MROO MEMBERS REPORTER
IN THIS ISSUE... A MESSAGE FROM MROO PRESIDENT DON MACLEOD
OMERS reaches As 2006 draws to a close, your Municipal Retirees Organization has had a good year.
100,000 pensioners • We made a difference in the Ontario Government's legislation on OMERS autonomy (Bill
What is Seasonal 206). We helped to preserve OMERS' ability to reduce the CPP offset in the future .
Affective Disorder? • We appointed the first retiree representative both to the new OMERS Sponsor Corporation
Why Make the Switch and to the OMERS Administration Corporation.
to MROO Home and • We started up the MROO Scholarship program for the children and grandchildren of
Auto Insurance? members.
Congratulations to the • We have added a ninth zone, so that municipal retirees in central Ontario can be better
MROO Scholarship represented.
program recipients • Working with the ENCON Group, we kept our "by-retirees for-retirees" MROO Health
insurance affordably priced, while also making some improvements so that it better meets
MROO adds a new
zone for Central the needs of retirees.
Ontario • We have maintained a strong relationship with OMERS staff.
• Through the ENCON Group Inc, MROO now sponsors convalescent care insurance and a
travel insurance advisory service, which have been well received by our members.
Retirement ends in
December 2006 • The Mitchell & Abbott Group not only look after our members who have Home and Auto
Insurance policies with them but also offer free insurance advice to all MROO members.
One veteran's story:
Mitchell & Abbott were the pioneers in insurance for seniors and they continually work to
from World War to
bring us the most competitive plans.
battleground • We have continued to improve our newsletter.
• Our zone meetings attracted record numbers of MROO members and a great day was had
Lest We Forget: the by all. Among other highlights, OMERS President Paul Haggis spoke at 3 of our meetings.
Battle of Vimy Ridge
But expanding our membership is what I am most pleased about. The more OMERS
Plus Jokes, Recipes retirees we represent, the more OMERS and the Ontario Government will hear us. And I
and More think we are making progress.
• More of you than ever before brought your former colleagues out to join MROO at our
IF YOU MOVE… zone meetings
Reminder: • MROO has been endorsed by the Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association
If you move, please let us (OMHRA) as a dedicated and effective voice for OMERS retirees.
know your new address. • Our association with OMHRA has put us in touch with more municipalities. The City of
Leaving a message at Kitchener now invites us to their pre-retirement seminars, so that their retirees know that
1-800-595-4497 is all it takes. there is a voice for retirees. The City of Ottawa sends out MROO information not only to
Remember: new retirees but also to existing retirees.
Telling OMERS is not the Elsewhere in this issue, OMERS reports that they now have over 100,000 pensioners. Our
same as telling MROO. By objective is to have over half of OMERS pensioners as MROO members. Yes, we still have
law, OMERS can't give us a long way to go, but with your help, the MROO voice will keep growing stronger and
your personal information. stronger!
• OFFICE OPEN TUESDAY • HOURS 9:30 AM TO 3 PM •
THE END OF MANDATORY RETIREMENT IN ONTARIO
With thanks to the January 2006 Hicks Morley Client Update
We noted in 2005 that the Ontario Government was What employee benefits will be extended to 65-plus
considering a change in the Ontario Human Rights employees?
Code so that an employee could no longer be compelled What if someone 65-plus applies for a new job, even
to retire at age 65. In December 2005, the Ontario if on pension? How will age discrimination be
Legislature did pass the law to end mandatory prevented?
retirement. So that employers and employees would How will employers and unions deal with employees
have some time to get used to the idea, the law does not who are not "holding up their end", but who would not
take effect until December 12, 2006. have faced discipline if they had been soon going to
However, the law was wisely worded so that pensions retire?
plans were not thrown into chaos. The law still permits What will be the impact of the inevitable illnesses
the use of age 65 as the "normal retirement date" for and infirmities which are more likely to affect older
pension purposes. It also still permits the use of age 65 workers? How will they be accommodated?
as the "cut-off date" for various employee benefit plans. Will employers and unions consider alternative work
As previously reported, the average retirement age of arrangements that might suit older workers better, such
OMERS retirees is younger than 65. Nonetheless, the as flexible work hours or permanent part-time
future will see more people in the workforce aged 65- positions?
plus, because they like the job, like the people, and/or These are just some of the questions which may come
need the money. This will create some tricky issues for up in HR departments and at the bargaining table after
employers, employees and unions. December 12.
THE NEW BROOM
The Town Council didn't like the way the place was being OMERS has reached a special milestone: it is now paying
run and felt it was time for a shake-up. So, they hired a pensions to 100,000 retired OMERS members and
new CAO and told him to get rid of the slackers. survivors.
When the Public Works Superintendent took him on an "It's been a long journey from our first few retirees in
introductory tour, the new CAO noticed a guy leaning 1963 to today," said Jennifer Brown, Senior Vice-President,
against the wall. The room was full of workers and he OMERS Pension Division. OMERS currently has about
wanted to show that he meant business! 364,000 working and retired members. When you consider
He walked up to the guy and asked, "How much money do their spouses, children and other relatives, OMERS has a
you make a week?"
direct or indirect impact on a sizeable portion of the
A little surprised, the young fellow replied, "I make
about $300 a week. Why?"
"Well," said the CAO, "you're not the kind I want around OMERS pensioners span the globe. While the majority of
here. Go up to Payroll, collect your pay, GET OUT, and retirees live in Ontario, many have settled across the rest of
don't come back!." Canada, in the U.S., in Europe, and as far away as Australia.
Feeling pretty good about himself, the CAO looked Wherever located, the single-most important aspect of
around the room and asked, "Does anyone want to tell me having an OMERS pension is the dependability and security
what that goof-off did here?" of their monthly payment. Whether by direct deposit (in
From across the room came a voice, "Pizza delivery guy Canada and the U.S.) or by mail, their pension payment
from Domino's." arrives like clockwork at the beginning of each month.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
President MROO Vice President
Don MacLeod (905) 385-0144 2680 Skymark Avenue, Suite 910 Joe LaRue (705) 254-3478
1-800-561-4600 Mississauga, Ontario L4W 5L6 Fax (705) 254-6012
Fax 1-905-385-5245 1-800-595-4497 e-mail: email@example.com
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax (905) 602-4295
e-mail: email@example.com Publications Mail
www.mroo.org Registration Number 40041589
MEMBERSHIP EXPANSION NEWS
MROO adds zone #9 MROO receives endorsement from the Ontario
For years, MROO has had representatives from 8 Municipal Human Resources Association
zones across Ontario. But Zone 4 included Toronto and The Ontario Municipal Human Resources
much of central Ontario. People from such a large area Association (OMHRA) contains HR managers and staff
had trouble attending the zone meeting each year. One from nearly 100 Ontario municipalities. OMHRA
director had trouble making contact with so many President Roy Male recently sent us these words of
employers and unions. support:
Therefore the Board has added a new zone. The new "On behalf of the OMHRA Board and members of
zone (zone 9), which will come into effect for the OMHRA, I would like to congratulate MROO on its
Spring 2007 zone meetings, includes: solid foundation of leadership, lobbying efforts and
• The County of Simcoe, its municipalities, plus Barrie the many benefits it provides to its members, the
and Orillia municipal retirees of Ontario. As Human Resource
professionals, we believe that MROO provides
• The District Municipality of Muskoka and its
essential services to its members and we do not
hesitate to promote such a worthwhile organization."
• The County of Dufferin and its municipalities
Kitchener invites MROO to its pre-retirement
• The County of Grey, its constituent municipalities, seminars
plus Owen Sound
The City of Kitchener's HR Department has invited
• The City of Kawartha Lakes MROO to speak at its twice-yearly seminars for the
Its first zone meeting, at which a new Director and city's about-to-be-retirees. This gives us the
alternate Director will be elected, will be held in Barrie. opportunity to let them know that MROO is here to
Zone 4 will include the City of Toronto, the Regional stand up for retirees, to supply relevant information
Municipality of Peel and its municipalities, the about retirement, and to offer "by retirees, for retirees"
Regional Municipality of Durham and its insurance to those who need it.
municipalities, and the Regional Municipality of York Does your former municipality hold sessions for
and its municipalities. about-to-be-retirees? If so, ask the HR department
Watch for zone meeting details in your March 2007 to invite MROO!
GOT GREY POWER? SWITCH TO MROO HOME AND AUTO INSURANCE
Many MROO members acquired Grey Power auto 2. The MROO Home and Auto insurance program helps
insurance before they retired. to finance our zone meetings. The more MROO
But, it is an advantage to MROO members to switch Home and Auto Insurance policies we have, the more
from Grey Power to MROO. Why? we can spend on zone meetings and other services to
1. MROO Home and Auto Insurance customers are
represented by Tom Graves, of Mitchell and Abbott 3. There is NO DIFFERENCE for MROO members in
Group. Many of you have heard Tom's cost, coverage or acceptance. If you are covered by a
knowledgeable presentations at our zone meetings. Grey Power plan now, you will be covered by the
He works for YOU as a MROO member, not for the MROO plan at the same annual cost (or less) and for
insurance company. When any MROO member equal benefits in case of accident.
brings a problem to his attention, he gets action if 4. It's easy to switch. Call Tom Graves at 1-800 - 463 -
anyone can. 5208.
MROO SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM: YEAR 1 WAS A SUCCESS
2006 was the first year of the MROO Scholarship entering the University of Western Ontario. She is
program. Six scholarships were available for first-year the granddaughter of Heather Goulden-Braun of
entrants to a community college (3) or university (3). Dundas.
Eligible applicants were children, grandchildren, • Robert Keyes - Robert lives in Ottawa and is entering
niece/nephew or grand-niece/grand-nephew of a Queen's University. He is the grandson of George
MROO member. Applicants must have demonstrated Spencer of Brantford.
excellent marks in Grade 12, leadership qualities, and • Taylor Knipe - Taylor lives in Owen Sound and is
service to their community. entering Fanshawe College. She is the
The 59 applicants were an outstanding group of granddaughter of Donald Connor of Hanover.
future leaders and good citizens. Very few had Grade • Amber Soper - Amber lives in Shelburne and is
12 marks below 80, and almost half were over 85. With entering Conestoga College. She is the
only 5 exceptions, all applicants were grandchildren of granddaughter of Betty Soper of Orangeville.
members. • Paul Stuart - Paul lives in Thunder Bay and is
The first MROO Scholarships have been awarded entering Confederation College. He is the grandson
to: of Mary Brown of Thunder Bay.
• Kaitlin Bynkoski - Kaitlin lives in Fonthill and is Congratulations to the successful recipients. They
entering Brock University. She is the granddaughter combine academic excellence, leadership, and
of Earl Lenson of Niagara Falls. commitment to their communities. Best wishes to all
• Claire Goulden - Claire lives in Chatham and is applicants for a successful school year.
WINTERING OR LIVING ABROAD?
AND THEY ASK WHY I LIKE YOUR OMERS PENSION WILL BE THERE
RETIREMENT ! Wintering or living abroad? Your OMERS pension
How many days in a week? will be there
6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday
Snowbirds who spend part of the year down south, or
When is a retiree's bedtime?
retirees who live permanently outside Canada, have
Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.
options for receiving their OMERS pension payments:
1. Continue to have the pension deposited into
Among retirees, what is considered formal attire? your Canadian bank account.
Tied shoes. 2. Have the OMERS pension deposited into your
U.S. bank account.
Why do retirees count pennies?
3. Receive your payment by mailed cheque. (This
They are the only ones who have the time.
option is recommended only as a last resort. Direct
deposit is the preferred, safer method.)
What do retirees call a long lunch?
Normal. OMERS winter mailings
Each December, OMERS retirees receive their
What's the biggest advantage of going back to Annual Statement of Pension and the December issue of
school as a retiree? Pension News. This is followed by a tax receipt by the
end of February of each year. If you won't be home at
If you cut classes, no one calls your parents. these times, be sure to have your mail redirected or
Why are retirees so slow to clean out the advise OMERS of an alternate address. To have
basement or the garage? OMERS send the mail to an alternate address, contact
They know that as soon as they do, one of their OMERS Client Services at 1-800-387-0813 or 416-369-
adult kids will want to store stuff there. 2444.
SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER:
MORE THAN JUST THE MID-WINTER BLUES
Does this sound familiar? The winter is dragging on; Raymond Chan and his colleagues at the University of
it's harder than ever to get out of bed in the morning; British Columbia have studied SAD (their website is
nothing seems to grab your interest; all you want to do is www.psychiatry.ubc.ca/mood/sad) and outline the
eat potato chips and hang on until summer. theories. For example, they know that:
Millions of Canadians are affected • it is related somehow to our in-built daily biological
Yes, in Canada, we are all familiar with the "February clock
blahs" or "the mid-winter blues". Most of us write it off as • it is related to the light that we take in through our eyes
the price of living in our northern land. "Grin and bear (in fact, the tanning salon doesn't prevent SAD,
it", we say. because people must keep their eyes closed in order to
avoid eye damage).
But for a few of us, it's not a laughing matter. Medical • it may be caused by a chemical structure in the brain
researchers estimate that Seasonal Affective Disorder that only exposure to enough light can correct. For
(SAD) causes a significant winter depression for up to 3% example, a hormone called melatonin is secreted in the
of Canadians… up to a million people. Up to 5 million brain at night and seems to help to govern our daily
more of us (15%) get the winter blues too, but just not as biological clock. But bright light interferes with the
badly. Therefore, and since it goes away in the Spring, production of melatonin (and therefore makes us more
neither you nor your doctor is as likely to be concerned. wakeful).
What is SAD? • research is starting to show winter/summer variations
in some other psychological problems, such as sleep or
SAD is a form of depression, as defined by doctors. eating disorders, or obsessive behaviour.
The only good news about this form of depression is that • it is more prevalent in northern climates and among
it gets better as the days get longer. urban dwellers.
Some symptoms that doctors look for: • winter sunshine holidays help, but symptoms start to
return as soon as you are back.
• Change in appetite, particularly a craving for sweet and
• some research shows that you are more likely to be
susceptible if other members of your family are
• Weight gain
• Fatigue and a general loss of energy
• A desire to do nothing but sleep Bottom line seems to be this: SAD is caused by the fact
• Irritability and anxiety that we typically see less light in the winter than at other
• Avoiding people's company times of year
• Great difficulty concentrating What can you do to prevent SAD?
Important: Of course, doctors look for two other Changes in mood and energy during the winter are a
things. First, many of these symptoms could be caused by pattern that has been recognized for centuries. Many
physical illnesses. Doctors assure themselves that a people are susceptible but have mild symptoms. Some
physical illness is not likely the cause. Second, doctors people have more severe symptoms adding up to
want to know that it is, in fact, seasonal (gets better in the Seasonal Affective Disorder. Whether mild, medium or
spring). Serious depression can have other causes and severe, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
last throughout the year. has good advice (see www.cmha.ca):
What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder? • Spend time outside in the winter, particularly on sunny
We know that the same people who are "down" in the days (a "lux" is a measure of brightness. Typical lux
winter are much more cheerful and energetic in the level indoors is 400. A cloudy day outdoors is about
summer. But, despite considerable research over the past 3000 lux. A sunny day can be 50,000 lux.)
15 years, doctors are still not quite sure what causes it. Dr • Get as much light as you can through your windows (is
SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER:
MORE THAN JUST THE MID-WINTER BLUES, CONTINUED
sunlight being blocked by your drapes, trees, not worth living, get to your doctor. Pharmaceutical
furniture?) therapy may be available. Furthermore, research at UBC
• Sit near your windows and close to your lamps has also shown that light therapy can be effective.
• Get more exercise. It lifts your spirits and makes you
feel better. A READER WRITES: ANOTHER IDEA
ON TAX BREAKS FOR PENSIONERS
• Exercise outside is even better. A winter walk outdoors
The last newsletter noted that the federal budget
at noon, even for half an hour, may be all you need to
contained a small tax break for pensioners. MROO
keep the blues away
member Paul Eker of Hamilton was a tax expert with
• Eat well: The sweet and starchy foods just make things the Ontario Treasury Department before joining the
worse. City. He wrote into "MROO Members Reporter" with
If winter has you down, try the "remedies" listed an interesting idea for older pensioners.
above. But, if winter really has you thinking that life is "It is not unfair to say that pensioners reaching 80
years of age face a rapidly diminishing life expectancy,
often along with accumulating financial problems."
In other words, if a pensioner has already lived longer
Courtesy of the Canadian Mental Health Association than the normal life expectancy, he/she is more likely to
website www.cmha.ca/bins/ have used up any non-pension income. What's more,
Try this Sunshine Shake to brighten your health and other costs are an ever-bigger factor.
morning on a winter's day! Therefore, your pension is even more important, and the
- 1 banana income tax on your pension looms larger.
- 1 cup frozen berries Mr. Eker's solution: At age 80 (for example), there
- 1 cup milk (or milk substitute) should be a reduction in the amount of pension income
- 1 cup low-fat yogurt which is subject to income tax (i.e. the pensioner would
keep more of the pension). There should be further
1. Put the fruit in the blender and blend reductions for every year over 80, unless the pension
2. Add the milk and yogurt and blend income exceeds $50,000.
3. Make it the night before, leave in fridge
While the details of such a tax break could be argued,
overnight he is sure Mr. Harper could afford it. "After all, once we
4. Good Morning! reach 80, there are not too many of us around."
Excerpts from bulletin boards
(with thanks to "Renaissance", the magazine of Retired Teachers of Ontario)
If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons.
There will be meetings in the north and south ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
Drive carefully. We'll wait. (from a funeral home).
If you don't see what you are looking for, you came to the right place (from an optometrist).
The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on
TAKE CARE WHEN YOU TRAVEL
Did you know that as a MROO member, you have specialists will customize a plan to ensure you get
access to a travel insurance program that could save you coverage that meets your specific needs, including
money? The unexpected can happen to anyone when single trip or annual coverage. Best of all, you could
travelling. Insurance should always play a part in your save up to 20% on premiums, depending on the
travel planning. coverage you choose.
By teaming up with our insurance program manager, You can contact CanAm toll free at 1-888-772-
ENCON Group Inc., and with CanAm Insurance, 4561. Why not compare with coverage offered
MROO is able to provide you with access to a broad through your usual travel insurance provider - you
range of travel insurance offered by several insurance may find CanAm can offer a better deal.
companies. CanAm's experienced travel insurance
Travelling? Please be reminded…there are Government restrictions on baggage
The Government of Canada has instituted new airport security measures to protect
Canadians. Knowing what to pack can be almost as difficult as knowing where to go. If
you're not sure what to pack in your carry-on or checked baggage, check out the Canadian
Air Transport Security Authority's tips page before you start packing. Contact CATSA at
www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca or 1-888-294-2202 or Transport Canada at www.tc.gc.ca.
LEST WE FORGET: THE BATTLE OF VIMY RIDGE
Between April 9 and April 12 of 1917, 3598
Canadians lost their lives on Vimy Ridge. 9789
more were wounded or missing. But from their
sacrifice arose a truly independent Canada.
Vimy lies in northwest France. Overlooking
a broad plain and 60% of France's coal
production, the Ridge was a battlefield
throughout World War I.
At Vimy Ridge on April 9, all 90,000 of
Canada's soldiers fought together for the first
time in WW I. They captured the Ridge. Ever
after, the Canadians fought as one corps, under
the leadership of a Canadian general, Arthur
Currie, rather than British leadership. After
Vimy, the Canadian Corps was picked to lead
most of the major offensives of the war.
Historians credit Vimy as the beginning of a
distinctly Canadian military and eventually a brought from Canada and planted by the hundreds. During WW
distinctly Canadian foreign policy. No longer a colony but a II Hitler gave specific orders to the German troops stationed
proud, innovative, and independent force on the international there that the memorial, trees and graves were not to be harmed.
scene. The memorial commemorates the 60,000 Canadians who
At Vimy Ridge, a memorial to Canada's fallen was died in World War I. Around the base of the memorial are
completed in 1932. France gave the land of the battlefield to inscribed the names of 11,285 Canadians who died in France
Canada, and it remains Canadian soil. Maple trees were and have no known graves.
FROM WORLD WAR II TO THE BATTLEGROUND OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT;
VETERAN AND MUNICIPAL RETIREE GLEN WILLIAMS
A young Torontonian with a good head for figures took the Gravenhurst was looking for a Clerk-Treasurer. "I know a
only job he could find in the Depression, working in the bright young fella in Windermere just back from the war",
Canada Packers slaughterhouse. Shortly afterward, a young said the friend. Glen Williams became one of Muskoka's most
lady from Muskoka graduated from business college in respected municipal figures. But, to hear him tell it, it was all
Toronto and started in the Canada Packers office. As Glen a fluke. "I hadn't gone to university and I knew nothing about
and Phyllis Williams tell it now, when Glen too landed an municipal government. I just knew I didn't want to go back
office job, it was love. to Canada Packers."
Then came the war. In 1942, the Royal Air Force He spent every evening reading old minutes, accounts and
advertised for 5000 trainee technicians on a revolutionary bylaws to learn the job (He also found time for two more
new technology called "radar", which was able to detect and children). By 1970, Glen had become one of Muskoka's
give early warning about enemy submarines and aircraft . The "senior statesmen", recognized for his vision and his
young couple married in May and Glen joined the RAF in commitment to the community. So, when Muskoka got
June. After Glen's training, Phyllis joined him for a year at regional government, he was chosen to be the first Clerk-
his first posting on a lonely headland on Prince Edward Administrator of the new Municipality of Muskoka. He
Island. When he went overseas with the RAF, he had a baby retired in 1982, and is one of MROO's longest-standing
When he returned in 1946, the family went to stay with his Asked if the war taught him anything that was useful in his
in-laws in the small Muskoka community of Windermere. municipal career, " I had the good fortune mostly to work
The Windermere Hydro-Electric Commission happened to with good mayors" reports Glen with typical good cheer. "But
need a secretary -treasurer. "It was the only other time my we all know that municipal government can be a battleground
radar training came in handy", says Glen. He was not only too!"
the book-keeper, he was also the lineman! At 89 and 90, Glen and Phyllis are both healthy and hearty
Then the Mayor of Gravenhurst mentioned to a friend that in their suite at the Gravenhurst Manor.
• OFFICE OPEN TUESDAY • HOURS 9:30 AM TO 3 PM •