Government Relations Report Issue 34

Winter 1999 CSANews Issue 34  |  Posted date : Mar 04, 2007.Back to list

Retiree Visa Update
On December 7, 1999 CSA President Bob Jackson and CSA general counsel Wallace J.D. Weylie will be in Washington D.C. to meet with Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Longwood regarding House Bill 184 or also known as the 'Retiree Visa.'

The purpose of the meeting is to develop an action plan between Mr. McCollum and the CSA in furtherance of passing Bill 184. CSA members would be primary beneficiaries under Bill 184, therefore the CSA's involvement is very important.

Subsequent to the meeting, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Weylie will also be meeting with a professional lobbying organization to flesh out the CSA's action plan.

Passage of Bill 184 is by no means guaranteed. Some critics such as The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service are concerned that it could be used as a back door for wealthy foreigners to circumvent the current process of gaining permanent residency. In addition, other concerns from the Canadian side of the border involve taxation and Medicare issues.

For example, the Canadian and U.S. taxation authorities may need to develop special rules applicable to Canadians who reside in the United States under the Retiree Visa. These special rules would help determine what country would tax a Canadian citizen (perhaps even both countries) and what relief would be available, if any, under the Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty.

In terms of Medicare issues, each province has a mandatory minimum number of days that a person must reside in their home province in order to qualify for provincial health insurance. With an extended absence, snowbirds may have to consider purchasing out-of-country travel insurance on a year-round basis without any integration or coverage from their home province.

It is these and other issues that need to be worked out amongst various stakeholders in this process and the CSA is committed to representing your interests. We will keep you posted as events progress.

Defense of the Canada Health Act
The CSA continues to uphold and defend the Canada Health Act across the country. The CSA has a current action plan that involves four phases.

Phase One (which has been completed) involved contacting the Ministers of Health of all Canadian provinces and articulating our concerns to them.

Phase Two (which we have already done and continue to do) involves lobbying politicians and bureaucrats directly to influence change.

Phase Three involves investigating and attempting to utilize the dispute resolution mechanisms under the 'Social Union Accord' which all the provinces (except for Quebec) and the federal government signed on or about January, 1999. The dispute resolution mechanism provides for the appointment of a non-binding, third party mediator who can issue reports of fact (i.e. who's to blame for moral suasion or otherwise) in the event of a federal-provincial dispute.

The CSA would lobby one or more provinces to enter into mediation discussions involving the Canada Health Act to effect change in perhaps a less adversarial and more co-operative fashion in the absence of successful lobbying efforts.

Lastly, Phase Four involves a resumption of litigation against one or more provinces and/or the federal government. The CSA has a special action fund set up for such a purpose which presently exceeds $500,000. The CSA is fully prepared to utilize this money on behalf of members, if and when required.

We will continue to keep you posted on our government relation and lobbying efforts, and I look forward to seeing you at Extravaganza in January 2000.