The Retired Members Committee represents approximately 600 retired faculty and librarians of the University of Toronto and its federated colleges. The Committee met three times in the fall of 2019 and once in the spring of 2020, via a Zoom conference call, due to the pandemic. We confirmed four goals for the year:
Host our first annual “Welcome to New Retirees” reception: We hosted a successful “Welcome to New Retirees” reception on October 22, 2019, at the Faculty Club. We had 41 registrants: 13 who retired between 1999 and 2009, 17 who retired between 2010 and 2019, 5 retirees who did not state their year of retirement, and 6 current members of Executive/Council. Thirty attended the reception. The remaining registrants cancelled due to inclement weather.
Evaluate the “Welcome to New Retirees” reception: Overall, the feedback from the reception was excellent. In particular, of the 50% of attendees who completed our feedback form, everyone rated the Faculty Club as an excellent venue, and the information on health benefits as good or excellent. Above all, the respondents appreciated interacting with peers and presenters and receiving important information about current health benefits.
Plan for our second annual “Welcome to New Retirees” Reception: Our next “Welcome to New Retirees” reception is planned for Wednesday, October 21, 2020, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. If we are able to meet in person, the location will again be the Faculty Club. All UTFA retirees are encouraged to save the date and join us in welcoming and celebrating with our new retirees. There will be a presentation on general benefits for UTFA retirees, including health benefits, and time for networking. If COVID-19 makes meeting in person inadvisable, the Committee will consider meeting via Zoom. Additional information will be emailed in September. All new faculty and librarians are automatically members of UTFA immediately following retirement and pay no dues during their first year. New retirees are encouraged to send their preferred email address to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can reach you with our invitation.
Keep informed on trends in public sector benefits in Ontario: During our committee meetings we shared information about current and future trends in public sector benefits, especially health benefits, in Ontario. This is invaluable as we plan for the future of our retirees. We confirmed that the UPP—University Pension Plan—is under development and look forward to updates next year. We also considered challenges some of our Canadian colleagues are experiencing with keeping their university email and library access. In the spring, we considered the impact of COVID-19 on academics, students, and retirees.
Four members of the Retired Members Committee and one member of the Executive Committee attended the CURAC (College and University Retiree Associations of Canada) annual conference held at the University of Guelph, May 22–24, 2019. The conference was hosted by the University of Guelph Retirees Association and offered participants an excellent opportunity to network and to identify the benefits of staying closely connected to our national and international retiree communities. During the CURAC conference I was able to confer with Harold Atwood, Principal of U of T’s Senior College, about the possibility of the College’s hosting a CURAC conference in the future, with UTFA support. We had looked forward to participating in the 2020 annual conferences of CURAC and the Association of Retired Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE). However, both were cancelled due to the pandemic.
As Chair of the Retired Members Committee, I serve on the Executive Committee, attending its regular meetings and monthly Council meetings. I also serve on the Board of Management of the Senior College Centre. Kent Weaver, a member of the Retired Members Committee, was on the board of AROHE this year and served on a committee of Senior College. Additional UTFA retirees serve in other university positions, contributing to the strengths of the University of Toronto.
I would like to thank all the Committee members who engaged in such lively and discerning discussions, attended our UTFA events, and ensured that the Committee is an engaged and engaging group at UTFA. The members of the Retired Members Committee this year were: Ed Barbeau, Elinor Fillion, Louis Florence, Helen Grad, Lino Grima, Mary Alice Guttman, Brenda Mallouk, Suzanne Meyers Sawa, Angela Miles, and Kent Weaver, as well as Cynthia Messenger and Terezia Zoric.
In memoriam: The Retired Members Committee has learned since the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the death of the following UTFA retirees: Robert Accinelli, John R. Blackburn, Robert H. Blackburn, Robert Alex Collins, Alexander Dalzell, Gayle N. Garlock, S. Diane Henderson, Derek Holman, Jeanne V. Ikeda-Douglas, Donald G. Ivey, Janice A. Monaghan, William H. Nelson, Gordon Nikiforuk, Steven Scott, Peter Silcox, Edward T. Silva, Jean Smith, and John Valleau.
Geraldine (Jody) Macdonald
Chair, Retired Members Committee