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Dear Bird Talk,

My husband and I have completed Representation Agreements in lieu

of Advance Directives. We plan to register these with Nidus. What

steps can we take to ensure that our representative is involved when

we are out of province and, particularly, in the U.S.? Do Medipac and

other carriers typically check Nidus? If we feel strongly about DNR,

for example, should we prepare an Advance Directive under the laws

of the state where we spend the most time as a backup?

CSA Member, Burnaby, BC


British Columbia is way ahead of the rest of the world in dealing with elder

issues and, in particular, they have passed the Representation Agreement

Act which inspired Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights

of People with Disabilities. Nidus is a charitable institution which provides a

registry for a Representation Agreement, Enduring/Power of Attorney, Advance

Directive, Notice of Revocation, Notice of Resignation (for a registered RA or

E/PoA), Advance Care Plan, Living Will and/or the Nomination of Committee.

The original founding groups for Nidus were the Alzheimer Society of BC, BC

Association for Community Living, BC Coalition of People with Disabilities,

Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations, Family Link, and Network of Burnaby

Seniors. I recommend that you have a look at , a

s they have valuable

information available.

To answer your questions, as yet, no travel insurer would check with the Nidus

Registry to review your wishes. I would personally carry copies of your Directives

with you when you travel and have your travel insurer put a note on your file

that can be found on Nidus. If you travel to one U.S. state regularly, then I would

definitely get a lawyer to draw up another Directive specifically for that state.

This would not be a backup, as any U.S. hospital or medical facility might only

recognize the U.S. one. Everyone needs these critical documents!

Dear Bird Talk,

We have left our car in Florida. We use it when we go back down

for the winter. I am considering having it re-registered in Florida,

obtaining a Florida licence plate and getting Florida insurance on it.

How difficult is this? What are the implications? We do not want to

return the car to Canada.

Gary Corbit, Nova Scotia


In reality, you have imported a car to the United States but failed to notify the

customs people of your actions. This can cause you serious trouble unless you

fix it. Many cars are being imported to the U.S. in the “gray” market, undermining

U.S. sales and manufacturing. Customs can be very aggressive in their pursuit

of offenders. My very first choice would be to sell the car – in Canada – and buy

another one in the U.S. Used cars are usually cheaper in the U.S., in any case.

OR, go to a U.S. customs office and have them walk you through the importing

process. I have found them to be very, very helpful. You will have taxes and fees

to pay, but these are not outrageous. A car built in North America is exempt

from import duties under the NAFTA Agreement; otherwise, a tax of about 6%

applies. You will always have to pay sales tax and licence fees.

Dear Bird Talk,

I have been given an exit date of March 8, 2015, even though it is far

fewer than 182 days for my stay in the U.S. The agent would not tell me

why. Is there a way to get this visit extended to April 15? Even though

I have never overstayed in the U.S. and have no criminal record, etc.,

I find the way I am being questioned and treated by customs officials

very unfriendly. It leaves me feeling stressed even when I have been

open, truthful and polite, as recommended. I have never felt like that

anywhere else in the world that I have travelled. I’m questioning why

I’m bothering to go to the U.S. when there are many other places

that are much more welcoming. Is anyone keeping track of negative

experiences? I know there is no recourse individually, but surely the

U.S. should be aware of how they are mistreating Canadians. Can CSA

advocate for us?

Louise Mccooeye, Calgary, AB


You must leave before that date! This ruling by a border agent has no appeal

process and there is no way to request an extension from this ruling. Length

of stay is determined solely at the discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border

Protection (CBP) officer at the time of admission, as you found out. CSA is keeping

track of both the positive and negative experiences of our members as they

travel to the United States and other destinations. We, along with other travel

groups, have also raised these concerns with various members of Congress.

We remain hopeful that the changes in policy for which the CSA is currently

advocating via the JOLT Act will result in a more expeditious and pleasant entry

process for Canadian retirees.

Dear Bird Talk,

I was told that if you have coverage (we have six-month coverage Nov-

Apr) and we go back to Canada for Christmas, that coverage is void

and we have to reapply for more coverage when we go back to Arizona?

Nikki D., Edmonton, AB


You must be very careful about this. Many insurance companies will assume

that you are returning for medical reasons and, as such, will automatically cancel

your policy. This is rarely correct of course, as most of us are just seeing our

kids and grandkids for Christmas or the holidays. Medipac allows “In and Out”

privileges, although you must call us if you have a health or medication change

while you are in Canada. It is also usually cheaper to buy two policies rather

than one long one. You can do this at the same time, even with Early Bird, and

the only “issue” is that you must meet the pre-existing conditions again when

you return after Christmas.

Dear Bird Talk,

We have owned a home in Florida for six years and are considering

selling it. Can we just bring our furnishings back to Canada?

Claire Jacobs, Wellington, ON


The general answer is “yes,” for anything that you have owned in the U.S.

for at least several months. We recommend that you call Canada Customs and

advise them that you are returning with all of your furnishings so that they will

not be surprised. This could save a lot of time at the border. Showing up with

new TVs and stereo equipment in boxes is not recommended.

Dear Bird Talk,

You have addressed selling a mobile home if you own the land or if

you have a share in the park. My question is, if you own the mobile

home but pay monthly rent for the land, are there any charges or taxes

for the sale?

Ed Fox, Lucan, ON


Yes, there are always taxes. Our voracious, greedy governments do not

forget to tax anything. Air is going to be next – it is called carbon tax. Vote

against it, if you can.

Dear Bird Talk,

Good day. First, keep up the great work on Bird Talk! Very informative.

I recently had an auto accident on my way to Florida. While trying

to arrange shipment of a second vehicle to Florida, I discovered the

murky world of auto shippers. I did consider the drive-down option as

advertised in the CSA magazine, but wonder if CSA can recommend

any carriers that run to/from the East Coast of Canada?

Paul D. Smith, Saint John, NB



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