Retirees' News: October 1999

The University of Manitoba Retirees' News
Volume Three, Issue Two
October 1999

And What is New with You and at the U?

The leaves are changing colour, reminding us that fall is here and the start of things to do over the cooler months of fall and winter. It also tells us it is time to get caught up with what has happened since our reception last spring. To achieve this we will be holding another President’s Reception, on Saturday, October 30, in The Atrium, Brodie Centre, Bannatyne Campus, starting at 2:00 p.m. The Centre is at 727 McDermot Avenue and Emily Street. Complimentary parking is available in the university’s E-lot which is located just west of the Dental College. You can access it from Tecumseh Street.

Those of us who attended the first President’s Reception in February 1997 found the Brodie Centre to be a wonderful gathering place. That is why we chose it again. If you have not visited this extension to the downtown campus now is your chance to do so. If you were there in ‘97, come and see what has taken place since then.

The afternoon will start off with a talk by a leading health care authority about developments of interest to us as retirees. There will be a chance to ask questions during this presentation. Then vice-president Karen Ogden will bring us news about happenings at the University. Tours will be available for those who want to see the Brodie Centre.

In order to have enough refreshments available, please RSVP by October 25 by phoning 474-8359, or e-mail Kathy_Vitt@umanitoba.ca.


You wanted to know advantages to having a Retiree Identification Card

With so many persons retiring this past year, there is always a need to repeat the significance of having a retiree identification card, particularly if you want to access the libraries, use the
recreational facilities at the Frank Kennedy or Brodie Centres, get onto the Internet, or take courses at the University, all at no cost. And we have learned of one other benefit. At least one supplier of computers and computer software in Winnipeg will provide educational discounts if you have a retiree identification card from the University. It pays to ask when making a purchase.

Cards are available to those who qualify for retired staff health and dental benefits, their spouses and to survivors of retirees. You can get yours at the ID Centre in Room 400 (Student Records Office) University Centre. It is open from 8:30 to 4:30, Monday to Friday. For more information, call 474-9428.

Retirees residing in other provinces have enquired as to whether they could receive an identification card. As the card contains your photograph, it is not possible to send you a card. However, if you are in Winnipeg, you can pick one up.


Want to know where to park?

Retirees wanting to come to the Fort Garry campus have found it difficult to find a metered parking spot close to the centre of the campus. Well, things have changed. As of September 15, the University Parkade is now open with 500 parking stalls. It is located behind the new Helen Glass Centre for Nursing (where the old Bison Building once stood) and can be accessed via Sydney Smith Street. It is a ticket-operated system. You can pay by cash or by credit card at the automated pay station located inside the lobby (level 200S) of the Parkade/Nursing Building. From 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the first hour is $1.50. Each additional hour is $1.00 to a maximum of $8.00. The evening hours are from 4:30 to 10:00 p.m. and the cost is $2.00. The parkade is open only weekdays at present but it will be open 24 hours, seven days a week in the near future. For more information, contact Parking Services at 474-9483 or 474-7139.


If You have a Driver Licence, think of Meals on Wheels

Retirees often find a rich rewarding experience in serving others. One such opportunity is being a driver for the Meals on Wheels program. Trevor Dandy is one. For the past eight years he has been involved as a driver and last year as a member of its Board.

The time commitment can be minimal or extensive, depending on your choice. You pick up the meals at one of the hospitals involved in the program, (you choose which one), at either 10:45 or 11:15 a.m. You are always assigned the same route so that after two or three runs it becomes very familiar. Typically delivery takes 45 to 75 minutes, depending on the length of the route. Travel time from and to your home may be another 40 minutes. So the total time commitment is between around an hour and a half to two hours per day.

You can choose to drive a route every day, once a week on a day of your choice, or less often.
For example, Trevor drives once every two weeks. Every two or three months, drivers receive a cheque for mileage expenses, which you can retain or return to Meals on Wheels.

If you are interested, give Trevor a call at 453-4929 or call Meals of Wheels at 956-7711.


Have you Moved?

We have found that retirees move as frequently or more frequently than employees. It is hard to keep track of where you are unless you let us know. For the Bulletin, call (204) 474-8111, or fax (204) 474-7631 or e-mail Angela_Heck@umanitoba.ca. For copies of the Retirees’ News, contact Kathy Vitt at (204) 474-8359 or email Kathy_Vitt@umanitoba.ca.


We have a new contact person

Since our inception, Julie Mikuska has been our contact person within the University. Changes in responsibilities for those in Public Affairs have meant Julie has had to give up working with us. We thank her for all that she has done on our behalf for the last three years. Kathy Vitt has taken Julie’s place. Kathy is the Business Officer in Human Resources. She is located in 308 Administration Building. Her phone number is (204) 474-8359. Her e-mail is noted above. We look forward to working with Kathy over the years ahead.


Are you a Mac User?

Harlyn Thompson informs us there is a support group for seniors who use Macintosh computers, called the Macintosh User Group for Seniors (MUGS). It meets the second Tuesday of every month, except July and August, at the Good Neighbours Senior Centre, 220 Helmsdale Avenue, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. It is an informal affair, with guest speakers and a question and answers period. It is free for first time guests. If you want more information, contact Jack Pritchard at <jpritcha@escape.ca> or phone 831-6909.


Keep your University Club Membership

In our travels across the country we often visit other universities to meet colleagues or to just look around. The University Club has reciprocal privileges with many university clubs. This means you have a place where you can eat and relax during your visit. Also, because the fee for the University Club often is lower than comparable clubs elsewhere, those who retire to other centres can save money by retaining their University Club Membership. Those who were members before retirement may be eligible for an honorary membership. For more information, contact Franca Vlahos, Executive Director, at 474-6838 or at fvlahos@ms.umanitoba.ca.

For those in the Winnipeg area, the Club continues to hold Friday’s Jazz & Blues from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The dates are October 1 and 15, November 5 and December 3. Also, there will be prime rib dinners on November 5 and December 3. Reservations are requested.


You wanted to know how the Staff Benefits Experience Refunds Account

The purposes for the Staff Benefits Experience Refunds Account are to provide actuarial protection for the benefits covered and, where possible, to enhance such benefits. One major expenditure from the Account is the post retirement adjustment for those who retired in the “early years.” This amounted to about $900,000 in 1999. The University matches this amount.

Because the Account has grown to a considerable size, demands have been placed upon it to fund activities not directly associated with the benefit programs which generated the funds. The most recent demand was in early 1999 when $2,975,134 was transferred from the Account to the University’s general operating funds to cover the 1998-99 cost of removing days off without pay from all union contacts and non-bargaining staff. This demand arose out of the collective bargaining process between the University and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association. There have been previous demands, some of which were met, but not of the same magnitude. Except for above demand, all requests for funds have been considered first by the Staff Benefits Committee before being acted upon.

In the current collective agreement between UMFA and the University, there is a provision for a joint committee to devise a scholarship plan. The two parties have developed a proposal to establish a University of Manitoba Employees Scholarship Fund. To make it operational, the proposal indicates the Scholarship Fund would be established “by either (1) a one-time transfer of startup capital from the Staff Benefits Experience Refunds Account into an account held in trust, or (2) predetermined yearly transfer of funds from the Experience Refund Account.” The amount of the one-time transfer could be as much as $2,000,000. This proposal has yet to be presented to the Staff Benefits Committee.

While this newsletter is not the vehicle by which detailed information can be provided regarding the use of funds in the Account, retirees should be aware of the demands placed on it. If you have any comments regarding this latest proposal, you should contact either: Dr. Wayne Simpson at 474-9274, or at simpson@cc.umanitoba.ca, Dr. Paul Fortier at 474-9846 or fortier@cc.umanitoba.ca, Mr. Mike McAdam at 474-9777 or mmcadam@Ms.UManitoba.CA, or John Mundie at 256-8245 or mundie@Ms.UManitoba.CA.


Helping Others through the United Way

During October members of the University will be invited to contribute to the 1999 United Way Campaign at the University. Retirees are an important part of this campaign. Last year contributions from retirees reached a new high of $50,000. The average gift was $214.

Because of the large number of persons who retired in 1998, the goal for the retiree portion of the 1999 Campaign has been set at $53,500. The campaign gets underway on Thursday, October 7 in Campo at the University Centre. Come out and have breakfast from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Norm Long and Bob Hedlin are our representatives on the overall campaign committee. They will oversee the distribution of pledge cards from the United Way to your home. If yours is not delivered or you have any questions, contact Norm at 257-2339 or Bob at 475-6433.


Use of the Pension Plan by Retirees

Prior to 1993, when a member retired from the University, all funds in that member’s account were transferred out of the Pension Plan. Since 1993 a Pensioner Account has been established which allows members to leave their funds in the Pension Fund not only to provide them with a retirement income but also to share in the investment performance of the Fund in a manner similar to the way they did prior to retirement.

At June 30, 1999, there were 695 retired members receiving their pension payments from the Plan. During the first six months of 1999 there were 98 new pensioners who elected the Plan annuity. The growth in the number of retired members electing an annuity with the Plan has increased the Pensioner Account assets from 14.6% as at December 31, 1998, to 19.2% of the total Plan assets as at June 30, 1999. These assets continue to be invested based on the same asset mix and investment guidelines as the active member’s assets.

The monthly payments made to the 695 retired members are approximately $980,000. Our custodian CIBC Mellon makes payments on our behalf.

The performance of the Pension Plans is reported quarterly by the Trustees to Pensioners in the Quarterly Review. In addition, the Annual Pension Plans Report is mailed to pensioners. The most recent Annual Report included a new section on the Pensioner Account describing how the account operates with information on the valuation of the account for purposes of the excess interest increase. At March 31, 1999, the performance of the Pension Plans continued to be in the top 50% of Canadian pension plans reviewed by SEI.

If you would like the most recent copy of the Quarterly Review or the Annual Report, please call the Staff Benefits Office at 474-7428.


Need for Clarification?

In the last Retirees’ News mention it was indicated you could take university credit courses at no cost. While this is true, it should be noted that if you are between the ages of 55 and 65, you receive a fee remission upon the successful completion of the undergraduate course. For those 65 and over, application and course fees are waived provided you are admitted to the academic unit offering the course and are eligible to register. For more information, contact the Staff Development area of Human Resources at 474-9124.

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