares information on resources and referrals and share a database for tracking authorized files and issues. Contact information is: Office of the Alberta Health Advocates – 12th Floor, 10035 – 108 St. – Edmonton AB T5J 3E1 OR telephone 780-422-1812 OR toll free 310-0000 OR www.albertahealthadvocates.ca
Vice-President, Ross Gillespie made several announcements:
- Dues notices for members who don’t have dues deducted from their pension should be received from Head Office within 2 weeks.
- PSHCP Level 1 coverage is all you need in Alberta.
- After April 1, 2015, If you are not a PSHCP member now and have less than six years pensionable service you will not be eligible to join the plan. If you are not a member you may with to join before April 1, 2015.
- 2013 claims for PSHCP must be received by Sun Life by December 31, 2014.
- the Association has launched legal action against the change of PSHCP cost sharing ratio of premiums from 25/75 to 50/50 which is being implemented by Treasury Board.
- Please provide the Branch with your current email address. You will receive information faster and it will take a load of our phone volunteers.
- Elections for the first Vice-President and Secretary will be held at the May 6th dinner meeting. Nominations can be made in advance or at the meeting.
- Roy announced that MEDOC will now confirm Association membership before paying any claims.
- LIFT Drive Happiness, a collaborative partnership of three non-profit societies within Edmonton is available to assist Edmonton seniors with travel throughout the city. They are also looking for volunteer drivers. More information is available on their website.
- The Branch needs more volunteers. Help may be required to organize awareness campaigns and to lobby during this election year (both federal and provincial). Volunteers are also required to help with routine operations. Some work may be on a project basis or on a limited, but regular basis. If you are interested please contact any Board member or contact us through the Quick Contact link on the lower Right side of this webpage.
Copies of a report prepared by Dave Riffel, Provincial Advocacy Officer were provided to each table. His report is here: 2014-12-10 GMM AB PAO Report.
Door prizes were won by Merle Proulx and Sandra Ward. 50/50 draw winners were Tom Charchuk and Norma Yurex.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:40 pm. The next meeting will be May 6, 2015.