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President’s

Message

S

pring has arrived and it’s time to get our Canadian

homes in shape for the warm weather. Lois and I

spent another busy winter travelling throughout

Florida and the southwestern United States.

Our tour began at the annual Snowbird Extravaganza

in Lakeland, Florida. Despite the recent struggle of the

Canadian dollar, you wouldn’t have known it from the

size of the crowds descending upon the Lakeland Center.

From there, we made stops in McAllen, Texas for the

Winter Texans’ Snowbird Extravaganza and Mesa, Ari-

zona for the annual Canadian Snowbird Celebration.

Packed venues, hundreds of new memberships sold,

happy snowbirds. While few snowbirds can be pleased

with the recent performance of the Canadian dollar, it’s

important to remember that we have been here before.

Actually, we’ve been a lot worse off in this regard and it

wasn’t that long ago.

Our Winter Information Meeting tour began shortly

thereafter and when I say shortly, I mean within 24 hours!

This year, we visited Lake Havasu City, Casa Grande and

Yuma, Arizona, Indio, California and Punta Gorda, Largo

and Bonita Springs, Florida. On behalf of the Canadian

Snowbird Association, thanks to all of the volunteers and

to everyone who attended any of these shows; we sincerely

could not do this without your support. Thanks also to

our partners at Medipac for their invaluable assistance.

I would also like to thank all those who donated so

generously to our Special Action Fund over the winter

months. The money raised is exclusively dedicated to our

lobbying efforts on both sides of the border.

The fifth edition of the Canadian Travellers’ Report Card

was officially released at Snowbird Extravaganza in Lake-

land. We’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy numerous

victories on the government relations front recently, so

this edition is substantially different from its predecessor.

Don’t assume that provincial/territorial travel rules and

regulations are uniform across Canada, they are not.

To find out what your federal and provincial/territorial

governments are doing to either help or hinder your right

to travel, I would encourage you to download a copy at

www.snowbirds.org .

Speaking of provincial travel rules and regulations, by the

time you read this, the provinces of Alberta and Prince

Edward Island will be the latest to have gone to the polls

to elect new provincial governments. CSA staff have

produced helpful election handbooks (as they do for all

federal/provincial/territorial elections) to give you the

tools needed to effectively question your local candidates

when they knock on your door seeking your vote. The

handbooks include a great deal of useful voting infor-

mation including dates of advance polls, identification

requirements and voter registration requirements. In

short, they are handy, one-stop-shopping tools which

help ensure that you cast an informed vote with respect

to snowbird issues. Handbooks are both mailed and

e-mailed to members in local jurisdictions after an

election is called and are posted online for all to see on

our website.

The National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP) allows prop-

erty owners in participating communities in the United

States to purchase flood insurance policies from the

government as an alternative to disaster assistance. On

April 1, 2015, reforms to the National Flood Insurance

Plan, made under the Homeowner Flood Insurance

Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA) came into effect.

Among the reforms made is the addition of a surcharge

levied on flood insurance policies. While the surcharge

is limited to US$25 for those insuring their primary

residences, for non-residents such as snowbirds with

vacation properties, the surcharge has been set at US$250.

Canadians are the foremost international purchasers of

real estate in the state of Florida, accounting for more

than 30% of total foreign home sales in 2013. These recent

changes are another example of the inequitable financial

burden placed on the shoulders of non-resident visitors,

who spend billions of dollars annually in the Sunshine

State alone. I would like to assure our members that we

will be raising this issue with Congress, with the goal of

having a more reasonable fee structure put in place, one

which takes into consideration the contributions already

made by snowbirds on a yearly basis.

Once again, thanks to all for your continued support of

the association; we continue to grow each and every year

thanks to your participation. Lois and I wish you a safe

and relaxing summer and we look forward to seeing you

at our Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations in the fall.

Bob Slack

CSA President

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