Page 11 - CSANews 87

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In the spring issue
, we up-
datedyouwith the information that British
Columbia residents could now remain
outside of the province for seven months
(up from six) and still retain their provin-
cial health coverage. Although the United
States currently places a six-month limit
in a 12-month period on most Canadian
visitors, that extra month comes in handy
during the summer if you’re looking to
visit friends and family in other provinces,
or in another country for that matter.
As many of you know, different prov-
inces have different regulations when it
comes to determining how long they will
permit you to be absent, while remaining
covered by your provincial plan. Flexibility
is important to our members and we do
the best we can to increase these limits
when and where possible.
Recently, CSA President Bob Slack and
our Director for Central Canada, John
Foster, travelled to Manitoba to meet with
Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald
to discuss this issue. Previously, Manitoba
residents were permitted to remain out-
side of Manitoba for six months in a calen-
dar year and still maintain coverage. Years
ago, we worked out an agreement with
Manitoba Health to increase this limit to
seven months and, although adopted as
a policy, it was never formalized in regula-
tion by the government.
Essentially, this meant that the gov-
ernment could either ignore or enforce
the six-month limit on a case-by-case
basis. Better than nothing, but it creates
uncertainty…and uncertainty about your
health coverage is the last thing that you
want to have to deal with while you’re
I’m happy to report that after our visit,
effective April 1, 2013, Manitoba Health
has increased the length of time for which
Manitoba residents may temporarily res-
ide outside of Canada (and Manitoba) to a
maximumof sevenmonths in a 12-month
period. It’s not an April Fool’s joke so don’t
worry, we checked!
It is actually great news for our
Manitoba members and, on behalf of the
Canadian Snowbird Association, I would
like to thank Manitoba Health Minister
Theresa Oswald for meeting with us, lis-
tening to our concerns and taking the
action needed to get this done. Thanks
also to our President, Bob Slack and our
Director for Central Canada, John Foster –
great work, guys.
Manitoba is now the fourth prov-
ince in Canada to permit absences of up
to seven months, along with Ontario,
British Columbia and Newfoundland and
Labrador. Our friends in Newfoundland
and Labrador actually lead the provinces
by permitting an eight-month provincial
In September of 2012, we distributed
an online survey to our Alberta members,
inquiring whether they would like us to
focus on increasing out-of-province stays
from six to seven months in their prov-
ince. With 98% of our Alberta members
in agreement, we have recently made
contact with various government officials
in Alberta with the goal of getting this
extension passed. We are also in the early
stages of working on these extensions
with the governments of New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia.
We can nowconfirmthat our Canadian
Retiree Visa proposal, previously included
in the JOLT Act in both the United States
Senate and House of Representatives, is
now officially part of the comprehensive
immigration reform bill currently before
the Senate. It was referred to the Senate
judiciary committee for debate and fur-
ther scrutiny and I’m happy to report that,
although other portions of the bill did not
survive that process, the Canadian Retiree
Visa did. It looks as if the entire bill will go
to the Senate floor for debate and a vote
during the second week of June.
A similar comprehensive immigration
reform bill is currently being prepared in
the House of Representatives and we are
quite confident that our visa proposal will
be part of that bill as well.
Having said that, we can’t take any-
thing for granted and we are headed to
Washington shortly to ensure that our
proposal stays on the legislative radar.
We’ll keep you updated via e-mail and on
the website throughout the summer, re-
garding our progress.
Have a great summer!
Government Relations
Ron Steeves
First Vice-President
Bob Slack and John Foster with Manitoba Health
Minister Theresa Oswald