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 atwww.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
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.
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