The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

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

Minutes of the 8th Annual General Meeting

September 26, 2019 - Pickle Barrel Yorkdale, Toronto


Present: Executive

President: Aron Wolfson

Treasurer: Lester Brown

Secretary: Soon Yee

Member-at-Large: Fred Conway


Present: 38 members


Opening of the Meeting

The meeting commenced at 12:30 pm.

Aron Wolfson welcomed everyone and introduced the GTA Executive, Michael Forbes, the Ontario Representative and Lalita Jeethan, President of the Toronto AV Subgroup.

Aron briefly touched on what he will be discussing later in the meeting i.e. the lack of progress regarding the negotiation of dental plan benefits for PIPSC retirees as well as the latest email from PIPSC’s membership suggesting that our membership dues are not tax deductible.  


Approval of Minutes of Last Year’s AGM, October 25, 2018

Secretary, Soon Yee had previously emailed copies of the subject minutes to the membership for review.  Steve Dunn moved that the minutes be accepted.  Ron Jonikas seconded the motion.  Carried.


Approval of the Financial Statements as of December 31, 2018

Secretary, Soon Yee had previously emailed copies of the subject financial statements to the membership for review.  Treasurer, Lester Brown discussed the Chapter’s financial statements as of December 31, 2018.  Al Worth questioned the drop in revenue from $1000 in 2017 to $700 in 2018.  Lester explained that the $300 difference was due to one-time emergency funding of $300 provided by Head Office in 2017 due to an unexpected 25% surge in attendance at our 2017 AGM.  Aron pointed out that the GTA Chapter will be requesting an increase in funding for next year as our usual allowance of $700 per year is insufficient to cover the costs of our next AGM i.e. 40 attendees @ $20 = $800 giving rise to an immediate shortfall of $100, even before considering administrative costs.  A spirited discussion ensued about chapter funding in general.  Lalita Jeethan suggested 2 other possible sources of funding, namely PIPSC Do Better Campaign and/or the Liaison Committee.  


Al Worth moved that the financial statements be accepted.  Ron Jonikas seconded the motion.  Carried.



Soon Yee introduced Michael Forbes who updated us on issues discussed at the RMG National Office:


  • Michael clarified chapter funding methodology of the RMG and that it was not based on member head-count.
  • The PIPSC Board of Directors turned down the RMG’s request to pay travel expenses for Chapter Presidents to attend National RMG meetings in Ottawa.  Instead, the RMG Executive will be setting aside part of its own funds to provide for such travel, hopefully starting in 2020.
  • Federal Elections will be taking place shortly.  We need to elect a government that protects public services.  Members are encouraged to determine where their candidates stand on the issue of Defined vs Target Pension Plans (Bill C-27) before voting.  A number of new retirees expressed surprise that the government would in fact, have the power to retroactively modify our pensions.
  • Both PIPSC’s 100th and the RMG’s 20th anniversaries will take place in the year 2020.  Celebratory activities are planned.
  • The RMG National Executive's held a discussion with Waheed Kahn, PIPSC Director and Chair, Human Rights and Diversity Committee on the topic of ageism.
  • Phoenix compensation provides for up to 5 days of paid leave for frustration caused by the Phoenix system. For new retirees, the number of days awarded may be less than 5 depending on the year of retirement.  If you retired after 2016, you will be awarded 2 days for 2016/2017, an additional day if you retired in 2018, and so on and up to 5 days if you retire in 2020.  Affected members must submit a claim (form) for it.  
  • Several members discussed specific Phoenix situations which affected them personally. 





Lester Brown introduced Katrina Carbone who replaced our scheduled speaker, Rick Maharaj also of the Toronto Paramedic Services.  Katrina presented a very informative presentation on the subject of services for seniors offered by EMS and how seniors can make their home environment safer. 


Katrina discussed:


  • pre-hospital ambulatory emergency care
  • Arrival at the hospital and transfer of the patient to hospital care
  • When to call 911
  • Community Outreach and Education
  • Free home visits where an assessment is made of the needs of a “client”, followed by the alignment of clients with the relevant agencies that can help them
  • Preventing falls in the home: securing loose carpets, removing obstacles, use of sticky bottomed shoes, use of walkers
  • Preparation for an emergency: Having on hand a completed “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) sheet plus a day bag
  • Warning signs of a heart attack/stroke


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


Election of GTA Chapter Executives    

Lester Brown, Treasurer, conducted the election as Chair of the Election Committee.  The positions of Vice President and 2 Members-at-Large were up for election.


Position of Vice-President of the GTA Chapter

There were no nominations either before or during the AGM. 


2 Member-at-Large Positions

Soon Yee nominated Fred Conway for one of the Member-at-Large positions.  There were no other nominations either before or during the AGM.  Therefore Fred Conway was thereby re-elected as a Member-at-Large.


With respect to the vacant Vice-President and Member-at-Large positions, Lester proposed that the GTA Executive will be soliciting interest from eligible members after the AGM for the purpose of filling these 2 vacancies.  This is permitted by Section 6.7.2. of our Chapter By-Laws.


No objection was raised.




Aron Wolfson, Acting President of the GTA Chapter




PIPSC’s dental plan consists of 2 separate plans, one for active members (Great-West Life) and the other for retirees (Sun Life).  For many years, our insurance premiums have been increasing without a corresponding increase in benefits.  PIPSC’s active members plan (Great-West Life) was settled in 2018 by Mother PIPSC with Treasury Board resulting in an increase in dental benefits payable under that plan.  The retirees dental plan was given short shrift by both Mother PIPSC and Treasury Board with the result that retirees were not provided with the same increase in dental benefits.  We are not happy.


During the past year, Aron Wolfson has been active on this file: 


  • More than once, Aron has urged our National RMG Executive to play a bigger role in fighting for increased dental plan benefits for its members.  Their answer continues to remain the same i.e. NAFR has been delegated the responsibility to represent PIPSC Retirees in the negotiation of the retiree portion of the dental plan.  
  • Aron also called and emailed John Staric, Pension and Benefits Officer of HO PIPSC regarding PIPSC’s retiree dental plan.  John Staric provided 4 links and suggested that our members voice their concerns to the relevant parties through these links.  Aron has undertaken to email these 4 links to all AGM attendees shortly after the AGM and suggested that everyone write to their MP’s before the Federal election, with a cc to the other 3 links:


Hon. Filomena Tassi, Minister of Seniors:

Sherry Romanado, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors:

Hon. Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board Minister of Digital Government:


Here is a link to find any MP you want:


  • John Staric then referred Aron to a new technical person in his area, namely Colby Briggs, Team Lead, Compensation.  According to Colby, it was Treasury Board that made the decision to split PIPSC’s dental plan into 2 separate plans, one for active members and the other for retirees, possibly in order to minimize costs.  He also stated that NAFR is legally responsible for representing all Federal Retirees.
  • This past summer, Aron attended a picnic where he met federal MP’s Andrew Sheer and Peter Kent.  Aron discussed with them, the lack of progress on the negotiations of PIPSC’s dental plan for retirees and is hoping that these MP’s can help.


Aron stated that Sun Life, in a very recent email, sent us a newsletter with updates and procedural changes to our dental plan.  It appears that our dental benefits are being eroded even more, for example: the root canal procedure is normally 90% reimbursable and bridge work is normally 50% reimbursable.  However, according to the update, it appears that where a root canal procedure is required just prior to bridge work, the root canal procedure would be considered ancillary to the bridge work, thereby rendering the root canal work only 50% reimbursable.


Finally, the fact that PIPSC will not be issuing tax deductible receipts in respect of PIPSC dues paid by retirees, does not seem to be a material issue.


New Business




Door Prize Draw

Soon Yee conducted the draw for door prizes.  Thank you to Terry Sing for providing the gifts and to Michael Forbes for bringing them back from Ottawa.



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