President's Message Issue 64

Fall 2007 CSANews Issue 64  |  Posted date : Oct 17, 2007.Back to list

As the fall season approaches, we start to think about the winter cold and begin to prepare for our journey to warmer climes. Before we leave, however, we have to purchase travel medical insurance. Many of you may have already purchased your travel insurance through Medipac's Early Bird program. This program saves you money by allowing you to purchase insurance for the coming travel season at last year's rates. You can save even more money with their loyalty discounts and no-claims discounts. If you have not called for a quotation yet, I would urge you to contact Medipac right away. This is the only travel medical insurance program that is endorsed by your association.

I would like to tell you about another way in which we can all save. The portability section of the Canada Health Act states that the provinces must pay the same amount for out-of-country emergency health care as it would pay for similar services delivered in the province. That means, for example, if it costs the provincial health plan $1,000 per day for you to be hospitalized at your local provincial hospital, then the province is required – by the Canada Health Act – to reimburse up to $1,000 for each night that you are hospitalized outside of Canada. If you look at the CSA's Canadian Travellers' Report Card, you will see just how much (little) your province actually pays for out-of-country hospital care. Prince Edward Island, for example, pays up to $959.00 per day – the only province in compliance with the Canada Health Act! Ontario pays up to $400.00 and British Columbia pays only $75.00 per day.

Following a meeting which we had with the Honourable Tony Clement, federal minister of health, the minister sent a letter to all of the provincial and territorial health ministers informing them of their obligations under the portability section of the Canada Health Act.

If we could get every province to obey the Act, the cost of travel insurance would be greatly reduced. How can we do this? For starters, you can be a great help. If everyone who travels outside of Canada were to send a letter or an e-mail to their local MPs, MPPs and MLAs – both federal and provincial – as well as send the same message to the leaders of each political party – both government and opposition – we would soon get their attention. We must let every politician know that governments are failing to obey the law. If you are prepared to help, get those letters and e-mails sent now. In the case of Ontario, the province will be having a provincial election on October 10. This means that local politicians will be holding town hall meetings and knocking on doors. I urge all members in Ontario to attend these meetings and to ask questions. Let the candidates know that although we vacation outside of the province, we still pay our taxes to both the federal and provincial governments. We should not be discriminated against.

On July 1, my wife Joan and I were invited by Prime Minister Harper to be his guests at the Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa. What a wonderful day and what a great show. The speeches by Her Excellency the Governor General, the Prime Minister and Beverly Oda, minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, were so moving and we were so proud to be Canadians. Every Canadian should try to attend this event. Thousands were in attendance, from all ethnic backgrounds, cheering and waving Canadian flags.

While at the celebration, I had the opportunity to meet the leader of the federal Liberal party, Mr. Stephane Dion, who has agreed to meet with us to discuss the Canada Health Act.

As you all know, the CSA is always there to help our members. While in Mexico this past February for a Winter Information Meeting, we were informed that Canadians who winter in Mexico can purchase the Mexican government insurance plan. While this means that they have coverage while in Mexico, it does leave individuals at risk when they are travelling back to Canada through the United States.

Upon my return to Canada, I met with Mr. Ross Quigley, CEO of Medipac International, and advised him of this problem. I am pleased to announce that Medipac acted immediately. Those of you who travel to Mexico and have Mexican insurance are now able to purchase a special "Mexico return endorsement." This special endorsement lets snowbirds elect a predetermined "return to Canada" departure date exclusively from Mexico. With this plan, they can now travel back from Mexico with coverage on their journey for up to 10 days. This is just one of the reasons why the CSA board of directors has endorsed Medipac as their preferred travel insurance provider for the past 15 years.

On July 15, I attended a reception for the Honourable Jim Flaherty, federal minister of finance, together with his wife, Ontario MPP Christine Elliot. Also in attendance were MP Bruce Stanton and Ontario MPP Garfield Dunlop. This event gave me an opportunity to briefly discuss the Canada Health Act, as well as the new income-splitting rules for seniors. I intend to meet with Mr. Flaherty to further discuss these issues.

I would like to thank all those members who promptly renewed their CSA membership as well as donating money to the Special Action Fund. If you have not already sent in your renewal, I urge you to do so right away. The CSA needs everyone as a member of this great association. The CSA is the only association working on behalf of all travelling Canadians. Remember, you can now purchase a multi-year membership and save money over the one-year rate. If you purchase a lifetime membership, the association will deduct what you have already paid for the past five years from the cost. For many, this could save up to $100.00.

Joan and I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations that will be held in Ontario. Don't forget to bring your friends – the shows are free to everyone. Check further in this issue of CSANews for dates, times and locations of the meetings.

Pic 1: Gerry Brissenden meeting finance minister Jim Flaherty while attending a fundraiser hosted by Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop.

Pic 2: Gerry Brissenden attending the OPPVA AGM. (L-R) Commissioner Julian Fantino, Gerry, OPPVA President Bob Arbour.

Pic 3: Gerry with Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton

Pic 4: Gerry meets with the Honourable Marjory LeBreton, P.C., Leader of the Government in the Senate and Secretary of State (Seniors)