Retirees' News: September 2003

The University of Manitoba Retirees' News
Volume Seven, Issue Two
September 2003

It’s the President’s Fall Reception

Right across Canada it has been a summer to remember. Now is the time to share our summer experiences with other retirees at the President’s Reception for Retirees on Saturday, October 18th. It will be held in the Beausejour Room, University Centre, Fort Garry Campus starting at 2:00 p.m. Parking is available in Parking Lot A between the Science buildings and St. John’s College or the parkade right behind the Helen Glass Centre. (There is a charge if you use the parkade.)

Weather-wise, this summer we in Canada experienced massive forest fires, severe thunderstorms, torrential rains, record high temperatures, drought, and high winds. Some have said we are back to the “dirty 30s”. Others have proclaimed we are entering the "new reality” of global warming. We are bombarded with conflicting opinions and speculations leaving most of us wondering as to what is gong on.

To help us better understand what is occurring with the weather; we have invited Dr. Danny Blair, Chair of the Department of Geography, University of Winnipeg, to be our guest speaker. His topic is “Global Warming: It’s Here and It’s Coming”. Danny obtained a B.Sc. (1980) and M.Sc. (1983) in Geography from the University of Regina and his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Manitoba in 1989. He is very concerned about the impact global warming is having and will have on the prairie region. In this regard, he is Co-Chair of Manitoba’s Climate Change Connection. Many of us have heard him on the radio, seen him on TV and read about his work in the newspaper. Now we have the pleasure of meeting him in person.

Almost every week the media has an item about an accomplishment at our University, such as Dr. Emőke Szathmáry being appointed to the Order of Canada and $7.9 million grant for health research. We are living in exciting times. Dr. Robert Kerr, Vice-President (Academic) and Provost will share with us just how much is taking place at our University.

After the formal portion of the reception is over, refreshments will be served. This the time when you can renew your friendship with other retirees. So mark the date, October 18th, and let us know that you will be in attendance. Please RSVP by October 10th, by calling 474-8359 or e-mail Kathy_Vitt@umanitoba.ca. (We want to assure that we do not run out of food like we did last April.) Don’t forget spouses and survivors of retirees are most welcome to attend.


You wanted to know about the Medication Information Line for the Elderly (MILE)

In the March Retirees’ News, mention was made of the financial difficulties facing MILE and the University’s response to assure the continuation of MILE until at least March 31, 2004. Since then the University has been investigating how the program can be funded on a long-term basis. In particular, the University has been exploring increased support from the Province through the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA). A recent response from WRHA was not very promising regarding an increase in support. Meetings are ongoing in the search for a more viable funding model for MILE. A committee of retirees is keeping an eye on what is happening.


Long Term Funding of the Retiree Benefits Program

In May 2003, the Staff Benefits Office published a Bulletin dealing with the Retiree Benefits Program. It outlined the changes approved by the Board of Governors which will take effect July 1, 2004. These changes will affect those who retire on or after July 1, 2004.

Also the document noted a consulting firm would be retained to conduct an analysis of other potential changes to the program. Among them was the feasibility “for pre-July 1, 2004 retirees to participate in the new program beyond age 75, with 100% of the premiums paid by the retiree, and maintain the cost of the current pre-July 2004 program.” This potential change will be of interest to those retirees who are or will be 75 prior to July 1, 2004. The consultant is expected to report by September 2003 to a sub-committee of the Staff Benefits Committee. “The final recommendations should be available by the end of 2003”.

You can obtain more information by contacting the Staff Benefits Office at 474-8476 or at sb-pension-admin@ms.umanitoba.ca. The Bulletin can be found on the website for the Staff Benefits Office.


University of Manitoba Retirees Association

On May 14, 2003, the University formally established the University of Manitoba Retirees Association. The Association will represent all retirees of the University. It will liaison with the various officers, departments and committees of the University. Terry Voss, Executive Director of Human Resources, is our contact person. Arrangements are being made to have a campus mailing address and telephone and fax numbers for the Association. Also a letterhead is being developed. Through an agreement with Dr. Jerry Gray, Dean of the I.H. Asper School of Business, 644 Drake Centre will serve as the temporary office for the Association.

With the establishment of the Association, a more formal arrangement has been established with the University. In order for the Association to have continuity and accountability a constitution will be developed outlining its purposes, structure, the election and responsibilities of its officers, and how it will conduct itself. Prior to the President’s Reception for Retirees in April 2004 the constitution and a slate of candidates for the various position will be available. Approval of the constitution and the election of officers will take place at that event. Persons wishing to place their name for nomination should contact John Mundie.

We are extremely pleased that the University has established the Association.


Seniors’ and Elders’ Month

October has been designated as Seniors’ and Elders’ Month, Celebrating the Diversity of Older Manitobans. It all begins at The Forks on October 1st. A calendar of events for the month has been prepared. It is available at www.gov.mb.ca/sd.


Next Reception

We are planning to have the Spring President’s Reception for Retirees on Saturday, April 17, 2004. Pencil it in on your calendar. We will confirm the date in our March Retirees’ News. In the meantime, look up our web site through the University of Manitoba Home Page.


CURAC Annual Conference – May 2004

At the inaugural meeting of CURAC it was decided the Annual Conference would be held in the same location as the meetings of the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences. As Congress 2004 will be hosted by the University of Manitoba, the CURAC conference will be in Winnipeg from May 26 to 28, 2004. This is just prior to the start of Congress 2004. A local conference committee has been established which will be responsible to the Executive of CURAC for putting on the conference. The conference will be held at the University of Winnipeg. Any retiree from the University of Manitoba may attend this conference.

The local organizing committee is looking for volunteers to work on various sub-committees for this conference. Some of the tasks are; working with registrations, manning the registration desk during the conference, serving as hosts at the various functions, undertaking fund raising, doing photocopying, answering e-mail and telephone inquiries and translating the documents into French. If you would like to work on the committee, please contact John Mundie at 256-8245 or mundie@Ms.Umanitoba.CA.


You wanted to learn more about College and University Retiree Associations of Canada (CURAC)

Nora Losey and John Mundie attended the inaugural meeting of CURAC on May 26, 2003 in Halifax, NS. At that meeting, 22 founding member associations approved the establishment of this new association, its constitution and executive officers. John Mundie was elected to serve as the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Regional Representative.

Retiree associations that are affiliated with post-secondary educational institutions recognized by AUCC are eligible for membership in CURAC. Some of the purposes of CURAC are: to facilitate communication among retiree associations, to disseminate information regarding matters of mutual interest, such as pensions and health benefits, to exchanges ideas about best practices, to prepare and make submissions to governments and other bodies about programs and benefits for retirees, and to assist in the formation of retiree associations at institutions where none currently exist.

The University of Manitoba Retirees Association and the University of Winnipeg Retirement Association Inc. are both founding members of CURAC. You can learn more about CURAC by going to its website, http://www.curac.ca/. It also can be reached through the University of Manitoba Home Page.


University United Way Campaign

Again retirees are being asked to participate in the University of Manitoba United Way Campaign, which begins in October. Last year we raised $59,800 as our contribution to the overall University Campaign. This year our goal is $62,100. Norm Long, our representative on the Campaign Committee, will be sending a letter those retirees living in the Greater Winnipeg area inviting them to participate in this year’s campaign. Remember, you do make a difference to many in our community through your participation.


Dr. Ralph Campbell – Author

Many retirees will remember Dr. Ralph Campbell who served as President of the University from 1976 to 1981. Well, at age 84, he has written another book. This time it is an autobiography. In it he includes a chapter devoted to his time at the University. Ralph and his wife Ruth will be at the University Bookstore to sign copies of the book and visit with friends and colleagues on Friday, October 17th from 11:30 am – 12:30 p.m. and again, just prior to the reception, on Saturday, October 18th from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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