KIT Magazine - Summer 2022

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Vol. 34 | No. 1 | Summer 2022 106-1780 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B3 | 204-889-3660 | Toll Free: 1-888-393-8082 | |

2nd Place (Water) Cyan Sea Ice by Audrey Owens

1st Place (Water)

Lake Manitoba Sunset Through Rough Ice by Susan Hayward

2nd Place (Candle) Wreath of Light by Brenda McKenzie

1st Place (Candle) Cheers By Candlelight by Penrose Hogan

KEEP IN TOUCH Vol. 34 No.1 • Summer 2022

Published by



Photo by Norma Donley RTAM Photo Contest Entry


President's Message........................................................................................................... 3 Message from New Acting Executive Director.....................................................4 The 2022-2023 RTAM Board of Directors................................................................ 5 2022 AGM Highlights..........................................................................................................6 Committee Reports............................................................................................................ 7 Chapter Reports..................................................................................................................14 RTAM Bylaw And Policy Changes...............................................................................25 Zendoodle with DARTA.................................................................................................. 26 RTAM-TRIP Contest Winners....................................................................................... 26 RTAM-MTS Agreement...................................................................................................27 RTAM Anthology................................................................................................................ 29 Where Are They Now?..................................................................................................... 31 RTAM Photo Contest Rules...........................................................................................32 RTAM Summer 2022 Photo Contest.........................................................................32 Official Entry and Release Form.................................................................................32 RTAM Bursary Recipient................................................................................................. 34 The RTAM Photo Contest Winter 2021 entries will be published in the Fall 2022 issue of KIT. RTAM PHOTO CONTEST: SUMMER 2022 Category 1: TREES. You might be surprised to discover that there are so many different ways to photograph trees – different times, different places, different framing and compositional styles to use. Category 2: FLOWERS. Flower photography is a particularly practical variant of landscape photography. You don’t have to travel far to photograph pretty flowers. You can often find suitable flowers in your own garden, on the balcony or in public parks. DETAILS AND ENTRY FORM IS ON PAGE 32.

106-1780 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B3 Phone 204-889-3660 • 1-888-393-8082 Email: • Editorial Committee: Chair: Beth Smith Members: Rosalie Bornn, Joan Dawson, Joan Goble, Doreen Sage E-mail: Board of Directors 2022-2023 President: Linda Blair Vice -President: Joan Zaretsky Secretary: Dave Najduch Treasurer: Pat Bowslaugh Past President: Bill Cann Directors-at-Large Shannon Culbertson Bob Davies David Harkness Paul Harland Dennis Kozak Gabe Mercier Audrey Siemens Rex Virtue Anne Williams Acting Executive Director: Sean Seywright Email: Office Administrator: Denise Bellesia Email: Member Services Coordinator: Dianne Casar Email: Design: Gayl Punzalan Creative Director, Blue Ink Media Email: Website: Images : Adobe Stock, FreeePik & Pixabay except the ones provided by the contributors. Copyright © 2022 by RTAM

All materials for the next issue of KIT must be emailed with no formatting to and received by August 24, 2022 5:00 p.m. Materials published here do not necessarily represent the policies or views of RTAM. The Editorial Committee reserves the right to print, reject and/or edit for clarity, all materials received. 2 n

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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. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: RTAM, 106-1780 Wellington Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B3

President's Message

Linda Blair RTAM President 2022 - 2023




s your new President, I am excited to participate in the ongoing development of RTAM. Together, with you, I will strive to build on the strong foundation developed by many dedicated forerunners. In the early days of May, the new officers met as your new RTAM Board. We are focusing on formulating our Committee Chairs and Members. If you have not volunteered for a committee, please consider putting forth your name for a committee that you feel passionate about. Now with the use of Zoom, we can be located wherever in the world and still be an active participant in committee work. You have a wealth of experience and skill. Now allow RTAM the privilege of those skills to better our organization. Short term projects with short term commitments are possibilities as well as longer term projects. Sean Seywright, our new Executive Director, is working diligently as he learns about RTAM. We are in daily contact to further these objectives in a timely manner.

On May 10, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning, Wayne Ewasko, agreed to a short photo opportunity in which Sean and I were able to meet with him and his staff. I presented him with bags of goodies from our AGM as well as a letter introducing our new RTAM Board of Directors for 2022-2023. We encouraged Minister Ewasko to contact us in the fall to set up a date to meet with our new Executive. RTAM is privileged to have a dedicated staff. With Sean, Denise, and Dianne in the office, we can rely on professional assistance in all our endeavors. Define your skill set. Find a time frame that works best for you. Let’s build RTAM towards a bright future. Together we can make RTAM better known and stronger. What part will you play as we move forward in 2022-2023? I’ll close off with a quote from Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Here’s to a great year ahead! n

Photo by Patsy Andrews-Vert RTAM Photo Contest Entry


Message from New Acting Executive Director


from kindergarten to grade twelve. I began t is a great honor and pleasure University at U of M, but the large class to address the Retired Teachers’ sizes were a deterrent, so I moved to U of Association of Manitoba as the new W and completed a degree in Coaching acting Executive Director. I would like to and Sports Management. It was through welcome all members, partners and our this pathway, my professional career extended community to what will be an began as both a coach and entrepreneur exciting summer across the province. of my own business (heavily influenced As part of the office leadership team by my first role model outside the that will influence our strategic planning Sean Seywright family, a teacher at Kelvin named Bruce and day to day operations, it is my hope Clark). that sharing a bit about myself will increase In my early 30’s I moved to Alberta to pursue a transparency and open the door to communication better salary and diversify my work experience as and collaboration with members in the coming a government employee in charge of a non-profit. months… While the money and job were great, the calling of So, who is Sean? Well, Winnipeg has almost friends, family and community from home were a always been home for me. It is where I’ve gone to stronger incentive. After 2 years, I came home with school through the French Immersion programs changed values and experiences. Since then, I have been blessed to work with two of the best leaders and executives I think our city has to offer: Regan Katz and Andrew Collier (both with the Winnipeg Goldeyes), and more recently I was privileged to work as the Executive Director within Sport Manitoba for Disc Sport (a million-dollar non-profit with approximately 5,000 members). The latter of these allowed me to expand Indigenous partnerships and programs, improve inclusion and diversity, while also increasing revenue streams and membership. It is my sincerest hope that in my time with RTAM, I can share in many similar experiences as I did at Sport Manitoba, and I look forward to being a part of positive growth for the RTAM organization moving forward. My door is always open, and my email is always on, so please reach out and share a little about yourself! Warm Regards, Sean n

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The 2022-2023 RTAM Board of Directors

Linda Blair

Joan Zaretsky

Pat Bowslaugh

Dave Najduch Secretary Winnipeg

Past President Winnipeg

Shannon Culbertson

Bob Davies

David Harkness

Paul Harland

Dennis Kozak

President Winnipeg

Vice President Winnipeg


Gabe Mercier Ochre River


Treasurer Brandon


Audrey Siemens Winnipeg

Bill Cann


Rex Virtue Winnipeg


Anne Williams Winnipeg


2022 AGM Highlights

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Committee Reports As printed in the 2022 RTAM AGM Booklet

PRESIDENT’S REPORT TO THE 2022 RTAM AGM Bill Cann, RTAM President 2021-2022 The 2021-2022 RTAM year has been both challenging and rewarding in many regards. Thankfully, the cooperation and support of the Executive Committee, individual Directors and our exceptional two Office Staff Members have provided valuable assistance in successfully addressing emergent issues and helping to move our organization ahead. I have organized the past year’s highlights as a monthly overview. June 2021: • Began raising concern about the Succession problem with 9 Directors scheduled to retire from the Board in May 2022. • The Free 1st year membership initiative attracted 214 new retirees in 2021, an increase of 50 from the previous June. • Advertised the first Group Tour with Trip Merchant to Haida Gwaii in June 2022 • The new Board met and set goals for the 2021-2022 year. September 2021: • Encouraged RTAM members to participate in ACERCART’s electronic letter writing campaign for the Federal Election especially regarding Pharmacare and national standards for Long-Term Care facilities. • RTAM shifted to a more aggressive political advocacy stance, developing the Five Requests for Action document. • During the fifth RTAM/MTS bi-monthly liaison meeting, the MTS offered to provide some professional staff guidance to facilitate RTAM planning and communications. • The RTAM Executive continued communications with the Manitoba Liberal Party to draft a private member’s bill requesting an RTAM seat on the TRAF Board. October 2021: • RTAM developed plans to circulate the Five Requests for Action document to the leaders of Manitoba’s three main political parties. • RTAM successfully negotiated with ACER-CART to use the New Mode software for a future electronic letter writing campaign to local MLAs.

due to a problem activating the Zoom license, a number of people were unable to participate. A second seminar was immediately scheduled and held on November 20 for all those who missed the first seminar. November 2021: • On November 3, Dave Najduch and I made a presentation to the Group Benefits committee of the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association (WTA). With the collapse of Bill 64, we pivoted our approach to develop stronger ties with the WTA and promote the Prestige Travel insurance plan. • The Board decided that the RTAM President or designate will lay a wreath on behalf of retired teachers at the annual provincial Remembrance Day service starting in 2022. • On November 24, I flew to Calgary with Board financial support and brought greetings to our Calgary Chapter. I also recognized the accomplishments and active Zoom participation on our Political Advocacy committee by Calgary Area Chapter President Dennis Kozak. I presented Dennis with his Chapter Distinguished Service Award. • On November 26, Vice President JoAnne Hoyak and I successfully negotiated a long overdue Benefits and Pension package with the RTAM staff. We also informed the Executive Director that he had lost the confidence of the Executive committee and that the Board would review his performance and contract in January. December 2021: • On December 2, a press release was sent to media outlets and to the leaders of all 3 provincial political parties supporting the Liberal Caucus Private member’s Bill (#208) recommending RTAM be given a seat on the TRAF Board. • On December 16, RTAM successfully conducted its first hybrid Board meeting using the OWL technology to provide simultaneous interaction of Directors both in-person and virtually. • Ideas were presented to the KIT Editorial committee to increase the number of digital/electronic KIT subscribers. Currently only four hundred of our 10,000 members receive an electronic copy of KIT. The average mailing cost of paper copies is $6600 per issue or $26,400 annually.

• On October 26, I made the first RTAM presentation to the MTS Provincial Executive seeking their recognition that RTAM as the official voice of retired teachers in Manitoba and a commitment to continue building the relationship between the two organizations.

January 2022: • On January 14, a Special Board meeting passed a motion to immediately terminate the Employment Contract of the Executive Director, Gordon Fardoe, and that he be given two weeks’ pay in lieu of notice according to his Employment Contract. The Board also passed a second motion empowering the Executive Committee to conduct a search for and to hire a new Executive Director as soon as possible.

• RTAM hosted a pre-retirement seminar on October 30 with over 150 active teachers registered. Unfortunately,

• It was agreed that the RTAM President would assume the duties of Interim Executive Director as a volunteer.

• The staff successfully completed a challenging move to and set up of our new office at 106-1780 Wellington Avenue.


The President recommended that the former Executive Director’s salary be used to pay the fee of a professional head-hunter firm. • The January 20 Board meeting approved a new Employee Benefits package providing that RTAM cost share 50% of Single Coverage in the Johnson Core Extended Health and Dental Plans as well as a 3% annual pension contribution for each staff member. • The RTAM Board also approved hiring professional lobby consultant, Michael Juce of Prairie Sky Strategy, for a three-month $15,000 contract (February - April) to advise Directors on effective political advocacy strategies. • On January 22, RTAM sponsored a very successful inaugural Zoom meeting at which retired teachers employed as substitute teachers were able to share their concerns about working conditions with MTS President James Bedford. • On January 25th a contract was signed with Pinnacle to conduct a professional search for a new Executive Director. A flat fee of $14,000 was negotiated with a guaranteed placement clause. February 2022: • The Executive hosted a positive Zoom meeting on February 15 with MLA Nello Altomare, the Education Critic of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and a retired teacher. Mr. Altomare is committed to having regular Spring and Fall meetings with the RTAM Executive. • At the February 17 Board meeting, the RTAM President successfully introduced a motion to immediately cease the printing and mailing of paper copies of KIT to public and independent schools. Digital copies will be made available. It is estimated that this will reduce the annual KIT operational costs by approximately $6,510 ($2.10 x 775 x 4) as well as helping the environment by reducing RTAM’s carbon footprint. • The RTAM President announced the successful conclusion of his eight-month recruitment campaign for the 2022-2023 Board of Directors. Six incumbent and nine new recruits have committed to let their names stand for Executive and/ or Director positions at the May 4 AGM. March 2022: • On March 2, RTAM was informed by TRAF that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) grant effective July 1, 2022 will be 2.10%. This is the last year of the distribution of the Restricted Surplus. Effective July 2023 the COLA grant is expected to be 0.9%. Former Premier Ed Schreyer described this as “a formula for incremental poverty”. The growing gap between the COLA grant and the Inflation rate must become an advocacy priority for RTAM • The Executive Committee in conjunction with Dan Labelle of Pinnacle, conducted interviews with short-listed candidates for the Executive Director position on March 16, 21 and 31.

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• On March 17, the RTAM President successfully introduced three motions to regularize Board and Committee meetings throughout 2022-2023. Except for September, monthly Committee meetings will be virtual. Except for June and December, Board meetings will be virtual. The in-person/ hybrid meetings are intended to promote team building and social interaction. Individual annual Committee meeting budgets were set at $2,000. • MTS President James Bedford announced that the MTS Provincial Executive approved the agreement formalizing and improving relations and communications with RTAM. A formal signing ceremony with the two Presidents took place at McMaster House on March 18. • On March 25, the Executive hosted a very promising Zoom meeting with the Honorable Wayne Ewasko, minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning and Deputy Minister Dana Rudy. April 2022: • The Executive approved the hiring of a new Executive Director. • On April 14, the Board reviewed and updated the Dooley Report (2016) and Strategic Plan (2017). • The Board completed an agreement with TRAF formalizing its relationship with RTAM. • The Board reviewed RTAM’s proactive 2023 Provincial Election plan. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the significant service and contributions to RTAM of the nine retiring Directors. I wish the new Board of Directors and new Executive Director every success next year. It has been a distinct honour and privilege to serve as the RTAM President for the past two years and as the Interim Executive Director for the past three months.

REPORTS OF THE RTAM STANDING & AD HOC COMMITTEES ACER-CART Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM JoAnne Hoyak, Vice President, ACER-CART Director ACER CART is the national organization for thirteen provincial retired teachers’ associations. The vision to which we aspire is that of a national organization dedicated to providing leadership to its community of members and to forging relationships with like-minded groups to promote objectives on behalf of retired teachers and other seniors. ACER CART acts as a national voice for retired teachers, responsive to the needs and concerns of its members and committed to excellence. Therefore, it is active in politically advocating for issues concerning Health—pharmacare, a seniors’ health accord and strategy, “Aging in Place”, home care, and Long Term Care

reform. Communications, Pension protection, and Income Security are also topics of importance. To these ends, ACER CART developed five priorities for the past two years—2020-2022. They are: 1. Advocate for the development and implementation of a National Seniors Strategy including the information from “A Declaration Concerning a National Health Care Strategy for Seniors”. 2.

Monitor the federal government’s implementation of a national pharmacare, including the establishment of a Canada Drug Agency and implementation of a national formulary.


Monitor the effects of COVID-19 on the Canada Health Act and on the Bilateral Health funding agreements with the provinces and territories.


Advocate for a health care system that prioritizes care in seniors’ own homes for as long as possible.


Advocate for regulations governing Retirement and Long Term Care Homes with emphasis on improving patient respect, working conditions, staff training and staff wages.

I would ask RTAM members to check the ACER CART website for further information in the fulfillment of these priorities--with a special suggestion to read President Tiede’s letter to the Ministers of Seniors and Health. In addition, ACER-CART will monitor the impacts of the global pandemic on defined benefit pension plan assets and liabilities which could affect solvency funding obligations ACER-CART will also seek to continue elevating the profile of our National Association in our provincial associations and at all levels of government and beyond. In terms of RTAM’s relationship with our National group, we were pleased to be able to utilize the NEW MODE software, which we financially supported, in our promotion of our five objectives and the encouragement of member involvement in a letter writing campaign. NEW MODE, with the push of a button, allowed for the dispersal of a letter to members’ individual MLA’s asking for agreement with the private member’s bill for an RTAM seat on the TRAF Board, as the bill came to the floor of the Legislature. I, as an ACER-CART Director, have been pleased to provide RTAM reports to ACER-CART executive meetings when requested. Also, the ACER- CART Annual General Meeting will be attended virtually or in person [yet to be determined} by the President and Director in June. Lastly, it is important to appreciate our national organization and its connection to the Canadian Teachers Federation as well as the over one hundred partner stakeholders. The association with these exemplary groups make the voice of our members a formidable one. AGM Committee Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Linda Scott, Chair The 2022 AGM Committee members are Arlene Billeck, (RWTA), Joan Dawson, Allen Havard, Esmeralda Havard,

Laurel McFarlane (RWTA), Pat Opalko (RWTA), Linda Scott (Chair), Emily Williamson (RWTA), Lynda Tunny (RWTA), Bill Cann (President, ex officio). Due to the pandemic, the 2022 AGM was extremely difficult to plan. Would it be in person, virtual or hybrid. In February 2022 health regulations for in person were relaxed so it was decided the AGM would be a hybrid AGM held and broadcast from the Holiday Inn Airport West. The RWTA agreed to host the AGM. Under the leadership of RWTA President, Pat Olpalko, their hard work, dedication, planning, and wonderful ideas were greatly appreciated. Without the guidance and tireless efforts of RTAM President, Bill Cann, Independent Chair, Dorothy Young, past AGM Chair Joan Dawson, Denise Bellesia, RTAM Office Administrator, and Dianne Casar, RTAM Member Services Coordinator this AGM would not have taken place. A special thank you goes out to our door prize sponsors: Jessica Simpson, Public Service Representative from Johnson Inc., RTAM, and Gina Sunderland, Food and Consumer Relations Specialist for the Manitoba Chicken Producers, for the door prizes. RTAM is still looking for a Chapter to host the 2023 AGM. Benefits Committee Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Dave Najduch, Chair To date the committee has met 5 times and may meet one more time this year. The committee consisted of the following members, including guests: Dave Najduch, Chair; Pat Bowslaugh (Brandon); Shannon Culbertson (Brandon);Robert Daigneault (Winnipeg); Mel Montgomery (Carman);Joan Rink (Brookdale);Bill Cann (Winnipeg), RTAM President (Ex-officio);Jean-Marc Jones, Johnson;Jessica Simpson, Consultant – Johnson;Dianne Casar, Membership Services Coordinator Thank you to the committee members for their efforts over this last year and helping to determine the direction of the services RTAM members are able to access through our benefits plans. A special thankyou to Pat Bowsluagh for her guidance and sage advice as the previous chair. Another special thank you to Dianne Casar for hosting the meetings through ZOOM and taking the minutes. 1. RTAM Web Page / Member Benefits Benefits at a Glance: This document provides a comparison of the current Benefits which are available to RTAM members through our plans (Johnsons), the WTA plan (Manulife) and the MPSEBP (MTS) plan. The document has been updated with the most current information and provides summaries of the coverage available, eligibility and costs. It also shares contact information so that members are able to speak directly with the service providers. There continues to be very positive feedback about this document from both members and active teachers. Benefits Plan Update 2022-2023: This was sent to all RTAM members who are in one or more of our benefit plans, published in the March 2022 KIT and on the RTAM website. RTAM.MB.CA n 9

This letter provides a very quick overview of changes to coverage and fees for the 2020-2023 year.

Bylaws and Policy Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Jack Fraser, Chair

2. Johnson Member Plans In the fall of 2021, the committee met to review plan usage and the rates charged to determine what was to occur for the 2022-2023 year. Based on the information provided and the discussions by the committee, the following were recommended to the Board and approved. • Extended Health Care (EHC) CORE Plan: 0% rate increase for 2022-2023 term.

Members: Charles Clifford (Portage la Prairie), Joan Dawson (Thompson); Peggy Prendergast (Winnipeg). Dorothy Young (Winnipeg) and Jack Fraser, Chair (Winnipeg). Committee communication and collaboration throughout the year consisted of committee meetings, with e-mail and phone communication between meetings and amongst members. The Bylaws and Policy Committee continues to monitor and review the RTAM Bylaws and Policy Documents according to the committee mandate. The Committee has dealt with recommendations, additions and updates of Bylaws and Policy that were referred for consideration by the Board of Directors, through the RTAM committee channels, or by the Executive Director. The Committee has made recommendations to the Board of Directors on policy changes and additions. To that end, no Bylaw changes were deemed necessary this year. Motions of interim policy already approved by the Board are being brought forward for affirmation by the membership at this 2022 AGM. There were no Bylaw changes for this year. Thank you to the Board of Directors for their valuable input and their support of the Committee. Sincere appreciation is extended to the Bylaws and Policy Committee members for their hard work and efforts throughout the year. As well, appreciation is also extended to the office staff for their valued support and work.

• Enhancements include prescription drug cover changed from $600 to $900 per year. • Ambulance coverage changes from $350 per occurrence to 100% coverage with no maximum. • Effective date for changes is April 1, 2022. • Extended Health Care (EHC) Enhanced Plan: (NEW) • The old plan will be discontinued and replaced with a new Enhanced (EHC) plan. For details check the Benefits Plan Update found on the web page. Generally, there has been a reduction in rates and an improvement in some of the benefits available. • Dental Care Plan / an increase of 3.9% for the 2022-2023 term effective April 1, 2022. • Prestige Travel Insurance / a 0% rate increase for 2022-2023 3. Johnson Insurance I would like to take this time to thank Jessica Simpson for her ongoing support of the committee, RTAM and the membership. The team at Johnsons through Jessica, have been timely, knowledgeable and supportive of the work we are doing. Jessica has attended all the committee meetings and brings new information and answers to questions asked. She has presented at the RTAM AGM and three RTAM retirement seminars. Jessica has also addressed numerous individual member concerns as they have arisen throughout the year. Johnsons also has provided funds to RTAM which help support the broader operation of the organization. 4. On the Horizon Accompany: RTAM has been involved with a new Manitoba company looking to provide members and their primary caregivers with support for medical appointments. The service would have a qualified nurse pick you up, attend the medical appointment and then return you home with a detailed written report of the visit for the member and primary caregiver. The company is in the “proof of concept” or pilot phase and we have been working with them through this process. RTAM has distributed the company’s request for 25 volunteers to city of Winnipeg Chapter Presidents. WTA Health Plans: It came to our attention early in the new year, the WTA is considering the shutting down of its health plan. This has the potential of impacting 1400 plus retirees who are currently enrolled in that plan. We will monitor how this unfolds in the year to come and offer the RTAM plan to their retirees in the event they will need to shop for different coverage. 10 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

KIT Editorial Committee Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Beth Smith, Chair Members of the KIT Editorial Committee: Rosalie Bornn (Dauphin), Joan Dawson (Thompson), Joan Goble (Thompson), Doreen Sage (Neepawa) and Beth Smith (Dauphin). KIT is published four times a year, in full colour. There is very limited amount of paid advertising as most classifieds are done free for members. KIT is limited to thirty-two pages per issue, so some material is not always printed in the current issue. Decisions must be made as to what will be printed and what must wait. Chapters are encouraged to submit articles of interest for publishing in KIT. Write an article about your experiences as a teacher. Enter the Photo Contest, you could have your photos showcased throughout the magazine or on the front cover of KIT. Thank you to committee members who have spent much time editing and making suggestions about the material received. Thank you to those who have sent in material. This is your magazine and it is your material, so do keep sending in material, especially chapter reports. Email your KIT material to Membership and Chapters Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Beth Smith, Chair Committee Members: Rosalie Bornn (Dauphin), Charles Clifford (Portage la Prairie), Joan Dawson (Thompson), Linda Scott (Winnipeg) and Beth Smith (Dauphin).

Most of the Membership and Chapters Committee correspondence occurs through e-mail and telephone conversations, but as the need arises, our meetings are held virtually via Zoom. Three RTAM Pre-Retirement Seminars were held, via Zoom, this Board year. The last Seminar was held on March 5, 2022 and had 145 registrants. Pat Bowslaugh, Treasurer and Beth Smith, Membership & Chapters Chair met with Bill Cann, President to plan the Seminars. The Pre-Retirement Program included the following: • Welcome message (Pat Bowslaugh, Treasurer, Bill Cann, RTAM President and James Bedford, MTS President). • RTAM Benefit Plans by Jessica Simpson, Consultant, Group Benefits, Johnson Inc. • Panel Discussion “Life After Teaching” (Shannon Culbertson and Dave Najduch) • RTAM – “Who We Are!” PowerPoint Presentation (Beth Smith) • Question and Answer session • Closing message The total number of RTAM members, as of March 31, 2022, is 10,314. There were 6 Chapter Initiative Grants applied for this year. The Chapter Initiative Grant (CIG) is available to promote member engagement. Funding of up to $250.00 per each approved project is available per year. Reports from the previous year must be submitted before funding will be approved for the current year. Guidelines and application forms are available on the RTAM website. Thank you to all the committee members for all their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Pension Committee Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Alison Logan, Chair Members: Joan Dawson (Thompson); JoAnne Hoyak (MacGregor); Julian Hoyak (MacGregor); Lynn Land (Winnipeg); Mel Montgomery (Carmen); Alison Logan (Chair) (Winnipeg);Bill Cann (Ex Officio) (Winnipeg) Six Committee meetings were held via zoom during the 20212022 year. Highlights of the Pension Committee endeavours this past year included: 1. Jeff Norton and Brad Prokop represented TRAF at the September and November Committee meetings. 2.

Following the status of the joint agreement with MTS and accepted by the TRAF Board as to the dispersal of the restricted surplus. The dispersal has been in place since July 1, 2018 and will conclude this year.


As of July 1, 2022, COLA will be 2.10%


As of July 1, 2023, COLA is estimated to be .9% through to 2037.


Monitoring pension situations both in Manitoba and other jurisdictions in Canada. Ongoing communication with ACER-CART has been beneficial.


Focus has been on obtaining a designated seat for RTAM at the TRAF table as well as efforts to secure an improved COLA.


In conjunction with Political Advocacy Committee the hiring of Prairie Sky, Government Relations Firm has taken place.


The continuation of meeting(s) with provincial representatives is strongly recommended.


The first reading in The Manitoba Legislature of a private members bill was given on December 2, 2021, by MLA Cindy Lamoureux proposing that RTAM be given a seat on the TRAF Board.

10. The chair wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to the committee members for their dedication, commitment, and diligent work. Political Advocacy Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM John Sushelnitsky, Chair Members serving on the PA Committee: Guy Hansen (Winnipeg/Thompson), Vicki Hooke (Portage la Prairie), JoAnne Hoyak (MacGregor), Julian Hoyak (MacGregor), Dennis Kozak (Calgary), John Sushelnitsky (Portage la Prairie) (Chair), Bill Cann (Winnipeg) RTAM President (Ex Officio). The work of the PA Committee is set out in the Strategic Plan (2017-19) and the Policy Handbook. That work includes tasks that are given to the committee by the President and the Board. It also includes the task of being the “eyes and ears” of the organization tracking the issues in the wider Manitoban community and the world. Each month when there are emergent issues affecting the membership the committee must bring them to the attention of the Board. Some issues require further study and are put “on the back burner”, others are taken to the Board in the form of a Motion for Action. In September, the committee was tasked with putting together questions based on short and long range RTAM goals for the three Progressive Conservative leadership candidates following the Premier’s resignation. These questions were sent by registered letter to the candidates. The national retired teachers’ organization, ACER-CART was asked to conduct a survey of all provincial organizations to gather information that could be used to further RTAM’s advocacy goals. October 1 was the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons. Each year RTAM encourages its Chapters to organize a local event to highlight the contribution that seniors make to our communities. For the first time, the City of Winnipeg responded to our request by putting the event on the public screen at The Forks. According to the U.N., life expectancy worldwide rose from 46 to 68 years between 1950 and 2010. RTAM.MB.CA n 11

At the October 21 Board meeting, the PA committee presented the “Five Requests for Action”. Each Request was accompanied by a rationale. This document will become the foundation of future RTAM advocacy initiatives. PA moved a Motion to create an Ad Hoc committee to discuss how the Bursary for an Indigenous student could be embedded in RTAM practice. After discussion, a Motion was sent to the Board. At the November meeting, a Motion was passed to meet with the new Premier to discuss the Five Requests for Action. The Executive Director was asked to seek guidance from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Manitoba Metis Federation, on how RTAM could address the revelation of the unmarked student graves at residential schools. This initiative continues RTAM’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call for Actions. The Executive Director was to contact the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle, the Manitoba School Board Association, and the MTS to explore the issue of Equity in Education. Climate change was regarded as a possible topic for RTAM-MTS co-operation in sponsoring a student project initiative. Research was begun on that possibility. In December, PA was informed that the Five Requests for Action would be in the winter edition of KIT. They would also be in the New Mode software letter that would go out to all RTAM members with an email address. We were informed that a Private Member’s Bill would be presented in the Manitoba Legislature to create a seat on the TRAF Board for a RTAM-nominated member. This is a long-standing request of RTAM and one of the Five Asks. PA began the search for a professional lobbyist to assist RTAM in achieving our advocacy goals. The Ad Hoc committee on the Bursary for Indigenous Student(s) took place on Dec.9th. In the January meeting, eleven issues were discussed. A Motion was passed to the Board to send a letter of congratulations to former Senator Murray Sinclair on his appointment as a Companion to the Order of Canada. A second Motion to the Board would ensure continuous Bursary support for Indigenous students through the University College of the North. The committee examined a proposal from Michael Juce, a political strategist with Prairie Sky Strategy, and recommended it to the Executive and the Board. His advice would be sought in connection with the New Mode software letter writing campaign, the Five Requests for Action and the lead up to the next provincial election in 2023. On Jan. 21, a letter of congratulation was sent to newly appointed Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning, Wayne Ewasko. His almost immediate and cordial reply by phone to our President was “a ray of sunshine” and bode well for relations in the future. A zoom meeting with the Executive and the Minister on March 25 reinforced that optimism. The RTAM President sent congratulatory letters to the new Premier and to all new cabinet ministers. In February, the PA committee reviewed four issues with provincial implications in the areas of health, education, and Indigenous relations. Two electronic subscriptions to the Free Press have been ordered with the capability of electronically sharing articles with committee members. The importance was stressed of getting RTAM’s presence felt in the community though more frequent input into the various 12 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

media outlets through press releases, interviews and Op Eds. This led to a discussion of the Adam Dooley Report on Communications commissioned by RTAM in 2016. Copies of this Report were to be sent to all Directors and to Prairie Sky Strategy. The President asked PA and Public Relations to analyze the Report as to what has been done in the intervening six years and what remains to be done. The March meeting focused on the task of evaluating what remains to be done in the Dooley Report (2016) and the Strategic Plan (2017&2019). The Bylaws and Policy Committee submitted the Indigenous Student Bursary for AGM approval. The Free Press electronic subscription was successfully used by this committee. The issue of support for the Ukraine in view of the Russian invasion necessitated a RTAM press release which was drafted by the Political Advocacy committee. As this RTAM year draws to a close, I wish to thank all my committee members for their work in what has been a very full and eventful year. It has been my privilege to serve this organization since 2006 and I am grateful for that opportunity. Public Relations Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Guy Hansen, Chair PR Committee was made up of: Guy Hansen, Winnipeg, Chair, John Sushelnitsky, Portage la Prairie, Ken Malcolm, Dauphin, Linda York, Dugald, Shannon Culbertson, Brandon, and Bob Davies, Thompson, currently Winnipeg. Our mandate is to showcase the good deeds of RTAM, to leave everyone with a good feeling upon seeing/hearing the words Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba. Perhaps our most important function is to promote the annual Night at the Leg, or as it is now known, our Meet and Greet. One evening with Manitoba’s MLA’s, beer, and a sandwich, mix and mingle. It is hard to schedule, COVID has made this impossible. It must not be forgotten, these MLAs govern our laws, we must be on the same page as them. RTAM needed more focus. With that in mind, Public Relations, and Political Advocacy “sourced out” Michael Juce of Prairie Sky Strategies. Michael is helping us to “build a bridge”, giving forward guidance as we form results-oriented relations with our MLAs. Further to this, Michael was recommended to us by Adam Dooley of Dooley Communications. Adam had started us on this path in 2015-16 with his very effective Dooley Report. PA and PR have recently reevaluated Adam’s work and it is amazing to see how timeless his advice has been. The birth of ACER-CART’s NEW MODE was PR, in Manitoba. The motion to fund was passed last year by our Board. This technology, for the first time, is being successfully used to communicate directly with our Manitoba MLAs. PR presented a recent motion to increase the number of recipients of our First Nations bursary, through UCN, to four, including two for tradespeople. We facilitated Manitoba news releases, although we did not write them, including RTAM’s recent statement about supporting the relief program in Ukraine. PR kept alive the November 11 celebration with an

interesting family story and wreath-laying in Birtle. It bridged two KIT editions. (Suggestions please) We initiated the using of the yellow/blue (our colours) WINNIPEG sign for the UNESCO World Teachers’ Day, October 5. This was done with co-operation from the office of the Mayor of Winnipeg. PR submitted other articles to each KIT, some of which were to keep our long term goal of an anthology of Retired Teachers alive. (Please help us out by submitting…) With a long look to the future, we continue to advocate for a “Thank a Teacher” day. We will have to dance around covid, of course, but PR is most effectively practiced at the level or your hometown, your community newspaper, your town council. About your function, you 10,000. The work that you do locally is more important for PR than is the work of the RTAM board. Student Award Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Peggy Prendergast, Chair Committee Members: Joan Zaretsky, Winnipeg, Beth Smith, Dauphin, Linda Blair, Winnipeg, Connie Newman, Winnipeg, Peggy Prendergast, Winnipeg, chair. The RTAM Endowment Fund was established with $50,000 at the Winnipeg Foundation in 2013 as a member benefit. Since then, over 400 RTAM members have sponsored the same number of Grade 12 graduate relatives: children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews. The first two years the fund was able to offer four $500 awards each year. The amount of the awards increased over the following years as the amount of money in the fund increased exponentially due to the investing expertise of the Foundation and donations made to the fund often as ‘In Memoriam’ donations. The last two years there have been four $1000 cheques awarded each year. The pictures of these deserving young people appear in the winter edition of KIT. Sponsor your young relatives who are graduating from Grade 12 in June 2022 by encouraging them to fill out the Student Award application found online at or in KIT or call the RTAM office at 204-889- 3660 or 1-888-3938082 for assistance. In the past nine years the Student Award Program has supported thirty-eight young relatives of RTAM members with their post-Secondary education. You, the membership can help the fund increase by sending a donation to the RTAM Endowment Fund at the Winnipeg Foundation. These taxfree donations have added up to $7,000 over the past nine years.Each year we receive more applications from very deserving young relatives as you encourage them to apply. Let’s help increase the pot so we can increase the amount and the number of awards as the pot grows. It now exceeds $77,000 even with the number of awards distributed. Student Success Portfolio Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM

Joan Zaretsky, Chair

Members: Linda Blair, Joan Dawson, Beth Smith The Student Success Portfolio Ad Hoc Committee has had a busy year developing and promoting Student Success

Portfolios as a result of receiving a New Horizons for Seniors Grant in March 2021. We applied for this grant out of a desire to offer support to the RTAM Student Award applicants in writing their applications. This grant was designed to promote intergenerational communication between the high school students receiving the Portfolios and the RTAM sponsors who serve as their mentors. With the Grant funds, we purchased the portfolios, designed our “RTAM Student Success Portfolio” logo to brand our printed materials and for stickers placed on the Portfolios as well as some promotional items from Botanical Paperworks. The funds also covered the fee for a researcher, Andrew Augustyn, to interview sponsors and their students to determine the effectiveness of our project and any challenges along the way. Throughout the past year, we have introduced the project through many different venues in order to make our membership aware of the benefits of their involvement in this Project for their student relatives as well as themselves as mentors in supporting their students. We offered to present our project to Chapter Presidents and their membership at the local level, but COVID has limited the number of local chapter meetings. We plan to offer this again in the upcoming year once the locals become more active with the lifting of the restrictions. We developed PowerPoint presentations which were shared with our Board of Directors, Chapter Presidents and sponsors who participated in a recent “Supporting Your Mentoring Role” Zoom meeting held in March 2022. These sponsors requested we hold bimonthly Zoom meetings to share what different sponsors were doing with their students along the portfolio journey. We created our website and organized it for easy access of information under the headings of “General Information”, “Portfolios”, “Monthly Discussion Starters” and “The New Horizons Grant”. Each month, a new discussion starter was added to support sponsors in working with their student to continue the ongoing portfolio development. We had articles printed in each of our quarterly KIT magazines since the Summer 2021 edition to encourage interest in the project and offer some tips to sponsors. Check out our website www.rtam. under Committees for our “Student Success Portfolio Ad Hoc Committee” and Media for the KIT magazines. As outlined in our Grant received, we allocated funds to hire a researcher to determine what was working with our Project and any challenges or suggestions to improve the process. Andrew Augustyn was hired. As he is a full-time teacher, he will be completing his interviews during March Break and reporting his findings to our Committee. A huge thank you goes to my Student Success Portfolio Committee members for their many contributions, their innovative ideas, and their support throughout this introductory year of our Project. Your dedication to our Project’s success was greatly appreciated! Website Committee Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM Paul Harland, Chair Members: Linda Blair (Winnipeg) Joan Dawson (Thompson) Joan Goble (Thompson) Wayne Hughes (Winnipeg) RTAM.MB.CA n 13

We inherited a website that was very functional and well taken care of. Efforts were made to further organize it. Thanks to input from other RTAM members and our own gleaning, dead links and expired news was trimmed from the website. We made more use of social media and authorized more people to post to the Facebook page in an effort to make it more timely for RTAM members. Our Youtube site is now functional, and more work needs to be done in deciding how we plan to use that site. Gayl Punzalan offered to revamp our web design, which enabled us to further follow the recommendations of the Dooley report and the latest consultant report. The new website will be shown at the AGM, and we think it more accurately reflects the priorities of RTAM, works better on mobile devices, has a cleaner, more modern look, and does a better job highlighting the KIT magazine. Thank you to the committee members listed above who met on the first Monday of the month to guide our Internet communications. A thank you to Bill Cann, who came to our meetings and provided guidance. We also appreciate all the work our web creator Gayl Punzalan puts into making our website functional and current. A big thank you to Denise Bellesia, who also met with us and is our office member tasked with putting things online on the webpage, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. We look forward to our committee work next year. We have drafted Bob Davies to join us and are looking for others.

REPORTS ON RTAM REPRESENTATION ON OUTSIDE GROUPS/COMMITTEES Manitoba Seniors Coalition Report for the 2022 RTAM AGM RTAM Representatives: Peggy Prendergast, RTAM Director, Linda Scott, RTAM Director Representatives from the following organizations make-up the Manitoba Seniors Coalition: • A & O Support Services for Older Adults • Active Aging in Manitoba • Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba • Association of Senior Support Coordinators • Centre on Aging – University of Manitoba • Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba • Manitoba Association of Senior Centres • Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba • Transportation Options Network for Seniors • Federation des aines de la francophonie manitobaine • National Association of Federal Retirees, Manitoba Region The Manitoba Seniors Coalition met virtually 13 times in the past year. The Manitoba Seniors Coalition was adapted from the ACER-CART Seniors Vote 2016 list of pillars of concern for older adults, namely: Healthy Aging, Social Participation,

14 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

Income Security, Housing, Transportation and Health Care. The Pandemic, Vaccination, Ageism, Transportation, Long Term Care and Mental Health are some of the recent provincial concerns that the Coalition brought to the Provincial Health Care system. Healthy Aging is the goal of the Coalition. The Minister of Health, (Heather Stefanson at the time) met with the Coalition representatives in early 2022 to respond to the letter of concern and the offer of help the Coalition sent to the province in late 2021. In March 2022 the Coalition met with the new Minister of Long Term Care and Seniors, Scott Johnston and members of his staff. An announcement of a Senior Strategy being established by the government in early April followed a brief introduction of each Coalition member and the focus and reach of their organization. Long Term care was also part of the discussion. “Ageism Today – is it impacting older adults in Manitoba?” was also a topic on the agenda. The collaboration of the Centre on Aging and the Free Press in the presentation of the film on Ageism: “Duty Free” as the newspaper’s monthly event followed by a panel including Michelle Porter, Director of the Centre on Aging, Jeff Pamater, a Labour lawyer, and the film’s director and his mother, the star of the film, was also part of the discussion.

Chapter Reports As printed in the 2022 RTAM AGM Booklet Boyne Chapter

Lana Rinn

Another year, another interruption caused by Covid. Boyne Chapter members met only a few times in 2021-2022 and essentially suspended operations. Members continued their community volunteering as much as was possible. Lana attended the Zoom Presidents’ meetings and reported to others via email. Along with everyone else in the world, we hope for an end to the pandemic and a peaceful 2022-2023. Calgary Chapter Penny Hogan President: Dennis Kozak; Committee Members: Jan Campbell; Richard Dooley; Penny Hogan; Lillian Kozak RTAM Members: 60 Membership Initiative: Calgary Chapter members reside in Calgary, Airdrie, High River, Lethbridge, Cochrane, Strathmore, and Canmore. However, the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOIP) does not permit RTAM to release personal contact information if/when members relocate to Alberta. In December 2020, with the assistance of RTAM administrative staff, RTAM members living in/around

Calgary were invited by mail to join our Chapter. As a result, since March 2021 we have welcomed 8 former Manitobans to the Calgary Chapter. In February 2022, the Calgary Chapter Membership list was reviewed again with RTAM administrative staff. An invitation to join Calgary Chapter was mailed out to 29 prospective members living in and around Calgary. Activities: After a long Covid imposed damper on in-person gatherings, a catered turkey dinner luncheon was held on November 24, 2021, at Winston Golf Club in Calgary. We were honoured to welcome guest speaker Bill Cann, RTAM President. In the group of 20 attendees were 6 of the 7 new members of the Chapter. Renewing old friendships, and meeting new acquaintances kept the room buzzing with conversation. The Calgary Chapter is appreciative of the Chapter Initiative Grant received in January 2021, which helped make this gathering possible. On March 24, 2022, a luncheon was attended by 18 individuals. The guest speaker was Ryan Mickuki of Trip Merchant. Dauphin Area Retired Teachers’ Association (DARTA) Joyce McGinnis, President Members: 50 Meetings Our DARTA group has 50 paid memberships for this 20212022 year. We had our re-organization meeting in October at the Watson Art Centre’s, Firehall. We are grateful for the RTAM Chapter Initiative Grant to help pay for the rent of our meeting space and refreshments. We continue to apply for both the Chapter and Wellness Initiative Grants each year. Members have accessed the various Webinars that have been provided by the Wellness Committee. This has been an appreciated initiative for rural members. Currently, most members have e-mail access for maintaining regular contact. Those without e-mail are contacted by phone. Once again, Covid restrictions prevented our January and February meetings from taking place. • October: Renewed the fee for our DARTA sign at the Credit Union Place hockey arena • November: Sponsored and laid a wreath at the Remembrance Day Service on November 11 • December: Decorated the Watson Art Centre for the holiday season 1.

Monitored arena exit doors for the Dauphin Kings MJHL home hockey games


Held annual Cheer and Chat afternoon in the Firehall at the WAC (Watson Art Centre).


Annual December donation was made to the Food For Thought Program, which provides a hot lunch to over 600 Dauphin students on Tuesdays and Thursdays from November to March.

• March: Zendoodle Workshop was made possible with a Wellness Initiative Grant


Donation made to the Ukraine Relief through the Red Cross 2. Volunteered to work at the U13 and U11 hockey tournaments • April: The AGM of DARTA will be held in April where the officers for the 2022-23 year will be elected at that time. ÉMR President's Report

Patricia Thibodeau, President of ÉMR EMR’s 20th Anniversary Jeunes de cœur, riches en expérience Young at heart, wise from experience! For 20 years, the main objective of Les Éducatrices et Éducateurs manitobains à la retraite (ÉMR) has been to organize various social activities that appeal to our membership and that emphasize our francophone identity. And so far, we have done this only for 20 years, therefore, we are still young! We have for 20 years worked hard at proposing activities which interest our retirees, and we hope to keep doing this for a long time. Every year, we try to do better and this year we have again succeeded in surpassing expectations. At our April AGM, we always ask our members to share their feedback on past activities and we take note of their ideas and suggestions for the coming year. During this illustrious 20th year of existence, each member of our Executive Council planned at least one activity and in spite of COVID, our 20th anniversary celebrations were a success. We took part in in-person social activities and virtual workshops. As usual, before every event, the organizers made sure that the activity was advertised on our web site, website, and after the activity, they posted a report with photos. We have more than 200 people on our membership list. It is clear that our recruitment efforts are not in vain. Our members have worked either as teachers or administrators in French, English or immersion schools and school board offices across Manitoba. It is important to add that our members are still active members of their community as elders and volunteers, contributing to various provincial and national organizations. I would like to thank The Retired Teachers ‘Association of Manitoba (RTAM) for their generous contributions to our chapter through the Chapter Initiative Grant, the Special Event Grant, the Wellness Initiative Grant and the Zoom License Grant. Like the rest of the world, last year and this year, we have been confined and sadly, we’ve not been able to collect as many membership fees as usual. This financial support from RTAM has allowed us to survive the COVID crisis and function at full capacity. We plan to apply again in 2022, so we can continue recruiting members and improve our services. We were able to organize many interesting gatherings and informative workshops as you can see below: ÉMR activities for the year 2020-2021: • Meeting at St-Vital Park for our 20th anniversary kick off • Reconciliation Workshop with InfoJustice RTAM.MB.CA n 15

• Guided visit to the Inuit Qaumajuq gallery • Brunch and Xmas songs at the Canad Inns hotel • Visit to Anne Mulaire’s workshop 19th of May 2022 • Walking tour, 16th of June 2022 Soon after our AGM of April 15, which will take place on Zoom, our Council meeting will be held to prepare the schedule of activities for 2022-2023.The following members have already declared their interest in serving on the ÉMR Executive Council: Patricia Thibodeau, President; Gisèle Grégoire, Vice-President; Rose-Marie Iafolla, Treasurer; - Jocelyne Fraser, Secretary; Lucille DaudetMitchell, Communications; Marc Beaudry, councilor; Robert Daigneault, councilor; Guy Gagnon, outgoing president I would like to sincerely thank all the members of our executive for their creativity, their energy, their commitment and cooperation. We for sure, are a very dynamic team. We always have fun planning together! In conclusion, I would like to thank all the people who attended this year’s activities and I hope we can count on their continued support. After all, such opportunities to meet in French are more and more scarce. Finally, as many of our members already do, I encourage us all to continue engaging in our communities. Our parishes and our associations benefit a great deal from our expertise at all levels. We need to pursue our passions and now is the time to do it since we will always be young at heart and wise from experience! RAPPORT de la PRÉSIDENTE des ÉMR 2022 Patricia Thibodeau, présidente des ÉMR En ce 20e anniversaire des ÉMR Jeunes de cœur, riches en expérience Depuis 20 ans, le conseil d’administration des Éducateurs & Éducatrices à la retraite (les ÉMR) a comme mandat d'organiser une variété d’activités qui mettent l'accent sur l'aspect social et francophone de notre communauté. Ce n’est que depuis 20 ans que nous proposons des activités qui comblent la curiosité des enseignants retraités et qui suscitent un vif intérêt de la part de nos membres. Puisque nous sommes, depuis toujours, jeunes de coeur et riches en expérience ces 20 années d’existence, ne représentent qu’un début et nous inspirent au dépassement dans les années à venir. C’est pourquoi au moment de l’AGA du 14 avril 2022, nous allons profiter de l'occasion pour demander à nos membres de nous partager leur rétroaction sur les activités passées et leur demander de nous suggérer des possibilités d’activités pour l’année à venir. Durant cette illustre 20e année de présence dans la communauté chacun des membres qui siège au Conseil exécutif des ÉMR a organisé au moins une activité. Même en cette année de COVID on a réussi à fêter ce 20 anniversaire en proposant des sorties intéressantes en personne et des ateliers pertinents en virtuel. Comme d’habitude, avant chaque activité les organisateurs doivent voir à ce que l’activité prévue soit affichée et annoncée dans notre site web, À la suite de l’activité, ces mêmes

responsables d’activités doivent aussi voir à afficher le rapport de leur activité, avec photos, sur notre site. En cette 20e année, on peut se vanter que notre liste de membres des ÉMR se chiffre au-delà de 200 : Il est clair que nos efforts constants de recrutement portent fruit. Nos membres, venant de conseils scolaires de partout dans la province, ont œuvré soit comme enseignant/ enseignante ou administrateur /administratrice, dans des bureaux divisionnaires, dans des écoles francophones, anglophones, ou d’immersion. Il est important de préciser que nos membres, même s’ils sont officiellement à la retraite, demeurent très actifs comme aînés et bénévoles dans divers secteurs de la communauté francophone et qu’ils contribuent à divers organismes provinciaux et nationaux. Je tiens à remercier la Retired Teachers' Association of Manitoba (RTAM) d'avoir, encore cette 20e année, accepté de généreusement contribuer à notre financement par le biais du Chapter Initiative Grant, du Wellness Grant et de leur Special event Grant. Ces contributions financières nous ont été très utiles et nous ont permis, entre autres, de renouveler notre licence Zoom afin de rester en contact avec nos membres en leur offrant des occasions extraordinaires de se rencontrer et de fêter ce 20e. Nous comptons faire demande à nouveau auprès de RTAM en 2022 dans le but de continuer notre recrutement et d’améliorer nos services auprès de nos abonnés. Comme tout le monde, cette année, nous avons été obligés de suivre les règles de santé publique ce qui fait qu’on a offert des activités hybrides : Par moments, c’était en personne et parfois en virtuel. Malgré les hauts et les bas des restrictions, nous avons quand même réussi à offrir un grand nombre des activités sociales et des ateliers très intéressants prévus. Voici les Activités des ÉMR pour l’année 2021-2022: • Le 16 septembre, Party du 20e au Parc St-Vital, 30 personnes • Le 21 octobre Réconciliation par Zoom avec notre partenaire Info-Justice, 13 participants • 18 novembre Galérie Qaumajuq et dîner au Spaghetti Factory, 60 personnes • Le 16 décembre Brunch de Noël au Canad Inn, 60 personnes • 17 février L'éducation française au Manitoba, annulé à cause de la Covid • Total : 162 participants cette année d’avril 2021 à mars 2022 • À venir : -Visite à la boutique Anne Mulaire, jeudi 19 mai 2022 • À venir : Randonnée pédestre, jeudi 16 juin 2022 • Projet de loi 64: revendication avec RTAM • Traduction du document de position de RTAM. Peu après notre assemblée générale du 14 avril qui se fera via zoom, la réunion du conseil aura lieu pour préparer le calendrier des activités de 2022-2023. Les membres suivants sont toujours prêts à prendre place au Conseil exécutif: Patricia Thibodeau, présidente; Guy Gagnon, président sortant; Gisèle Grégoire, vice-présidente; Rose-Marie Iafolla,

Continued on page 21 16 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022





The RTAM Board is surveying members to collect information which will help us present and discuss issues of importance to our membership with the candidates from each of the political parties This survey consists of four pages at the centre and can be easily removed. Please fill out and mail it to RTAM.

According to legislation, the next provincial election will be held in October of 2023. In preparation, the RTAM Board is surveying members to collect information which will help us present and discuss issues of importance to our membership with the candidates from each of the political parties.

Share your email with us and you will get an electronic survey sent to you for completion.

The survey provided will be sent to the member emails we currently have on file in the RTAM office. Filling in the survey using your phone or desktop computer is easy and does not require downloading any type of software. Once completed, all you have to do is hit the “SUBMIT” button on the electronic form and it will be sent to our office and tabulated. This process is the least labour intensive and the most cost effective for RTAM.

RTAM 106-1780 Wellington Ave. Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B3

If you have not received an electronic copy of the survey and would like to complete it this way, you can contact the RTAM office by phone at:

The survey will open electronically June 10th, 2022, and close July 10th, 2022. Go to to access the link to the survey.

If you have limited electronic access, you can complete this copy of the survey and then mail it to the office at:

If you wish to mail in your response, RTAM will require your full name, address, and postal code to confirm you are a member. The survey information will not be included in our tabulations unless we can confirm your membership through this process.

1-204-889-3660 / MB Toll Free 1-888-393-8082 or by email at

RTAM Member Survey The Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba is looking to obtain information from the membership which can be used in our preparations for the Manitoba Provincial Election in October of 2023. Please understand that your answers will become part of a large data base of information and will never be shared in a manner that identifies you individually. Are you currently an RTAM member?

q Yes

q No

RTAM PRIORITIES The RTAM Board and Executive have established 5 priority items (Advocacy Asks) that they have spoken to political parties and MTS about. Please read over each of the following and indicate if this is an important priority to you. Is having an RTAM seat on the TRAF Board an important issue for RTAM to pursue? TRAF collects active teacher pension contributions, invests the funds, pays out pensions to retired members and bills the government for their portion of member pensions. The government and MTS have members named to the TRAF Board. RTAM is asking that a retired member nominated by our organization have a seat on the TRAF Board.

Strongly Disagree




Strongly Agree

Is having legislation recognizing RTAM as the official spokesperson for retired members an important issue for RTAM to pursue? MTS is recognized through legislation to represent active teachers, but there is no group recognized through legislation to speak on behalf of retired teachers in the province.

Strongly Disagree




Strongly Agree

Is having a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) pension adjustment linked to an annual rate of inflation an important issue for RTAM to pursue? The current COLA model does not keep up with the annual rate of inflation seeing teacher pension purchasing power eroded on a year-to-year basis.

Strongly Disagree




Strongly Agree

Is RTAM having a greater say in the development of pension policy an important issue for RTAM to pursue? This may include but is not limited to policy related to the age of early retirement without penalty and/or pension contribution rates.

Strongly Disagree




Strongly Agree

Is RTAM having a greater say in the development of overall provincial education policy an important issue RTAM should pursue? The government has a wide number of education policy groups which feed information into the system and currently RTAM has no voice on these committees.

Strongly Disagree




Strongly Agree

Should the RTAM Executive and Board be advocating for other items not listed in the 5 found above? What should they be?

POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT Did you vote in the last provincial election?

q Yes

q No

Do you plan to vote in the next provincial election in Manitoba? q Yes

q No

q No Did you contribute moneys to a political campaign or candidate in the last provincial election? q Yes q No

Do members of your household vote regularly in the Manitoba Provincial Election?

q Yes

Do you plan to contribute moneys to a political campaign or candidate in the coming provincial election? q Yes

q No

Did you participate in one of the following roles during the last provincial election in Manitoba? If yes check the appropriate box.

q worked for a candidate q worked for a political party q worked for elections Manitoba

COMMUNITY WORK Do you do volunteer work within your community beyond anything related to your political involvement? q Yes

q No

COVID YEAR: If you answered yes to volunteering, approximately how many hours have you done so per month in the 2021-2022 year. # of hours volunteered in 2021-2022 PRE-COVID YEAR: If you answered yes to volunteering, approximately how many hours have you done so per month in the 2020-2021 year. # of hours volunteered in 2020-2021 If you have volunteered in the community and are comfortable sharing your involvement, list the groups you worked with in the space provided below. (Examples may include but are not limited to your church, community centre, school programs etc.)

SUBSTITUTE TEACHING During the last two years it has become clear that retired teachers have taken on an enhanced role in the area of substitute teaching. We are trying to collect information about how many of you were/are involved in this and a sense of your experience. Have you worked as a substitute teacher (including on a term contract) in the last 2 school years? q Yes q No If you answered yes to the previous question, approximately how many days did you work in the 20202021 school year? # of days worked 2020-2021 If you answered yes to the previous question, approximately how many days did you work in the 20212022 school year? # of days worked 2021-2022 How many different public school divisions did you work for in the previous two years? # of Divisions worked for? Please indicate where you have substituted based on the options below. q Urban (Includes Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach, Thompson, Winkler and Winnipeg) q Rural (Everything outside of urban) q Both Urban & Rural What information, if any, would you like to share with the school divisions, the government or RTAM about your experience as a retired substitute teacher.

A FINAL COMMENT Do you have anything else you would like to share with the RTAM Executive and Board of Directors, based on the survey questions or any other item of importance to you?

trésorière; Jocelyne Fraser, secrétaire; Lucille DaudetMitchell, conseillère et responsable des communications; Marc Beaudry, conseiller; Robert Daigneault, conseiller et membre du comité des assurances RTAM. Je remercie très sincèrement tous les membres du CA, pour leur créativité, leur énergie, leur collaboration et leur engagement. Nous formons l’équipe la plus dynamique au Manitoba. Nous voulons à nouveau remercier Gérard Massé responsable du site web: qui nous a pendant plusieurs années appuyés dans toutes nos communications. Il faut aussi reconnaître à nouveau la contribution d’Agathe et de Guy Lacroix qui ont, par les années passées, animé et agrémenté nos soirées de Noël avec des chants traditionnels. C’était toujours la fête avec eux! Il faut applaudir tout ce beau monde! En guise de conclusion, merci aux gens qui ont participé à nos activités de cette année et continuons de participer en grands nombres, après tout, les occasions de se rencontrer en français se font de plus en plus rares. Enfin comme plusieurs membres des ÉMR le font déjà, continuons à nous engager dans nos communautés. Nos paroisses, nos associations profitent grandement de notre expertise tant au niveau provincial que fédéral. Poursuivons nos passions, c’est le temps de le faire, puisque nous sommes et serons toujours jeunes de cœur et riches en expérience. Hanover Association of Retired Teachers - No report. Interlake Retired Teachers’ Association (IRTA) - No report. Neepawa And Area Retired Teachers’ Association (NARTA) Joan Rink, President The 2021-2022 NARTA Executive: President: Joan Rink; Past President: Ralph Cibula; Vice President: Vacant; Treasurer: Richard Kulbacki; Secretary: Pat Cibula; Program Director: Wendy Denbow; Communications: Bev Finlayson NARTA has 12 members. Our yearly membership fee is $10.00. Our members are notified of upcoming meetings by email or by phone. Our meetings were all on Zoom except for September 2021, which was an outing, and February 2022, which was a luncheon. • March 2021: Our AGM was held with the election of officers for 2021-2022. A sharing of members’ favourite books and some St. Patrick’s Day jokes were enjoyed by all. • April: A donation of $25.00 is to be made by NARTA to the Neepawa Student Bursary fund in memory of the passing of a paid up member of NARTA. • An egg decorating demonstration was given by one of the members which resulted in an appreciation of the knowledge, technique and huge amounts of work and time involved in this art. • May: A Chapters Initiative Grant of $250.00 was received which will be used to help pay for a get together, door prizes and food. A discussion of garden tips and ideas was followed by a member’s tour of the wide variety of plants he grows, both indoor and outdoor.

• June: Our guest speaker was Bill Cann, president of RTAM. President Cann addressed the members’ concerns about RTAM pensions, COLA, and the future goals of RTAM. The 2021 NARTA Student Bursary Awards of $200.00 each were presented to graduating students going on to further their education. There were two recipients at Neepawa Area Collegiate (due to a backlog) and one recipient at Carberry Collegiate. Each year a student is chosen from one of three high schools in our area, Carberry Collegiate, William Morton Collegiate (Gladstone), and Neepawa Area Collegiate and presented with the award. • Sept.: Fifteen members took part in an outing to the Polonia Cemetery, Polonia Catholic Church, and the Barn at Kelwood for lunch. After lunch the members toured the McCreary Museum, the Canal School House and the tour continued onto Big Valley. It was so nice to be together again. A wreath is to be ordered for Remembrance Day paid for by RTAM and rotated to three places: Kelwood, Neepawa and Plumas. • Jan. 2022: Members shared interesting Christmas experiences in the time of Covid followed by a variety of jokes, as we all needed some laughter in these challenging times. • Feb.: Some members gathered for a luncheon at the Chicken Chef restaurant in Neepawa. • April: A luncheon meeting is planned for our NARTA AGM meeting, April 4, 2022. A big thank you to RTAM for the CHAPTERS INITIATIVE GRANT. Northeastman Chapter - No report. Okanagan Chapter of RTAM

Nancy Kostiuk, Secretary

Current membership is 56, with the welcome addition of several new members. • Chapter President’s Meetings were attended by CoPresident, Lorna Rothwell, via Zoom. • November 27, 2021: The co-presidents met for a planning session in advance of the December event, as some COVID-19 restrictions were eased and QR codes were required. • December 14, 2021: A Christmas Luncheon was held at the Sunset Ranch Golf Club, attended by 26 members and guests. It was our first in-person gathering since 2019 and was welcomed by all. After a fabulous meal, Susan Lisik conducted a lively gift exchange, and Lorne a raffle which raised funds for a donation to the food bank. • March 13, 2022: The Executive met to discuss possibilities and plans for a social event and a wellness event in 2022, as provincial health guidelines had been revamped. • March 17, 2022: Our RTAM – OKANAGAN AGM was conducted by email and approved the following: RTAM – Okanagan Executive 2022-2023 Co-Presidents: Lorna Rothwell,; Lorne Lisik,; Vice-President:Jim Patterson; RTAM.MB.CA n 21

Treasurer: Roy Lycar; Secretary: Nancy Kostiuk; Members-atlarge: Susan Forsyth; Susan Allen Portage la Prairie Retired Teachers’ Association Charlie Clifford, President The past year was governed by regulations regarding COVID-19, and to a large extent, they determined how we would relate to each other. For many of us, we relied on KIT and Zoom to communicate with each other. We have appreciated KIT and President Bill Cann's chapter president meetings. It was good to hear what other chapters were doing and what the board of directors, executive, committees and staff were doing on our behalf. We, of course, did not have any in-person meetings. We tried phoning as a means of contacts. We kept thinking and hoping that things would change in the regulations but COVID-19 really dictated how the year would go. A lot of everyone’s attention was directed to following regulations, staying safe and keeping ourselves healthy. One thing the COVID-19 has reinforced in me is that teachers, past and present, are a resilient and creative group of people. It is these qualities that helped us deal with the stressors and challenges that teaching presented and presents. They also created character which has done us in good stead. Still I can’t help but wonder how we would have coped if this had happened 25 years ago, before we had the advancements in technology that we enjoy today? Even with COVID-19, many of our members are still involved in the community as individuals or through other organizations. People do see our organization as one with a great deal of expertise and energy. We have about 130 RTAM members in the Portage area. Not all are active or supportive of the organization, but all are happy to have the organization (particularly at the provincial level) look after their interests and be a voice for them. It is interesting to see the number of members that have decided to get involved with the education system because of the need created by COVID-19. It is also interesting how retired teachers are very interested in the implementation of the "Education Review”, which has recently been released. We are looking forward to being able to have in-person meetings and being able to communicate in a more personal way. Retired Women Teachers’ Association Pat Opalko, President The Retired Women Teachers’ Association (RWTA) is an association of retired women educators of Manitoba. We meet on a social basis four times a year in September, December, February, and April to enjoy lunching together, make friends and continue relationships formed during our teaching careers. This year continued to be a challenge. The COVID-19 Pandemic curtailed our luncheons for the second year. The RWTA membership fee of $8.00 was waved and extended to September 2022. The Executive and Phoning Committee agreed 22 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

to continue until it was safe to hold a luncheon and AGM. Through the year we connected with members in more traditional ways. Every few months, members were contacted via phone, email and/or regular mail to chat and enquire as to how they were doing. The highlight of our 2021-2022 year (our 70th as an association) was our mail-out projects to members in May and December 2021. In May, members received, by mail, a “thinking of you” card, a poem and a “tea bag”. Members were encouraged to enjoy their tea on a specific day and time when we would all enjoy tea “together”. In December, the greeting card sent to members included a chocolate to celebrate the Holiday season. Now rested, smiling and happy that the MB Government has lifted restrictions and COVID-19 is waning, the Retired Women Teachers’ Association has planned a luncheon for April 21, 2022, at Masonic Centre! Members will be contacted via phone or email as to their attendance. As RWTA President, I thank our RWTA Executive, Phoning Committee and all members for their friendship, encouragement, and support. On behalf of the RWTA Executive and membership, we thank RTAM for its dedication and financial support of the 2021 Chapter Initiative Grant and the 2021 Wellness Initiative Grant. The grants made it possible for RWTA to send two special mailing projects to members, including our Shut-ins. We invite and welcome all retired women educators to join the Retired Women Teachers’ Association. Retired Women Teachers’ Association Executive for 2021–2022 President: Pat Opalko; Vice President: open; Past President: Cecile Alarie-Skene; Membership Convener: Cecile AlarieSkene; Treasurer: Phyllis Arnold-Luedtke; Recording Secretary: Isabelle Garand; Corresponding Secretary: Brenda Zebrynski; Luncheon Coordinator: Lynda Tunny: Social Committee: Louise Burton (ch); Social Committee Arlene Billeck; Social Committee: Laurel McFarlane; Tickets: Barb Haddow; Tickets: Vi Hultin; RTAM/Pensions: Peggy Prendergast; Visiting Committee: Emily Williamson; Visiting Committee: Lenore Butler; Publicity: Helen Norrie; Archivist: Jacquie Field; Pianist: Charlotte Stech; Phoning Committee: Kathy Deyman, Shirley Hampton, Pat Graefer, Bev Wilkinson Riel Retired Teachers Association Jack Fraser, President The Louis Riel Chapter mainly includes the retired staff from the legacy divisions of St. Boniface, Norwood, and St. Vital. We have members who were once employees in those divisions, but who left and retired from other jurisdictions or who physically live in our area as well. We are always open to new membership, and welcome anyone interested in joining us. All our Chapter’s major activities, our luncheons, scholarship fundraising, and golf tournaments, have unfortunately been curtailed during COVID-19. We were unable to get a paper newsletter out this year but have kept in touch with our members for whom we have emails using

our “Between Newsletters”. If you are a chapter member and have not been getting these emails, please send your email address to and we will gladly add you to our emailing list. We try to be selective and limiting in the number of emails we send, but we have sent out a few more than usual during this Covid time. Over 300 of our members are on this email list and over 900 are on our postal list. Before Covid, I had tried to meet in person with all our retiring teachers. Sadly, this again was not possible this past June and December. If you were one of those retirees, please drop me an email and I will happily send you our chapter membership application. Membership has a five-dollar, lifetime membership fee, and it comes with a few perks. The Government’s Bill 64 threatening the dismantlement of our entire education system structure, also threatened the existence of our chapter. The Division supports the mailing of our newsletter, provides us with meeting space, and has been supportive of our work. In turn, we have supported their foundation (RIELEVATE) and its work. With this threat now behind us, we can look forward to when we will be able to resume our much-missed activities. St. James – Assiniboia Chapter Lynn Land, Chairperson Officers 2021 - 2022 Chairperson: Lynn Land; Vice Chair:Shelley Herbert; Treasurer: Emily Williamson; Secretary: Rudy Peters; Membership/Communications: Dorothy Young; Members at Large: Marj Bilous, Will Peters, Linda Scott, Garry Winfield The main objective of the St. James Assiniboia Chapter of RTAM is to promote the economic interests of its members and to support the Provincial RTAM Board in its endeavors to that end. The Chapter shares information with its members all across Canada. In turn, members share the information with friends, family, and also colleagues still actively teaching in Manitoba. Membership is 344 and includes retired teachers/administrators/superintendents. The St. James-Assiniboia Chapter of RTAM held its AGM on September 29, 2021, in the afternoon, in the parking lot of St. Paul the Apostle Church. Members had to be double vaccinated. Masks were required if we had to move inside due to inclement weather. The weather was fantastic, and sunscreen and hats were recommended. Cold drinks were provided, and snacks were provided in Ziploc bags for those who attended. Thirty-two retirees enjoyed the event. Chairperson, Lynn Land, chaired the meeting. RTAM President, Bill Cann, brought greetings to his home Chapter's AGM. At the conclusion of the meeting, we enjoyed listening for an hour to Winnipeg Artist, Sol James who sang and played her guitar. She was accompanied on the double bass by John Barron. Sol is a force to be recognized on the music scene, with a voice to match! John is a mean bass player. Toes were tapping, hands were clapping, requests were taken, and a great time was had by all those in attendance. 50/50 tickets were sold, and the lucky winner was Peter Mingo. We thank Provincial RTAM for the Chapter Grant which we put to great use. It was so nice to get reacquainted in person

with former colleagues. We thank Lynn, Marj, Emily, Fred, Rudy, and Shelley for organizing this event, and Dorothy for getting out the notice to our members. We are proud of these members of our Chapter who have served on the RTAM Board for 2021-22: Bill Cann, President for a second term, Paul Harland, Alison Logan, and Linda Scott. We are pleased that the following members of our Chapter have served on Committees this year: Arlene Billeck, Lynn Land, Pat Opalko, Lynda Tunny, Emily Williamson, and Dorothy Young. We congratulate those members of our Chapter who have put their names forward for election to the 2022-23 RTAM Board of Directors: Bill Cann (Past President), Paul Harland, Rex Virtue, and Anne Williams. 2021-22 has been an interesting year for all of us. Hopefully by the time you read this report things will have settled down in our world. In the last year we have shared information on the following St. James-Assiniboia colleagues who have departed this life: William (Bill) Betz, Ruth Breckman, Elizabeth (Betty) Brownlee, Doreen Buchholz, Helen Carnie, John Cooke, Keith Craig, Abram Friesen, Elizabeth Genik, Alda Gillies, Isabella Haugen, Ronald Henderson, June Keith, Lawrence Overby Russ Ryan, Gaston Tonnellier, Carole Unsworth, Helena Zink. We look forward to 2022-23 being a good year for all of us. Southwest Assiniboine Chapter Kelvon Smith, President, with the approval of the SWAC Executive Our Meeting of April 13, 2021 was done Via Zoom with President Joan Veselovsky as the Zoom Host. Our thanks to RTAM for their assistance in carrying out the meeting which was a new way of doing a meeting for most of our members. Our Meeting of September 7, 2021 was a BBQ Luncheon with entertainment with the meeting afterwards. This was held in the Virden Lions Park on a sunny fall day with good attendance, though few stayed for the meeting. We made a donation to the Lions Club for the use of the campgrounds. It was noted that we no longer have access to our former caterers due to their age. Also, note that this was our very first in-person meeting since Covid reared its ugly head. The SWAC Meeting of November 16th, 2021 was at the Royal Canadian Legion Club Room in Virden. The lunch was ordered in from a local professional caterer. We had our business meeting after the luncheon. The SWAC Meeting was chaired by President Kelvon Smith. The spring meeting is on April 19th with a guest speaker (Dr. E. Rhynold who will speak on Preventing Dementia). This meeting will likely be held at the Legion Club Room again due to the space and privacy there. The meeting will be chaired by President Kelvon Smith. At our meetings we have the usual agenda at a meeting with any correspondence being read, a Financial Report, a Friendship Committee Report, the Travel Report, and any New Business that anyone wants to bring up. Note the President also gives an account of the Chapter Presidents' Meetings and any new items from RTAM. RTAM.MB.CA n 23

This year we have donated some funds to two Music and Arts Festivals. The SWAC Members, this year, will be going to Winnipeg at a cost of $125.00 per member. The price includes transport, two meals, tips, admissions, bus prizes, and water. In 2020 the trip was a no go due to Covid and due to a still present fear of Covid in 2021 the trip was cancelled. This year it WILL happen! The President keeps the SWAC Executive informed of his Chapter Presidents' Meetings and the results plus he makes them aware of any new developments at RTAM. SWAC thanks President Bill Cann, the Board, the Committees, and the staff for all that they do in our interests as retired educators. Contact has been made with our local MTS President and the special instructions will be carried out. Likewise with our MLA. SWAC is mainly the domain of Fort La Bosse retired teachers although we attempt to let others in near-by towns who aren't part of Fort La Bosse aware of our meetings and trips. We will discuss at our next meeting what our geographical area of responsibility is. Swan Valley Retired Teachers Chapter Henry Barkowski, President The Swan Valley Chapter was minimally active this year. We did not hold any in person or virtual meetings. We missed the socialization that comes with these meetings and gatherings. We did an occasional email update on RTAM and other happenings. We participated in the Remembrance Day Service and a wreath was laid by one of our members on our behalf. We were honoured to have Carol Fahrenschon lay the wreath as her father Tofiel Hart was the most decorated veteran in the Swan River Valley. In February, two of our members delivered meals on wheels for two weeks. This is always a rewarding experience as the participants are so appreciative and always enjoy a visit as brief as it may be. We received two RTAM grants, Chapter Enhancement and Wellness Initiative. We plan to make use of these, hopefully this coming year hopefully as the pandemic subsides. We lost a few colleagues this year and we extended condolences to their family and friends. We are looking forward to meeting again as we are safe to do so. Thompson Association of Retired Educators Joan Goble, President During the past year TARE (Thompson Association of Retired Educators) was basically shut down. We tried two Zoom meetings but had little response. Poor connections for those living at the two housing areas remote from Thompson makes Zoom meetings difficult. We met once for a “To Hell with the Bell” Breakfast in September, but we did not meet in person thereafter because of Covid. The Library Project started in June when the large planters arrived at the Library, we started to work. Soil, fertilizer and both seeds and plants were placed in the planters. We also refreshed the front garden and placed seedlings and bulbs received from members and friends. Unwanted shrubs were

removed and the last part of the front flowerbed was dug up with much effort. Three very determined diggers got the job done! Later in the fall we received a generous donation of perennials and shrubs from a local gardener which were dug in about two weeks before the snow arrived. We also started work on the side garden by pruning a big ivy. At the same time, TARE and the Library Staff again planned and executed another project for children. Usually, TARE members and the children spend a morning together in the Library, but Covid stopped that. Instead, RTAM bags were filled with materials for 40 children to take home. Each contained seeds, cuttings, diagrams and explanations, soil, containers, a craft project and a book. All of them were picked up! We have invited a local beekeeper, Steven Larocque, to put some hives in the front garden and he has agreed. His bees already come to our flowers so this would mean less travel for them. The Library will put signage up to indicate the presence of the bees. Also, Steve is contacting another local, aboriginal group he works with on gardening projects to see if they would like to join us in the Library Project. There are gardens at the rear of the Library that are in sad shape and we do not have the people to take on more work. We could work together to create a more pleasing space on that side of the building. We are already planning for this year’s Library Project and were delighted to again receive a Chapter Initiative Grant. We have not held our AGM over the past two years but will do so shortly as the pandemic rules are lifting. However, we need to find a venue where all may meet safely as Covid is still circulating here. It may not happen until summer when we could safely and comfortably meet outside. VanIsles Chapter – RTAM - No report. Westman Retired Educators’ Association Rick Oakden, President WREA’s AGM was held on Zoom on April 20, 2021 with the following Executive formed: Past President – Ron McPhail (2019-20); President – Rick Oakden (2020-21); Vice President – Catherine McLaren; 2nd Vice President – Don Berry; Secretary – Heather Shelton; Communication – Mavis Johnston, Rick Oakden; Treasurer- Mavis Johnston; Directors – Pat Bowslaugh, Darlene Wilkinson, Meryl Orth; Brandon Teachers’ Association Liaison – Heather Shelton;Caring Connections – Ida Hallett, Mavis Johnston;RTAM Liaison – Pat Bowslaugh. Membership fees to WREA were not collected for 2021-22 due to COVID-19. A fundraiser was organized in April, 2021 for the Brandon Humane Society, Samaritan House Ministries and the Westman Women’s Shelter with $3970.00 raised. WREA Executive met with Cale Dunbar, President of the Brandon Teachers’ Association, on April 25, 2021 to present a ‘house warming’ gift for BTA’s new offices and to discuss Bill 64. Yard signs were distributed from BTA to WREA members to assist advertising against Bill 64. In-person meetings or social events did not occur due to

Next page → 24 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

RTAM Bylaw And Policy Changes As printed from the 2022 RTAM AGM Booklet 2)

A.INTERIM POLICIES The following policies were approved by the Board of Directors since the 2021 AGM and are brought to the 2022 AGM for ratification. The Policy Manual pages are indicated where possible. 1.






That Policy 8.01 (page 13) be amended with the addition of: s) the RTAM President or designate lay a wreath, where possible, on behalf of retired teachers at the Provincial Remembrance Day ceremony. That Policy 10.01 (page 24) be amended with the addition of: c) RTAM will reimburse Chapters’ expenses for an honorarium up to $100.00 if they engage an Indigenous Elder to give a Blessing or Acknowledgement, at the Chapter’s AGM, regarding the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and/or the Report on the Missing and Murdered Women and Children at the Chapter’s Annual General Meeting. That RTAM cost share 50% of Single Coverage in the Johnson Core Extended Health and Dental Plans for each staff member as part of the Employee Benefits package, effective January 20, 2022. Note: The Human Resources Manual will contain this clause. That RTAM contribute annually 3% of each staff member’s annual salary to their respective self-directed retirement investments effective January 20, 2022. Note: The Human Resources Manual will contain this clause. That Policy 11.03 (page 27) be amended with the insertion of this wording at the beginning of b): b) Such mileage and expenses claims must be within and not exceed the most current CRA guidelines. That the selection of charities for In Memoriam donations in Policy 16.02 (page 32) be amended with the addition of: c) 1) Where there is a published obituary with a list of charities for donations included, the donation shall be made to the first listed charity.



Where there is a published obituary with the option of a “charity of choice”, the donation shall be made to the RTAM Endowment Fund at the Winnipeg Foundation. Where there is no published obituary, and where a member of the family is readily contactable, the family should be asked for a preference of charity; and Where there is no published obituary, and where a member of the family is not readily contactable, the donation shall be made to the RTAM Endowment Fund at the Winnipeg Foundation.


That a current Policy 16.04 (page 34) RTAM Student Awards Program page be renumbered 16.04 A and that new Policy 16.04 B be added: 16.04 B RTAM Indigenous Student Bursaries Program RTAM will annually budget for bursaries for four Indigenous student(s) attending The University College of the North with two of the bursaries allocated to tradespersons. 8. That Policy 8.02 (page 14) be amended by adding: e) shall Chair the Communications Committee. 9. Policy 9.07(4) (page 21) Communications Committee be amended to read: The members of the Communications Committee shall be: a) Vice President (Chairperson), Executive Director (non-voting), and the Chairs of the KIT Editorial, Public Relations and Website Sub-Committees, or their representatives as appointed by the Board. 10. That Policy 11.03 (page 27) be amended by adding: d) the RTAM President shall be allocated an annual budget for transportation, accommodation, and meals costs to support visitations to RTAM Chapters upon receipt of invitations from RTAM Chapters. Receipts for transportation, accommodation, and meals are required.

WREA Report - continued from previous page cautions regarding COVID-19. RTAM funds acquired for Wellness events and Chapter Initiatives have been held for future use. In October, WREA donated $250.00 to support River Heights School teachers’ efforts to replenish reading materials damaged by water. The Caring Connections committee sent cards and made phone contacts through the year to members experiencing special occasions or health issues. Hazel Skuce was presented with flowers to celebrate her 110th birthday in February, 2022. Two committees worked through the year to address recruitment and to update WREA’s constitution. “Coffee Klatches” on Zoom were held on several occasions

on the first Wednesday of the month where WREA members met for informal talks. On December 8, 2021 WREA held its “Zoom Christmas Concert 2” with members providing an enjoyable program that ended with a sing-a-long led by Deb and Brent Grey of the Brandon Ukelele Club. WREA held a Zoom travelogue on March 16, 2022 with retired teachers Al and Linda Friesen presenting a PowerPoint review of their trip to Churchill, Manitoba. WREA’s Executive has met on Zoom through 2021 to present. WREA’s Annual General Meeting is planned to occur at 1:00 p.m. April 4, 2022 on Zoom.


Zendoodle with DARTA Joyce McGinnis, DARTA President

Left: Joan Smith, Shirley Kulchycki, Jane Delange Right: Joyce McGinnis, Charlene Purdon, Peggy Archer, Jan Jenkins (seated)


he Dauphin Area Retired Teachers with the help of the Wellness Initiative Grant were able to hold a Zendoodle Workshop on March 8. What is Zendoodle? Zendoodle is the art of drawing designs using structured patterns. When you draw a zendoodle, you’re creating a work of art, but you’re also deliberately creating a mood, focus, and state of mind. The drawing of blocks of patterns at a time lets your mind get into a calming zen state.

RTAM-TRIP Contest Winners Related to the contests announced in the Spring 2022 KIT on page 22, the following are those who won: • Trip Merchant Contest winner – Mary L. Fridfinnson, Arborg, MB • KIT subscriber contest winner – Beth J. Parr, Pinawa, MB

26 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

Jan Jenkins was our zendoodle instructor for the evening. She talked about and demonstrated the different basic shapes involved in creating a zendoodle piece. We had an opportunity to practice the different techniques of: auras, embellishing, shading, even vs odds, drawing off the page, and drawing behind on the handouts provided in the materials kit we each received. She also explained about the different types of pens, pencils, watercolour and alcohol ink markers that she uses in her work. We learned the meaning of some design symbolism used in art works. For example, a spiral used inside a sunflower design represents the life symbol and leaves growth and new life. We were then instructed to incorporate a sunflower design into our zendoodle creation. The room fell silent as we entered our “zen” state of mind in the creation of our own zendoodle artwork. Halfway through the evening we had a refreshment and snack break, as well as time to look at what everyone else was drawing. The evening was enjoyed by all who attended. n

RTAM-MTS Agreement Bill Cann, RTAM President 2021-2022


hat The Manitoba Teachers' Society (MTS) and the Retired Teachers' Association of Manitoba (RTAM) develop an agreement covering the next 2 years. The purpose of the agreement is to formalize the relationship between RTAM and the MTS. a.

The Presidents and Vice Presidents of MTS and RTAM shall endeavour to meet a minimum of 4 times per school year to discuss issues of mutual importance and/or significance. b. Each organization accord the other with observer status at their respective c. Annual General Meeting. d. RTAM invite the MTS President to make an annual address to a Board of Directors' meeting. MTS invite the RTAM president to make an annual address to the Provincial Executive. e. Each organization invite the other to make an annual presentation to its Group Benefits committee. f. MTS and RTAM work together to host an annual meeting with retired teachers who are working as substitute teachers. g. Representatives from RTAM and MTS be provided with time at their respective Pre-retirement seminars to bring greetings and provide

Bill Cann, RTAM President and James Bedford, MTS President information. (Between 10-20 minutes at each seminar or a length of time mutually agreed upon.) h. Discussion around the terms of this agreement. Note: any costs associated with RTAM members attendance at the various functions of MTS described in the letter would be paid for by RTAM. Any costs associated with MTS members attending RTAM functions would be paid for by MTS. The signing took place at McMaster House on March 18, 2022. The ceremonial pens were gifted to RTAM by MTS. n

Book Review

Arc of Light and Shadow: Poems with Art by Liz Kornelsen Elaine Hansen, Author; Former Principal, Pembina Trails School Division Come dance, walk along a forest path, slide through a cave on your belly and take a plunge down a waterfall as you join Liz Kornelsen in Arc of Light and Shadow: Poems with Art. This unique collection combines gifts of creativity in poetic and artistic expression. Immerse yourself in images of nature and enter into a deep, soulful experience. Savor the rich emotion and sheer beauty encompassed within Liz's arc of light and shadow. n


In Memoriam

Natalie Board | Adobe Stock

January 2022 Roger D. Anton – Winnipeg, MB Lucienne M. Bazin – St. Claude, MB Audrah E. Caughell – Minnedosa, MB Edna M. Cundall – Winnipeg, MB Alda B. Gillies – Winnipeg, MB Phyllis A. Hunt – Winnipeg, MB Lawrence P. Huska – Winnipeg, MB Andrew J. Ilchena – Winnipeg, MB Beryle M. Jones – Winnipeg, MB Frances Kogan – Winnipeg, MB Ronald M. Landry – Roblin, MB Shirley N. McLeod – Brandon, MB J. Mabel McMunn – Brandon, MB Stanley P. Nickarz – Winnipeg, MB Anne M. Phelan – Flin Flon, MB Carl R. Plohman – Beausejour, MB Cynthia M. Robins – Winnipeg, MB Deborah G. Wallace – Winnipeg, MB February 2022 Norah Bailey – Winnipeg, MB Sr. Rose A. Belisle – Winnipeg, MB John D. Bourbonnais – Winnipeg, MB James A. Brolund – Selkirk, MB William J. Caughlin – Winnipeg, MB Linda M. Daniels – Manigotagan, MB Edith E. Doyle – Winnipeg, MB Beatrice J. Fediuk – Winnipeg, MB Arthur D. H. Ferguson – Kelowna, BC Donald P. Fidelak – Winnipeg, MB Geraldine A. Foster – St. Andrews, MB Ronald O. Hallock – Winnipeg, MB

28 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

Roy G. Hammond – Winnipeg, MB Mary Irwin – Elie, MB Donald H. Jackson – Portage la Prairie, MB Alice Mark – Winnipeg, MB Maryellen P. McNaughton – Virden, MB Mary J. McWilliams – Winnipeg, MB Peter Melnyk – Winnipeg, MB Istvan F. Meszaros – Winnipeg, MB Lorne W. Thompson – Winnipeg, MB March 2022 William T. Betz – Headingley, MB Ruth E. Bilowus – Brandon, MB Elizabeth F. Brownlee – Winnipeg, MB Carrol E. Bruce – Carman, MB Gloria L. Carrard – Brandon, MB Lorraine Craigie – Winnipeg, MB Marilyn A. Einarson – Winnipeg, MB Gloria L. Emslie – Ste. Agathe, MB Phyllis G. Graham – Bowsman, MB Isabella M. Haugen – Winnipeg, MB Neil R. Jackson – Grand Marais, MB Robert C. Kirkpatrick – Winnipeg, MB Eila M. Lamb – Winnipeg, MB Michael A. MacInnis – Bath, NB Derick Mather – Qualicum Beach, MB Dorothy I. Nelson – Winnipeg, MB Gail S. E. Nep – Winnipeg, MB Ruth I. Nichols – Winnipeg, MB Roberta L. Ratz – Brandon, MB Arlene A. Smolak – Winnipeg, MB Karen H. Torgrud – Winnipeg, MB

Life Members (Presented at age 90 to RTAM members)

January 2022 Dan Demchenko – Steinbach, MB Edgar G. Freynet – Winnipeg, MB Sylvia S. Haverstick – Winnipeg, MB Gladwyn Scott – Carberry, MB February 2022 Mildred C. Bjarnason – Victoria, BC Shirley M. Case – Portage la Prairie, MB Doris M. Kristjanson – Winnipeg, MB Bernhard Loeppky – Winkler, MB Miriam Maltz – Winnipeg, MB Frances B. Smith – Winnipeg, MB Anne Thiessen – Winkler, MB March 2022 Blanche L. Beaudette – Winnipeg, MB Dorothy J. Haithwaite – Wawanesa, MB Stella Kohut – Winnipeg, MB Anna Krawchuk – Winnipeg, MB Bernice Rzasa – Winnipeg, MB John Sawatzky – Morden, MB Lily I. Sewell – Eriksdale, MB Elizabeth A. Sumner – Brandon, MB

RTAM Anthology John Sushelnitsky, Public Relations Committee


ack in the spring of 1963, I was a third-year student at Brandon University. Of course, it was an exciting time to be a university student with all kinds of future prospects dancing around in my head. One of my main subjects (we didn't have major and minor subjects in that day) was Political Science and International Relations. So, it came as no surprise to Professor Norma Walmsley that I had applied for a summer program to work in Africa. Upon hearing that I had been accepted for Crossroads Africa, I rushed "home" to tell my landlords the good news. Alec and Bea Venebles showed polite interest in my news, but they added that they had once had an African student staying with them some years ago. His name was John Carbo, they said, and would I say "hi" to him from the Venebles. I thought, "Africa is three times the size of the United States and has 200 million people," but I said I would do so. In June, I went to Toronto for a Canadian orientation on how to behave properly as a Canadian representative. There were about 50 of us, young guys and gals, eager to do our bit to improve the world. A week later, we were off to New York City where we were joined by American university students. We were placed in groups and learned of our assignment. I was the only Canadian in my group, joined at that stage by nine Americans, three girls and six boys. The one American who stood out was Oscar from Kansas City. He was the only African-American and he was the first African-American that the other Americans said that they had met. I thought it was

remarkable and an indicator of the sheltered life they must have had. Nevertheless, we learned that our group would be joined by ten African university students and that the twenty of us would be going to Sierra Leone to complete the construction of a boys' school dormitory that had been started by a Peace Corps worker. So, armed with our instructions for the next two months, we flew to Paris overnight and then flew over the Sahara Desert to West Africa. In Senegal, we got on a bus and traveled overland through Guinea to Sierra Leone. I knew that there was a reason I had continued French in university, as it turned out I was the only American who could speak the lingo in those two countries! Arriving in Freetown, Sierra Leone, we were reassured by the return of the English language and hopped a train for the interior, 200 miles away. At the end of that train ride was the smallish town of Bo. We stopped at the hotel, dropped off our luggage and walked through the town to the school grounds, where we were to be welcomed by the Principal, a Mr. John Carbo. Now, where had I heard that name before? I stood at the very end of the line as he shook hands and welcomed each of us to his school. My mind was working furiously. When he arrived in front of me, I asked, "Have you ever been to Canada?" "Yes," he replied. "Have you ever been to Brandon, Manitoba?" "Yes," he replied. "Alec and Bea Venebles say 'Hi!'" And thus began a summer of making bricks in the African sun. n

Please consider contributing to the RTAM Anthology, where we hope to keep our teaching memories alive for future generations. If you would like to jot down a story or if you have a teaching anecdote to share, feel free to email your memories to


RTAM STUDENT AWARD APPLICATION FORM The Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba (RTAM) awards annually four (4) post-secondary STUDENT AWARDS of $1,000 each to relatives of RTAM members.



Criteria for selection (the applicant must be): 1) 2) 3) 4)

A relative of an RTAM Member (child, grandchild, niece or nephew) Involved in school and community activities A Grade 12 graduate Entering the first year of a post-secondary education program (University or College)

Submissions to include the following:  Student Award Application Form  Applicant’s comprehensive written description of school and community activities (one page)  One (1) letter of reference/support from a non-family member (one page)  Final official high school transcript of marks (copy only) If further information is required, please contact the RTAM office (see below).

APPLICANT’S INFORMATION (PLEASE PRINT) Full name: Mailing Address: City/Town:


Phone Number:

Postal Code/ZIP:

Cell Number:

E-mail Address: Year Graduated:

School Name (Graduated from Grade12): School Street Address: City/Town:


Did you receive an RTAM Student Success Portfolio?

 Yes

Postal Code/ZIP:


Post-Secondary Plans Program




Phone Number:

Postal Code/ZIP:

Cell Number:


I confirm that the applicant

, has the following relationship to me

RTAM Member’s Signature:


Applicant’s Signature:


THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS JULY 29, 2022 by mail/drop-off at 4:00 pm or by email at 11:59 pm

Office/Voicemail Phone: 204-889-3660 Manitoba Toll Free: 1-888-393-8082 Fax: 1-204-783-2011

30 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

Email: Website:

106 – 1780 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B3

Where Are They Now? A 2017 RTAM Award Winner Student Awards Committee


ecently, we had a chance to touch base with Jane Harkness, a 2017 RTAM Award winner. While attending Virden Collegiate Institute Jane donated a substantial amount of time and organization to the Virden Pioneer Home Museum and was awarded the prestigious Beaverbrook Vimy Prize which provided two weeks of study in England, Belgium, and France. After graduating, Jane went on to pursue her love of history further at the University of Ottawa.

Q: How did the RTAM award help you pursue your educational goals? This award allowed me the opportunity to study history in the national capital. I completed my Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of Ottawa in December 2021, and in this degree I was able to learn from amazing historians, research in national museums and archives, and work as the archives student for the Department of National Defence’s Directorate of History and Heritage through the university’s CO-OP program.

Q: What was your favourite experience in that education? My favourite part of my degree was working at the Directorate of History and Heritage. I worked here for four semesters throughout my degree. In this position I got to work hands-on with archival material on a daily basis, which is a dream come true. I processed new archival material, answered researcher’s questions and archival requests, and was in charge of the reading room. This job offered me so many opportunities, not only to learn more about the world of archives work, but also to go on behind the scenes tours of the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Conservation Institute, to publish a research paper in Argonauta, the journal of the Canadian Nautical Research Society, and to learn about Canada’s military history on a daily basis as I worked with military historians and Canadian Armed Forces members.

At work as the archives student at the Directorate of History and Heritage, I processed every single one of the documents on the shelves in the background. They’re all from the Second World War; it was one of my favourite projects!

Q: What are you doing now? I’m currently in the middle of my Master of Arts in History at the University of Ottawa. Right now I’m finishing up my first semester and I’m also working as a Teaching Assistant. This summer I’ll be returning to Manitoba to do my research for my major research project for this degree, where I’ll be examining the history of the cenotaph in my hometown of Virden, Manitoba to better understand First World War memorials and commemoration at a local level. I couldn’t be more excited to research a topic so close to my heart and to be able to give this knowledge I’ve gained back to the community.

Q: What further educational/career goals are on your horizon? After I finish this degree, I plan on completing a final degree in a Masters of Museum Studies in the United Kingdom. Afterwards, I plan to return to Canada to pursue a career in museum curating, where I hope to combine my passions for military history, social history, women’s history, and providing history to the public through museum work. As you can see, Jane has put her Award to good use, and is happily pursuing her passion in History. Please remember to nominate your relatives and don’t forget to donate to the RTAM Endowment Fund at the Winnipeg Foundation’s website (www. Just go to their “Make a Gift” tab and put RTAM in the search box. n RTAM.MB.CA n 31


RTAM Summer 2022 Photo Contest Official Entry and Release Form


A copy of this form must be completed for each entry submitted to the photo contest. Photos cannot be entered into more than one category. Complete Photo Contest Rules are posted on the RTAM Website (see below).







❏ Trees

❏ Flowers

You might be surprised to discover that there are so many different ways to photograph trees – different times, different places, different framing and compositional styles to use. Each tree is as unique as every person, and can be used to create an equally unique photograph.

Fower photography is a particularly practical variant of landscape photography. You don’t have to travel far to photograph pretty flowers. You can often find suitable flowers in your own garden, on the balcony or in public parks.

I hereby grant permission to the Retired Teachers’ Association (RTAM) to use / edit / reuse my photograph in any and all of its publications and on its website. • •

I agree to abide by the RTAM Photo Contest rules as set forth by RTAM and posted on the RTAM Website and in KIT.

By signing this release form, I acknowledge that I have completely read and understand what this permission signifies.

There is no time limit on the validity of this release. I confirm that I am a member in good standing of RTAM.


Name in Print / Signature / Date Signed

October 7, 2022 at 4:00 PM

RTAM Photo Contest Rules Submission Requirements: Print Entries: • All entries sent must have an image which is no smaller than 5” x 7” or larger than 12” x 12”. Square formatted images will be accepted provided that they are not smaller than 7” x 7” or larger than 12” x 12”. Panoramic photos will not be accepted. • Matted or framed photos will not be accepted. • Photo titles are mandatory, must be written on the back of prints and match the title on the Contest Official Entry Form. • Send to 206-1555 St. James St., Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B5

32 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

Electronic Entries: • Electronic photos can also be emailed to The covering email or file name must include the photo title which must match the title on the Contest Official Entry Form. Electronic photos will be printed by RTAM for judging purposes. Please read the full contest rules at photo-contest

Photography Workshop BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND

Mobile Photography DSLR Photography



Qualico Family Centre

Tamarack Room at Assiniboine Park WHEN

Mobile Photography

Thursday, September 8, 2022 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

DSLR Photography

Friday, September 9, 2022 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Limited to 35 participants per session


Early Bird $50.00 for RTAM members; $60.00 for non-RTAM members. Registration deadline June 30, 2022 After June 30, 2022 $55.00 for RTAM members; $65.00 for non-RTAM members. Registration deadline Aug. 15, 2022. Registration fee includes: • Continental Breakfast • Gourmet Lunch and • Workshop Booklet Ways to Register Email Phone 204-889-3660 TF 1-888-393-8082 Mail Registration Form in KIT Cancellations must be received within 5 days prior to the event to receive a full refund. Substitutions are welcome and must be submitted in writing no later than 3 days prior to the event to


RTAM Bursary Recipient Public Relations Committee


hen I was a kid my icebreaker for conversations was always “Did you know I live in a vet clinic?” When I was four my parents bought an abandoned vet clinic and turned it into a house. I never thought this to be abnormal, but to other kids it was odd—to have a lobby and a front desk or operating room. This is a small part of who I am, Abigail Worrall. Growing up I had three places Abigail Worrall I considered to be home, and I mean that in more of a figurative than a literal sense. My first home was the one I spent the most time at Ste. Rose du Lac, MB. It’s where we turned the vet clinic into a house, and where I would drive my dirt bike around the yard every sunny summer day. Ste. Rose is a small “nowhere” town surrounded by smaller “nowhere” towns, but it’s home. I went to school in Ste. Rose and in my elementary years I had many friends—ones you play in the sandbox with and skip rope and sit on the swings with. When middle school came around this slowly ended. My class was predominantly boys—from kindergarten it went from five girls in our class to one, me. In middle school, this was especially hard because I didn’t have a lot of friends. I typically spent my time drawing, reading, or writing. As I got older, I grew closer friendships with the boys in my class. When I graduated in 2021, I was the only girl in my grade, and it was a proud feminist moment when my all-boy class voted me as valedictorian. My second home is my grandparents’ farm. Weekends, summers, and school breaks were spent there. Not only did I enjoy how secluded it was from the rest of the world, but I especially was fond of all that I learned there. Summer days were spent picking rocks in the field, setting gopher traps, or

34 n RTAM KIT Summer 2022

checking cows with grandma. I have a very close bond with my grandparents and spending all that time with them only grew our bond closer. They have taught me so many useful skills in life: filleting fish, driving, cooking, playing cards, and so many more valuable teachings. No matter what was going on in my life they remained my guideposts for everything—I am so incredibly grateful to have them in my life. When I was 12, my grandparents sustained life altering injuries. My grandma was in a quadding accident which resulted in a serious break to her ankle. My grandpa, my uncle, and I were working with cattle when a bull attacked my grandfather. Luckily nobody else was injured, but my grandpa endured serious life altering injuries to his left arm. The injuries he sustained caused serious nerve damage, which lead to him losing almost all motor function to that arm. For anyone, that injury would be seriously debilitating—but it was especially inconvenient for a farmer who constantly worked with his hands. During this difficult time my parents were going through a divorce. These two factors contributed to uncertainty in my life. It felt like just one month prior my life had a plan, everyone was healthy, and my family was whole. Due to these uncertainties my mom and I made the decision to move in with my grandparents to aid them in their time of need. For the six months spent living with my grandparents, I acted more as a nurse than a granddaughter. My time was spent doing physiotherapy with my grandpa, making sure they took all the correct pills at the correct times, assisting them to the washroom, helping them get dressed, and more. On top of this I was active in sports, doing my best in school, and trying to help

with the daily house and farm chores. I won’t deny, it was a lot of responsibility, however, I am forever grateful for those six months with my grandparents, as it is how I discovered how much I truly love caring for others. My third home is probably the most beautiful and scenic of all – Paint Lake, Manitoba. Every year since I can remember, we would travel the seven hours north to our favourite camping retreat. Seven hours to a kid can feel like an eternity, but not to me. I would stare out the window for hours, watching the prairies turn into rock ledges with spruce trees growing out of the fractures in the stone. It always amazed me how such tall, lively trees could plant roots in the harshest terrain. I would count the osprey and eagle nests perched high on the hydro poles, comparing my statistics to the year prior. It was such a thrill to know I was going to a place that was so familiar, yet every time I arrived, it felt like a new experience. This trip was a long-standing tradition for my grandparents for over 40 years. We loaded our boats full of necessities and made our way to a remote island where we pitched tents and turned it into our home. Some of my most favourable memories stem from that island and the lake that surrounds it. As I got older, I realized that it isn’t necessarily the lake that makes it feel like magic but the people who you surround yourself with when you are there. I am so lucky that I get to experience it with my mom, grandparents, sister, aunts, uncles, and any other friends and family who join us. When my high school career was ending, I had to think critically on what exactly I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew I was going into the medical field however, I was still uncertain which path I would take. After talking with my brother, a fire-medic, I opened my horizons to see what the field of paramedicine offered. This is when I discovered University College of the North in The Pas, MB. The idea of living in the north for a year was so exciting to me, it would be like returning home. There is just something about being surrounded by beautiful, peaceful lakes, and having every opportunity to hike, and explore. It was so enticing, I applied instantly and was so honored

when I got in. Now that my Primary Care Paramedic schooling in The Pas is coming to an end, it saddens me to be leaving University College of the North. My experience here has been exceptional, the people I have met and the things I have learned has been an incredible experience. This past year has taught me how much I love learning. Because of this, I was inspired to continue with my education with the hopes of becoming an Advanced Care Paramedic. In Manitoba there are very few Advanced Care Paramedic programs offered, so I made the conscious decision of applying out of province. When I discovered that Holland College in PEI had an ACP program, I eagerly applied. Knowing how competitive this program is, my expectations were not high for being accepted, however, I was incredibly surprised to find out I did get in! I have chosen to go the distance/distributive learning route, allowing me to work as a Primary Care Paramedic in Manitoba whilst going to school for Advanced Care Paramedic. After I complete the ACP program, I look forward to working in Manitoba. I love the idea of becoming a flight medic or working with STARS air ambulance in the future. Throughout my year at UCN I was blessed to receive a bursary from the Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba. As we all know, postsecondary education has an expensive price tag and having generous organizations that offer financial awards, greatly decreases the stresses for university and college students. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Retired Teachers’ Association of Manitoba for granting me this bursary. Not only has it helped me with the cost of living in the north, but it has also helped me financially in pursuing my goals of becoming an Advanced Care Paramedic. A quote that speaks volumes to me is one from Michelle Obama, “The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.” As I continue to set academic goals for myself, it is comforting knowing that there are charitable organizations like RTAM to help students like myself work towards these goals. n


“Teacher’s pet? That’s me.”

“Teacher’s pet? That’s me.”

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