The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

L’Institut professionnel de la function publique du Canada

Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Chapter of the Retired Members Guild

Minutes of the 9th Annual General Meeting

November 29, 2023 - Pickle Barrel Yorkdale, Toronto


Present: Executive

President: Aron Wolfson

Treasurer: Lester Brown

Secretary: Soon Yee

Member-at-Large: Fred Conway


Present: 36 members


Opening of the Meeting

The meeting commenced at 12:00 noon.


Aron Wolfson welcomed everyone and introduced the RMG GTA Chapter Executive.  He also introduced 3 guests, Kuini Chuen, VP of the GTA Branch, Nusin Brown, Secretary of the GTA Branch and Claude Matthieu.


Sheldon Weiser moved that the Agenda be adopted.  Andrea Agh seconded the motion.  Carried.


Aron mentioned that Brian Barrett, the Ontario Representative was listed on our invitation as a speaker but was not able to attend our AGM as he was in attendance at the National PIPSC AGM in Montreal which was held on the same day.


Aron briefly touched on the problematic transition of our health care plan from Sun Life to Canada Life.  While most members had a smooth transition, other members have experienced problems dealing with Canada Life such as inordinate wait times on the phone, DIN number issues, mandatory generic substitution for prescription drugs, less reimbursement than expected, etc.


Les Brown, Treasurer discussed a drug reimbursement issue affecting him personally.  Aron suggested that if a member did not receive his drug reimbursement entitlement, he or she could contact the Compensation Officer of PIPSC.


Kuini Chuen, VP of the GTA Branch suggested trying the generic drug for 3 months and after that, if the member’s doctor determines that the generic drug was not effective, then the member could reapply for the brand name drug.


Kuini also suggested that members visit the web site of “Innovicares”, an organization which assists with the reimbursement of the cost of brand name drugs.


Soon Yee undertook and did in fact (post-meeting) send out the “Innovicares” link to members.


Approval of Minutes of the Last AGM, September 26, 2019

Secretary, Soon Yee had previously emailed copies of the subject minutes to the membership for review.  Les Brown moved that the minutes be accepted.  Robert Robinson seconded the motion.  Carried.


Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Les Brown discussed the 2024 Budget, a copy of which was emailed to all attendees beforehand.  The main expenditures for 2024 relate to the costs of the 2024 AGM as well as a possible summer event. 


The pre-Covid set of financial statements of 2019 were not discussed as they were no longer considered relevant.


Aron Wolfson - Retirees Dental Plan


Aron explained that in 2019 he encouraged our RMG National Office to become more involved in the negotiation of our retirees dental plan only to be told that NAFR has the responsibility for such negotiations with the Treasury Board.  It is our understanding that these negotiations are still on-going even though the PIPSC active members’ dental plan was settled a few years ago with an increase in member benefits eg. an increase in reimbursement maximums.  This current imbalance of member benefits is “two-tiered” and is discriminatory toward retired members. 


Retirees deserve to receive at least the same benefit improvements allowed to the active members under their plan especially since retirees have been personally paying increasing premiums whereas active members have not. 


Aron briefly discussed the planned transition of the dental plan from Sun Life to Canada Life in 2024.  Aron felt that this is an ideal time to suggest that the active members’ dental plan and retiree dental plans be combined into a single plan much in the same way that the PSHCP operates as one plan.  It would seem to be a win-win for all parties: the employer would reduce the financial burden of negotiating and administering two contracts rather than one, retired members would receive the same benefits as active employees and at the same time under the one plan.


The Executive will attempt to provide (post-meeting) links to MP’s to whom our concerns can be forwarded. 




Melissa Chang - Director, Operations and Sustainability, NORC Innovation Centre (NIC)


Lester Brown introduced Melissa Chang who provided a very interesting presentation on the topic of “Aging at Home”.


NORC stands for “naturally occurring retirement community” and the Innovation Centre is an innovation hub affiliated with the University Health Network (UHN). 


The NIC involves a 5 year donor funded project that coordinates assistance to seniors who wish to “age at home” as an alternative to spending their remaining years in retirement homes or long-term care homes.  


The project is experimental and is currently targeting seniors living in 

buildings such as condominiums, apartment highrises, cooperative buildings and social housing buildings where the older adult percentage is at least 30% of the building’s total occupancy.


A volunteer leader (a resident of that building) known as an “ambassador” would liaise with the building’s senior residents and with the NIC to determine the needs of the seniors on a case by case basis. 


NIC draws upon existing government funded services, community service providers, etc. with a view to providing integrated care to the building residents that meets their needs.


For example, needs and solutions might include:

  • Housing
    •  government rent subsidies
  • Home care 
    • integrated health care
    • support services
    • Wellness clinics 
    • On-site vaccinations
    • Meals on wheels
  • Social connection and well being
    • social activities
    • physical community space
    • Exercise programs
  • Volunteer handyman services 
    • small chores such as changing a light bulb


It is hoped that the NIC project will bring about a general improvement in the health and well-being of the seniors which would delay their admission to long-term care homes.


Currently the NIC project involves seniors living in 23 buildings and the number is growing.  The project continues to be experimental.  They are still learning what works and what doesn’t.  These learnings are continuously being researched, evaluated and recorded.  At the end of the 5 year test period, the NIC will prepare a report and a tool kit which will be shared with the donor and relevant stakeholders such as various government departments.  The donor will evaluate the merits of the project and will decide whether or not to extend the program. 


The presentation was well received by the members as evidenced by a multitude of questions from the floor.


Vacant Position of Vice-President and Member-at-Large of the GTA Chapter


Lester Brown, Treasurer, attempted to solicit interest in the GTA Chapter’s vacant positions of Vice President and Member-at-Large.  These two positions would be acting positions until formal elections for these 2 positions are held (2025).


No interest was expressed for either position during the meeting.


Lester proposed that attendees reconsider the positions and get back to us after the meeting if they are interested.


New Business



Door Prize Draw

Soon Yee conducted the draw for door prizes.  Thank you to Richard Rice for providing the gifts and to Brian Barrett for bringing them back from Ottawa.



The meeting ended at approximately 2:00 p.m.