OF DALHOUSIE RETIREES
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 1, APRIL 2006
Welcome to the first issue of our quarterly Newsletters for 2006. We certainly hope our readers find the news on the ADRP and our members, interesting and positive. The Board stays active with monthly meetings with President Blanche Potter successfully managing the procedures for the past two years.
importance to all is the ADRP Annual General Meeting set for Thursday,
April 27th at in the Lord Dalhousie
Room of the
Attendees at the
A. Approval of Agenda
Approval of Minutes of
C. Annual Report of the President
D. Annual Report of the Treasurer
E. Appointment of Auditor for 2006/2007
F. Committee Reports
G. Election of Officers
H. Other Business
The Nominations Committee - Submitted by Bob Rodger, Bette Merrick, Blanche Potter
The Nomination Committee nominates
the following members to serve on the Association’s Board of Directors for the
year 2006/2007, beginning after the
Position Name Occupation Address Status
President J. Philip Welch Retired Tantallon Member
Vice President Paul B. Huber Retired
VP Colin Stuttard Retired
Secretary Norman Horrocks Retired
Treasurer Robert S. Rodger Retired
at Large Tarunendu Ghose Retired
Mary Simms Retired
Chairs of Standing Committees:
Benefits J. Philip Welch Retired Tantallon Member
Complaints Gilbert R. Winham Retired
Communications Man M. Vohra Retired
Liaison Alasdair M. Sinclair Retired
Membership Blanche A. Potter Retired
Social Surinder S. Sodhi Retired
All of the above members have agreed
to serve, if elected. All of the
positions on the board of Directors are open for further nomination and
election at the
Another member of the Board, not subject to election, is Past President, Blanche Potter. Subject to election, but not a Board member, and having agreed to serve, is the Committee’s nomination for Auditor – John D. Misick. The Board will appoint Diane M. Prosser as Office Manager, and Robert MacKay as the Observer at the Pension Advisory Committee
Membership Committee – Submitted by Blanche Potter, Chair
Membership dues ($20) for 2006 are now due. If you have not already sent in your membership fee you may mail it to Blanche
Potter, Membership Chair, 2623 Fuller Terrace,
b) In memorium – ADRP Members.
Coordinator, Postgraduate Medical Education
Faculty of Medicine
Roger, Alexander Thorne
Director, Dental Clinic
Faculty of Dentistry
Savoie, Ronald – October, 2005
c) We have received a donation of $100. from a member who wishes to remain
anonymous, to be used to assist expenses incurred by members when representing the ADRP at various conferences, workshops, meetings, etc. The donor feels very strongly that those who volunteer so freely of their time should not have to use their own money to cover the costs of these events. Our sincere thanks to this generous donor.
Benefits Committee – Submitted by J. Phillip Welch, Chair
Medavie Blue Cross Programme. ADRP members who have elected to continue to participate in the Dalhousie Medavie Blue Cross Programme post-retirement, may already be aware of some important planned changes to the programme. These changes have not yet received final approval, though they are likely to do so in the near future. (Final comments on the proposed changes are currently awaited from the various Dalhousie employee groups).
From my present understanding, the changes are to the Medavie Dalhousie Blue Cross Drug Plan, and will apply to all Dal Blue Cross participants. These changes are highly significant. They would, therefore, apply if/when implemented to all retirees
(< age 65) who chose to continue their Dal Blue Cross membership. We understand that 125 retirees are in this category, while approximately another 200 retirees are in the Dal plan without the drug coverage.
The proposed changes for those persons included in the Dal Blue Cross Drug Plan are essentially as follows.
As a result of these changes, those who currently have a card-based drug direct-pay plan, will have their costs reduced by 4%, while those presently on a reimbursement plan will see a 40% increase in their drug-related premiums. If/when these changes are implemented, we understand representatives of Medavie Blue Cross will meet with employees to explain their plan, describe the changes, and provide detailed information on drug coverage.
Now that the ADRP has determined the number of retirees who have any form of Dal Blue Cross coverage, we will ask whether the Medavie Blue Cross representative would be prepared to meet with retirees, under the auspices of the ADRP.
CPR Courses for ADRP Members. Three courses were held on January 7th, 21st and 22nd. All courses were fully subscribed. The instructor, Ms. Joanne Hall, gave excellent presentations and her efforts were greatly appreciated.
Any ADRP member who would like to
participate in a future CPR session, currently planned for the afternoon of
September 17th, are asked to leave their name and phone number at
Liaison Committee – Submitted by Alasdair Sinclair, Chair
The Liaison Committee has been
active on two fronts lately. We have
established formal contacts with several Dalhousie units, including the DFA,
DUAG and NSGGEU (DSA), and we have been supporting the formation of retiree
organizations at a number of universities in the Province. Our contacts with DFA and others is to stress
the common interests we share in issues such as pensions and benefits and their
role in supporting and enhancing these benefits in bargaining and other
venues. With respect to other
universities, we have been in close contact with
Members of the Liaison Committee include Mary Simms, Colin Stuttard, Tarun Ghose, Man Vohra, Bob Rodger and myself. Any of us would be pleased to welcome your comments and suggestions as to how we might make additional progress on our mandate.
Communications Committee – Submitted by Man Vohra, Chair
The main accomplishment of the Communications Committee for the past year has been to keep the ADRP membership informed of the activities of the Association. This was achieved through the Newsletter and the web site. During the last year, four quarterly issues of the Newsletter were published and mailed. The web site was frequently updated to inform membership of the ongoing activities of the Association. In addition, the hard work of Barbara Prime-Walker, Chair of the Sharing and Caring Sub-Committee, kept us in touch with members of the Association who were indisposed or were coping with an unexpected event/situation, assuring them on behalf of the Association that they are in our thoughts and that we are available for help, if needed. In some cases, special contacts were made at Christmas to brighten their Holiday Season.
As Chair of the Communications Committee, I would like to gratefully acknowledge the devotion and hard work of Emerson Moffitt and Jan Scott, Editors of the ADRP Newsletter, and Barbara Prime-Walker.
I would like to ask the membership of the ADRP to give us feedback on the role of the Communications Committee, material published in the Newsletter, and the role of the Sharing and Caring Sub-Committee. Your feedback is important to us as it enables us to improve the quality of our work to meet your expectations. I would like to add that we look forward to your participation and urge you all to contribute your comments/views on topics of general interest for publication in the ADRP Newsletter. We need your participation and help.
Atlantic Regional CURAC Conference,
The first Atlantic Regional
Conference of College and University Retiree Associations of Canada (CURAC)
will be held in the Scotia Bank Lecture Theatre,
In addition to retirees and retiree associations, university presidents and representatives of university employee groups/unions have been invited to discuss how they can work together with retirees for mutual benefit and for the benefit of the community at large. Interested members of the university community can register for the conference by contacting Dr. Man Vohra (902-494-3447) or Dr. Tarun Ghose (902-429-0312). Registration is free and the meeting starts on location at . Lunch will be available at a very reasonable price, but requests for lunch must be made before April 30th.
Social Committee – Submitted by Sid Sodhi
We have been active in planning and having various social and informative events over the past year. A good example of this was a talk on stroke and coronary care by Drs. Stephen Phillips and Iqbal Bata, Directors of the QEII Stroke and Coronary Care Units. More recently, Donald Babey, Executive Director of Dying with Dignity, a National organization, gave a very informative talk on that subject. Both were well attended.
A social gathering is being planned
sometime in May when I will present “My Experiences with Female Education in
Pension Comparisons Committee - Submitted by Paul B. Huber
How does Dalhousie’s pension compare
with those at other universities across
Defined-benefit pension plans, such as at Dalhousie, are complicated and highly differentiated. Among such plans, contribution rates by employees and by plan sponsors vary, as do basic benefit formulae, integration with the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP), guarantee periods and provisions regarding early retirement, death and termination. Indexation of benefits whether formulaic, ad hoc, driven by investment results, or non-existent, is a major source of variation. So is compliance with federal and provincial regulations. (Some public-sector plans are exempt; other anomalies have been incorporated into hybrid plans or grandparented). One consequence of this complexity is that ‘apples and oranges’ comparisons abound.
Goss’ accomplishment is
twofold. With considerable effort and
diligence, he has assembled detailed information on 37 pension plans covering
52 institutions of higher learning in
Benefit Formula: Integration with CPP/QPP
Dalhousie is one of only two
Benefit Formula: Averaging Period
On salaries above YMPE (but not above the maximum pensionable salary under the Income Tax Act), most defined-benefit and hybrid plans provide a benefit equal to:
2% X years of pensionable service X average salary.2
Dalhousie is no exception. However, only ten universities including Dalhousie, average this salary over the best three years of service. At current levels of salary inflation, this is worth about 2% of one’s pension, compared to the norm of five-year averaging.
Benefit Formula: Guarantee Period
The “normal form of pension” at Dalhousie includes a minimum of seven years of payments, i.e., a seven year guarantee. (For years of service up through June 2004, it also included a spousal survivorship benefit for married retirees and a longer guarantee for those not married). Normal forms of pensions at other universities generally either have a ten-year or a five-year guarantee, although a few have no guarantee at all. Hence, on this dimension, the future Dalhousie pension is in the middle of the spectrum. Incidentally, no one at Dalhousie is required to accept the normal form of pension; subject to the restrictions in the Income Tax Act, you can convert it on an actuarially equivalent basis into any permitted optional form of pension.
Benefit Formula: Indexation to Inflation
Most defined-benefit and hybrid
university pension plans have some sort of indexation arrangement which
generally either depends on investment performance or is formulaic. Among the latter, examples of actual formulae include the following: “at
least 60% of change in
Contribution Formula: Above YMPE and below CRFA’s Maximum Salary for Pensionable Purposes
Employee contributions on salary in excess of YMPE at Dalhousie are pegged at 6.15%. This locates Dalhousie in the middle of the spectrum of Canadian university pension plans. At Memorial University and at the University of Alberta, for example, employees contribute over 9% of salary (above YMPE) while at McMaster, Trent, McGill and Sudbury, the contribution rate for employees is only 5%.
Contribution Formula: Up to YMPE
As noted above, many university pension plans set lower contribution rates on salaries below YMPE. Dalhousie has lower contribution rates too, but only up to a salary level of $5,000, which today is far less than YMPE. Consequently, contribution levels in the salary range below YMPE are generally higher at Dalhousie than at most universities.
Dalhousie’s pension compares favourably with pension arrangements at other universities in Canada, but it is relatively expensive for employees. Goss relates pension benefit to pension cost through a summary measure he calls the “internal rate of return” (IRR) earned by pensioners on their contributions. He estimates IRR to be 12.93% at Dalhousie versus 12.60% for the average of all defined-benefit university plans in Canada; the implication is that pension arrangements at Dalhousie – including both retirement benefits and employee cost – are somewhat better than average.
1 In fact, Goss appears to have misinterpreted Dalhousie’s indexation provisions, hence lowering his IRR estimate.
2 In Goss’ paper, he refers to “final” salaries which, for many employees, will also be their best salaries. The Dalhousie Pension Plan uses the best three years of salary, regardless of whether these are the final three years.
The Dalhousie Faculty Association would like to invite ADRP members to an informal gathering to recognize the contributions of five of the DFA original builders:
Place: Lord Dalhousie Pub, University Club
Date: Wednesday, April 26th
Time: 4:30 to
Good food, good conversation, good music! Please plan to attend.
Thank you for reading your way through all the “News in this Letter”. We continue to try and pass on all that we can come up with that we trust will be useful to Dalhousie’s Retirees and Pensioners. If there are any subjects and ideas of possible importance or interest to ADRPers that you would like to see explored and printed in the Newsletter, let us know. Call us or talk to the incoming new President.
We hope to see many of you at the annual meeting on April 27th!
Emerson Moffitt, Editor
Janice Scott, Associate Editor