From the Desk of Don Slinger Issue 53

Winter 2004 CSANews Issue 53  |  Posted date : May 16, 2007.Back to list

Hi Folks!

In the fall of 2003, I reported that some 2,000 pensioners in the same plan as mine had been receiving only 50 per cent of the pension entitlement that they earned, and to which they contributed during their working years. As I write this column, the pension income of these folks hasn't changed. Eighteen months of 50 per cent entitlement has devastated many of these former employees.

Some of our newer CSA members may not be aware of the reason why the Canadian Snowbird Association originally came into being. I will tell you.

In 1991, the Ontario government decided to break the law –the law being the federally established Canada Health Act. Up until that time, Ontario had been, in fact, overpaying the hospital allowances for hospitalized Ontario citizens who became ill while out of the country. Instead of paying an amount comparable to our Ontario hospital rates, they were paying whatever the foreign hospitals charged. They also learned that British Columbia residents who became ill while out of the country were only receiving $75 per day – it should have been $553 daily.

Ontario cut its daily allowance to $100 daily. Those of us who travelled south in the cold weather found the costs of our out-of-country health insurance policies increased by 300 to as much as 1,000 per cent.

It should be recognized that we travellers didn't get any support from the people who stayed at home, because their attitude was that if one can afford to go south for the winter, one can afford to pay these high rates. The fact that this was in direct violation of the Canada Health Act didn't matter to the majority. This is why the CSA was formed. We took the government to court and won our case.

The Ontario government is still in violation. But this time, it is in violation of its own act and the administration of it. We have drawn those violations to the attention of the minister of finance and to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which is under control of the finance minister. The act clearly states that the trustee board of a multi-employer pension plan should have half of its members representing pensioners. We have no representation on the trustee board, but the minister has refused to consider this a violation.

It is not my intention to bore you with such localized detail, but rather to impress upon you the continuing need for a non-political volunteer organization such as the Canadian Snowbird Association. We must have a soap box from which to speak! The CSA must remain strong in membership and willing to fight for a true democratic society!

I will leave you with these thoughts: If you tell the truth, you don't need a good memory. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

God Bless!