President's Message Issue 44

Fall 2002 CSANews Issue 44  |  Posted date : Apr 09, 2007.Back to list

If all goes according to plan, Canada's politicians will be reading copies of The Canadian Travellers' Report Card at the same time as you are reading the highlights of the report in this edition of CSA News. We hope that it will provide further insight into the problems with which all travelling Canadians are dealing, and the suggestions we are making to government to help right some of these.

Our goal for this project is to promote an open dialogue with the provinces and the federal government, working towards ensuring that the laws of the land (and the people elected to uphold those laws) respect the rights of Canadian travellers.

To prepare the 2002 Canadian Travellers' Report Card, the Canadian Snowbird Association selected five key areas of interest to Canadian travellers. Through research and examination of the federal, provincial and territorial governments, we developed an understanding of our governments' range of legislation, policy and practical responses in each area. Once gathered, this information was used to grade each jurisdiction against the others, as well as against the Canadian Snowbird Association's definition of best practices.

A major theme of the report card is access to health-care benefits for Canadians who travel. Canadians who embark on longer-term travel pay their share of taxes for a full year. They are paying for infrastructure which they do not use for the full year, yet governments frequently decide that these citizens are not entitled to a full year's health-care benefits. These taxpayers are not receiving the same benefits as those who remain at home. Canadians should not have to choose between exercising their right to travel and having access to the health care they may need. This study explores the scope of that problem through the categories outlined below.

Preservation of Health Coverage for Regular Travellers

The health-related category we have rated first, places value in the belief that Canadians who travel more frequently and for longer periods of time should continue to have access to medicare when they return home.

Access to Emergency Health Coverage When Travelling

This category looks at the portability of government medicare protection and the extent to which Canadians are free to travel with the assurance that their tax-funded public health insurance will continue to protect them in the case of an emergency while they are travelling.

Access to Prescription Drugs for Use During Travel

This category is primarily concerned that those Canadians who receive government support for their prescription medication will not be able to travel because of undue limitations to their access of needed medications.

Access to Voting Rights for Travellers

This category evaluates governments on how well they are responding to the needs of Canadian travellers who wish to vote. It is our belief that all Canadians, whether at home or abroad, should be able to exercise their right to vote and that governments should encourage voting by making it as convenient, accessible and private as possible.

Availability of Government Information

Our final category evaluates governments on their efforts and success in making relevant information easily available to travellers. It is important not only that government respect the rights and needs of their citizens who travel, but also that government make reasonable efforts to provide travellers with clear, comprehensive information about government policies and services as well as travellers' responsibilities.

As was noted in earlier editions of CSA News, we contracted Navigator Ltd., a renowned public relations/government relations firm, to grade the provinces based on the information gathered by the law firm of Blake, Cassels and Graydon. We are pleased with this stage of our initiative and look forward to what will undoubtedly be animated discussions with our governments.

Please be sure to read Paul Jenkins' Government Relations Report, as he explains the processes we followed to bring the report card to fruition. The entire report card will be available online at www.snowbirds.org. In the next edition of CSA News we will begin to explain the grades for each province and our recommendations for improvement.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was able to attend the Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations and I look forward to meeting as many members as possible at our Extravaganzas and Information Meetings in the United States. I wish you all safe journeys over the next few months and I hope that you all have a safe and healthy winter, wherever the roads take you.