Association of Dalhousie Retirees and Pensioners
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volume 1, number 1, Summer 2002
Note from the Editors announcing our first issue.
This is the first issue of a quarterly newsletter of the Association in
which we intend to include articles and letters covering issues of concern
to all Dalhousie retirees and pensioners. This means we will be calling
on you as individual members to make this your own Newsletter by
providing us with information, experiences, and concerns you have as
Dalhousie retirees and pensioners. We will provide an editorial policy in
our next Newsletter.
In this introductory issue you will read a letter from our President,
Tarun Ghose which we hope will be a standard feature of the Newsletter, a
report on Blue Cross benefits from Philip Welch, Chair of the ADRP
Benefits Committee, a report from Blanche Potter, Chair of the ADRP
Membership Committee, and some additional information including that
taken from the Association's web page. The Association's web page is
found at http://is.dal.ca/~adrp/.
This issue will be sent out as e-mail to those of you for whom we have
e-mail addresses. We would appreciate hearing from those Members who
have technical difficulties reading or receiving this Newsletter by e-mail. If
we do not have an e-mail address you will receive a paper copy of the
Newsletter. As you may know a large portion of the Association's
budget is allocated to postage. In order to reduce the cost of postage as
much as possible we do urge you to provide us with an e-mail address if
you have one.
Letter from the President, Tarun Ghose.
Sages in India (the country I come from) have emphasized that one must
discover and define oneself before aspiring for greater heights. In
deference, I shall first briefly recapitulate what our Association is,
what our goals are, and what terrains we have covered so far and still
hope to cover. Finally, I shall look into the crystal ball for a glimpse
of the future.
Our Association was constituted and registered with the Province of Nova
Scotia as a non-profit society in September, 2000. The Association is
open to all Dalhousie University retirees and pensioners. Spouses of
deceased Dalhousie retirees and pensioners are also eligible for
membership. Moreover, there is also a provision of Associate membership
for some active employees. Details can be obtained from the Chair,
Our Association has two principal objectives. First, we want to build a
mutually beneficial relationship with the University. Retirees should be
regarded as an asset to the University. At present, we are discussing
with President Traves how to strengthen the University-retiree
relationship. The Association's second objective is - in simple words -
to look after our members. Many retirees find the sudden transition from
work to retirement somewhat bewildering. There is often a perception of
isolation and helplessness. We hope soon to be able to develop closer
social links among our members and assure them that we are there to help
whenever help is needed. To this end, our Social Committee, under the
leadership of Kate MacDonald and Mary Simms will be organizing lectures
on topics of interest, instruction sessions (e.g. instruction on how to use
computers), small group discussions, and group activities such as visits
to theatres, operas and walking or hiking tours. The success of these
initiatives will depend upon your enthusiastic participation. We shall
continue to look after and improve the pension and other fringe benefits
of our membership. At present, a committee chaired by Bill Charles is
looking into the advisability and feasibility of separating our Retirees
Trust Fund from the Pension Fund. Philip Welch and John Anderson are
investigating the availability and suitability of several insurance plans
for covering health during travel, dentalcare and prescription drugs. We
shall soon be discussing these issues with the University Administration.
The details of the progress made by our various committees can be found
in the reports of these committees in this Newsletter as well as in a
summary of our accomplishments, prepared and presented by Man Vohra
on our website.
Many of you may be aware that recently, a group of scientists in the US
have synthesized the poliovirus starting from scratch, using mostly "off
the shelf" chemicals. This remarkable achievement has instigated, among
other things, a rather esoteric debate about what is living and what
constitutes life. To many, one of the signs of life is growth and
proliferation i.e. increase in number. If we use this criterion, ADRP is
very much alive. Our organization is growing in strength and thanks to a
very dedicated Membership Committee, chaired by Blanche Potter, we are
also increasing in number. Another sign of life is the ability to carry
out meaningful communication. Thanks to Man and the Communications
Committee, we have now our website which is linked to other
university-retiree organizations throughout the country. And thanks to
them again, we also have this Newsletter. Finally, it is essential for a
living being to have an organized structure. Thanks to Bob Rodger, Diane
Prosser and our dedicated volunteers, our organization has been
strengthened by an efficiently functioning office equipped with the usual
array of gadgets (which, I confess, I find to be somewhat intimidating).
In summary, like the famous Jacques Brel, ADRP is very much "alive and
After attending a recent conference of retirees from Canadian colleges and
universities in May of this year in Toronto, I have the distinct
impression that, at present, ADRP may be the longest functioning
university retirees' organization in Canada. This may be the right place
to briefly outline what this conference was about. A group of university
retirees in the Toronto area took the initiative to call a national
meeting to discuss the formation of a national organization of university
and college retirees of Canada. The functions of this proposed national
organization will include:
1. Keeping in touch with sister organizations; creating and maintaining a
central depository of information and learning from one another's
2. Assumption of a watch-dog role; and
3. Research and discussion for identifying issues that concern
college/university retirees nationally.
A summary of the proceedings of this conference and ensuing discussions
can be availed through our website-linkages (thanks to Man and Ken Rea).
I suggest that those members who have access to a computer should
spend a few minutes to go through this. It is reassuring to realize that we
in the ADRP are not alone and that there are others who may help us and
still others who may need our help.
One important outcome of this conference has been that in May 2003, there
will be a national convention of Canadian college and university retirees
in Halifax to formally constitute and inaugurate the Canadian National
Organization. Alasdair Sinclair and I are jointly in charge of the local
arrangements for this convention. We urgently need volunteers to help
with the various responsibilities of the Local Preparatory Committee.
Those who can advise and help us, please contact Alasdair Sinclair or me
as soon as possible.
Finally, what about the crystal ball?
First, I look forward to the day when our University will provide every
retiree with a handbook that clearly spells out the pension and other
benefits to which they are entitled. This is likely to happen soon.
Second, I hope that the University and the retirees will arrive at an
understanding about the method of calculating a surplus and the principles
guiding the dispersion of pension surpluses. The recent events in the
stock market have somewhat dulled the urgency for this, nevertheless, we
intend to pursue this issue.
Third, I hope that with the help of our proposed national organization we
shall obtain better terms for our insurance and benefit plans. This is
based on an expectation that the relatively large membership of the
national organization will help us in our negotiations with the insurance
companies. Furthermore, with the availability of information on the
existing benefits for retirees in all or most Canadian universities and
colleges, our national organization may be able to guide local
negotiations. I also hope that the proposed national organization will be
able to arrange access for our members to university/college
accommodation, clubs, libraries etc on a national basis. We have to wait
Finally, I look forward to building bridges to link us with local and
national seniors' organizations in order to add our voice to debate the
issues which affect all seniors nationally. Canada's population is
getting older and the median age of our population reached the all-time
high of 37.6 years in 2001. This needs a rethinking and reconfiguration
of our social benefits policies. As part of this aging population, we
have to join with the rest of the country's seniors to obtain just and
equitable allocations for social and healthcare benefits. I am confident
that under the leadership of Alasdair Sinclair and Bob Rodger, our Liaison
Committee will forge links with other seniors' organizations locally and
provincially. The 2003 convention may give us the opportunity to
introduce ADRP to other seniors' organizations in this city.
I look forward to your help, participation and advice as to how we can
fulfill these objectives and face the challenge.
Report from ADRP Benefits Committee, Philip Welch, Chair.
We frequently receive inquiries concerning insurance for health care.
Often these inquiries relate to the Dalhousie Blue Cross Plan, as ADRP
members and those about to retire from Dalhousie wonder if they should
maintain their Dalhousie Blue Cross membership or seek coverage under
some other plan. Herewith are some pointers.
If you retire "early" (i.e. prior to age 65), you may continue your
Dalhousie Blue Cross membership with the same benefits as regular
Dalhousie employees, up to age 65. This is usually advantageous and
beneficial, as you then continue to receive the benefits of participation
in a group plan (cheaper premium than an individual Blue Cross Plan). The
premium you pay will be greater (usually double) than that which you paid
as a regular Dalhousie employee, because Dalhousie no longer subsidizes
the Blue Cross premium.
When you reach age 65, you may continue your membership in the
Dalhousie Blue Cross Plan, but your coverage will no longer include the
Prescription Drug Benefit, or Worldwide Travel benefits. (Your premium
will therefore decrease, reflecting the removal of these benefits.)
Should ADRP retirees over age 65 years continue in the Dalhousie Blue
This is obviously an individual decision, and you may wish to explore and
compare the cost and coverage of other Plans, including non-Dalhousie
Blue Cross Plans.
I would bring to your attention, however, the coverage provided under the
Extended Health Benefits of the Dalhousie Blue Cross Plan for a Private
Duty Nurse. The Dalhousie Blue Cross Plan provides reimbursement for a
private duty nurse of up to $13,000 per year with no cap or limitation on
the number of years. This is significantly more generous than any other
plan we have seen, including the regular Blue Cross provision. (The
Dalhousie Blue Cross Plan may also authorize payment for care in a
licensed nursing home, up to a maximum of $28,000 per year, in lieu of
private nursing home care.)
It is most important to note that if a retiree elects to leave the
Dalhousie Blue Cross Plan, he/she cannot rejoin the plan at some later
Finally, I wish to bring to your attention that one of our members noted
that the Dalhousie Blue Cross Plan provides 80% reimbursement for
"services and supplies....ordered or prescribed by a licensed medical
practitioner [which] are not declared a benefit under the patient's
government hospital or medical plan". (Quoted from the blue summary
sheet of Dalhousie University's Voluntary Major Medical Insurance Blue
Cross for Retirees.)
This member wondered if this provision would provide for reimbursement
of some portion of the co-pay premiums, which are generally paid by all
seniors 65 years and over, for their prescription drugs, provided through
Nova Scotia Seniors Pharmacare Plan.
Our member went to the Blue Cross Office, and after some discussion and
checking by the office staff with higher Blue Cross authorities, the
member was reimbursed. We understand that such reimbursement has
been provided on more than one occasion. Our President, Dr. Tarun
Ghose, also explored this situation with the Blue Cross authorities, and has
received a written statement that under [Blue Cross] Policy #2146-200 MSI
Pharmacare co-pay amounts can be submitted for 80% reimbursement.
Since these payments have now been reimbursed (80%) by Blue Cross, we
felt it important to bring this to the attention of all our members. (Please
note that the reimbursement to date has been for 80% of the co-payments
made directly by the individual for drugs provided under the Nova Scotia
For those members 65 years and over who have retained their Dalhousie
Blue Cross membership and wish to take advantage of the reimbursement
provision, it is important to quote the Blue Cross Number of the Dalhousie
Retirees' Plan - 2146-200. Tarun Ghose has been informed by the Atlantic
Blue Cross that REIMBURSEMENT must be CLAIMED WITHIN 24 MONTHS
of the date of service.
Please forward any comments to the following e-mail address
Report from the ADRP Membership Committee, Blanche Potter, Chair.
Except for the summer months, the Membership Committee has been
meeting on a monthly basis. In March/April of this year, members of the
Committee (Sheila Johnson, Blanche Potter, Mary Simms, and Helen
Maxner) made phone calls to the 146 members who had not renewed their
membership telling them of the activities the ADRP had undertaken on their
behalf and urging them to renew. As a result 71 members of the 146
renewed their membership. In May/June a friendly reminder letter was sent
out to the remaining 75 and as a result of this mail out 41 people renewed.
In addition to the renewals, we had 23 new members join the Association.
Bob Rodger put together a flyer encouraging those who were about to
retire to join the ADRP and we distributed this to every department listed in
the Dalhousie Directory. We have also had a membership table set up at all
the meetings and social events which were held throughout the year. Man
Vohra has been instrumental in establishing a web site for the ADRP which
is also linked to the DFA, NSGEU, and DUAG web sites. We made a
presentation at the pre-retirement workshops given by Dalhousie.
If you are one of our valued members who has not renewed membership
for 2002 we urge you to do so now. Your support and participation is
important to us. Please send your cheque or money order for $10.00 made
payable to ADRP to: ADRP, Room 2831, Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie
University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4J1.
We know there are over 600 retirees and pensioners of Dalhousie and our
current membership is 357. We encourage you to let us know of anyone
who has retired and is not a member by contacting Blanche Potter by
phone at 454-5554; or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Convention of Canadian University/College Retirees'
Associations will be held in Halifax on May 26, 2003. Tarun Ghose and
Alasdair Sinclair are asking for volunteers to assist with the
organization of this Convention. Please contact them for voluntary
activities needed. Details of the Convention will appear in later issues
of the Newsletter.
Death of Kurt Aterman.
Kurt Aterman died on July 27, 2002. On behalf of ADRP, I would like to
extend our condolences to his wife, Rita and sons, Paul, Robert, and
Peter. Until a few years ago, Kurt was a regular patron of the Science
Library on the second floor of the Killam. He would come to the Science
Reference Desk to say hello and tell a funny story and then go to pick up
the latest issue of Current Contents Life Sciences. The Science
Librarians allowed him to take this home and return it the next day. His
reason for extracting this privilege from us was not the usual one that
nobody but he read the journal but that he could sit in his garden under
the magnolia tree to read it. As a librarian and gardener, I had no
answer to this but to extend the privilege because I could see him sitting
quietly under the magnolia perusing his journal. After all is this not
what retirement is all about?
Rosemary MacKenzie, Editor.
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