UTFA’s Retired Members Committee represents approximately 600 retired faculty and librarians of the University of Toronto. The Committee met twice in the fall of 2018 and once in the spring of 2019. As Chair of the Committee, I also served on the Board of Management of the Senior College Centre, UTFA’s UPP/SAP Bargaining Team, and the UTFA Executive Committee and Council.
The Committee’s priorities this year were (1) to host educational activities for UTFA retirees to ensure that they were aware of the ongoing negotiations to create a University Pension Plan (UPP); (2) to celebrate the publication of The RALUT Story by one of our retirees; (3) to consider our role in participating in and potentially hosting a CURAC conference; and (4) to communicate with the Executive and with retirees about needs and concerns with respect to benefits in retirement. Each of these will be addressed in this report. We also began discussions to create an annual reception to welcome new retirees to UTFA, the first of which will take place in the fall of 2019. Look for more information about this reception in September.
Pension Education Activities and Celebration of The RALUT Story
On December 4, 2018, the Retired Members Committee hosted a JSPP (Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan)/UPP information session in the main dining room of The Faculty Club. Pension expert Hugh Mackenzie was excellent in highlighting the background and contributions of a new UPP as well as fielding complex questions from the retirees in attendance. This session was followed by a presentation by one of our well-known retirees, Peter Russell, of his new publication, The RALUT Story, which relates the development, successes, and final dissolution of RALUT (Retired Academics and Librarians of the University of Toronto). Both parts of the event were well attended and enjoyed by all.
UTFA is a member of both CURAC (College and University Retiree Associations of Canada) and AROHE (Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education). Kent Weaver attended the January 2019 Committee meeting and provided highlights of the annual conferences of both organizations. Kent also clarified the expectations of a host organization for the CURAC conference. The Committee, in consultation with the UTFA Executive, agreed to send a number of present or former members of the Committee and UTFA Executive to attend the 2019 CURAC conference, to be held in Guelph in May 2019, and then to discuss next year the feasibility of bidding to host the CURAC conference in 2022.
UTFA has a long-standing commitment to protecting and improving health benefits for all its members, including retirees. Our Bargaining Committee colleagues in particular have been and continue to be steadfast in their commitment to the retired constituency. Health benefits are crucial to support retirees’ well-being. The Retired Members Committee discussed specific concerns related to pain medications and Green Shield coverage of health benefits. We will continue to advocate for improvements to these benefits and support for any member who feels that their benefit claims are denied without reasonable explanation.
Sadly, since the last AGM, we have been informed of the passing of the following UTFA retirees: Bruce A. Francis, William Friend, Anthony Haasz, Alexander G. Harrison, Michael C. Kirkham, Roland List, Dennis W. Magill, Robert H. McNutt, Ruth Pike, Arthur G. Rigg, James Rising, John Senders, James C. Thompson, and Deborah Whiteman.
I would like to thank those who served on the Retired Members Committee this year: Ed Barbeau, Claude Evans, Elinor Fillion, Helen Grad, Lino Grima, Mary Alice Guttman, Brenda Mallouk, Cynthia Messenger, Kathleen Scheaffer, and Terezia Zoric, as well as Kent Weaver, who resigned from the Committee to take on his new role as Speaker for UTFA Council. It is a pleasure to work with these esteemed colleagues who care passionately about the academy and have such a wealth of knowledge to contribute to our discussions. Many retired UTFA members also served on additional UTFA committees, and/or represented UTFA in other organizations. These contributions to UTFA Council, the Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload Committee, and the University Pension Committee are highly valued.
Thank you to everyone who supported the Retired Members Committee this year.
Geraldine (Jody) Macdonald
Chair, Retired Members Committee