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Vol. 26 | No. 4 | Spring 2015 206 - 1555 St. James St. Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B5 | 1-204-889-3660 | Manitoba Toll Free: 1-888-393-8082 | rtam@mymts.net | rtam.mb.ca

You are invited to attend the

2015 Annual General Meeting of the Retired Teachers' Association of Manitoba

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 (Related Activities pre-AGM)

10:00 - 3:00 Chapter Presidents'/Representatives’ Meeting with Board Members 3:30 - 4:30 Johnson Inc. Presentation with Jeff Bennett, V.P. Plan Benefits (West Region) - Trends & Future Direction of Retirement Benefit Plans 5:30 - 9:00 Evening Reception / Distinguished Service Award(s) / Entertainment Wednesday, May 27, 2015: Annual General Meeting

9:00 9:15 12:00 1:00 1:30


9:15 11:45 1:00 1:30 4:00

Opening Board Elections and Meeting Session Lunch TRAF Presentation Meeting Session

PN 40037581

Door Prizes throughout the day – must be in attendance. There will be tradeshow tables set up Tuesday and Wednesday: Travel Companies to display information and destination options, with brochures; Johnson Inc., with Jessica Simpson, will respond to questions one-on-one on Benefits and Travel Insurance. Check the website for all AGM material.


KEEP IN TOUCH All materials for the next issue of KIT must be emailed to dsage@mymts.net and received by May 25, 2015, 5:00 p.m. Materials published here do not necessarily represent the policies nor views of RTAM. UPCOMING EVENTS

PRE-RETIREMENT SEMINAR In Brandon - April 11, 2015 In Winnipeg - April 18, 2015


If you require information and brochures, or if you have any questions concerning these plans (Dental, HouseInsurance, Long Term Care, Life, Emergency Medical Travel) contact: Johnson Inc. Claims and Administration Information 11120 178th Street, Edmonton AB T5S 1P2 Toll Free 1-877-989-2600 | Phone (780) 413-6536 |Fax (780) 420-6082 Email: edmonton@johnson.ca


Please send your hard copy ad and cheque payable to RTAM. Mail to Doreen Sage, Editor. Box 252, Neepawa, MB R0J 1H0. Note: The Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba does not endorse or promote any products, services or events presented in paid advertisements, the Announcements or Volunteer Opportunities sections, unless specified. The Editorial Committee reserves the right to print, reject and/or edit for clarity, all materials received.


Contact TRAF at 204-949-0048 or toll free at 1-800-782-0714 or mail to Room 330, Johnston Terminal, 25 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, MB R3C 4S8.

RTAM can not change your address.


Not-for-profit organizations who wish to place public service announcements, volunteer opportunities with service groups, school or teacher reunions are encouraged to do so. Submissions are printed free of charge.


We would like to thank all those who contributed material for KIT. When sending in files please use Word, black ink only and no formatting. Please keep writing. Photos: 1500 pixels or professionally developed.

Spring 2015 • Vol. 26 No. 4

Published by



206-1555 St. James St. Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B5 Phone 889-3660 • 1-888-393-8082 Email: rtam@mymts.net • www.rtam.mb.ca Editor-in-Chief: Doreen Sage Box 252, Neepawa, MB R0J 1H0 Phone: 204-476-5772 Email: dsage@mymts.net Administrative Assistant: Carol Gillis Office Assistant: Grace Reimer Privacy Officer: Wayne Hughes 82 Whiteshell Avenue Winnipeg, MB R2C 2R9 204-222-4011 lwhughes@mymts.net Board of Directors 2014-2015 President: Wayne Hughes Vice -President: Marvin Krawec Secretary: Judy Olmstead Treasurer: Carol Pelton Directors-at-Large Alex Boyes Peter Carney Ralph Cibula Joan Dawson Jack Fraser Guy Hansen Barbara McDole Peggy Prendergast Doreen Sage Beth Smith Wally Stoyko Ray Sitter John Sushelnitsky Art Direction & Layout: Gayl Punzalan Managing Partner & Creative Director Blue Ink Media Email: gayl@blueinkmedia.ca Website: blueinkmedia.ca Images are licensed from fotolia.com, except the ones provided by the contributors. Copyright © 2015 by RTAM All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: RTAM, 206 - 1555 St. James St. Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B5

Table of Contents President’s Report................................................................................. ..5 AGM Information................................................................................... ..7 Notice of Proposed Rtam Policy Changes............................................. 11 Pension Committee Report.................................................................... 13 Retired Teachers Of Manitoba Student Award Program Endowment Fund........................................ 16 Feel Better: Live Longer - Volunteer!..................................................... 16 Benefiting You!...................................................................................... 17 Meet And Greet Invitation..................................................................... 21 Communication!..................................................................................... 26 Private Member’s Proposed Amendments to RTAM’s Constitution and Bylaws........... 11 Booking Travel Online?.................................. 15 The RTAM Travel Committee Wants To Know . . . ..................................... 15 What’s On Your Travel Bucket List?............... 15 Seeking Volunteer Stories!............................ 16 Mini-Wellness Seminar................................... 17 Wellness Workshop: Plans for Downsizing... 19 “Roomy Closets And Happy Feet”............... 20 Wellness Seminar Registration Form............ 20


Life Members.................................................. 20 Riel Chapter Report........................................ 21 The Retired Women Teachers’ Association.. 22 RWTA December Luncheon.......................... 22 RTAM – Okanagan Chapter Christmas Luncheon.................................... 23 Calgary and Area Chapter............................. 23 Interview with Peter Bjornson........................ 24 RTAM Benefits Update April 2015................. 28 CLASSIFIEDS................................................... 30



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We are  pleased  to  offer  our  Annual  Student  Awards  for  2015.      Please  complete  the   application  below,  or  download  from  our  website.  


The Retired  Teachers’  Association  of  Manitoba  (RTAM)  awards  annually  up  to  four  (4)  post  secondary       STUDENT  AWARDS  of  $500.00  each  for  relatives  of  RTAM  members.      

Criteria for  selection:  The  applicant  must  be:       1)  A  relative  of  a  RTAM  Member     3)  Involved  in  school  and  community  activities       2)  A  Grade  12  Graduate       4)  Entering  the  first  year  of  a  post  secondary  education  program.       FIRST  NAME:    ________________________    LAST  NAME:    ______________________________________________   Please  print             Please  print   ADDRESS______________________________________________________________________________________       Street           City/Town       Postal  Code   PHONE  NUMBERS_______________________________________________________________________________         Home             Cell   EMAIL________________________________________________________________________________________   SCHOOL  (Graduated  from  Grade  12):        ________________________________    Year  graduated  ________________   SCHOOL  ADDRESS_______________________________________________________________________________   Street           City/town     Postal  Code   POST  SECONDARY  PLANS:       Program:________________________________Location:_______________________________________   RTAM  SPONSORING  MEMBER  INFORMATION:    

NAME_________________________________________________________________________________ Please  print     ADDRESS_______________________________________________________________________________   CONTACT  INFORMATION__________________________________________________________________   To  be  completed  by  sponsoring  RTAM  member:   I  confirm  that  the  applicant,    __________________________,  has  the  following  relationship  to  me  ______________         _________________________________________________________________     RTAM  MEMBER’s  Signature                                            Phone  Number       _________________________________________________________________     Applicant’s  Signature                

___________________                        Date   ___________________                                Date  


Submissions to  include  the  following:   1.  __  Application  Form   2.  __  Applicant’s  Description  of  school  and  c ommunity  activities  (one  page)   3.__  Letter  of  reference/support  from  a  non-­‐family  m ember  (one  page)   4.  __  Final  Grade  12  official  high  school  transcript  of  marks  (copy  only)  

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If further  information  is     required,  please   contact  RTAM  at:                                rtam@mymts.net             or              www.rtam.mb.ca   or            #206  –    1555  St.  J  ames  Street,                            Winnipeg,  MB  R3H  1B5    

Phone: 204-­‐889-­‐3660/  1-­‐888-­‐393-­‐8082       Phone  messages  may  be  left  at  any  time   The  RTAM  office  is  open  Monday  to   Friday  from  9:00  a.m.  to  1:00  p.m.  

President’s Report

March, 2015

S Wayne Hughes RTAM President





pring is just around the corner and the sun is growing stronger every day. That means the RTAM year will soon be coming to an end with committees making their final reports and looking at a new operating year. As you can see from the cover, much of this issue is devoted to our Annual General Meeting and Chapter Presidents’ Meeting being held in Portage la Prairie, May 26 and 27 at the Canad Inn. A big THANK YOU to the Portage Chapter for volunteering as hosts for our meeting. A number of Portage chapter members have been busy reserving space, meeting with hotel personnel and lining up volunteers to handle the myriad of details that have to be attended to and answered. While the Annual General Meeting is a time to look back on what has been done as each committee and chapter submits a report, it is, more importantly, a time to look forward to what we are going to do. This is largely accomplished by electing a new Board of Directors and approving a budget for that Board to operate for the 2015-2016 operating year. While I do not feel comfortable with specific examples, I know the current Board is going to have a number of directors and officers making a decision to retire from the Board. I plan to step down as President after close to 3.5 years of fulfilling the duties as President. I will continue as Past President . That

means we need members who will “step up to the plate” and let their names stand for election. Please consider doing your bit for over 9000 retired teachers across Manitoba and Canada. There are many ways of getting involved with RTAM such as letting your name stand for election, offering to serve on a standing committee or simply supporting the many seminars and workshops offered through the year. As an organization, we depend on your interest and involvement. With that plea as a backdrop, let`s look at some of the happenings at RTAM: • The Benefits Committee has worked very hard at reviewing and renewing the rates in our many plans. Plan members should have received a letter from Johnson outlining the new rates as well as the benefit improvements for the coming year effective April 2015. See the “Benefiting You” report. • The Wellness Committee has had a numbers of seminars that, by all reports ,have been extremely successful and informative. They were able to have some the seminars in our new office in the Board Room. • Our new office is seeing increased use by all our many committees, some outside senior groups who need a place to meet, as well as a few active teachers who need an offsite space for planning without interruption. We have also, on occasion, rented space


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to some of our neighbours in the building. Remember, if you as a RTAM member need a space to meet, we may be able to help. Call 204-889-3660, toll-free 1-800-393-8082. • The Pension Committee has been looking at the Restricted Surplus that has been accumulating over the past two years and cannot be distributed until the provisions of Bill 45 expire in 2017. As of December 2013, the surplus sits at $8,978,000. The committee is looking for some thoughtful input from retired teachers as to how we believe it should be distributed. While TRAF will be the final decision maker, they have assured us they will consider our point of view. So please read the article and give it your thoughtful consideration and let us know. • RTAM is going to be offering Pre-Retirement Seminars on April 11 and April 18 in Brandon and Winnipeg, respectfully. Please make sure you advise any former colleagues who plan to retire of these very worthwhile events. The Retired Teachers of Winnipeg Chapter are also having a Pre-retirement Seminar for those teachers planning to retire from Winnipeg School Division, since they will have a slightly different benefit plan that is offered to them. I would like to take a moment to reflect on where RTAM has been since I became involved approximately 10 years ago. When I first joined the Pension Committee, RTAM was a much smaller organization. No staff, no office, no equipment, only a person who monitored the messages left on the 6 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

telephone. Over the next few years, we established an office and even bought a desk, filing cabinet(s), a few chairs and even a computer and printer. The next step was to hire staff to deal directly with member questions and concerns, as well as the ones left on the answering machine. It became apparent that more staff time and a better office space and more equipment was needed to address the increasing needs of our members. Last year we upgraded to our existing space, where we are now able to hold workshops and board meetings. Our services and contacts with members continue to increase to the point we now have two part time staff working five days a week. Recently, the board has suggested we need to expand our hours beyond the current 4 hours per day. With the complexity and increased sophistication of the needs of our members and our organization, an Ad Hoc committee has been meeting to explore the feasibility of hiring an executive director type person, who would oversee and give some continuity and support to our board and members. In many ways, we should not be surprised, with our membership increased to over 9000 members, the time commitment and demands are exceeding what we can reasonably expect from a volunteer President and Board. In all, it has been a pretty amazing growth in a short time and there are no signs the growth is going to stop. In fact, projections indicate retired teachers will likely match the number of active teachers by 2017. Consequently, we need to look at and plan for our future. Stay tuned.

BREAKING NEWS I have just received notice of our COLA Award. The actuarial valuation of the Pension Adjustment Account has been received. The TRAF Board has approved the grant of a 0.98% cost of living adjustment (COLA) effective July 1, 2015. While the PAA could have supported a COLA of 1.07% the provisions of Bill 45 restrict the COLA to 2/3rds of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Canada. This means that the Restricted Surplus mentioned earlier will be increased to $11,405,000. Since this report is in effect my last report to you as President, I would like to conclude by saying THANK YOU to the many directors and colleagues I have come into contact with in my tenure over the past number of years. I have learned so much from so many different individuals. I am also very proud of the many accomplishments we have made in a relatively short time. I know I could not have handled the many duties and responsibilities without the thoughtfulness, caring and commitment of our part time staff that go way beyond the call of duty. So allow me to give a very special Thank You to Carol Gillis and Grace Reimer. I will continue as the Past President which, as I understand it, should allow me time to “decompress” before moving on to other challenges. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Respectfully submitted Wayne A. Hughes, President

2015 Annual General Meeting RETIRED TEACHERS’


Canad Inns Destination Centre, Portage la Prairie, MB WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2015 Canad Inns, 2401 Saskatchewan Avenue, West Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 3L5 1-204-857-9745

ALL RTAM MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED AND INVITED TO ATTEND THE RTAM AGM In an effort to encourage increased participation at the AGM, the Board is offering a reduced advanced registration fee. The registration fee for RTAM members who register before April 30, 2015 is $15.00. The registration fee who register after April 30, 2015 is $25.00. PLEASE MAKE YOUR OWN HOTEL RESERVATIONS (reference RTAM) by April 30, 2015.

2015 REGISTRATION FORM Name Address Postal Code


City & Province Email

Advanced Registration up to April 30: (includes reception, AGM meeting with lunch)

@ $15.00 =

Registration May 1 to May 27, 2015: (includes reception, AGM meeting with lunch)

@ $25.00 =

Guest attending ONLY reception (Tuesday, May 26) Guest attending ONLY LUNCH (Wednesday, May 27)

FREE @ $10.00 =

Cheque enclosed and made payable to RTAM: in the amount of $ ________________________________ On site catered lunch is included. If you have a specific health related dietary concern, please provide details.________________________________________________________________________.

£Grilled Chicken Breast


£Pasta Primavera £Fillet of Salmon £Hot Roast Beef Sandwich On-site catered lunch on Wednesday. If you have a specific health related dietary concern, please provide details: ______________________________________________________________________________ All registrants please indicate your attendance: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Johnson Insurance (Yes or No) ________ Jeff Bennett, V.P. Plan Benefits (West Region), Trends & Future Directions of Future Retirement Benefit Plans Tuesday Evening Reception 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Yes or No) ________ Guest (Yes or No) ________ Mail to: RTAM – AGM 2015, 113 – 1555 St. James Street, Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B5 RTAM.MB.CA

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2015 Annual General Meeting RETIRED TEACHERS’


Canad Inns Destination Centre, Portage la Prairie, MB “CALL FOR NOMINATIONS” RTAM BOARD OF DIRECTORS, 2015 – 2016

Nominations for Officers and the Board of Directors of RTAM will be accepted up to and including Friday, April 24, 2015 up to 1:00 p.m. The term of office is one year. Board members and nominators must be full members in good standing of RTAM. Any RTAM member may be nominated for a position of Director and one Officer position. An unsuccessful candidate for the Officer position has the right to stand for Director. The positions open to election on May 27, 2015 are: OFFICERS: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer DIRECTORS: up to 15 Directors may be elected. Nomination Process: Nominations will be received by the Elections Committee up to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2015. Nomination(s) must be accompanied by a signed statement from the nominee to acknowledge their willingness to accept the nomination. There will be an additional opportunity to nominate from those present in the AGM assembly. Any nomination from the floor will require the endorsement of ten (10) full RTAM members who are in attendance. There will be a thirty (30) minute time frame from the time nominations open to nominations close. If you have any questions, please call: Elections Committee Chair, Barbara McDole at 204-254-8965 or the RTAM office at 204-889-3660; toll free 1-888-393-8082


Who do you know is deserving of recognition from RTAM? A Distinguished Service Award may be presented to an individual whose service to RTAM, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, has been extraordinary. The Award may be given posthumously. a. The nominee and the nominator must each be a full member of RTAM. b. The nomination shall include a comprehensive description of the nominee’s involvement and service to RTAM. c. The Award shall consist of a framed certificate duly signed by the President. d. If possible, the Award shall be made at the Evening Reception. RTAM shall assume all travel and accommodation expenses, incurred by the recipient to attend the Tuesday Evening Reception and the AGM, on the same basis and rates allotted to Chapter Presidents. e. The President shall receive the nominations. f. The RTAM Board shall make the final decision on the granting of the Distinguished Service Awards(s). Deadline: Submission must reach the RTAM office by Monday, April 13, 2015. Mail nominee submissions to: Wayne A. Hughes, RTAM President, 206–1555 St. James Street,Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B5

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2015 Annual General Meeting

Canad Inns Destination Centre, Portage la Prairie, MB



All full rtam members are encouraged and invited to nominate themselves or be nominated, for a board position. We always need new ideas and enthusiasm! Deadline: Thursday, April 24, 2015 at 1:00 P.M. RTAM BOARD NOMINATION FORM: 2015-2016 (Please print) As a full RTAM member, I, _____________________________nominate the following full RTAM member:

Nominee’s name: __________________________________________________________________________

Mailing Address: __________________________________________________________________________

Nominee’s Phone:_________________________Email:____________________________________________ for the position of: Officer (one position only) ❏ President or ❏ Vice-President or ❏ Secretary or ❏ Treasurer . . . and/or for the position of ❏ Director The signed permission of the nominee: ______________________________________________ Or, attached is the signed permission of the nominee. Please forward to: RTAM – Nominations, 113 – 1555 St. James Street, Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B5, by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, April 25, 2015. Please note: Only FULL RTAM members may hold office, vote, endorse or sign nomination papers. ASSOCIATE RTAM members may not hold office, vote, endorse or sign nomination papers.


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2015 Annual General Meeting

Canad Inns Destination Centre, Portage la Prairie, MB



Volunteer to become aN RTAM Committee Member RTAM members-at-large are encouraged and invited to volunteer on a committee. All committees are normally chaired by a Board member. This gives YOU the opportunity to get to know more about RTAM and assist in making our Organization better. An Organization always needs diverse skills, creativity, innovation and change. Therefore, we ask you to please submit your name to indicate your availability and areas of interest. We will endeavor to accommodate you within the parameters of our Bylaws and Policy. Most Committees usually meet once a month, with the exception of July, August and December, unless there are emergent circumstances. Following are the 10 Standing Committees: 1) AGM and Elections 5) Educational Advocacy (includes Scholarships/Awards) 2) Benefits 6) Membership & Chapters 3) Bylaws and Policy 7) Pension 4) Communications: 8) Political Advocacy a) Keep In Touch Newsletter (KIT) 9) Travel b) Public Relations 10) Wellness c) RTAM Website

My Name is Phone


Home Address My interests would be for the following committee(s): _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Please provide a short reflection of your experiences that would lead to this committee: _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Please submit this form to Carol or Grace at the registration desk, by the conclusion of this AGM, or, e-mail your choice(s) NO LATER than Friday, June 5, 2015 to: rtam@mymts.net We will endeavor to contact you by the end of June. 10 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

Notice of Proposed RTAM Policy Changes Joan Dawson, Chairperson- Bylaws and Policy Committee

The following interim policy changes have the approval of the Board of Directors of RTAM and will be brought to the May, 2015, AGM in Portage La Prairie for disposition: Interim Policy Changes for AGM 2015 Policy Motion 1: (M/S Dawson/Sitter) That SECTION 8 – COMMITTEES 8.01 Names of the Standing Committees 9) Political Action Committee be amended to read: Political Advocacy Committee Rationale: RTAM Board consensus is that the phrase political action has developed a negative and aggressive connotation. The term political advocacy denotes a less confrontational and more positive collegial demeanour to the objectives of the committee. Policy Motion 2: (M/S Dawson/Boyes) That 8.06 (9) Political Action Committee be amended to read: Political Advocacy Committee The Political Advocacy Committee shall: c) Plan and organize political advocacy, if so directed by the Board.

Rationale: The new wording of this section is in line with the change of committee name in section 8.01. Policy Motion 3: (M/S Dawson/Sitter) That 8.06 (4) (i) Kit Sub-Committee be amended to read: ADD in d) d) to all public schools in Manitoba Rationale: This is a way to inform the active teachers in the province of RTAM activities and planned retirement seminars. Policy Motion 4: (M/S Dawson/Boyes) That 10.02 Reimbursement of Expenses 10.02 (1) Transportation be amended to read: ADD after the first sentence Board members and Chapter representatives traveling from outside of Manitoba to attend RTAM approved activities shall be reimbursed at the approved reasonable rates for the portion of their travel within Manitoba. Rationale: This has been the past practice of reimbursement for RTAM related travel as per 10.02 (5) AGM Attendance Expenses (c) and now reinforces that this is the standard that applies to all RTAM approved activities.

Private Member’s Proposed Amendments to RTAM’s Constitution and Bylaws Moved by: Terry Clifford Seconded by: Gail Robertson 1) Emergent Meeting of Members Definition: An Emergent Meeting of Members is a meeting to discuss topic(s) which are of sufficient importance, that deferral to the Annual General Meeting would be detrimental to the organisation or to its members.

Calling a Emergent Meeting An emergent meeting of members shall be called by the President should circumstances warrant. The President shall call an emergent meeting of members when: a) a motion is passed by a 2/3 majority of the full Board or, b) there is a written request, electronic or other-


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wise, from at least twenty (20) Chapters or, c) there are written requests, electronic or otherwise, from a total of at least fifty (50) members at large. Time and Location The time and location of the meeting shall be determined by the President, but be held in either Winnipeg or Brandon. The date of the meeting after such time that members will have received information of the meeting. The meeting shall be held within 15 working days of the fulfilling of any of the conditions outlined above. Informing members All members shall be informed of the meeting and the agenda stated. Agenda Except for deletions, the agenda shall not be amended. Expenses Claimable expenses shall be identical to those for the Annual Meeting. Cancelation Should circumstance change and the need for the meeting cease, the meeting shall be cancelled. Rationale: If there is an emergent issue identified by the Board, which would require a meeting of members to approve particular actions e.g. Changes to byLaws, there is no process in place to be able to call such a meeting. Moved by: Terry Clifford Seconded by: Gail Robertson 2) Section 4.02 be deleted. Rationale The intent of this section was to enable the Board to make such changes to the Bylaws in an emergency situation i.e. a situation which could not wait until the next AGM. In talking to at least one member of the Board the comment made was “if I do not like what the AGM voted for then using this clause, I can change it”. Such action is totally in conflict with the preceding section. It make AGM pointless and the wishes of the membership irrelevant. 12 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

Moved by: Terry Clifford Seconded by: Gail Robertson 3) Meeting of Presidents A meeting of Presidents shall be called following: a) A motion passed by a simple majority of the board or b) A request signed by at least five (5) Chapter presidents, who shall state the reason for a meeting. These letters, by electronic or other means, shall be received by the President in time for the December meeting of the Board or the first meeting of the Board thereafter. The date for a potential meeting shall be determined by the Board by September 30th and shall occur in either January or February. Chapter Presidents shall be informed within seven days of the date being determined. The President shall notify all chapter presidents of the meeting, stating date, time and location and the reason for the meeting. The President shall prepare the Agenda which may be amended at the meeting. Motions Motions may be made, tied votes shall be referred to the President for disposition. Motions are advisory to the Board Voting Each Chapter shall be entitled to two votes. While Board members will be expected to be in attendance, they have no right to enter discussions nor vote unless he/she is representing chapter. Board members may be asked to provide information by a chapter representative or by the President. Minutes Minutes will be taken and circulated to all chapters within two weeks and on the RTAM web page within four weeks. Rationale: A meeting of Presidents is entirely at the whim of the Board, at this time. This change would enable a group of chapter president the ability to have a meeting called. The above Private Member Bylaw changes have been referred to our Bylaws and Policy Committee for comment. Those comments will be shared at the AGM.

The Pension Committee would like to thank Ray Sitter for his work on outlining some options that could occur for the distribution of the Restricted Surplus. What to do with the Restricted Surplus in our COLA account The Restricted Surplus is money that was available in our PAA (COLA) Account for distribution between the years 2008 and 2017 but because of Bill 45, it could not be distributed. What’s that you say? How does that work? Every month that an active teacher makes a pension payment, most of it goes to Account A (the main pension account). A little over 16% of that money goes to the PAA Account to pay the COLA. Prior to Bill 45, pretty well all the money that went into the PAA Account was paid out as COLA the following year. Bill 45, which came into effect in 2008 and ends in 2017, has a clause that says that the maximum COLA that can be paid is 2/3 of CPI. If CPI (inflation) is very low, and the 16 plus % that came into PAA during the year would produce a COLA greater than 2/3 CPI, then what retired teachers will receive is 2/3rds of CPI as a COLA. The extra money, the amount that is the difference between what was

paid and what could have been paid is the surplus, also called the Restricted Surplus because it cannot be distributed until 2017 when Bill 45 ends. Therefore, it is called Restricted. This situation has occurred in 2013 and 2014. In 2013 there was $4,760,000 left over and in 2014 there was another similar amount left over. The end result is that there is, at this point in time, after those 2 years a total restricted surplus of $8,978,000 in the Restricted Surplus. It may occur again between now and 2017.It primarily depends upon there being very low inflation. This would normally create another Restricted Surplus. Since this Restricted Surplus cannot be paid out until 2017 or after or it is restricted from being paid out till then what do we do with it when it could be paid out? TRAF has been tasked with the job of recommending the solution to this dilemma. They have said that they would listen to proposals from all interested parties. RTAM has been assured that it would be consulted. It should be pointed out that although we will be asked WE WILL NOT MAKE THE DECISION. We would like your input into what position we should take. Remember some positions would clearly provide an advantage to current-

ly retired people. We recognize that we are not necessarily the most influential of the interested parties who will be asked for recommendations. We will work hard at putting forward your advised position. Options available for distribution of the Restricted Surplus - there are a number of them, 5 that I can think of, there are probably more. 1. The first option is to distribute the money when it becomes available for distribution and in the same way as usual i.e. to all the teachers retired in 2017/2018 as a percentage of their pension. This is the normal way of paying the available COLA amounts. The argument for this method is that it follows tradition and the normal way of doing things. All retired teachers will have paid money into the PAA account. No deviation from the rules required and no precedence is being set. 2. The amount in the restricted surplus should be paid to the people who were retired in the years that the Restricted Surplus was created. In the “normal situation” this money would have been paid out to them at the time it was created. It would not have created a situation where the COLA was greater than 100% at the time. So it should go to


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them. The counter argument is that the law was in effect at that time and as a result the Restricted Surplus occurred. To do what is proposed here would require some retired teachers to be treated differently than others contrary to the normal process and could start a bad precedent. There could always be arguments for changing the pension rules and treating one group of retirees differently than the rest. Many would consider this unfair. 3. This option looks at the changes in the size of salaries most recently and therefore pensions of most recently retired individuals. Their salaries/pensions would be larger for more recently retired individuals and therefore they would get the same percentage increase

due to COLA but the dollar value would be much larger. This option would give all retirees an EQUAL share of the monies in the Restricted Surplus when it becomes available. 4. One time, once only, separate payment to the poorest retired teachers. Compassion is the greatest argument in this option. To ensure that the applicants are “poor” it likely would require a family means “test”. This also speaks to special treatment for one retired group over another. A separate payment is to prevent this payment from becoming a part of the pension and having future COLAs paid on this “special” amount as it happens for other COLA payments. 5. Leave the restricted Surplus

in the PAA (COLA) Account. Let it be seed money that will grow to create a bigger COLA in the future. The argument against is that it is too small an amount of money to make an immediate difference. HELP!! Please consider these options and let us know what direction should be promoted by RTAM. Contact the RTAM office at 1-204-889-3660, toll-free 1-800393-8082 or mail your thoughts to RTAM 206 St. James Street, Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B5. Please indicate whether you are responding as an individual or as a representative of a group (chapter, retired teacher coffee group, or some other retired teacher group) also indicate the size of the group you represent.

VOLUNTEERING WITH TRAVEL Carol Pelton, Chair, RTAM Travel Committee

Have you combined travel with a volunteer job in Canada or abroad? Let the Travel Committee know about your experience. Would you like information about potential volunteer and travel opportunities? What areas are you interested in? Let the Travel Committee know about your area of interest. Email either request to Carol Pelton or Carol Gillis at rtam@mymts.net.

14 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015



WHAT’S ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST? • A Trans Atlantic Cruise? • A Culinary or Wine Tour? • Circumnavigating Australia? • Listening to the Jazz Greats in New Orleans? • Touring War Sites? • Climbing the Himalayas? • Let the RTAM Travel Committee know your secret destination, trip or dream vacation. The committee is continuing to address the needs of RTAM members by setting up information sessions, travel fairs, having articles in KIT and on the website. Send your bucket list wishes to Carol Pelton at rtam@mymts.net with TRAVEL in the subject lines.

BOOKING TRAVEL ONLINE? Carol Pelton, Chair, RTAM Travel Committee

Booking online can be an adventure and a learning experience. However, to spend your travel dollars wisely and get the best value for your money, here as some suggested questions. QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU BOOK ONLINE? 1. Is this a legitimate travel site? 2. Is there a contact number to call if you have questions or need help during the booking process? 3. How do you know if your booking has been completed and/or guaranteed? 4. Are you able to make any changes to your reservation once the booking has been completed? 5. Who do you call if you need to add or want to add special requests on your booking?

6. How do you know if your credit card information is protected? 7. Who do you call if your tickets do not arrive? 8. Who do you call if you have problems when you go to check in, at the resort or complaints when you arrive home? 9. Who do you call if your trip/holiday is cancelled? 10. How many “deals” did you miss because you were on another site? 11. Did you add all your “research hours” to find your “perfect price and vacation” into the cost of your vacation? Have fun! Enjoy your holiday! If you have any other suggestions on travel highlights or travel/ internet horror stories to share, email Carol Pelton or Carol Gillis at rtam@mymts.net and put Travel in subject line.


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Retired Teachers of Manitoba Student Award Program Endowment Fund RTAM would like to increase the amount of the Retired Teachers' Endowment Fund at the Winnipeg Foundation. To date the Endowment Fund has helped eight students who are relatives of RTAM members who are entering post-secondary studies. $50,000 was invested with the Winnipeg Foundation to fund

four annual awards of $500. How can you help? Donations can be made to: The Retired Teachers' Endowment Fund The Winnipeg Foundation 1350 One Lombard Place Winnipeg, MB R3B 0X3

You will receive a tax receipt from the Winnipeg Foundation

and you will be helping educate students who have been sponsored by RTAM members. As educators we believe strongly in lifelong learning and this is one opportunity to help our next generation. Please consider giving as part of your charitable gift giving.

Feel Better: Live Longer Volunteer! Studies on volunteering show that: 1. Volunteers report greater life satisfaction and better health than do non-volunteers. 2. Volunteers have opportunities to make new friends which can improve their social life and outlook on life. 3. A benefit of making new friends is that most of them will have positive outlooks on life because of the thanks they receive from those they help or from seeing the actual benefits they give to those they help and inspire. 4. People suffered less from chronic pain when they began to serve as peer volunteers for others also suffering from chronic pain. 5. Volunteers are more likely to live longer due to the positive outcomes from volunteering. 6. Volunteers who devote a “considerable” amount of time to volunteer activities (about 100 hours

per year; 2 to 3 hours weekly) are most likely to exhibit positive health outcomes. 7. Volunteering in places where teaching skills are needed and welcomed, positively affects spiritual and emotional wellness. 8. Volunteers who were more physically active burned twice as many calories as other study participants who didn’t volunteer. 9. Those who volunteer on physically demanding projects such as house-building, well-digging and coaching sports gain strength and stamina. 10. Improved heart function and blood pressure have been reported by seniors who volunteer for moderately physical activities. Successful volunteering breeds successful physical, spiritual and emotional outcomes in the volunteer.

Seeking Volunteer Stories! Tell Us Your Story highlighting a special volunteer experience. RTAM would like to publish stories in each issue of KIT during 2015 – 2016. Please send an outline/story (with picture, if available), along with your contact information to Judy Olmstead, (Volunteer Study coordinator) at rtam@ mymts.net

16 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

Lydia Heshka, Wellnesss Committee Member


n January 28, 2015, RTAM’s Wellness Committee initiated a Mini Wellness Seminar. In addition to our regular spring and fall full day seminars, we now offer a half day experience (this was the first one) at the RTAM office on St. James St. The first topic presented was Wills and Power of Attorney. A group of 16 retirees gathered in the RTAM office boardroom for a very informative session offered by Sharon Tod B.A, LL.B (St Mary’s Law). We have enjoyed working with Sharon at previous workshops. Her upbeat presentation made everyone aware of the critical need for a valid will and a power of attorney document. The small group setting allowed for a healthy exchange of information and ideas. We were reminded of the different POA’s, considerations for choosing a POA, as well as many do’s and don’ts. Joint accounts and the wisdom of same were explored. Sharon enter-

tained questions whenever they arose, creating opportunities for further conversation and learning. The many topics discussed and clarified included: health care directive (as a separate entity from a POA), codicils (and useful phrases), holographic wills, estate administration, probate, ‘fill in the blank ‘ wills, as well as costs of wills drawn up by a lawyer. At the end of the morning session we went home with much food for thought, including: No one is ‘entitled’ to your money: You earned it, you worked for it. Use it, enjoy it. If there is anything left, good. If you inherit, say “Thank you! It is your personal responsibility to have: a will, a POA, a Health Directive. Be sure you tell those who need to know the location of all your documents.

BENEFITING YOU! Alex Boyes, Benefits Chair


he real purpose of your RTAM Benefits Committee is to provide to RTAM members the best available coverage for the types of benefits you require. On an annual basis, we strive to do this. Each fall, we assess the past year’s experiences and project forward what the rates could be for the coming year. Usage made by plan members factors heavily into these calculations. Membership participation is another significant

factor. There are some variables over which we have no control: member’s age: provincially set fees: claims fluctuations. Given all these variables, the Benefits Committee presents to the RTAM Board each January a proposed fee structure for the following year (April 1 - March 31). When approved, the new fee structure is then distributed to plan members. By the time you read this, you will have received a letter from the President of RTAM stating

the new fee rates for the April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016. The same letter will also outline the enhancements to some programs at no additional cost to the members. This is our way of keeping our programs competitive with other available plans. It is important for members to know that our current insurer, Johnson Inc., has been very proactive this past year in responding to claims and concerns raised by RTAM members, particularly, but not exclusively, RTAM.MB.CA

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Mini-Wellness Seminar


regarding travel issues. In each instance, Johnson Inc. went the “extra mile” to meet the specific concern. In all instances, the matter was successfully settled to the satisfaction of the RTAM member. It is also important to know that the Office receives many impromptu calls/letters of thanks for the way in which they have been treated. As a Committee, it is reassuring to know we have this relationship with our insurance provider. All active teachers considering retirement are invited to attend the Pre Retirement Seminars in Brandon on April 11, 2015, and Winnipeg, April 18, 2015. It is important for you to inform active teachers of these upcoming seminars. Seminar information is available and can be obtained from the RTAM office. Potential retirees need this information to be aware of what RTAM can offer in the way of benefits as well as the benefits of becoming an RTAM member. Our Premier Travel plan is a very attractive travel package to which to subscribe. Just having the coverage is important, but every bit as important is for you, as the insured, to be aware of what the details are of what you have purchased. They say “the devil is in the details” and this 18 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

is critical. Familiarize yourself with ALL the details of your coverage. If you have any doubts about your coverage and your current health situation, check with your medical doctor and your insurer or both. Johnson Inc. can be of assistance with your inquiries. An expression (not mine) suggests you “know before you go.” Good, sound advice. In this regard, it is incumbent on you to do your “due diligence” beforehand. We cannot presume all your questions, but we can point out to you where to go for the answer. The Government of Canada provides several excellent booklets for people who are embarking on a travel experience. A limited supply is available at the RTAM office, but if you go on line with Government.ca you can access them. They are worth checking out. Each year, insurers can add to or delete under the Articles of Insurance, conditions which could affect your coverage and some of the activities you may wish to access. We will shortly be providing you with a list of these additions/ deletions for your information. In the future, this will be done on a regular basis. The best surprise is no surprise!

There are pre-travel checklists which you can access from a variety of sources and it may be a resource you may want to use. They provide an extra bit of reassurance when preparing for that “great adventure.” Your RTAM Benefits Committee wants your trip(s) to be memorable, rewarding and trouble free. One last thing. If the whole area of benefits is one that interests you, give serious consideration to putting your name forward as a candidate for election to the Board and membership on the Benefits Committee (or any Standing committee for that matter). Or let the Office know that you would like to serve on a committee. RTAM is always looking for new Board Members. This will be my last communication with you as the Chair of the Benefits Committee. I am retiring from the Board as of the AGM in May to make way for some “youngsters” to get on “board.” My two years on the Board have been rewarding. Thank you for your support.

Wellness Workshop: Plans for Downsizing Lydia Heshka, Wellnesss Committee Member


OU are enjoying your retirement. You look around and notice that the kids and cat are gone. All of a sudden the house is too big, and the cabin too far away. Where do you go from here? That was the subject of RTAM’s Wellness Committee’s second mini workshop: “Real Estate Transactions: Options for down sizing living spaces.” It was held from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the RTAM office at 1555 St. James Street on February 25, 2015. Once again our presenter, Sharon Tod, B.A., LL.B (St. Mary’s Law), offered and explained numerous alternatives. Each has advantages and disadvantages, both in terms of finances and lifestyle. Topics covered included: selling or keeping the home, real estate agent vs private home sale, selling or keeping the cabin, condo purchasing, and condo living. Other options covered were life lease, co-op housing and renting.

Capital gains and probate fees were explored and clarified. Tax implications of each choice were discussed. Each participant’s questions were thoroughly answered. Because we all come from a different experience, our decisions are personal and vary depending on our own lifestyles and our goals in life. The two hours went by very quickly. We left with much food for thought. Our home is our biggest asset, so a prudent, wise decision is paramount as we move into the next stage of our lives. The Wellness Committee would like to thank Sharon for sharing her knowledge and wealth of information, her anecdotes, her experiences, and her ability to answer all of our questions. In the end, we will each make our own decisions based on all the information we received, as it applies to our situations while we proceed through our lives in retirement. RTAM.MB.CA

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“ROOMY CLOSETS AND HAPPY FEET” Date: Place: Time: 9:30 - 10:00

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2015 McMaster House, 191 Harcourt at Portage 9:30 a. m. - 2:30 p. m. Registration and Health Break

PLEASE REGISTER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Registration will be limited to 60 participants and will be accepted on a “first come, first served” basis. HIGHLIGHTS: Information booths by senior-serving organizations. Program: 10:00 – 10:15 Opening remarks 10:15 – 11:45 HINTS ON EMPTYING “THIS FULL HOUSE” De-cluttering Ideas for Spring. Tannis Ho from “All Seniors Care” 12:00 – 1.00 Gourmet Lunch 1:00 – 2:15 “HAPPY FEET” Being “footloose and fancy free” is a goal for all of us! Or “Foot care at its finest.” Speaker TBA 2:15 -2:30

Closing Remarks

Life Members OCTOBER, 2014 M. Jean Alexander, Neepawa, MB Ina Irene Benson, Winnipeg, MB Marie P. MacDonald, Winnipeg, MB Laurence S. Smith, Winnipeg, MB NOVEMBER, 2014 Clare Anderson, Nanoose Bay, BC Cecile B. Brown, Aurora, ON E. Kathleen Crowston, Winnipeg, MB John A. Dyck, Winnipeg, MB Andrew J. Legebokoff, Kamsack, SK Louisa J. Loeb, Winnipeg, MB Elva S. McDonald, Cartwright, MB Helen C. Menzie, Winnipeg, MB Olga A. Nahirniak, Winnipeg, MB Eleanor B. Seafoot, Brandon, MB DECEMBER, 2014 Margaret G. Bean, Winnipeg, MB Pauline Ignash, Winnipeg, MB Anne Reimer, Stuartburn, MB JANUARY, 2015 Jacob Bergen, Winnipeg, MB Alphonse Schuweiler, Swan River, MB

WELLNESS SEMINAR REGISTRATION FORM Participant’s name:_________________________________________ Address_________________________________________________ City/Town__________________________Postal Code:_____________ Email:_________________________Phone:_____________________ Please send $30.00 cheque payable to RTAM by April 21 to: Maureen Recksiedler, PO Box 744, Stonewall, MB R0C 2Z0

Download the full ACER-CART WINTER OPTIONS NEWSLETTER at RTAM.MB.CA. Click the ACER-CART button. 20 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

FEBRUARY, 2015 Helen Johnson, Watrous, SK

Wayne Hughes and James Allum, then Minister of Education


Brian Pallister, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, greeting his old teacher John Sushelnitsky

he social event in which RTAM greeted our MLAs last spring was a huge success. There was such goodwill, folks meeting and conversing with each other. Last year’s photos (above) are a good indication of the tone of the evening. The format has been changed slightly, it will now be called our “Meet and Greet” evening, with refreshments, cash bar, and, of course, greetings and gentle background music. This is not a political event. Should you wish to meet and chat with the people who govern our province, please come. This

James Allum, Minister of Education, obviously enjoying the presentation

will be on a “first to reply” basis. Please respond by email. Alternately, you can phone the RTAM office at 204-889-3660 or toll-free 1-888-3938082. Include your: Email address, phone number, and whether or not you are bringing your partner. Golden Boy Ballroom, basement of the Legislative Building, Wednesday, April 15, 2015: 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. RSVP by March 31, 2015, to mandg2015@ mymts.net or phone the RTAM office.

Riel Chapter Report Jack Fraser


he most recent gathering of our group was held over a wonderful Thanksgiving meal this past fall at the Legacy Centre in the Louis Riel School Division Board Offices. As always, it was an event punctuated with warm conversation and laughter as members reminisced and renewed friendships. Door and raffle prizes were provided through the kind donations of many community businesses that continue both to acknowledge the contributions of the retired staff and to support the student scholarship fund the chapter has created and maintained. Attendance exceeded 100 members and all were appreciative of the work of the luncheon committee of Ron Koskie and Jerry Ilchyna. Louis Riel Superintendent Duane Brothers brought greetings from the Board Offices as did Trustee, Chris Sigurdson, who did so on behalf of the Board. The Chapter was really pleased to have Wayne Hughes join us on behalf of RTAM. We were also pleased to welcome our new Chapter President Jack Fraser. The next Chapter luncheon will take place on the last Thursday in April. Prior to the luncheon, tickets

can be obtained from the reception area of the Louis Riel School Division Board Offices, 900 St. Mary’s Road, (204) 257-7827, or through Ron Koskie at ron_joannkoskie@hotmail.com. The Chapter also had a very successful golf tournament that was held at the Shamrock Golf Course in Île de Chênes on the last Friday in September. It was the 17th annual hosting of this event. Congratulations go out to the 2014 winners: Wilf Entz, Bill Iafolla, Brian Zimmer and Pat Sawchuk. Our thanks go out to the golf committee of Gerry and Jerry Ilchyna and Jo-Ann and Ron Koskie for their hard work in planning and running the event. It was the vision of St. Vital’s founding Superintendent, Mr. Vic Wyatt, to provide structure and support to enable retired divisional employees to stay in touch and be part of a divisional family. Our Chapter wishes to knowledge the current superintendent, Mr. Duane Brothers, and the Board of Trustees for their continued support of this vision and the support our ongoing activities.


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Meet and Greet Invitation Guy Hansen


The Retired Women Teachers’ Association Heather Emberley


s only teachers can, the RWTA acquired a new lesson plan on Manitoba history thanks to an engaging presentation recently by Philippe Mailhot, PhD. A Festival de Voyageur inspired lunch by Masonic Memorial Centre staff was followed by a round of “I didn’t know that” heard from the audience, as the retired Director of St. Boniface Museum shared his research on “the other father of Manitoba.” Monsieur Mailhot captured the audience’s immediate attention in his introduction when he described himself as “HOT.” Using his research skills to uncover a trail running through the Pembina Valley, the hus-

RWTA President Diane Bewell and guest speaker, Philippe Mailhot.

band of a teacher, is the person who suggested the name ‘Pembina Trails’ for the amalgamated school division. “History provides our lives with context,”said Philippe and he did just that in explaining the role of Louis Riel as the ‘Other Father of Confederation. ’ Just twenty-four years of age, Louis Riel was thrust into protecting the Metis from the encroaching Red River Settlers. In collaboration with priest Father Richot, they attempted a peaceful settlement. The saying “ the rest is history” does not apply in this case as crucial information is missing from Manitoba textbooks. “I am not re-writing

RWTA December Luncheon Diane Bewell


n December 11, 2014, 173 RWTA members enjoyed a festive luncheon of roast turkey and all the trimmings. This delicious meal was followed by a tuneful concert with The Sisters By Choice, a quartet of singers from the Sisters of the Holy Rock. This energetic group got everyone clapping as they harmonized with a selection of old favourites and led the audience in a Christmas Carol sing-along. All in all a great lead-up to the Holiday Season! As is our tradition at the December luncheon, Angel Baskets were passed among the members and $540 was raised to be used throughout the year to provide cards and gifts for our members who are shut-ins or in personal care homes. We are always touched by the generosity of our members.

22 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

RWTA’s Cathie Morgan-Matula and Ruth Hartnell in the true spirit of Festival.

history,” says Mailhot, “you’re just hearing it for the first time.” For today’s Metis, Mailhot says that “being Metis is not about a blood test, it is about self-identity.” “Not only is the RWTA eagerly awaiting the book that Dr. Mailhot is writing about Louis Riel, but Canadians everywhere will have a new perspective on the true story of our country.


RTAM – Okanagan Chapter Christmas Luncheon Nancy Kostiuk

A lively group of 32 members and friends gathered at Sunset Ranch Golf Club on December 9, 2014, for the annual Christmas luncheon. A delicious meal and the 25th Anniversary cake

were enjoyed by all. The RTAM logo items were distributed and were much appreciated. Thank you to Sue Forsyth, our talented photographer, for recording the event.

Calgary and Area Chapter Penny Hogan/Photos by Peggy Takashima


ineteen attended our December 4, 2014, luncheon held at Halo Steak House and Wine Bar, in SE Calgary. Members travelled from Canmore, Cayley, Cochrane, and Lethbridge to join the Calgarians. Food hamper items collected at this luncheon were donated to the Calgary Food Bank.

A special “Thank-you” is due to Dennis Kozak and George Takashima for their efforts regarding the final draft of the Constitution of the Calgary and Area Chapter, which was submitted to RTAM following this luncheon. We’re happy to report that our status as a Chapter of RTAM is now official! “Thank-you” Peggy

Takashima for the pictures of our gathering. Our next luncheon will be on Thursday, May 7, 2015. We’re hoping those ‘snowbirds’ and others who were unable to join us in December will do so in May. Contact Dennis Kozak (587 819 7114) or kozak3@ shaw.ca for further information. RTAM.MB.CA

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Guy Hansen, Public Relations

Interview with Peter Bjornson


trategies to Make the Ordinary Extraordinary” is a paper written by our “new” Minister of Education, Peter Bjornson, when he was a history teacher in his hometown, Gimli. This interview was by Guy and Faye Hansen. A winter day. Two lovers were on one side of the creek. The Anglican minister was on the other side. Vows were exchanged. During 187677 a smallpox epidemic raged across the area, quarantine lines were drawn, and the edge of the boundary was Netley creek. The lovers were now married. Pageant Wagons Project tried to re-live this event. Three-dimensional dioramas were built in Gimli High School, the welding class made the chassis, the carpentry class constructed the upframing, the art class painted the figures and murals and the history class did the research, overseeing the whole thing. The wagons were subsequently drawn through the Gimli summer festival parade and put on display. Peter Bjornson was a hands-on history teacher. Sure, dates are important, but Peter wanted the kids to relive, to internalize an event, to put a face on it, whether it be the local smallpox epidemic, the Gimli glider or the T-33 crashing in the town during Air Force training days. These were local stories, with social themes that tied the kids to the area, to the elders who remembered; the events were a tangible connection to the community. Faye and I had never really conducted an interview before. We needed some help and so we phoned Peter’s Mom, Hedy. As the conversation rolled along, it became obvious that “Peter was very busy, always”. As a kid, Peter had delivered flyers for both grocery stores, using the money to buy model planes. He wrote

24 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

a prayer (published) for his local Gimli Lutheran Church when he was in Sunday school. Peter was a teenage DJ for about 10 years. When still too young to get a licence, his Dad drove him forth and back, picking him up at 1:00 am, sports team participation with basketball and volleyball, student council, church choir. At one parent-teacher conference, Mom had asked the teacher, with all his other activities, if Peter was able to zero in and do his in class work properly. Teacher assured, “Yes, he pays attention all the time, he’s always on task.” Mom went home relieved. Peter laughed when I told him about phoning Mom. “How’s she doing?” Then, more seriously, “this was supposed to be about teaching and politics. But maybe you may have touched on something, the sports. I think that sport was a major reason that I ended up in teaching. They both involve challenge, teamwork,reward.” Peter had played, coached, refereed, placed 2nd and 4th in provincial competitions. He coached Special

Olympics kids before going back to University. He graduated and went back to Gimli as a history teacher. I had phoned someone else too, Erika Goodman. She runs the Gimli Constituency office. Erika was thrilled to tell me about her Current Events teacher, Mr. Bjornson, and it just bubbled out of her. “He brought in different media sources, showed how they reported the same event differently, taught us how to think critically, he was so interested in our personal needs”. She slowed, her voice lowered, “I wasn’t able to take his history class the next year. That’s when they did the Vimy Ridge battle, you know.” More on Vimy Ridge later. Question-“So Peter, if you believed that critical thinking, being able to assess all points of view was important for your students, how did that translate into your role as a parent? Your kids were young, politics in provincial Manitoba is a pretty tough business.” “At first, when they were young, I shielded them from the politics. My wife and I thought it would be confusing and perhaps hurtful. As they got older I started to let them in a bit. Actually, my son is showing some interest. I’m afraid that he might follow in my footsteps. Peter laughed, rather tentatively. He’s already a DJ, I drive him around like my Dad did. I keep telling him that there are only 57 of these jobs in Manitoba.” And now back to Vimy Ridge. Peter, the history teacher who wanted a real, local face on events, staged the battle of Vimy Ridge. It was October, cold, wet, the school buses rolled, kids with Peter were dropped off 5-6 miles out, marching, backpacks heavy. Others were

trucked to the local firing range where trenches had been dug, told to fortify them. One side had lots of flour bombs, not so many soldiers. The other side had lots of soldiers, short on weaponry. Fireworks were simulating the attack. The battle started. Seventeen Wing Medical Core of the Canadian Army attended. They passed out real rations. When a soldier had a flour burn they would triage, tell the wounded man how badly he had been hit, was it a major artery . . . carried soldiers back to the tarps to be treated or to die. The kids had already been asked to research local families who had young men go off to war, some to not return. They had brought pencils and notebooks. Now they were asked to write a letter home to their Mom and Dad, on the eve of battle, perhaps their last words back. Peter took the letters home. He showed them to his wife who was pregnant at the time. She sat on the sofa and cried. The history lesson battle, more generally war, had been personalized. In 2003 Peter received the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching History, partly for this dramatization. And then the politics, juggling fatherhood with the Leg., 55,000 km of travel each year, mostly on the Gimli road. “I’m in much different trenches now, but everything I’ve done I did because I enjoyed it, broadening my experiences. I’ve learned something from everything I did.” “I’d rather live in a country where people can be criticized that in one where they can’t.” “You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the teacher out of the classroom.”


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Guy Hansen

Guy Hansen


ur RTAM membership and its needs have been growing. We wanted to project a stronger and more vibrant image of RTAM. For some time the Adam Dooley of Dooley RTAM Board has been Communications discussing the need for a professional media person. At our January meeting, the Public Relations Committee presented Adam Dooley who summarized his 20 plus years of experience working in the field. Adam’s presentation was quite impressive. When a motion was put to the floor, there were no dissenting votes. Adam was hired to help us develop our long term strategy for the upcoming years. It was interesting to learn that Adam had previously worked with Nicholas Borodenko, of Prairie Research Associates. PRA was the group which had been so important in analysing our recent Volunteer Survey of Retired Teachers. To learn more about Adam and his work, do a Google search for “Dooley Communications.”

26 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015


n February, the Board accepted Ray Job’s offer to boost us along with our communication skills. Ray is the Public Relations Facilitator for the Manitoba Teachers’ Ray Job, Public Relations Society. Some of you Facilitator for Manitoba will remember him from Teachers’ Society earlier days. I believe he has held that post for about 20 years. Part of Ray’s job is to stay abreast of current events. He showed us how to communicate better and how to research more quickly. He did not just point out which keyboard buttons to push. Rather, he focused on the explosion of information which is out there. Just enter a word and with a flip of the screen, all the articles, presentations and facts relating to your entry are there for you to access immediately. This can be significant information which many of us do not get. Ray did offer to coach us along to the next level, and for those of us who thought we needed it, it’s so easy. “Once you start into this, you will never look back.” Thanks to the Manitoba Teachers’ Society and to Ray Job for the sharing of expertise. Thanks, Ray.

In Memoriam OCTOBER 2014 Peter Bilawka Hendrikjen Borsuk Mary Collins Beatrice B Desjarlais Jacob I. Friesen James Harold Goodridge Nora Gray Dorothy I. Hudson Jakob Klassen Lorna C. Madill Gerald Muller Beverly E. Reeves Arley F. Reimer Anne M. Stadnyk Donald S. Sumner

Sidney, BC Winnipeg, MB Red Deer, AB Ste. Anne, MB Winnipeg, MB Wanless, MB Virden, MB Carman, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Steinbach, MB Abbotsford, BC Brandon, MB

November, 2014 Joyce E. Alexander Oscar J. Gagnon Gerald Green Mohammed Myamath Hussain Andrew J. Legebokoff C. Joan Newton Thomas H. Smith Frerderick W. Taylor Jay Richard Wheelwright

Winnipeg, MB LaBroquerie, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Kamsack, SK Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB

December, 2014 Pauline Alice M. Alarie Donald E. Cronk John Simon Fotheringhame Darleen Ruth Golke Harold A. Grundy Jean Hollinger Antoine O. Lussier Mary S. MacBride Elsie A. Maksimow

St-Hyacinthe, QC Dauphin, MB Brandon, MB Abbotsford, BC Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB

January, 2015 Constance B. Alexander Donald Wayne Beattie Gloria M. Chemerynsky Abram J. Dick Peter Froese George Jersak Norman F. Johnson Lawrence T. Kowalchuk Pauline Locktin Daniel George Mitchler Harry Pauls Glen W. Pierce Marion D. Rabe M. Lorraine Reimer Evelyn M. Robinson Delores Evelyn Sass Agnes E. Smith Olga Helen Szumik

Minnedosa, MB Portage la Prairie, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Gimli, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB West St. Paul, MB Benito, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Winnipeg, MB Brandon, MB Winnipeg, MB Brandon, MB Winnipeg, MB Brandon, MB Winnipeg, MB


n 27

RTAM Benefits Update April 2015


he following information is being provided to RTAM members who are currently covered by RTAM’s benefit plans as well as those who may be considering enrolling in the plans: • Insurance Plan Renewals April 1, 2015 • Member Feedback and Survey Contest Winners • Frequently Asked Questions

INSURANCE PLAN RENEWALS APRIL 1, 2015 If you are currently covered by RTAM’s benefits plans, you will have received a renewal notification, a personalized benefit statement and a new Travel ID card (if you are covered for Premier Travel). The RTAM Benefits Committee and the Plan Administrator, Johnson Inc. completed the annual renewal process for the insurance plan renewing on April 1, 2015. Below are some of the highlights. A. EXTENDED HEALTH CARE (EHC) PLAN HIGHLIGHTS We are pleased to announce there will be no premium increase to the EHC plan and we were able to incorporate some benefit improvements to both the Core and Enhanced Plans effective April 1, 2015. • Hearing Aids, Orthotics, Vision Care and Private Duty Nursing will be reimbursed to higher limits. C. ELDERCARE SELECT SERVICES • We are pleased to announce that Eldercare Select services will continue to be sponsored by our Plan Administrator, Johnson Inc., as a pilot project through to March 31, 2016. • Eldercare Select is a service designed to help you and your extended family through a challenging health or caregiving concern. It is available to all current and new members of the Extended Health Care (EHC) Plans on a pilot project basis. Call toll free 1.888.327.1500 to speak to an Eldercare Select Care Specialist. 28 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

D. RATE CHANGES EFFECTIVE APRIL 1 All plans are negotiated on an annual basis and we are working to keep premium rates as low as possible for the best value to our members. We have negotiated minimal increases to Dental and Premier Travel rates. Extended Health Care rates remain the same, with the benefit increases noted above. For plan questions, please call our RTAM office at 204-889-3660 or contact Johnson Inc. toll-free at 1-877-989-2600 or by email at pbservicewest@ johnson.ca. Complete plan details can be found on the website www.johnson.ca/rtam.   MEMBER FEEDBACK SURVEY RESPONSE AND CONTEST WINNERS In the most recent issue of KIT, you may recall reading about the RTAM 2014 Voluntary Benefit Plan Member Survey, open until November 30, 2014, and conducted by Johnson Inc., RTAM’s Plan Administrator / Benefits Consultant. It focused on the question: What approximate additional monthly premium would you be willing to consider for new and improved benefits beyond the level currently provided by the RTAM Insurance Plans? With over 600 responses, the survey provided the RTAM Benefits Committee useful member feedback for decision making on Plan design changes in the future. The majority of the respondents (57.4%) were from Winnipeg and in the age 65 to 74 age category (56.6%). Of the Members of the RTAM Voluntary Group Insurance Plans, the majority (72.8%) of the respondents indicated their dependent status as Family, while 22.7% of the respondents indicated Single dependent status. The survey indicates overall satisfaction of the current RTAM Plans. Less than half of the responses (41.5%) indicated the benefit level needed to be improved. Similarly, less than half (41.5%) would be willing to pay more monthly benefit premiums for new or improved benefits beyond the level currently provided by the RTAM Plan. The top benefit improvements preferred, depending on the cost, would be increased coverage maximums for Prescription Drugs, Hearing Aids,

Vision Care, :and Dental Care. With respect to the qualitative responses, there was a request for more clarity when reading about the health issues and if coverage is allowed or not. Thanks to all RTAM members who completed the survey, as it is important to hear from as many RTAM members as possible. All those who completed the survey were entered into a draw for one of two $200 gift cards of your choice. Congratulations to the two winners: Rose Wadelius and Isadore Burdeniuk! FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS As noted by the survey responses above, knowing when you are covered, what is covered and what is not covered is critical information. It applies to all types insurance protection, travel insurance in particular, as shown in the following FAQs. Change of Travel Plans? Both RTAM’s Premier Travel and MEDOC Travel Insurance Plans offer supplementary coverage for longer trips up to 212 days. Whether you’ve missed your cruise ship departure and decide to stay in Florida, or you decide to extend your trip, it is important that you have accurate coverage for the full duration of your travels. Many insurers won’t extend coverage if there has been any lapse. Whenever plans change, always ask yourself, “Am I still covered?”, and remember to call your insurance advisor. What events are covered for Trip Cancellation? Under the RTAM Premier Travel Insurance Plan, Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption and Delay benefits are covered where applicable upon the occurrence of any of 14 events, including • Death, Injury or Sickness of an Insured Person, an Extended Family Member, a Close Business Associate, or a Travelling Companion. For more information on the other 13 covered events, please refer to your RTAM Premier Travel Certificate of Insurance, which is posted on the website www.johnson.ca/rtam.

What events are not covered for Trip Cancellation? It is just as important to be familiar with the limitations and exclusions of your insurance policy. For example, Trip cancellation does not cover losses that result from insolvency or work stoppage of a travel supplier. A work stoppage such as a strike is not a covered plan event under most Travel plans, including Premier Travel. In some cases the credit card used in booking the travel will cover trip cancellation expenses. Ultimately, customers are to interact with the carrier or their travel agency to make arrangements to find other flights or cancel through them. How do I submit a claim? Did You Know that Most Health and Dental Claims Can be Submitted Electronically to the Plan? Submitting your RTAM Health and Dental Benefit Claims directly to the plan can save you and your health care provider time. For example, Electronic Claims (eClaims) submission is available through Johnson/Telus for many paramedical practitioners and vision care providers. To find out if your healthcare provider offers eClaims, ask your healthcare provider’s office directly, or search the online listings at www.telushealth.com/solutions-for-consumers. Just submit your postal code for the nearest providers using eClaims. If your clinic has not subscribed to the Telus eClaims system, you can submit your original receipts for paramedical services and vision using your personalized claim form. Other claims submission questions? Don’t hesitate to contact your Johnson Claims Representative at 1-877-413-6599 or via email at: pbclaimswest@johnson.ca. You can also find answers to other claims submission questions by viewing RTAM’s “Claim Submission FAQ’s” located at www.johnson.ca/rtam. For further questions and plan information, please call our RTAM office at 204-889-3660, or RTAM’s Plan Administrator Johnson Inc. toll-free at 1-877-989-2600, or visit the website www.johnson. ca.rtam and click on Frequently Asked Questions (Plan FAQ or Claim Submission FAQ). RTAM.MB.CA

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CLASSIFIEDS Normal School Class of ‘54-’55 60th Anniversary June 2 and 3, 2015 @ Holiday Inn West Winnipeg, MB

If you did not receive the first mail out and wish to receive information on the forthcoming Celebrations, please contact: Phyllis (Maxfield) Meseyton 55-18th St. SW Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 2X8 (204) 857-5891 / phyllis9@mymts.net or Fern (Finnen) Bamford - Box132 Manitou,MB R0G 1G0 / 204-242-2224

Class of 1956-57 58th Normal School Reunion

Thursday, May 21, 2015 Portage la Prairie, MB Canad Inns, Main Floor 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Smorg OR Soup & Sandwich Bar Cost to each individual Book exchange - bring a favourite and exchange with a person of your choice Registration - 11:30 a.m. - $5.00 Contacts: Janice Kelly, Winnipeg: 1-204-831-8643 Jeanette Moran, Winnipeg: 1-204-697-3386 Phyllis Crosson, Brandon: 1-204-726-4406 Bernice McMahon , Delta , BC: 1-604-946-4928

Manitoba Normal School Class of 1952-1953

Celebration of the 62nd Anniversary, September 7, 8, 9, 2015 Neepawa, Manitoba. We have three days of activities planned with lots of visiting and renewing friendships. If you are a graduate from the Class of 1952-1953 and have not received information from us we can be contacted by email or phone as listed below. Contact Ivan or Pat Traill, 204-476-5165 or pat_ivan@wcgwave.ca / Evelyn (Houck) McConnell 204-476- 5731

1948-1949 Normal School Reunion

The class of 1948 - 1949 will hold its 66th annual reunion on June 3, 2015 at a noon luncheon at the Breakaway Restaurant in Carman, MB. Those planning to attend should contact Marion Hodgson (Hammond), 204-343-2214 or Harry Chornoboy, 204-888-7903 (email: harryjean@mymts.net).


1915 - 2015 George V Alumni and Staff June 5 and 6, 2015 For more information contact the school at 204-669-4482 or email www.winnipegsd.ca/school/georgev 30 n RTAM KIT Spring 2015

Winnipegosis 100Th Celebration July 10, 11 & 12, 2015 (Save the date!)

The organizing committee cordially invites all retired former teachers of Winnipegosis area schools to help celebrate the village centennial. For further info: www.winnipegosis100th.com


PERMIT TEACHERS OF MANITOBA 11th Annual Reunion Viscount Gort Hotel 1670 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB Thursday, July 9, 2015 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration: 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. For further information, contact Edith Alexiuk, Registrar - 204-256-6484

60th Reunion

Sir John Franklin Public School Kindergarten class of 1954-1955 September 7 and 8, 2015. Contact: Walter Badger: 204-467 5838 badgerw@mymts.net Derek Legge: 204 837 1290/dlegge@mts.net

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society

seeks photos, artifacts and other records of teaching and Society activities from 1919 to the present.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society seeks Call Mireille photos, artifacts and Theriault at 204-888-7961 ext 354 other records or email mtheriault@mbteach.org of teaching and Society activities Ye Ole from Rusty 1919 toClassic the Minnewasta Golf & Country Club (Morden) will be present.

hosting the Retired Teachers’ Golf Tournament on Call Mireille 8, Theriault at date for the Official Entry Form September 2015. The 204-888-7961 ext 354 on the website will be printed in the summer issue of KIT. or email Entries will be accepted only by mail on the Official Entry mtheriault@mbteach.org Form.

ORDER coins/notes


Neepwa Area Retired Teachers’ Association (NARTA)

has launched a new Bursary Fund to support graduating students from Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute, Carberry Collegiate and William Morton Collegiate of Gladstone. You can make a difference. This is your opportunity to support education in your community. To make a donation: Beautiful Plains Community Foundation. 204-476-2681 / bpcfinc@mymts.net

CMEA 2015 National Conference

From July 9th -11th 2015 Music Educators from Canada and the United States will be gathering in Winnipeg to attend the Canadian Music Educators National Conference at the Delta Hotel and RBC Conference Centre on Friday and Saturday with a kick off at the Manitoba Human Rights Museum on Thursday evening. For further information please consult the Conference website www.cmeaconference.ca The CMEA National Conference Committee is looking for volunteers to help with the conference. Volunteer positions with the Committee could include such tasks as stuffing conference bags, guiding conference attendees to sessions, introducing and thanking Session presenters, helping at the Registration Desk etc. If , as a member of RTAM you would be interested in helping out as a volunteer and lending a hand for a few hours please contact Barbara Warrack as Volunteer Chair of the National Conference at barb.warrack@mymts.net

Charleswood Art Group Show and Sale

Dates: Apr. 24, 5 - 9 / Apr. 25, 10 – 4 / Apr. 26, 10 – 4 Place: Charleswood United Church, 4820 Roblin Blvd. Winnipeg. Call 204-269-1593. You are invited to attend Springtide, the Charleswood Art Group Show and Sale. Framed art, unframed art, cards and pottery for sale at reasonable prices.


A copy of the reader used in Gr. 7 in Manitoba schools in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The publisher was COPP CLARK and the title was FAR HORIZONS. If there was a Gr. 8 reader, I would also be interested but I don’t remember the name of the Gr. 8 reader.

Tutoring - partners for learning

Certified teachers in the Winnipeg area for part time tutoring for Grades 1-8 Language Arts and Mathematics. Tutoring at Partners for Learning to start in March 2015 til June and also summer options. Fax resume to 204-477-1124 or email to pfl1@mts.net.

June 15, 2015 is the 10th anniversary of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and in Manitoba we have recognized and celebrated WEAAD since 2006. Help us reach our goal to have events planned in communities across Manitoba by wearing purple ribbons, displaying information and resources or participating in the new Respect Challenge. To make planning and promoting your WEAAD event even easier visit www.weaadmanitoba.ca Respect Challenge MB students show us or tell us on social media what respect of an older adult means to you to win 1 of 4 iPads. Resources & ideas to assist you in planning an event Promote your event and order resources all in one easy step at register your event. Keep up to date with what’s happening in your community or region. Help us promote the day by adding the WEAAD Manitoba icon to your website. Use the media & marketing tools - press release, elder abuse article, proclamation & logos. Access presentations & videos about elder abuse Get youth involved - classroom ideas and intergenerational resources including tattoos, balloons, activity sheets and the social media campaign #respectchallengemb.


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RTAM’s goal is to provide the best voluntary benefits at a competitive price to meet the health needs of the majority of retired teachers. Since 1998, we achieved this through RTAM’s sponsorship of an increasing range of voluntary insurance plans. A variety of voluntary insurance options are available to RTAM members and their eligible dependents including: • • • •

Premier Travel with Trip Cancellation Additional Stand Alone Trip Cancellation Extended Health Care with Elder Care Dental Care

• Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance • Term Life Insurance • Home Insurance

For more information please contact the plan administrator, Johnson Inc.

1-877-989-2600 | www.johnson.ca/rtam 11120 – 178 Street NW, Edmonton, AB. T5S 1P2

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RTAM KIT Spring 2015  

RTAM KIT Spring 2015  


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