ASSOCIATION OF DALHOUSIE RETIREES AND PENSIONERS
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 3/4 WINTER/SPRING 2003
Plan to attend the CURAC Conference on May 26 - don't miss it!
Location: Building B, Sexton Campus, Dalhousie University
Conference Programme (provisional)
8-8.55 A.M. Registration
9-9.05 A.M. Welcome: Tarun Ghose and John Dirks
9.05-10 A.M. Constitution and decision on incorporation: Peter Russell
Election of Executive Committee : Albert Tucker
10-10.15 A.M. Coffee
10.15-12 Noon. Reports from Regional University Organizations &
12 Noon-12.15 P.M. ARHOE : Organization of Retirees from American
Institutions of Higher Secondary Education : William Dando
12.30-1.55 P.M. Lunch - Luncheon Speech : From College to University:
Dalhousie's struggle for light and air. Peter Waite
2-2.30 P.M. The Challenge Facing Canadian Higher Education. T. Traves,
President, Dalhousie University
2.35-3.45 P.M. Health Care for Seniors. Chair: Richard Goldbloom,
Chancellor, Dalhousie University. Panellists: Ken Rockwood, Jeff
Dayton-Johnson, and Howard Fink
Discussion and Summary by Richard Goldbloom
4-5.30 P.M. Aging Canadian Society : 2003 and beyond. Chair: John
Dirks. Panellists: William Dando, Janice Keefe and Deborah Lee
6-7:30 P.M. Wine and Cheese
The registration fee for the entire conference, including lunch is $40.00
The registration fee for the afternoon session only is $15.00 for
non-members and $10.00 for ADRP Members. All registrants are invited to
the Wine and Cheese Party A copy of the Registration form and mailing
instructions are at the end of this Newsletter.
A FIRST IN CANADA: LET US MAKE IT A SUCCESS, Tarun Ghose, President
The "First" I am referring to is a new Canadian national organization of
university retirees i.e. College and University Retirees' Association of
Canada, abbreviated as CURAC in English or ARUCC in French. ARUCC stands
for Association des Retraite(e)s des Universites et Colleges du Canada.
The Founding Conference of CURAC/ARUCC will be hosted by ADRP and held on
the 26th of May, 2003 in Building B, Sexton Campus, Dalhousie University.
To go back to the beginning, on the 31st of May, 2002, about 90
registrants representing 19 Canadian University Retirees' Organizations
met in Toronto to discuss the feasibility of forming a national
organization of university retirees. Alasdair Sinclair (Chairperson of
ADRP's Liaison Committee) and myself were invited to attend this meeting.
It was unanimously agreed that a federation of college and retirees'
associations in Canada be formed and that the inaugural conference be held
in Halifax in 2003. A Steering Committee chaired by Dr. John Dirks,
University of Toronto, was established to draw up a provisional
constitution for this organization and to look into other matters
concerning its formation.
After the "usual" discussion (via e-mail) befitting university-associated
organizations, the proposed constitution of CURAC is now available for
viewing on the CURAC website. This can be easily accessed via our ADRP
site. To-date, 15 Canadian university retirees' organizations, including
ADRP, have agreed to become Founding Members of CURAC.
The question may be asked as to why we need CURAC at all. The detailed
purposes of CURAC are delineated in the organization's proposed
constitution. In brief, we need an organization like CURAC in order to
keep in touch with fraternal organizations so that we can learn from each
other's experiences. We need CURAC to create and maintain a central
depository of relevant information and to act as an umbrella watchdog for
encouraging and preserving best practices between a given University and
its retirees. A national organization of University retirees is also
essential for identifying issues which concern university retirees
nationally and regionally (e.g. laws governing university pensions and
pension funds) and for building support for favourably resolving issues
accruing from the application of such national and regional laws.
Moreover, in a decade or so, seniors will constitute the largest age group
in Canada's population. This will not only need a reconfiguration of the
nation's health care and social benefits policies but may also require
university retirees to initiate and join discussion s concerning other
pressing social matters. CURAC may also provide novel opportunities for
retirees' personal development such as mentoring and teaching in less
developed and war-ravaged countries.
Finally, CURAC may initiate the discussion regarding whether mandated
retirement at 65 is really relevant when people live longer and remain
physically and mentally capable especially when there is a shortage of
qualified and experienced humanpower.
The success of CURAC's inauguration depends upon you. You can help by
registering for the Conference and by donating some time for volunteer
work during the Conference.
PENSION MATTERS, Paul Huber, Vice-President
Investment Performance of the Dalhousie Pension Funds
Most Dalhousie retirees are aware that financial markets delivered poor
returns for several quarters and that pension funds across Canada are
experiencing deficits. But many do not realize just how shockingly poor
those results have been. If we consider the three-year period from 1 April
2000 through 31 March 2003, the Toronto stock market lost 11.1% per year
compounded, the US market (S&P 500) 16% per year, and EAFE (Europe, Asia
and the Far East) 19%. Only bond markets rose an average of 7.6% annual
gain compounded. Over this same period, the Dalhousie Pension Trust Fund
(PTF) lost 2.1% annually on its investments before administrative costs
and the Retirees' Trust Fund (RTF) 1.6% annually. These are remarkably
good relative performances, given the mix of assets held by the funds over
the past fifteen years: 60 percent in equities and 40 percent in fixed
But good performance relative to market averages does not put bread on the
table. Absolute returns are far below the actuarial assumptions (7 percent
for the PTF, 4.55 percent for the RTF) and they have gotten worse in the
last nine months. Over this period, the PTF lost about six percent and the
RTF about five percent.
Dalhousie Pension Plan Deficits and Surpluses
Dalhousie has an unusual pension structure in that it has two separate
funds within the same plan. The PTF holds the funds of employees (and
former employees) who have not yet retired; the RTF holds the funds of
retirees who have not necessarily commenced receiving their pension
payments. At retirement, money is transferred from the PTF to the RTF to
fund the defined pension entitlement to which the retiree is entitled.
(Some retiring persons opt at this point to take this entitlement out of
the Dalhousie Pension Plan.) As at 30 June 2002 (pension plan fiscal
year-end), the PTF had an actuarial deficit of about $ 38.5 million and
the RTF an actuarial surplus of about $21.5 million. This meant that
overall the Dalhousie Pension Plan had an actuarial deficit of $17
One must approach these number with caution, however, because they involve
an actuarial smoothing of Plan assets which effectively overstates them
quite dramatically. If assets are measured at market values, the PTF
deficit would have been $68 million and the RTF surplus only $10 million,
for an overall deficit of $58 million. The liabilities of the PTF are
approximately $402 million and those of the RTF about $145 million, so the
PTF deficit is about 17 percent and the RTF surplus about 7 percent of
each fund's respective liabilities. The poor absolute performance of the
two funds during the first three-quarters of the current fiscal period
suggests that the PFT deficit would have increased since last June by
about $50 million and the surplus in the RTF would have turned into a tiny
deficit as at the end of March 2003.
Ex Gratia Payments to Pre-1982 Retirees
These payments continued in 2003 according to the previously agreed
Implications for Plan Funding
Nova Scotia's Pension Benefits Act requires pension plan sponsors (the
Board of Governors at Dalhousie) to amortize plan deficits calculated on a
going-concern basis within an fifteen year period. In effect, the
legislation requires the plan sponsor to guarantee the funding of your
pension. This means that the Board now has to make substantial additional
contributions to the Plan. It is my understanding that these amortization
payments have already started. The amount of these overmatching
contributions will be about 3.5 percent of payroll for at least two or
three years. This marks the first time in nearly twenty years that the BOG
has been required to make overmatching contributions to the Pension Plan.
Some people suggest that Dalhousie should not have taken pension holidays
during the last decade and that the University Administration and
Dalhousie's unions caused the current pension funding problem. This is
uninformed nonsense. Federal income tax law does not permit pension plans
to have surpluses that exceed 10 percent of their liabilities. Thirty
months ago in the last stages of Dalhousie's contribution holiday the
surplus was 9.5 percent of Plan liabilities. Without the pension
contribution holiday, Dalhousie would have dramatically broken the law,
which might have resulted in the CCRA imposing extremely onerous
Implications for Retirees' Pensions
There are several implications for members of the ADRP:
First, difficulties are being experienced by many defined pension plans,
and recovery obviously depends in part on the future state of financial
markets. Although valuation deficit(s) in the Dalhousie Pension Plan may
continue for some time, I am confident in its soundness and long-term
viability. There is no reason for apprehension regarding the pension that
you currently are receiving.
Second, the likelihood of any indexation next January is very low and the
prospect of making good the missing indexation (about 1 percent) from this
past January is currently remote.
Third, if you have deferred the commencement of your pension, you should
definitely start it flowing by next January at the latest; in fact, you
probably should start it sooner.
KEEPING IN TOUCH - contributions from Members, submitted by Dorothy Moore,
Chair, Keeping in Touch Sub-Committee
Rosemary MacKenzie travelled to England and Scotland in 2002 to visit
family and friends in North Curry, Chard, Gairloch, and Edinburgh. She
visited many wonderful gardens including Margery Fish's garden in East
Lambrook, Somerset, the Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Rosemoor
in Devon, and the Branklin garden in Perth.
Dorothy Moore. In the late 1990's Dorothy Moore travelled to the
Philippines on Aeroplan points, to meet her now-grown-up foster child and
her family, and to stay for a week in their home. Estrellita was the only
one in her large family to finish school, and she married into the
wealthiest family in her village. They came to fetch Dorothy from Manila
in a duplicate of the Honda Civic she had left at home!
Diane Prosser. My life is pleasant, relatively uneventful but fun with a
big circle of friends and lots of interests. My three children (two
married, no grandchildren) are far away but we keep in regular touch -
e-mail is a boon. The big change in my life came six years before I
retired when I lost my husband of 33 years. I that case I had a huge
support network at Dal, both in my workplace as Admin Officer in the
School of Health and Human Performance, and in the wider Dal community.
Bob Rodger. Bob and Margaret Rodger were married at Greyfriars Kirk on
June 20, 1953, so they hope to celebrate their fifty, happy years together
on June 20, 2003 with a meeting of family and friends here in New
The Keeping in Touch Sub-Committee would like to hear from Members. You
are invited to send a brief announcement of any item in your life since
you retired, which you would like to have known to your former colleagues,
with some of whom you may have lost contact. Items in your life could
concern family or home changes, an award or appointment, a new job or
task, a special occasion or anniversary, etc.! You might wish to add your
telephone number. Notify Dorothy Moore, Chair of the Keeping in Touch
Sub-Committee by e-mail: dorothy.moore @dal.ca, or by phone: 477-7398.
BENEFITS COMMITTEE REPORT, Philip Welch, Chair of the Benefits Committee
Health Benefits continue to be a major concern for Members of this
Dental Insurance. On the basis of investigation to-date, this seems to be
a non-starter. Coverage is essentially on the basis of money in /money
out, therefore not really insurance, and is dependent on the participation
of all members of the group at risk.
Drug Coverage. We have been unsuccessful to-date in finding a useful
alternative to NS Seniors' Pharmacare Plan, though the search continues.
Travel Health Insurance. Coverage for out-of-Canada Emergency Health Care
is widely available. Virtually all exclude those with problems due to
"pre-existing conditions" which have required significant attention
(including a prescription change) in the months prior to departure.
3 months under Atlantic Blue Cross if under 60 years, 6 months if over 60
1-5 years under Thomas Cook policy 3-12 months under Medipac International
We have explored the possibility that Blue Cross might offer Travel Health
Insurance, excluding pre-existing conditions, for those retirees who have
maintained their Dalhousie Blue Cross membership. Blue Cross is prepared
to do so if 75 percent of this group agree, and Blue Cross will require
that all participants in Dalhousie Blue Cross pay the premium ($5.70/month
single, $11.43 for family).
The number of responses to the questionnaire in the Autumn 2002 Newsletter
was rather disappointing, though two-thirds were in favour. I hope Dal
will explore this further with all retired Blue Cross participants.
My recommendations in these areas are:
1. Continue Dalhousie Blue Cross coverage, if you already have it. Their
long-term nursing care/nursing home coverage cannot be beaten.
2. Take out some form of health insurance if you travel. Compare rates
from CARP (1-888-239-2444), Atlantic Blue Cross, and MEDOC (453-9527).
MEDOC is now available to ADRP and they have offered 5 percent discount to
3. Individuals who wish to explore Drug/Dental coverage may try CARP
4. If interested in long-term care coverage (if NOT already in Blue
Cross), try CARP (1-800-809-3055)
General Benefits Update. We have set up a Task Force to explore the
various benefits currently available to the various Dal employee groups,
to identify those of potential interest to retirees/pensioners. We will
then see which are worth ADRP's pursuing.
ADRP Representation on the University Pension Advisory Committee (PAC)
Recent Provincial legislation (BILL 9) has required representation by a
pensioner on a pension advisory committee for private plans. While the
Committee described under Bill 9 differs significantly from the PAC, the
ADRP has been offered a place and voice on the PAC. I feel this is an
important step forward, which I hope will be approved by the ADRP. (Note
that the ADRP now has a representative on the Trustees for the Retirees
Trust Fund, which handles investments.)
Any ADRP Member with an interest in being involved in the work of the
Benefits Committee should contact Philip Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
We have e-mail addresses for less than half the ADRP Membership. To cut
the cost of postage we would like to distribute this Newsletter to as many
Members as possible by e-mail. If you have an e-mail address please let us
know at email@example.com.
The ADRP intends to publish the Newsletter every three months. It is
hoped the Newsletter will serve the following purposes:
To provide pertinent information;
To provide a forum for the free exchange of views on issues relevant to
To serve as a documentary record of matters relating to the ADRP.
The Editorial Board, under the ultimate direction of the ADRP Board, takes
responsibility for the contents of the Newsletter. Signed contributions
will take the form of short articles and letters to the editor which will
normally represent the opinions of the author and need not represent the
views of the ADRP. Anonymous material will not be considered for
publication. The Editorial Board retains the right to edit or reject
contributed material and to elicit similar and opposing views surrounding
any issue raised.
The Editors: Rosemary MacKenzie, Dee Purvis
The Editorial Board: Rosemary MacKenzie, Dorothy Moore, Dee Purvis,
ex-officio: Tarun Ghose, Man Vohra
HOW TO CONTACT US?
By phone: 902-494-7174 By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org By post: ADRP Office, Room
2831 Life Sciences Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S. B3H 4J1
REGISTRATION FORM FOR THE CURAC CONFERENCE
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY RETIREES' ASSOCIATIONS OF CANADA(CURAC)
Associations des retrait(e)s des universits et collges du Canada(ARUCC)
REGISTRATION FOR THE INAUGURAL CONFERENCE DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY 26 MAY,
2003, HALIFAX NS Please print Name:
(Name of retiree association, college or university, other) Position held
at time of retirement: _________________________________________
(Street address) _________________________________________________________
(City) (Province or State) (Postal Code) Phone No:
_____________________________________ (Area code) (Number) Email address:
______________________ @ _____________________ (please print carefully
making any dots legible) Address in Halifax during conference (you must
make your own booking) Waverly[ ] Sheraton 4 Point [ ] Lord Nelson [ ]
Other (please specify) _______________________________________ (Name of
hotel or street address)
(Local telephone number) I am interested in one of the post-conference
local tours: Louisbourg [ ] Lunenburg [ ] The registration fee of $C40
should accompany this registration form. Please make cheque or money order
payable to the Association of Dalhousie Retirees and Pensioners. Please do
not send cash. No registration fee refund will be available after
Thursday, May 22, 2003. Check here if receipt required [ ] Mailing Address
: Association of Dalhousie Retirees and Pensioners 444 Francklyn St,
Halifax NS B3H 1A9 Contact person: Dr. T. Ghose Telephone (902)429 0312
Fax: (902) 429 0942 E-mail: email@example.com
Life Sciences Centre