President's Message Issue 53

Winter 2004 CSANews Issue 53  |  Posted date : May 16, 2007.Back to list

Well here it is again, time to go south for the sunshine. I hope that all of you who do go south for the winter have a safe trip with no problems at the border.

This has been a very busy time for the association. We spent the fall travelling throughout Ontario and then across Western Canada with our Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations, taking CSA's message to many new venues.

These presentations were a great success. Our entertainment was first class, with Ronnie and Glory-Anne Prophet, Tommy Leadbeater, Crystal Gage (née Gauthier) and that zany entertainer, John Bressler. I am sure that everyone who attended had a good time and joined John in Old MacDonald's Farm.

In order to minimize expenses for the Special Action Fund, I arranged to meet ministers from the western provincial governments while we were travelling with the shows.

We had an excellent meeting with Jim Rondeau, minister responsible for seniors in Manitoba. I discussed the residency requirements of Manitobans who, at this time, are only allowed out-of-province emergency health coverage for 182 days and are prisoners in Manitoba for the rest of the year. The CSA directors believe that residents of each province should be permitted to travel at any time within Canada and still retain their health-care privileges. I will keep you advised of the results of this meeting.

The Saskatchewan minister of health, John Nilson, was unable to find time to meet with us. In a letter to the CSA he stated, "Saskatchewan remains committed to supporting a publicly funded and sustainable health-care system for all of the people of this province, within the spirit of the Canada Health Act." At the present time, Saskatchewan will only allow its residents to purchase up to a three-month supply of prescription drugs prior to travelling. Residents are also reimbursed only $100 per day for emergency inpatient services and only $50 per day for emergency outpatient hospital services. This is in contravention of Section 11(1)(b)(ii) of the Canada Health Act. We will continue to work with the minister to affect changes.

In Alberta, director Jim Sherb and I met with Janet Skinner, deputy minister of Alberta Health and Wellness. Alberta is one of the few provinces to meet two of the national minimum standards proposed by the CSA, but only pays $100 for out-of-country emergency health care. This, again, is in contravention of the Canada Health Act. Minister Skinner listened to our presentation, stating that she would take our concerns to the Minister of Health and Wellness and would get back to us with the results of that discussion.

In British Columbia, director Jim Sherb and I met with Ida Chong, minister of state for seniors' services. This province pays $75 per day for out-of-country emergency health care, which is the lowest in Canada. This rate is the same as was paid in 1974 (30 years ago). Prior to the election of the Liberal government three years ago, Premier Gordon Campbell, in a letter to the CSA, stated, "a B.C. Liberal government will ensure that B.C. health care is universal, accessible, portable, comprehensive and publicly administered, consistent with the five principles of the Canada Health Act." We pointed out to the minister that the Canada Health Act clearly states that the provinces must pay the same amount for out-of-country health care as would have been paid for similar services rendered within the province. We are sure that the cost has risen since 1974. Minister Chong said that she would present our concerns to the minister of health services and report back to us. Minister Chong was most accommodating by arranging to meet with us in Surrey, which saved us an expensive trip to Victoria.

In Ontario, executive director Lawrence Barker and I met with John Gerretsen, minister responsible for seniors. The CSA lobbied Minister Gerretsen on three issues: unrestricted travel within Canada in addition to the current 212 days allowed out of country; an increase in the prescription drug allowance to 212 days in order to match the number of days allowed out of country; and an increase in the per diem reimbursement rate for out-of-country emergency inpatient services, which would raise the rate to equal similar provincial services. Minister Gerretsen was very sympathetic to the concerns of the CSA, and advised that he would take up the issues with the minister of health and report back to us.

Next year, our lifestyle presentations and government meetings will concentrate on the provinces of Eastern Canada.

We will soon be travelling across the great U.S.A. with our Extravaganzas and Winter Information Meetings. I hope that you will all find time to join us, and please bring your friends. These meetings are free to everyone. Don't forget to get your friends to join our association. You could, and should, become a KEY MEMBER.

Pic 2: L to R: Verna Storozuk (Acting Manager of Insured Benefits Registration and Client Services), Gerry Brissenden (CSA President) and the Hon. Jim Rondeau (Manitoba Minister Responsible for Seniors).

Pic 3: Hon. Ida Chong (Minister of state for senior services) meets with Gerry