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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Number 3, January/February 2004

The BCTF Assistance Society

The BCTF Assistance Society exists to help past, present, and retired BCTF members who require emergency financial assistance. The assistance also extends to their dependents and spouses (including common-law and same-sex partners). It is another example of "teachers helping teachers."

The BCTF Assistance Society, an entity separate from the BCTF, was incorporated as a society in 1971, with residual funds from the former provincial and Vancouver Teachers’ Medical Services Associations (prior to creation of the B.C. Medical Services Plan), as well as some bequests and donations. BCTF staff administer the society, and the BCTF bears those costs as its contribution. The BCTF also appoints six active BCTF members as directors to the society’s board each year. Another six directors are elected directly by the society’s members at the society’s AGM every April. The directors and the staff members who work with them treat every application for assistance with respect and confidentiality.

The society usually offers a modest, interest-free loan; in special circumstances, an outright grant. Recipients are expected to repay their loans within a reasonable time, so that other members can access the same services. A repayment schedule is based on each applicant’s finances, and if the circumstances warrant, the time period can be extended or shortened.

Financial assistance is usually requested because of a personal disaster, such as a sudden medical or housing emergency, or a family crisis. Assistance is not available for such things as debt consolidation, summer expenses, or education costs. Financial assistance is generally not available for situations arising from strikes or lockouts, and there is an expectation that any applicant will have already sought other avenues for borrowing money.

To obtain an application form for assistance, or to get further information, please contact the assistance society directly at 604-871-1921, or call the BCTF toll-free at 1-800-663-9163, and ask for the assistance society secretary. To be considered by the directors, an application form must be completed in full, and the applicant must sign a release authorizing a credit check.

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