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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 7, May/June 2006

Benefits of joining the Retired Teachers' Association

by Joanne Lauber

Are you one whose "numbers" are adding up to that magical 90? Are you envisioning a September late morning coffee as you read the entire Globe & Mail, even as classes are in session in your last school? Is your mind taking you to those exotic places in the world that you’ve always wanted to see (at reasonable travelling cost)? If so, you must be contemplating the arrival of one of life’s rewards: the freedom to choose exactly how you want to spend your time, enabled by your pension cheque.

The BC Retired Teachers’ Association (BCRTA) has celebrated 50 years of chartered existence and is the official voice and organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of retired Teachers’ Pension Plan members, both teachers and administrators.

Membership benefits

• Maintain contact with colleagues. At the local level, you can attend meetings that focus on the social and are organized by branch volunteers-luncheons, day trips, speaker presentations, sports events.

• Input into pension concerns through our on TPPAC, the Teachers’ Pension Plan Advisory Committee. The BCRTA has two voting members and five participants on the Teachers’ Pension Advisory Committee, and, currently, two BCRTA members who are trustees of the Teachers’ Pension Plan; one of these is also a member on the Board of the Pension Corporation.

• Input into pension decisions through the Pension Plan Trustees as they deal with the challenges of maintaining pension indexing and health benefits. Since these benefits are not guaranteed in their present form, the BCRTA through its TTPAC representatives continues to work for their maintenance and improvement.

• Participate in insurance plans at group rates: travel, home, life, and long-term care. Our travel insurance (MEDOC), for example, extends the benefits enjoyed by BCTF subscribers: the BCRTA base plan provides year-round coverage for an unlimited number of trips of up to 35 days each and up to $5 million in medical coverage. These plans are financially advantageous to BCRTA and only BCRTA members may participate in them.

• Continue to serve others in a spirit of benevolence through the work of the R.R. Smith Foundation, which benefits educational projects both in Canada and abroad, and to which all BCRTA members belong.

• Participate in the various BCRTA standing committees that afford opportunities for leadership and continued contribution, a chance to advocate for things that are important to you as a retired educator, to the education system, to the students, and to the future.

• Keep current on matters pertaining to the interests of retired teachers through the BCRTA publication, Postscript, which you will receive four times a year. Postscript covers a wide range of topics of interest to retirees. Most branches publish a newsletter as well.

• Representation through the BCRTA on the executive of CART, the Canadian Association of Retired Teachers; this association has influence on matters concerning seniors as citizens of Canada.

• Affiliation with COSCO (the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations), which represents about 60,000 BC seniors advocating on your behalf.

The BCRTA is a strong and active voice for nearly 13,000 retired teachers divided mainly on the basis of geography into 42 branches. (One of our branches is comprised of the post-secondary educator retirees across the province.) Each branch is represented at the AGM, which sets financial and policy issues and elects a provincial executive who meet regularly throughout the year. The executive, aided by the office staff, develop and implement concrete action plans to ensure effective governance.

Membership fees

The annual membership fee is a mere $35, and the local branch fee is usually less than $10. (You must join the provincial association in order to be a member of a local branch.) The membership fee is good value for your dollar, however. For example, in 2004 the BCRTA presented a brief to the newly elected teachers’ college that resulted in their decision to eliminate the proposed annual fee of $37.50 for non-practicing retirees wishing to retain their permanent BC certificates.

There is power in numbers and your membership will enhance the strong unified voice of the BCRTA, an organization proud to serve the needs of teachers, administrators, and post-secondary instructors in their retirement. Go to our web site to find an application form, www.bctf.bc.ca/rta or e-mail pat@bcrta.com or kristi@bcrta.com.

Joanne Lauber is a retired Langley teacher.

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