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This is the page where you will find links to other websites and documents that contain information of interest to members and seniors in general.

Here is some information provided to us on the hazards of an overly sedentary lifestyle, and what steps you can take:

50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting every day. Recent research shows this can affect your health and even be deadly. The health concerns of a sedentary lifestyle have been coined “Sitting Disease”. Our Premier Sitting Disease Prevention Guide will help you learn about this dangerous lifestyle, find out if you are at risk, and uncover ways to prevent its devastating effects. Click here to be directed to the website for more information.

You might like to have this handy list for Senior Discounts at various places


  • A&W (age: 60+): 10% off food purchases, every day.


  • The Bay (age: 60+): 15% off your purchase, first Tuesday of every month.


  • Bulk Barn (age: students AND 60+): 10% off your purchase, every Wednesday. Discount cannot be combined with any other discount ($3 off $10 coupons).


  • Canadian Tire (age: 65+): 10% off regular priced items, first Wednesday of every month.


  • Golden Griddle (age: 55+): 10% discount, excluding alcohol, every day.


  • Go Transit (age: 65+): ½ price of a single ride adult fare, every day.


  • Greyhound (age: 62+): 10% off your purchase, every day.


  • Hallmark (age: 55+): 10% off your purchase, one day per week (days vary by location).


  • Lawtons Drug (age: 55+): 20% off select merchandise, every day.


  • M&M Meats (age: 60+): 5% off your purchase, every Tuesday.


  • Mandarin Chinese Buffet (age: 65+):  20% off the buffet price, every day.


  • Marriott (age: 62+): 15% off or more on your room rate, every day.


  • McDonalds (age: 60+): Large coffee for $0.85, every day.


  • Rexall PharmaPlus (age: 60+): 10% off your purchase of regular priced merchandise, last Tuesday of the month.


  • Rona (age: 65+): 10% off your purchase, any day.


  • Salvation Army (age: 60+): 10% off your purchase, every day. Discount cannot be combined with other offers.


  • Shoppers Drug Mart (age: 55+): 20% off your purchase of regular priced merchandise (excludes certain items), every Thursday.


  • Smitty’s: With a $2 annual fee, receive a $5 gift certificate and save 15% off any menu or retail item, every day.


  • Value Village (age: 55+): 10% off your purchase, every Tuesday.


  • Via Rail (age: 60+): Save on adult regular fare, every day.

  
1.  You don’t always have to be 65 to qualify for a senior’s discount. In some cases, the ripe young age of 50 can qualify you as a senior. While you may be decades away from retirement, and it might feel defeatist to search for a senior discounts so soon, your purse will thank you. In an  extreme example, by signing up for a membership with the Canadian  Association of Retired Persons (CARP), you can get an annual gym  membership to GoodLife for $400 per year (plus tax) as long as you are  45 years or older.  The cheapest CARP membership found was $14.95 per year.

2.  Many companies have a day of the month or week for seniors’ savings.
Mrs. January.com has a list of fast food restaurants, pharmacies, hotels, big box stores, and more, that offer discounts averaging 10 to 20 per cent on certain days.
For example, Shoppers Drug Mart offers 20 per cent off on the last Thursday of every month for those who are 65 and older. According to some readers, the eligible age can be as low as 55, depending on the store, so it never hurts to ask.

3.  Always ask about a senior discount. Speaking of it never hurting to ask about the age eligibility, sometimes the seniors’ discount policies aren’t widely advertised at all. Some cashiers may be shy to suggest it for fear of offending customers.  Any chance to save money is well worth the two seconds it takes to ask.  So whenever you are at a register, get into the habit of asking if there is a seniors’ discount.   



Health-related articles (posted January 21, 2015)


Seniors deserve to live in a safe setting (André Picard/ Globe & Mail)


Just after midnight on Jan. 23, 2014, a blaze broke out in the kitchen of the Résidence du Havre nursing home in L’Isle-Verte, Que.

Thanks to the inept response that followed, 32 seniors – who had moved to an institutional setting in order to be safe and cared for, let’s not forget – died horrific deaths.

A year later, we need to wonder aloud if we actually learned anything from yet another preventable tragedy. The orgy of inaction and excuse-making that has followed suggests the answer is a resounding "No."

There has been an extensive police investigation, but no criminal charges have been laid. The Crown prosecutors’ office is still mulling things over, but history suggests no one will be going to jail.

The obligatory coroner’s inquest, headed by Cyrille Delage, wrapped up just before Christmas. He heard testimony from 60 witnesses over eight days and, while Mr. Delage has not yet produced a final report, some key facts emerged. (And, remember, a coroner can only make recommendations, he cannot point fingers of blame.)

Initially, the fire was blamed on 96-year-old Paul-Étienne Michaud, an occasional smoker. But crime scene investigators found that the fire started in the kitchen just below Mr. Michaud’s room and he was, in fact, the first victim.

There was one worker responsible for the overnight care of the 52 residents of the nursing home, even though most were over 85 and suffering from mobility and cognitive challenges. The actions of that employee, Bruno Bélanger, on the fateful night were head-scratchingly bizarre.

After the fire started, he ran by the rooms of at least a dozen residents without notifying them, saying he was in a rush to get to the room of his employer/girlfriend at the opposite end of the complex, because that was "protocol."

Mr. Bélanger, however, had never participated in a single fire drill and said he didn’t even know how to operate a fire extinguisher, even though he was a fire extinguisher salesman for 15 years – a palpable irony.

The front door of the nursing home was locked and could not be opened from the inside. Several bodies were found there; most others were found on balconies, where residents prayed for help that did not come fast enough. The bodies were so badly burned that they had to be identified by the serial numbers on their artificial hips and false teeth.

It took 18 minutes for volunteer firefighters to arrive on the scene and the fire chief did not call in reinforcements until 19 minutes after he arrived on-site, and the closest professional firefighting crew, in Rivière-du-Loup was never called. Once again, the excuse was "protocol." Turns out that most of the firefighters didn’t have proper training either; the municipality said it didn’t want to impose on volunteers. (The insurance company for the property is suing L’Isle-Verte for $2.3-milliion, arguing the response was inadequate.)

The most disturbing testimony of all, however, came from Lise Veilleux of the Régie du bâtiment, the provincial agency responsible for building standards.

A key contributing factor to the disaster was that there was no sprinkler system in the part of the building where everyone died. When asked if sprinklers were mandatory, Ms. Veilleux gave such a Byzantine and bureaucratic explanation that the mild-mannered Mr. Delage exploded with anger: "Does anyone understand these [rules] other than you?"

The law should be simple and straightforward: Every institutional facility like a nursing home should have an automatic sprinkler system. Period.

Mr. Delage first made that recommendation in 1969, when he conducted an inquest into the Repos du Vieillard nursing home fire in Notre-Dame-du-Lac that killed 38 seniors.

Since then there have been too many similar tragedies with mass casualties, including the Chafe’s Nursing Home fire in Petty Harbour, Nfld., on Boxing Day 1976 that left 21 people dead, and the 1980 fire at the Extendicare home in Mississauga that claimed the lives of 25 seniors. And that is without mentioning the incidents that occur all too often that claim "only" a couple of lives.

How much more carnage do we need before taking decisive action? There are more than 400,000 Canadian seniors living in institutional settings, and they deserve to be in a safe setting. Yet, in Quebec, fewer than half of nursing homes have sprinkler systems.

As Mr. Delage is fond of saying "The best way to fight fires is with prevention."

But there have been far too many inquiries and far too little action on their recommendations.

Your brain has limited capacity: Here's how to maximize it (Globe & Mail)

You can’t find your keys again. You forgot to buy milk. You were supposed to call your niece to wish her a happy birthday – three days ago.

Don’t worry you’re not losing your mind. It hasn’t adapted to deal with modern life, according to Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist and bestselling author of This Is Your Brain on Music.

As Levitin explains in his new book "The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload", the evolution of the human brain hasn’t caught up with the demands of today’s world. We’re now chasing deadlines instead of the quarry that will become our next meal. We’re keeping track of friends and acquaintances around the world through e-mail and social media instead of focusing on relationships within a single village. And rather than having to make do with whatever the environment deals us, we’re bombarded with choices at every turn, from which shampoo to buy to where to plan our next vacation.

The brain has a limited capacity to process information and juggle multiple tasks. But Levitin, a professor of psychology and behavioural neuroscience at McGill University, says we can help the brain do its job more efficiently by organizing our lives around how it functions. By using so-called brain extenders, methods that offload some of the brain’s functions, we can help de-clutter our thoughts and sharpen memories. As Levitin discovered through interviews with high-powered executives, military leaders, Nobel laureates and artists, adopting organizational tactics to reduce the brain’s workload may help us become more successful.

Evaluate the probabilities

When making big decisions, like buying a home or considering medical treatments, it can be tough to wrap your head around a deluge of numbers and statistics. You may be inclined to trust your gut feelings, but your gut does not always yield the wisest results. To better systematize your approach to decision-making, Levitin advocates using Bayesian inferencing.

Bayesian inferencing involves updating one’s estimates of probabilities, based on increasingly refining the information available, he explains. Consider, for example, what the odds are that the person you just saw at your local Starbucks was the Queen. Your answer is probably close to nil. But your estimates of those chances increase if you find out the Queen is in town. And they become higher still if you know the Queen had plans to visit that very Starbucks at the very hour you were there.

Levitin says this kind of reasoning is especially important in medical decision-making. Imagine, for example, your doctor tells you that you need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug. Most people would likely assent based on their physician’s recommendation, he says. But if you were to weigh the odds of that drug having a positive effect against the odds of experiencing side effects, you might find it wiser to decide otherwise.

"What I advocate is a more active role in medical care where you would say to the doctor, ‘Well, what are the chances that I’ll benefit from it? How many people take this medication with no benefit?’" Levitin says. Although doctors tend to be trained to think in terms of diagnosing and treating illnesses, they are not typically trained to think probabilistically, he adds. This becomes problematic when faced with the latest treatment options with questionable odds of a cure. "The way medical care is going in this country and in other countries, I think we need to become more proactive about knowing which questions to ask and working through the answers."

Take the time to write it down

According to The Wall Street Journal, the coaching staff of the Cleveland Browns is employing an old-fashioned tactic this year to help boost the NFL team’s performance; it’s encouraging players to write notes on team strategies by hand. "When you write stuff down, you have a much higher chance of it getting imprinted on your brain," coach Mike Pettine told the paper.

Pettine may be on to something. A recent study in the journal Psychological Science found university students who were asked to hand-write notes during lectures were better able to answer questions based on the lectures later, compared with those who typed their notes using a laptop. The researchers suggest handwriting required the students to engage more in processing the information, selecting only the most important details, instead of mindlessly transcribing what they heard.

Levitin offers another compelling reason to dust off your pens and pencils. Writing things down conserves mental energy that you would otherwise expend fretting about forgetting them. It frees the brain from what cognitive psychologists call the "rehearsal loop," replaying an idea over and over again to remember it.

While conducting interviews with highly successful individuals for the book, Levitin was struck by how many of them use this low-tech approach. But don’t settle for organizing your thoughts with notebooks and to-do lists. Levitin suggests writing them on index cards. You may, for example, have a stack of cards for daily errands, reminding you to pick up laundry, call a client and drop off your collection of Breaking Bad DVDs for a friend.

"The beauty of it is, for one thing, you can carry them in your pocket, so they’re always with you," he says. And unlike lists, you can easily re-sort them, as your priorities change. He notes some people even keep separate piles of index cards for to-do items at work and for home.

Your friendships could use a reminder

A 2012 study from the University of Edinburgh found that having more Facebook friends also means having more stress. The study suggested the average Facebook user has seven different social circles – among them, friends they know offline, extended family, siblings, friends of friends and co-workers. Having these disparate circles in their Facebook network increased users’ anxiety because they worried about presenting an online version of themselves that did not meet the approval of certain groups.

It’s no wonder juggling your social life is stressful. Levitin notes that our ancestors, with their limited social networks, had it easy by comparison. Today, simply trying to keep track of all the people we wish to stay connected with is a source of stress on its own.

Levitin suggests actively organizing data about your social world to allow you to have more meaningful interactions. This means taking notes when you meet new people that help you contextualize your link to them, such as who made the introduction and whether you share any hobbies, and using memory "ticklers," such as setting a reminder on your electronic calendar every few months to check in with friends if you haven’t heard from them in a while.

"Organizing your social world doesn’t mean you turn your social world into an algorithm," Levitin says. "The idea is to maximize the opportunities that you’ll have rewarding and pro-social interactions with people."

When in doubt, toss it in a junk drawer

The chaos of a junk drawer, a catch-all place to store odds and ends, may seem antithetical to creating order in your life. But Levitin says there is an important purpose for the junk drawer. It allows you to cut down on time and mental energy spent making trivial decisions.

Previous research by Sheena Iyengar, director of the global leadership program at Columbia Business School and author of The Art of Choosing, found the average American makes around 70 conscious decisions a day. It’s a safe bet Canadians are faced with a similar number.

Although our brains are hardwired to create categories for all the things and ideas we encounter, there are times when deciding the right category for an item is counterproductive.

Say, for instance, your plumber gives you a tool needed to fix your garbage disposal, and asks you to hold onto it until the next time the appliance needs repairs. Instead of agonizing over the best place to put it, Levitin says, "we throw it in the junk drawer. We’re not wasting more time making a decision than it’s worth, and we move on with our lives."

A junk drawer needn’t be just for physical odds and ends. And it needn’t be their final resting place. You can set up electronic junk drawers, or miscellaneous folders, on your computer to hold hard-to-categorize documents and e-mails until you find a better place to store them. Levitin notes that his former boss kept a folder titled, "stuff I don’t know where to file," and would check it periodically to review the materials in it, and sometimes create new folders for them.


Health and CPP-related articles (posted December 29, 2014)


"Clarification: Signing up for the Public Service Health Care Plan before Apri1, 2015"

It has come to our attention that Public Works and Government Services Canada, or PWGSC, recently sent letters to some federal employees, retirees, and veterans who do not have Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) premiums deducted from their pensions.  The letter advises retirees and veterans to sign up for the Plan before April 1, 2015, when the years of pensionable service required to be eligible for pensioner coverage under the Plan change from two to six years.

The letter was circulated to inform retired members who are not participating in the PSHCP, that they may be affected by the new eligibility criteria. If you are already a retired member with PSHCP coverage, and you have any concerns or questions regarding your continued coverage under the PSHCP, please contact the appropriate pension administration centre listed below.

The distribution list used for the letter was an amalgamation of retired members not enrolled in the PSHCP from amongst the five different pension plans (the Public Service Pension Plan, the Canadian Forces Pension Plan, RCMP Pension Plan, retired Judges and retired Members of Parliament).  Individuals identified as non-PSHCP participants under one of the pension plans could not be cross-referenced with participants identified under the other plans. Examples of this are veterans who went to work as public servants after retiring from the Forces, or retired public servants who also receive a survivor pension. These individuals may receive more than one pension, but premiums for the Public Service Health Care Plan are only be deducted from one of their pensions. In addition, retired members who are not PSHCP members in their own right, but who have coverage as a dependant, will also have received this notice.   

Retired federal employees from the Wheat Board, Canada Post, and others, may also have received this letter but are not eligible for pensioner coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding your continued coverage under the PSHCP, please contact the appropriate pension administration centre at the coordinates provided here. They are aware of the situation and will be happy to assist you in this regard.

Former public servants
Toll free: 1-800-561-7930
Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (your local time)

Outside Canada and the United States: 506-533-5800 (collect calls accepted)
Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Atlantic time)

Telephone Teletype (TTY):
506-533-5990
(collect calls accepted)
Monday to Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Atlantic time)
Excluding Statutory Holidays

Facsimile
418-566-6298

Canadian Armed Forces veterans
1-800-267-0350 (toll free from anywhere in Canada and the United States)
613-952-9933 (within the National Capital Region)
1-855-255-9935 (Teletypewriter (TTY))

RCMP veterans
Toll-Free: 1-855-502-7090
Executive Services:
lt 1-855-502-7088 (C/Supt, EX-01 and above)
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (your local time)
Outside Canada and the United States:
506-533-5800 (collect calls accepted)
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Atlantic time)
Telephone Teletype (TTY):
506-533-5990 (collect calls accepted)
Monday to Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Atlantic time)



Fee-for-service payment for doctors is outdated (The Star)


Our system for paying doctors was designed in another time for a very different reality. We need to modernize it.

In an era of transparency and openness, it seems reasonable to expect public disclosure of the names of physicians who collectively receive $11 billion annually from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan for delivering health-care services.
The notion that such disclosures will “alter the health-care landscape” and establish new levels of accountability by physicians is, however, a big leap of faith. There is little evidence to support this notion in B.C. or Manitoba where disclosure has been required for many years.

A much more important issue to consider is the need to finally re-examine the predominant manner in which our system pays physicians for their services. It is fundamentally the same system that was first put in place in Saskatchewan in 1962 when Tommy Douglas introduced Canada’s first medicare program.

Saskatchewan doctors went out on strike for three weeks to protest its introduction, but returned to work on the condition that government pay them on a fee-for-service basis. This method of payment is based on the doctor submitting a bill to government for each time they see, treat or perform a procedure on a patient. Payment is made in accordance with a negotiated schedule of fees for what are deemed to be medically necessary services.

Back in 1962, this method of payment was likely a good approach and the negotiated schedule only consisted of a few hundred different items. Today’s fee schedule has thousands of different fees and has made it virtually impossible to establish the relative value of each fee.

By example, how much should an ophthalmologist be paid to remove your cataract versus how much should a geriatrician be paid to consult on an elderly patient? Added to the complexity of value is the determination of what constitutes “medically necessary” and the huge variation in the application of that term by doctors.
Again by example, in some hospitals every patient having a cataract removed is first seen by a specialist anesthetist for a pre-procedure consultation. This obviously generates significant fees for the anesthesia specialists. In other hospitals, the anesthetists may be busy doing other kinds of work and only 10 per cent of patients having cataract surgery receive a pre-procedure consultation; it is deemed that doing so for the other 90 per cent is medically unnecessary.

In addition to the growing complexity of the billing system and the sophistication of the services being provided, demographics are also impacting the choices we must make about the delivery of health care. For example, the average life expectancy for a male in 1962 was 68 years and today it is now more than 80 years. With today’s patient being older, they present with comorbidities (multiple diseases) that require care by a team of health-care professionals. Perhaps the notion of paying one team member based on a fee for each service no longer fits with the notion of a team.

A better approach may be a fixed base level of remuneration making up 70-80 per cent of total compensation and 20-30 per cent based upon patient outcomes and productivity goals. This would create an accountability opportunity that could be managed much closer to where care is provided (at the local hospital or in the local community) as opposed to the current, ineffective approaches that are administered at the provincial level.

The current system is based upon the notion that physicians are independent contractors. Many physicians are self-incorporated and thereby have access to significant tax advantages. There are, however, very few other examples of contractors enjoying the contract vagaries that exist between physicians and their provincial government pay masters.

This is not an issue for contract negotiations. It is an issue in need of a comprehensive third-party review undertaken by an esteemed individual who can examine how the public can best be assured of receiving value for their money.

This will then likely require legislation to enact the necessary changes to create a better system to more appropriately and more fairly remunerate doctors for their services.
Murray T. Martin recently retired after 43 years of serving the public in senior health-care leadership positions in Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Internal memo: Harper, PCO approved long hiring process for social-security tribunal (iPolitics)

The Privy Council Office, the bureaucracy that serves the prime minister and cabinet, played a key role in designing a lengthy 15-month hiring process for members of the government’s badly backlogged social security tribunal, an internal memo shows.
The document, obtained by The Canadian Press, says the process was approved by Prime Minister Stephen Harper just six months before the tribunal launched.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney has pointed the finger at the “rigorous pre-screening process” for new tribunal members as one of the reasons why thousands of terminally ill or injured Canadians are waiting years for appeals after being denied Canada Pension Plan disability benefits.

In an effort to deal with the 11,000-case backlog for social security appeals, mostly involving CPP disability benefits, Kenney has since shortened the 15-month hiring process.

Critics question why PCO would have designed such a lengthy screening process to begin with, and why Harper agreed to it. Former adjudicators under the old system say they were brought on board in a much shorter period of time.

“Approving a 15-month hiring process for an organization that would open in six months shows the government had little concern about the fact that it would leave thousands of vulnerable Canadians in an appalling and completely unnecessary situation,” Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner said Wednesday.

“But these are the kinds of decisions that get made when Priority 1 is saving money to pay for an income-splitting benefit for the wealthy.”

The new tribunal inherited about 6,000 outstanding cases when it launched on April 1, 2013, replacing four former appeals panels in what was billed as an effort to streamline the process and save Canadian taxpayers $25 million a year.

In a memo to Kenney sent in January from Service Canada and obtained via the Access to Information Act, the minister was told that “discussions with PCO resulted in a selection process for SST members, approved by the prime minister, which sets the parameters for future selection initiatives.”

The memo, written as the social security backlog continued to swell, says a 12-month selection process was in place on the tribunal and an additional three months were required to appoint candidates to the proper positions. “The total estimated time for a selection and appointment process would be 15 months,” the memo read, asking Kenney to be mindful of the lengthy hiring process while urging him to sign off as soon as possible on new hires.

The memo also delves into difficulties finding bilingual candidates to hear appeals on the new tribunal.

“The current pool … has no bilingual candidates outside of Quebec and there are limited candidates in some regions,” it reads. “There are also only four aboriginal people, two persons with disabilities and six visible minority candidates.”

Critics have pointed out that there were already 1,000 well-qualified part-time referees working in the old system who could have been approached to work on the new tribunal, or kept on while new members were being vetted, in order to prevent even further delays for some of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.

Only a handful of former referees were hired onto the new tribunal. And new appointees sat idle for much of their first year of employment, those familiar with the launch of the tribunal have said.

Philippe Rabot, one-time review tribunals commissioner under the old system, has said that 30-40 appointees making $100,000 were “sitting at home that first year.”

No work was assigned to them because the tribunal simply wasn’t ready to roll out on April 1, 2013, he said. The tribunal, meantime, says those appointees were being mentored by more “more experienced members” and learning how to operate a new case management computer system.

A former referee under the old system said she was personally laid off two years ago by someone who had just left the PCO to join Employment and Social Development.
“The PCO was definitely deeply involved in the entire transition from the old system to the new tribunal,” said the former referee, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals.

There are now 73 full-timers on the new tribunal and a freshly hired part-time complement of 22 employees.

A spokesman for the tribunal said Wednesday that at Kenney’s request earlier this year, the hiring process was shortened for both full-time and part-time members.

“The department accelerated the 2014 process by conducting three concurrent panels for interviews (instead of only one panel), and prioritizing those candidates who indicated interest in part-time positions,” said Pierre Nolet.


Health-related articles (posted December 7, 2014)

More doctors keep patient records electronically, survey suggests:
About 65% of physicians reported seeing better or much better quality of care with e-records http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/more-doctors-keep-patient-records-electronically-survey-suggests-1.2857225

Canada needs a national pharmacare plan:
Canada needs a national pharmacare plan that would assume the bulk of prescription drug costs the way Medicare covers doctors’ fees and hospital bills http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2014/11/28/canada_needs_a_national_pharmacare_plan_editorial.html

Reverse arthritis specialist decision, minister urged (CBC News)
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/reverse-arthritis-specialist-decision-minister-105957163.html

An organ shortage is killing people. Are lab-grown organs the answer? (VOX)
http://www.vox.com/2014/11/20/7252365/lab-grown-organs

Healthy Canadians
http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/index-eng.php?cat=99

EVEN MORE interesting articles on penions (Posted October 31, 2014)

Will the new PRPPs help Canadians save for retirement?
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/retirement-rrsps/how-successful-will-prpps-be-in-helping-canadians-sa ve-for-retirement/article21110404/
Financial expert, Preet Bannerjee, is unimpressed with recent announcements about PRPPs: "As far as I can see, there are few advantages to self-employed Canadians opening a PRPP. The various types of accounts and service providers already out there, such as self-directed registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), provide them with more options and flexibility."

UP! How the NL government and its unions solved their pension problem
http://rabble.ca/news/2014/10/how-nl-government-and-its-unions-solved-their-pension-problem
This article provides a long and detailed look at the recent Newfoundland and Labrador government's negotiations with their public sector unions that ended with a new agreement, " In a country characterized by increasingly confrontational labour relations, an unlikely story of cooperation and negotiation emerges. Are there lessons for the rest of the country? It took two years of wrangling -- and over a decade to get to the wrangling stage -- but on September 2, 2014, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that it had reached an agreement on pension reform with five of its employees' labour unions."


Target Benefit Plans: Improving Access for Federally Regulated Employees
Press Release:  
http://www.benefitscanada.com/pensions/governance-law/how-to-kickstart-tbps-for-federally-regulated-employees-58297
Report:  
http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/e-brief_186.pdf
The C.D.Howe Institute published a new report on Target Benefit Plans this week which fed a stream of articles repeating their findings. Here I've provided both a link to the report itself and the Press Release that accompanied it.  The report essentially pushes for changes to the structures of TBPs to encourage their use, namely removing protections for plan participants. Currently, the pension standards regulator has a veto over the plan administrator’s fiduciary decision to reduce benefits The CD Howe believes this makes TBPs less attractive to employers, and see this as a fundamental flaw.

A closer look at our public sector pension envy: Mayers
http://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/retirement/2014/10/16/a_closer_look_at_pension_envy_mayers.html
This article raises the question : If 76 per cent of private sector workers don’t have a pension of any kind, but 86 per cent of public sector employees do, would it be cheaper and fairer to wind up public pension plans? A frightening thought for members, I'm sure. Luckily, the answer is a resounding "no!". If we were to do so, "it will cost us a lot of money to cap the plans. Going forward, retirees would end up with a smaller pension and at the end of the day taxpayers would foot the difference with income supplements."


Some Pension Points from a Novice (Posted October 14, 2014)


Click here to read an enlightening and comprehensive article written by Graham Weber, our association's RSO, who provides service to members of the southwest Ontario Branches. Graham shares his views on how well our pensions are performing and offers his own view on whether we can sleep well at night! A must read!

Mental Health Crisis in the Canadian Armed Forces (Posted September 7, 2014)


Appended is the link to an excellent Global News report on the issue of a mental health crisis in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The article includes several interviews with serving and released members as well as an interview with Col. Rakesh Jetley, the Senior Psychiatrist and Mental Health Advisor to the Surgeon General.

Also appended are two video clips produced by the CAF for serving members on mental health.  The first video is about the need to address the stigma of mental health and includes interviews by serving members.  The second video discusses the process of mental health treatment for serving members.

http://www.globalnews.ca/invisible-wounds/

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/video.page?doc=addressing-the-stigma-of-mental-health/htfhtue8

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/video.page?doc=process-of-mental-health-treatment/hwiya30d

If you are aware of a Veteran needing assistance help is available:
    
·         For any emergency or crisis situation, call 911

·         For all Veterans or their families who are in difficult situations or need help, call the 24 hour toll- free crisis help line 1-800-268-7708. This is a 24-hour toll-free help line that can provide all Veterans and their families with short-term professional counselling and referral services, including support for mental and emotional health concerns.

Disabled RCMP vets' class action settlement approved (Posted September 7, 2014)
The Canadian Press Posted: Aug 05, 2014 3:07

The Federal Court has approved a multimillion-dollar class-action settlement for a group of disabled RCMP veterans whose disability payments were clawed back. The case involved 1,056 Mounties whose long-term disability payments were reduced by the amount of their monthly disability benefits from the Veterans Affairs Department.

The estimated value of the settlement is $70 million. That includes $30.6 million in retroactive payments, $9.1 million in interest on those payments and $30.3 million in future benefits. The proposed agreement also means the reduction would end for all RCMP veterans now receiving benefits and Mounties who are medically released in the future.

The case was launched in 2008 by Gerard Buote, but was taken over by David White after Buote died from cancer the following year. One of White's lawyers said he was pleased with Tuesday's decision.

"It ensures that the members of this class receive what they rightly deserve, and we are grateful to Gerry and David for their dedication to this cause," Dan Wallace said in a statement.



"Extravaganza of Pension Information" Posted July 19, 2014:

Click here for a very plain-language and engaging presentation on "problems with pensions" from Quebec – highly recommended!


Click here for a good summary of what the federal government is thinking about with "Defined Benefit Pensions" and click here for a set of videos on pension issues. Both are from the law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt


And
click here to see the views of the C. D. Howe Institute on these same issues…very thorough


And from PIPSC: "PIPSC Supports CLC Resolution on Defined Benefit Plans - At a time when governments at all levels across Canada are looking to save money and win votes by cutting back on public sector pensions, PIPSC continues to work closely with other bargaining agents and like-minded organizations to protect the retirement security of all Canadians. One example of the Institute’s work in this area is our participation in the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) May 2014 convention in Montreal. PIPSC fully supported Emergency Resolution #1 on Defined Benefit Pension Plans." Click here for the full resolution and other PIPSC information


Click here for a thorough report on how our current pension plan is doing. This site is the Public Service Pension Investment Board's site and has excellent data on our PSP Investment Plan and how it is performing both currently and historically. The site lists the Board of Directors, PSP Senior Officers and other information of interest that answers questions we all have at some time as to " how is our Pension Plan doing and is it sustainable?". Then click here for the 2014 report on our specific pension investment returns for the past year.


And finally, click here for a Globe and Mail article with some excellent little known hints and tips on setting up and using RRIF’s to your maximum advantage



Previous Postings:

The Ontario government provides a guide to the programs and services it provides to seniors in this province. To explore this guide, click here.

The Ontario government also provides a guide to assist communities in planning "age-friendly" communities. To view this guide, click here.

The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority of Ontario has also opened a website that describes all the services it provides. To see what this website has to offer, click here.




 
 
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