Years 1988-1989

A Brief History of the Dryden STO/RTO/ERO

Part Four: 1988-1989

1988 – The minutes of the Provincial Budget Committee of STO indicated that there were some grave concerns with respect to the fact that the Superannuation Adjustment Fund not being fully funded on an actuarially sound basis, namely that “an actuarial valuation would reveal an unfunded liability of about $ 2.6 billion and it is forecast that the fund will be exhausted by the year 2008.” As a result of this investigation, it was recommended that the Teachers’ Superannuation Adjustment Benefits Fund (SABA) be amalgamated with the basic Teachers’ Superannuation Fund without delay to avoid further increases in liabilities. The existing surplus in the Teachers’ Superannuation Fund was approximately $ 742 million as of December 1986. The costs for the newly amalgamated fund would be shared equally between the provincial government and the contributing members. This would amount to an increase in contribution of between 9.2% and 11.24% for each member.” Another recommendation issuing from this committee referred to the allocation of funds to “Project Overseas”. This committee had its budget for the allocation for International Assistance reduced from $ 15,000 to $ 10,000 in the 86-87 to 87-88 budget. Amongst other things, it was pointed out that STO was the only retired teachers’ organization that contributes a grant to “Project Overseas” and that this money was matched dollar for dollar by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency). As a result the budget allocation of $ 15,000 for “Project Overseas” was reinstated for 1987-88.

Executive meeting minutes for January indicated that Paul Hampton was an STO member. It was also confirmed that the cost for each member to attend a luncheon meeting was still $ 6. Betty Hawke was appointed to the Provincial Budget Committee. Monthly luncheons for members (except in January, July and August) were inaugurated.

Twenty three STO members attended the February luncheon meeting at the Best Western. Anne Groves had an article and Yvonne Hastings had a poem published in the Provincial STO newsletter. STO members continued to advocate for the change from “Best 7” to “Best 5” in terms of pension calculations and a meeting was scheduled with MPP Frank Miclash. Confederation Life confirmed that they did not cover the cost of “extended care beds”. Following the lunch, Jeff McCanna, a representative from Johnson’s Insurance made a presentation on what they could deliver in the way of health care benefits.

Mrs. Edye’s name was mentioned in the April Executive Meeting minutes. Mr. & Jessie Isberg of Ignace and Joan Hatch were welcomed as new STO members at the June luncheon at St. Luke’s (cost $ 7.25 per plate). Total STO District 35 memberships had now reached 50. Information was requested about a refresher driving course for seniors. Proposals for future activities included a visit to the Dryden Museum followed by a luncheon at the new Seniors’ Activity Centre. Discussions involved the implementation of an out-of-province out-of-country health care plan (as an alternative to Blue Cross) through the existing STO health care plan. The only requirement would be a phone call to let them know when you were leaving (and when you were expected to return).

At the September Executive Meeting it was announced that a history of our local STO would be started. The visit to the Museum and lunch following was very successful. An article on the STO meeting appeared in the Local Express and it became the responsibility of the First Vice President to promote publicity for the organization. In future the installation of officers would take place in June rather than September. STO “members with Extended Health Care Coverage would be able to buy out-of-country insurance at a rate of $ 1 per month single and $ 2 per month double.” More information on this would be forthcoming in the next provincial newsletter. Extended Health Care coverage to include out-of-country travel would have to be purchased within three months of retiring in order to avoid the need for a medical to qualify. No information about a “Driver Refresher Courses for Seniors” was available from the Canada Safety Council (no such course existed although one was offered years later in 1995-96).Les McPherson became the Goodwill Committee Chair in the slate of officers for 1988-89. He also served on the Provincial Pension Committee. Plans were well underway for the annual Christmas Social.

Proposed activities for the spring included a visit to Egli’s Sheep Farm and a presentation by Eric Johnston on the Alternative Education Program at D.H.S. Stuart Calvert seconded the motion to accept the budget report. Ralph McNaughton seconded the motion to adjourn the September general meeting. [I believe that Mary McNaughton retired at the same time as her husband].

In addition to the members already mentioned, the following names appeared in the membership list for 1988: Lois Beck, Lorna Bruchkowski, George Capar, Bob Clarke, Bob Conner, Olivia Florence, Mary Gustin, Dorothy Hoey,Isabel Maclean, Ken Macleod, Agatha Pateman, Nick Perchaliuk, Erma Pierson, Isabelle Salter, Jean Scott, Steve Sipos, Elias Siska, Evelyn Stawarski, Louis Toussaint, Birdie Watt, and Averie Wells.

1989 - Based on the minutes of the February meeting, which included a report by Isabel Maclean, it would appear that Johnsons Insurance had been selected to provide STO Health Care Services. All of the affiliate teachers’ federations supported the request to change the teacher pension from “Best of 7” to “Best of 5” but the provincial government refused to accept arbitration on this matter. All teachers and retired teachers were (justifiably) concerned about the “safety” of the Teachers Pension Plan under government acuity.

At the June business meeting it was announced that the provincial grant to District 35 was set at $ 800 (up from $ 500) and was received in two installments of $ 400. The “Best of 5” question had still not been resolved. A discussion regarding the cost of health care coverage revealed that STO coverage was better and about half the cost of the plan offered by O.T.I.P. (Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan). The September meeting was scheduled for St. Andrew’s Church in Sioux Lookout – the first time that a District 35 meeting would take place out of the Dryden attendance area.

Members were informed that a provincial Ad Hoc committee had been formed to establish a Medical Research Fund to study aging, and the government was being urged to establish a full Ministry of Senior Affairs. Increases in Health Care coverage were announced: Semi-private $ 45 to $ 50 per day, Drug benefits from $ 750 to $ 1,000 per year, and Vision Care from $ 100 to $ 125 per two years. O.T.F. would continue to advocate, through the Biennial Review Committee for “Best of 5” or an increase of $ 1,000 in pension. Lydia Carlbom enquired about the proposed District 35 $ 100 scholarship. Ralph Mennell retired at the end of June.