A Great Beginning to 1999

Spring 1999 CSANews Issue 31  |  Posted date : Mar 01, 2007.Back to list

The Canadian Snowbird Association ­ and all of our members ­ is certainly enjoying a historic start to 1999. We have received tremendous news from the government of Ontario, and I anticipate many more positive changes for our members in the months ahead.

I am exceptionally proud of our Association's advocacy efforts and it has been my distinct pleasure to help guide our committee in the direction of success. On January 22, 1999 the Honourable Mike Harris, Premier of Ontario announced that Ontario residents are now able to travel outside their home province for seven months, without fear of losing their OHIP coverage. As well, the previous ruling allowing only a 100-day supply of drugs has been doubled for snowbirds, to allow a second, 100-day supply. The Premier also declared that, in the event of a provincial election, "Ontarians abroad" now have the option of voting via proxy, a further improvement on the freedom of Ontario snowbirds.

We have fought long and hard for these changes, and I find it personally gratifying to see the results of our actions benefit so many. Our fight, however, is far from over. There are many provinces still keeping their citizens prisoners for six months of the year, and I fully intend to do everything within my power, as well as dedicating the resources of the Canadian Snowbird Association, to work towards giving Canadians the freedom to travel that they've so richly earned.

This past winter, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting thousands of CSA members at our winter events. You came out in record numbers and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to join us. Our Winter

Information Meetings held in Port Charlotte/Fort Myers, Destin, Panama City Beach and Yuma were extremely well received. In total, we signed up hundreds of new members, putting us well ahead of where we were at this point last year.

Each of our Winter Information Meetings and Western Extravaganzas featured a Question-and-Answer period. It was the CSA and Medipac's opportunity to answer your questions, as well as to hear your concerns. These were very informative for everyone involved, and I would like to thank you for your input.

Our Snowbird Extravaganzas in Florida, Arizona, Texas and California were, without a doubt, our finest efforts to date. The Tampa event set record one-day attendance levels for any event at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Kudos to Medipac International for their professionalism in event planning and management.

Throughout the winter months, a small faction of Canadians has been espousing the virtues of a government-run, travel medical insurance plan. A government-run, out-of-country insurance program frightens me, as it should you. Currently, if your medical situation disqualifies you at one company, you have the freedom to look and purchase elsewhere. It's called the free enterprise system. Should the government assume control of out-of-country medical insurance, a person who had been denied coverage on medical grounds would have nowhere to turn ­ except to the government. Can you imagine the red tape ­ and the cost?

The Canada Health Act calls for provincial governments to pay for our medical costs outside Canada, at the same rates as they pay inside Canada. I cannot see any provincial government paying more, EVER. It's fair and it's reasonable! Our real problem is that the provinces are ignoring the Canada Health Act. I invite those snowbirds promoting "government" insurance to instead apply their efforts to helping CSA win the 'real' battle ­ the enforcement of the Canada Health Act.

I believe that Canadians should have the freedom to travel as well as the freedom to choose their insurer. Quite frankly, the government has issues of greater concern than becoming an out-of-country insurance provider, and I, for one, am very glad of that fact. We are always very conscious of the importance of the supplemental health insurance needs of our members, and will continue in our serious commitment to endorse the best plan possible.

As summer approaches, the Canadian Snowbird Association goes into renewal mode. We are making great strides in our advocacy efforts and I cannot stress enough, how very important it is for you all to renew your commitment to the CSA. The Ontario government's understanding of seniors' issues is just one small step among many that we must take nationwide. In order for us to continue working for all Canadians, we need the support of all Canadians. Please join the CSA today and spread the word to your friends.

Accompanying your renewal this year, you'll find a Special Report detailing both federal and provincial policies that affect Canadians, as well as the CSA's advocacy policies. This is an extremely important document, and I urge you all to carefully read through this report, and then pass it along to a friend.

By renewing your commitment early, you'll also help save the CSA thousands of dollars in mailing costs ­ please fill out the application on page 12 and mail it to our offices today. If possible, we ask that you also support your Special Action Fund. Through your generosity, the CSA can continue to make great strides in our government advocacy ­ but we cannot move mountains without your help.