The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

L’Institut professionnel de la fonction publique du Canada

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

Minutes of the 6th Annual General Meeting

November 3, 2017 - Katz’s Deli, 3300 Dufferin Street, Toronto

Present: Executive

Acting President: Aron Wolfson

Treasurer: Lester Brown

Secretary: Soon Yee

Member-at-Large: Milad Mathias

Absent: Member-at-Large: Fred Conway

Present: 33 members (in addition to the Executive team)

Opening of the Meeting

The meeting commenced at 12:30 pm

Aron Wolfson welcomed everyone and introduced the GTA Executive.  He mentioned that he was acting as President in place of the late Michael Seiden.  Aron delivered a brief eulogy on Michael followed by a moment of silence.  He stated that the RMG has donated $100 to the Canadian Cancer Society in memory of Michael Seiden.

The agenda was presented.  Soon Yee moved that the agenda be adopted.  Robert Robinson seconded the motion.  Carried.


Nancy Drynan of the Canadian Cancer Society

Soon Yee introduced Nancy who presented a very informative and well received presentation covering:

  • the prevalence of different types of cancer
  • the risk factors and prevention
  • screening and early detection

Lisa Bastien of the Canadian Labour Congress

Lester Brown introduced Lisa Bastien who presented on the topic of proposed Bill C-27.  She explained the difference between Defined Benefit Pensions Plans versus Target Pension Plans and the risks of the latter to current and future pensioners.

Bill C-27 is currently at 2nd reading in Ottawa.  If the bill continues, it will proceed to 3rd reading, followed by a referral to the Senate and finally back to the House of Commons for ratification.

Lisa strongly recommended that members resist Bill C-27 by expressing their displeasure to their Federal MP’s.  This action would support the current national anti-Bill C-27 movement by union members in Canada who, as a group, have voting clout.  The Canadian Labour Congress is currently fighting on behalf of federal civil servants who may be the first affected employees if Bill C-27 is ratified. 

Lisa mentioned that the union movement must stick together to counter the lobbying of the 1% whose aim it is to enrich themselves at the expense of the 99%.  Case in point, there is no proposed legislation with respect to the off-shoring of income of the wealthy whereas Bill C-27, which affects the working person, is front and center. 

The presentation generated a lot of questions and was extremely well received.  Some members were unaware that Bill C-27, if passed, may open the door for possible decreases to their pension benefits.

Michael Forbes Regional Executive Officer (REO) for Ontario

Michael Forbes was introduced by Aron Wolfson.  Michael is the newly elected REO for Ontario.

Michael briefly described his work history as a scientist and his past and current involvement with PIPSC.  Michael experienced and worked through the muzzling and de-muzzling of scientists by the Harper/Trudeau governments.

He fully supports PIPSC’s resistance to Bill C-27.  He encourages advocacy to protect pensioner benefits.

His motto is to serve (members) and protect (benefits).

Health Care and Dental Plan Issues 

Aron Wolfson facilitated a discussion of possible Health Care and Dental Plan deficiencies with a view to summarizing and presenting these deficiencies to the appropriate authorities in Ottawa for consideration.

  • Appeal Process – an appeal was filed on a particular claim.  There are no contact numbers to check on the status of the appeal.  After 3 months the appeal was denied without a logical explanation for the same.  A letter indicated that a reasonable and customary amount for eye drops is $40, yet the actual cost to the member for the same was $115.80 (lowest price Costco).
  • The maximum limits on benefits are too old.  For example, the maximum glasses benefit of $225 ($275 @ 80%) has been the same for many years and is often less than half of the retail price of a pair of glasses today.  The maximum benefit limits should be adjusted for inflation.
  • Laser eye surgery during cataract surgery is not covered (actual cost $1200 per eye).  Only the incision of the eye with an insert of a standard lens is covered.  Specific tests are also not covered (.eg IOL Master $250.00)
  • The $1500 per calendar year limit for ALL DENTAL SERVICES including root canal /periodontal treatment is insufficient.  A member paid $6,898 for dental treatment, the completion of which was delayed 4 months to January 2018 (additional fee of $2400).  Another member paid $10,000 for dental treatment in 2017.
  • There should be a carry-forward of unused dental limits.  The LIMIT has not been amended for several years.
  • Catastrophic Plan provision – Research drugs in respect of cancer chemotherapy with a cost of $100,000 or more  must be referred first to OHIP for reimbursement and then to Sun Life.  In one case, the first drug was approved by the province, but the second drug had been in limbo for 6 weeks, waiting for a decision from the province.  Sun Life will not pay the claim until the province rejects the reimbursement of the drug.  At long last, the claim was finally approved.
  • Patient therapy delayed without medication due administrative issues.

Aron pointed out that a recent PSHCP Communiqué has announced that members will be able to submit claims electronically by April 20, 2018

New members expressed dismay that retirees are required to pay half of the health care premiums.  A particular member suggested that they would have preferred paying a bit more when they were working in order to mitigate the status quo.  Soon Yee stated that this was an ironic statement as Soon made this suggestion when input was sought from RMG members a few years ago when the proposed doubling of health insurance premiums was on the table.  However, it was explained that Soon Yee’s suggestion was not adopted by Ottawa.

Soon Yee covered the highlights of the “Out of Province” travel insurance coverage of $500,000 available to participants covered under the PSHCP.  He also discussed the availability, on PIPSC’s Service Plus website, of “top-up” travel insurance (from $500,000 to $5 million) to members under the age of 70. 

Approval of Minutes of Last Year’s AGM, September 22, 2016

Secretary, Soon Yee provided copies of the minutes to the membership for review.  Sheldon Weiser moved that the minutes be accepted.  Doug Birney seconded the motion.  Carried. 

Approval of the Financial Statements as of May 31, 2017

Treasurer, Lester Brown presented and discussed the Chapter’s financial statements.  Mike Stoyka moved that the financial statements be accepted.  Norine Goodman seconded the motion.  Carried.

New Business

The issue of Phoenix was raised.  A number of newly retired members have been waiting a long time for severance pay or for corrections to severance pay.  They have left numerous messages of enquiry with the payroll staff which have gone unanswered.  It was suggested that the payroll staff are still learning on the job with respect to the new system.

Some members have experienced delays in receiving retroactive pay arising from the settlement of new contracts.  Finally, other members foresee new problems arising when future contracts are settled and retroactive pay will be required.

Door Prize Draw

Soon Yee conducted the draw for 5 door prizes.

Congratulations to winners, Franklin Lue, Mark DeMarco, Steven Douglas, Al Worth and Nazar Ahmad.


The meeting ended at approximately 2:30 p.m.