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Co-ordinating                                              MeritTalk is a bi-monthly publication for employees in the
                                                           Merit Contractors Association Benefit Plan
                                                                                                              what’s inside

your health care benefits                                                                                     New Group Insurance


                                                                                                              Voluntary Accident
                                                                                                              Insurance Plan

                                                                                                              Training Report

                                                                                                              Thrifty Discount Program

                                                                                                              Congratulations to
                                                                                                              ACA winners!

                                                                                                              Do you work for an Employer
                                                                                                              of Excellence?

 You’ve just had your wisdom teeth pulled and no                                                              Market Update
 sooner have you recovered then the dental bill arrives.                                                      6
 Ouch! You know that Merit’s benefit plan covers 80%                                                          Free CMS Training
 of the cost, but will the remainder be covered by your                                                       7
 spouse’s benefit plan?                                      Your children’s claims
                                                                                                              In Memorium
 In short, the answer is yes. So long as you and your        Claims for medical, dental and vision
 spouse both have similar employer benefit plans,            expenses for your children should first be       HEADS UP!
 you’ll be able to claim up to 100% of medical and den-      submitted to the plan of the parent whose        7
 tal expenses by submitting expenses to both plans.          birthdate occurs first in a calendar year. For
 Here’s how:                                                 example, if the Merit employee was born in       8
                                                             May and their spouse was born in
 Your claims                                                 November, the Merit employee would sub-
                                                             mit the claim first. The remaining uncov-
 Claims for your own medical, dental or vision expens-       ered portion should then be resubmitted to
 es must be submitted to your own plan first. Once you       the other plan along with the “explanation
 have received payment, you can then submit the              of benefits” form you received.
 remaining uncovered portion to your spouse’s plan. Be
 sure to include a copy of the “explanation of benefits”     In any case, no more than 100% of the cost
 form you receive from Blue Cross when you send your         of eligible services or supplies will be reim-
 claim in to your spouse’s benefit plan.                     bursed.

 Your spouse’s claims                                        For more information about co-ordination
                                                             of benefits, please contact Mercon Benefit
 Your spouse must submit claims to their plan first.         Services in Edmonton at (780) 455-5845 or
 Then, once they have received payment from their            toll-free at 1-877-263-7266.
 benefit plan, the remaining uncovered portion should
 be submitted to Merit’s plan. Again, you will need to
 include the “explanation of benefits” form received
 from your spouse’s plan.

            Savings That Hit Home

            Group automobile and
            residential insurance program
            introduces new features

            Marsh Private Client Services (MPCS) continues to nail   • Liability Limits
            down substantial savings and extensive product offer-      Limits are automatically increased to $2,000,000
            ings for Merit member employees. Improved coverage       • Increased Special Limits
            options and additional discounts are available             Increased limits are available on special items
            through a new program underwriter, Ascentus                such as jewelry, furs, bikes, etc for a nominal
            Insurance. Some of the new product enhancements             charge
            and discounts include:                                   • Legal Expense Limits
                                                                       Limits of $5,000 and $10,000 are now available
            • Multi-Policy Discounts                                 Call MPCS for a quote today in Edmonton at
             Discounts are available for those who have              (780)421-8143 or toll free at 1-800-465-0660.
             both automobile and residential insurance
             with Accentus Insurance
            • Mature Citizen Discount
             For individuals who are age 45 or older
            • Star Guard Protect
             For a minimal additional charge, you can
             guarantee your 6- or 7- year accident free
             record when you are involved in an
             ‘at fault’ accident                          NEW        AUTOGLASS COVERAGE
            • Liability Limits                                       For those carrying insurance for glass breakage, this
             Liability limits up to                                  coverage can now be purchased under a separate
             $5,000,000 are now available.                           policy through Autoglass Maintenance Inc. (AMI).
                                                                     This coverage is offered at a very competitive premi-
  NEW       PROPERTY INSURANCE                                       um with a $50 deductible.
            • Telephone Legal Assistance
              Access to legal advice is now included in your         AMI Policy Highlights
             policy at no additional charge for any legal-           • Low Cost
             related issue, even if it is not insurance-related       $133 premium for private passenger vehicles/
            • Multi-Policy Discounts                                  $169 premium for commercial use vehicles
             Discounts are available for those who have              • Low Deductible
             both their automobile and residential insurance          $50 deductible for replacement losses
             with Accentus Insurance                                 • Broad Coverage
            • Mature Citizen Discount                                 All perils, excluding collision or upset, on all
             Individuals age 50 or older are                          window glass
             entitled to a further discount of 10%                   • Claims Frequency
            • Mortgage Free Discount                                  Claims experience does not affect your premium
             No mortgage on the property entitles you to a            No pre-determined claim frequency limits
             further discount of 5%
            • New Home Discount
              Available on new homes to 19 years of age
            • Warranty Coverage
              Coverage can be purchased for major appliances,
              electronics and personal computers



         for the body,mind and soul

                                                                                                                I N S P I R E

 Smoking                                   Before Your Quit Date
                                           • Before you attempt to quit, start breaking
                                            some of your connections with smoking by
                                            changing those routines where you would
                                            usually smoke a cigarette. For instance, if you
                                            smoke on the way to work, take a different
                                            route to the office or listen to another
                                            radio station.
                                           • Start drinking lots of water to help flush the
                                            nicotine out of your body.
                                           • Talk to your doctor about products/programs
                                            to help you quit smoking, such as the gum, the
                                            patch and oral medications. You might also
                                            want to investigate other treatments such as
                                            acupuncture, laser therapy, aversion therapy or
                                            hypnosis which may work for some individuals.

                                           After Your Quit Date
                                           • Build in rewards for yourself. For instance,
                                            treat yourself to a special purchase or a dinner
                                            out for every week you’ve gone without
                                           • Get rid of cigarettes, tobacco, lighters or
                                            ashtrays. Don’t keep any cigarettes around for
                                            an“emergency” or “rainy day”.
                                           • For a short time, give up things you associate
                                            with smoking such as coffee, tea or alcohol.
                                           • Avoid reminders of where you used to smoke
                                            and, if possible, stay in non-smoking areas
                                            whenever you can.

                                           Above all, remember that stopping smoking is a
   The New Year has arrived and if         process. Don’t get discouraged if you slip up. Simply
   you’ve resolved to cut back or          remind yourself of all the progress you’ve made and
   quit smoking, you’re not alone.         the reasons you wanted to quit in the first place, then
   Chances are you or someone you          get back on track as soon as possible.
   know has vowed to butt out at
   some point or another in the            If you are trying to quit smoking, contact Mercon
   past. So what can you do to             Benefit Services in Edmonton at (780) 455-5845 or
   make this your last quitting            1-877-263-7266 to request the “Taking Control of
   attempt? Here are some tips to          Smoking” series of booklets from GlaxoSmithKline.
   help ensure your well-inten-            This two-part program offers a number of tips for
   tioned resolution doesn’t go up         those planning on quitting smoking and is available
   in smoke:                               free of charge.

              More health related materials
                        GlaxoSmithKline’s Inspire program offers free booklets on a      To request a booklet, please
                                          variety of health-related topics including:    call Mercon Benefit Services in
                                                   •Smoking Cessation (2 workbooks)      Edmonton at (780) 455-5845 or
                                                           •Taking Care of Your Heart    at 1-877-263-7266 or e-mail
                                                      •Taking Control of Your Asthma
                                                                 •Back Pains & Strains                                         3
                                                                 •Stomach Discomfort

              Voluntary Accident Insurance Plan
             No one likes to think about being involved in an acci-    What does this plan cover?
             dent that results in serious injury or death.             Any accident resulting in death, dismemberment,
             Nonetheless, the financial burden this type of situa-     paralysis or loss of sight, speech or hearing, that
             tion can cause for you and your family can be             occurs on or off the job. Coverage is restricted to
             significant. With this in mind, Merit has introduced a    injuries sustained as a result of an accident and does
             new Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD & D)             not include losses that are the result of a medical con-
             plan to provide additional coverage and enhanced          dition or disability. Payment for losses range from
             peace of mind.                                            25% (for the loss of all toes on one foot) to 200% (for
                                                                       paralysis) of your principal sum.
             All hourbank employees covered by Merit’s basic
             group life insurance policy are automatically enrolled    In addition to the financial payments for injuries,
             in the Accidental Death & Dismemberment plan              employees may also be eligible to receive funds for
             offered by Industrial-Alliance Pacific Life Insurance     transportation of family members to the hospital,
             Company. However, your amount of insurance (or            rehabilitation training, occupational training, home
             ‘principal sum’) under this plan is limited to $40,000.   alteration and vehicle modification, as well as educa-
                                                                       tion and daycare benefits for dependent children.
             Merit’s voluntary AD & D plan allows you to increase
             your coverage in the case of accidental death or dis-
             memberment.                                               To Enroll
                                                                       The enclosed brochure and application contains
             What does this additional coverage cost?                  details about the voluntary AD & D program. To
             You may select amounts of insurance in increments of      enroll, simply indicate the amount of coverage you
             $50,000, from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum           wish to purchase on the enclosed application form
             of $250,000. Payments range from $2 per month for         and return it, along with a cheque for the first year’s
             $50,000 of employee-only insurance to $15 per             premium.
             month for employee and family insurance of
             $250,000. Because of the large number of employees        For more information about Merit’s Accidental Death
             in the Merit Benefit Plan, payments under this plan       & Dismemberment plan, please contact Mercon
             are extraordinarily competitive – approximately $0.04     Benefit Services in Edmonton at (780) 455-5845 or
             per thousand dollars of single coverage or $0.06 for      toll-free at 1-877-263-7266.
             family coverage.

            Training                                                   February 21     Conduit Bending (Edmonton)

            Report                                                     February 26
                                                                       March 5
                                                                       March 12
                                                                                       Basic Surveying (Edmonton)
                                                                                       Scaffolding (Edmonton/Calgary)
                                                                                       Basic Blueprint Reading (Calgary)
             Winter Course Schedule
                                                                       Supervisor Training Program
                                                                       Merit’s longest-running and most popular program,
             Construction Skills Training (CST)
                                                                       STP is Gold Seal accredited with a value of five points.
             A series of programs designed for entry-level con-
                                                                       The next STP program starts in Calgary on January 22,
             struction workers or those looking to upgrade their
                                                                       2002 and in Edmonton on February 26, 2002. Enroll
             skills. Classes are $90.95 for Merit member employees
             and $160.50 for non-member employees.
                                                                       Detailed information about Merit’s training programs
             January 15      Advanced Blueprint Reading
                                                                       is available in the 2002 Training Guide. To request
                                                                       one, or to register for classes, contact Marla
             January 15      Basic Surveying (Calgary)
                                                                       McCready-Kirillo at Merit’s Edmonton office, (780)
             February 5      Rigging and Hoisting (Edmonton)
                                                                       455-5999, 1-888-816-9991 or Graeme Proudfoot in
             February 12     Rigging and Hoisting (Calgary)
                                                                       Calgary, (780) 455-5999, 1-877-637-2254.
             February 19     Advanced Surveying (Calgary)
Thrifty Discount Program                                                                                               JAN/FEB

If you like to drive a hard bargain, we have just the
deal for you – a new corporate discount program with
Thrifty Car Rental.

Merit members can enjoy great discounted rates on
vehicle rentals, unlimited mileage and Thrifty’s “Best
Rate Guarantee” when renting a vehicle for business
or leisure.

As a Merit member employee, you’re guaranteed the
following rates when you use your corporate account
ID number:                                                 Best of all, these rates are the highest you’ll ever have
                                                           to pay thanks to Thrifty’s "Best Rate Guarantee". If
                                                           Thrifty is ever offering a lower rate, you can book that
Car Type                Daily Rate (CDN)                   lower rate and retain all corporate benefits.
Economy                    $38
Compact                    $39                             You'll find Thrifty rental locations in more than 120
Intermediate               $41                             airports in North America and more than 70 countries
Full Size                  $43                             around the world.
Luxury Cars                10% off
Mini-vans                  10% off                         To receive the Merit corporate discount, simply quote
                                                           the Merit corporate account ID number (#1660221113)
* Unlimited kilometers                                     when you reserve your vehicle. Reservations can be
* rates do not include taxes, surcharges, insurance or     made in person, on-line at, through
airport-related fees.                                      a travel agency or by calling 1-800-THRIFTY.

                                                           With Thrifty, you can “downsize your expenditures,
                                                           not your expectations”.

         to Apprenticeship Award Winners
     The Alberta Construction Apprenticeship (ACA) Awards were recently held to recognize outstanding achievement and
     performance in apprenticeship training. In all, 149 apprentices in 24 construction trades received awards. Merit was the
     proud sponsor of 14 of these awards. The following are the recipients of Merit-sponsored awards:

     Award                                   Recipient                        Employer
     Cabinet Maker (4th year)                Harvey Kein                      Artistic Stairs Inc.
     Carpenter (4th year)                    Derrick Church                   Marshall Brothers Construction Ltd.
     Electrician (3rd year)                  Laverne Gullickson               Allied Projects Ltd.
     Electrician (2nd year)                  Neil Wilson                      Elharts Electric
     Electrician (1st year)                  Warren Rowland                   Triple N Construction
     Heavy Equip. Technician (4th year)      Eric Daugaard                    West Central Heavy Duty Repairs Ltd.
     Heavy Equip. Technician (1st year)      Derek Budd                       Acumech Services Ltd.
     Millwright (4th year)                   Rick Melnyk                      Ideal Precision Machining Ltd.
     Millwright (2nd year)                   Barry Radoosh                    R & M Energy Systems Canada
     Painter & Decorator (3rd year)          Roberta St. Goddard              SAIT Operations & Maintenance
     Plumber (3rd year)                      Isaac Draxlir                    Morency Plumbing & Heating
     Roofer (2nd year)                       Grant Ross                       Christensen & Mclean Roofing Co.
     Steamfitter-Pipefitter (2nd year)       Gregory Cooper                   PCL Industrial Contractors Inc.
     Welder (3rd year)                       Robert Helm                      Marl Technologies Inc.

            Do you work for an
            Employer of Excellence
             Do you think your company is a great place to         then passed on to a committee that evaluates the
             work? Do they go above and beyond to ensure a         candidates and determines the winners.
             great work environment for their staff? If so, we
             want to hear from you.                                If you feel your company deserves recognition, please
                                                                   fill out the nomination form enclosed with this issue
             The Merit Employer of Excellence Award was            of MeritTalk. Winners will be announced in a future
             established to recognize employers who do an out-     issue.
             standing job in the field of employee relations and
             human resources. Nominations for these awards         Please note: this award program is restricted to Merit
             come directly from you, the employee, and are         Alberta member companies.

                                                                   There has been a lot of talk in the media recently
                                                                   about a possible recession in the U.S. and a resulting
                                                                   economic slowdown in Canada. So what are the
                                                                   prospects for Alberta and our construction industry?

                                                                   Economic activity worldwide began slowing in 2001
                                                                   and the events of September 11 and the subsequent
                                                                   war on terrorism have certainly added to that eco-
                                                                   nomic uncertainty. Here in Alberta, lower prices for oil
                                                                   and natural gas are also a cause for concern.

                                                                   Despite the pessimistic news we have been hearing
                                                                   lately, few people are predicting a serious slump, espe-
                                                                   cially for Alberta. Lower returns from oil and gas roy-
                                                                   alties will cause cutbacks in government spending and
                                                                   some oil industry work may be delayed, but the
                                                                   Alberta economy is predicted by many to remain the
                                                                   strongest in the country.

                                                                   Will there be a slowdown in construction here in
                                                                   Alberta? Many contractors would say that a slowdown

       Market Update                                               has already happened but don’t regard it as particu-
                                                                   larly serious. Construction in Alberta has been at
                                                                   record levels for the past several years and a slight
                                                                   decline in activity still leaves the industry in a very
                                                                   healthy state. Most contractors indicate there is still a
                                                                   good supply of upcoming projects.

                                                                   Continued low energy prices may cause a decline in
                                                                   oilfield activity but the large industrial projects under-
                                                                   way in Alberta are based on long-range planning and
                                                                   short-term fluctuations in prices will have little effect
                                                                   on those jobs. Record low interest rates are also help-
                                                                   ing stimulate investment in all parts of the economy
                                                                   and keeping residential construction very active —
                                                                   very good news for the Alberta construction industry
                                                                   and its workforce.


Construction Management Skills Training
Merit is offering an excellent opportunity to brush up      The modules, which take approximately two to three
on your supervisory skills this winter.                     hours to complete, may be taken individually or as a
                                                            series and completion of the program qualifies for five
Each year, from January through April, Merit offers its     points toward Gold Seal accreditation.
Construction Management Skills course free of charge
to all member employees (a savings of $53.50 per            The course can be taken by individual employees dur-
module!). This is an interactive, computer-based train-     ing regular business hours at both Merit’s Edmonton
ing program that provides critical skills for successful-   and Calgary offices. In addition, two mobile worksta-
ly managing construction projects – skills like leader-     tions are available for companies who wish to provide
ship, decision-making and communication.                    on-site training for a larger number of employees.

The CMS Program is comprised of 10 modules on the           For more information or to book a time to take the
following topics:                                           course, please call either Merit office: in Edmonton,
• Perception                                                (780) 455-5999, 1-888-816-9991; in Calgary, (403) 291-
• Decision Making                                           9247, 1-877-637-2254.
• Interpersonal Relations
• Control & Follow Up
• Oral Communications
• Organizing & Planning
• Decisiveness
• Leadership
• Flexibility
• Written Communication

                              I n           M e m o r i a m

Merit Contractors Association would like to extend          Larry worked with Clark Builders for the past 10 years
condolences to family, friends and co-workers of            building and erecting steel-framed buildings and was
Larry Derkson, who was killed on a job site on              well-respected by co-workers. “He was great – a really
November 20, 2001.                                          hard-working, likable, focused and responsible man”,
                                                            said company president Andy Clark.

                                                            He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

    New location for                                        RSP Deadline
    Merit/Mercon                                            The deadline for RSP contributions is fast approach-
    A reminder that Merit Edmonton and Mercon               ing! Maximizing your RSP contribution can ensure
    Benefits have moved. The new addresses are as           you receive the maximum tax refund, so start prepar-
    follows:                                                ing now to avoid the rush. The deadline for contribu-
                                                            tions for the 2001 tax year is March 1, 2002.
    Merit Edmonton
    #103, 13025 St. Albert Trail, Edmonton
    T5L 5G4
    Mercon Benefit Services
    #104, 13025 St. Albert Trail, Edmonton
    T5L 5G5
             fyi                    [for your information]
                            AT&T Cellular Discount Program                                                 Optional Life Insurance Program

 fyi                        Rogers AT&T offers a special discounted cellular plan
                            for Merit member employees across Canada.

                            Digital Communications Group,
                                                                                                           Manulife Financial offers Term Life Insurance to Merit
                                                                                                           members and their spouses at specially discounted
                                                                                                           rates. Insurance may be purchased in units of $25,000
                                                                                                           to a maximum of $250,000.

                            1-877-MERIT81 (637-4881)                                                       Contact:
  Benefit Plan                                                                                             Mercon Benefit Services, (780) 455-5845
                            Employee Referral Service                                                      or 1-877-263-7266
  Mercon Benefit            Merit’s Employee Referral Service is a way for experi-                         Prescription Club Program
                            enced construction personnel to find employment with
  Services                  Merit companies. To apply, drop in or call either                              Use your Prescription Club Card at Superstore, Real
                            Merit office.                                                                  Canadian Wholesale Club, Safeway or Food for Less and
  (780) 455-5845 or                                                                                        receive a stamp each time you purchase a prescription.
  1-877-263-7266            Contact:                                 Merit Calgary                         Once you have 10 stamps, send in your card to the
                            Merit Edmonton                           #205, 2725-12 Street NE,              Merit Calgary office to receive a $10 gift certificate
  (1-877-2MERCON)           #103, 13025 St. Albert Trail,            Calgary, AB T2E 7J2                   from that store.        Edmonton, AB T5L 5G4                     Tel: (403) 291-9247
                            Tel: (780) 455-5999                      1-877-637-2254                        Contact:
                            1-888-816-9991                                                                 To obtain a Prescription Club Card,
                                                                                                           call Mercon Benefit Services, (780) 455-5845
  Claims Submission                                                                                        or 1-877-263-7266
                            Eyeglass Discount Program
  Manitoba & West
                            This program offers Merit member employees                                     Red Wing Shoes Discount Program
  Alberta Blue Cross        discounted rates on selected frames and lenses at
                            participating optical outlets across the province.                             Merit member employees receive a 20% discount at
  10009-108 St. NW                                                                                         select Red Wing Shoes dealers across the prairies.
  Edmonton, AB              Contact:
                            For a list of participating optical outlets, call Mercon                       Contact:
  T5J 3C5                   Benefit Services, (780) 455-5845 or 1-877-263-7266                             For a list of participating outlets,
  Ontario & East                                                                                           call Mercon Benefit Services, (780) 455-5845
                            ISECO Discount Program                                                         or 1-877-263-7266
  Merit Plan/
                            ISECO offers Merit member employees 15% off all reg-                           Royal Bank Group RRSP
  Blue Cross Claims         ular-priced footwear and safety products such as work
  PO Box 7257 Stn A         boots, hard hats, gloves and hearing protection.                               Royal Bank, the administrator of Merit’s group RRSP
                            Walk in:                                                                       program, can help you with any of your investment
  Toronto, ON
  M5W 1X9                   ISECO Safety Shoes                      ISECO Safety Shoes
                            9730-51 Avenue                          9250 MacLeod Trail S.E.                Contact:
                            T6E 0A6 Edmonton, AB                    T2J 0P5 Calgary, AB                    Royal Bank, 1-800-463-3863
                            Tel: (780) 438-9067                     Tel: (403) 258-1704
  Employee and
                                                                                                           Royal Bank Mortgage Discount Program
  Family Assistance         Mark’s Work Wearhouse Discount Program
  Program (EFAP)            Mark’s Work Wearhouse offers Merit member employ-                              The Royal Bank offers Merit member employees 3/8%
                            ees 10% off work clothing. Present your Contact Card                           off fixed rates for any term between 6 months and 2
  Warren Shepell            at the till.                                                                   years and 1/2% off for 2 to 5 year terms.
  Consultants Corp.,
                            Contact:                                                                       Contact:
  the provider of the       To locate the Mark’s Work Wearhouse store near you,                            the Royal Bank branch near you
  EFAP, is available to     call 1-800-663-6275.
                                                                                                           Sprint Canada Long Distance Discount Program
  assist you with any       Marsh Private Client Services Group Residential
                                                                                                           Sprint Canada offers Merit member employees special
  concerns or issues        & Auto Insurance Program
                                                                                                           long distance rates: 7.5¢ per minute, anytime, any-
  you and/or your           Marsh Private Client Services provides competitive                             where in North America.
                            group discounted rates for automobile, residential and
  immediate family          tool insurance.                                                                Contact:
                                                                                                           Sprint Canada, 1-877-816-3131
  may be facing.
                            Marsh Private Client Services, 1-877-476-MPCS (6727)                           Thrifty Car Rental                                 NEW
  For first time                                                                                           Recieve corporate rates when you rent, for business or
                            Moores Clothing for Men                                NEW                     for pleasure. Quote the Merit corporate account ID
  appointments and                                                                                         number: #1660221113
                            Receive 10% off all regular-priced merchandise, from
  counselling:              sport coats to shoes, when you present your
                            "Corporate VIP Card" at time of purchase.                                      Contact:
  1-800-387-4765                                                                                           Thrifty Car Rental, 1-800-THRIFTY (847-4389).
  For appointment           Contact:
                            To locate the Moores store near you,                                           Tuition Refund Program
  changes & general         call 1-877-MOORES6 (666-7376). To obtain your VIP
                            card, call Mercon Benefit Services,                                            Merit will reimburse apprenticeship tuition fees for
  info:                                                                                                    Merit member employees returning to work for a Merit
                            (780) 455-5845 or 1-877-263-7266.
  1-888-814-1328                                                                                           member company.       MeritTalk is produced every two months by the                                    Contact:
                          Merit Contractors Association.                                                   Linda Rhodes at Merit Edmonton,
      Publication         Contact:                                                                         (780) 455-5999, 1-888-816-9991
       #1803697           Merit Edmonton                             Merit Calgary
                          #103, 13025 St. Albert Trail,              #205, 2725-12 Street NE,
                          Edmonton, AB T5L 5G4                       Calgary, AB T2E 7J2
                          Tel: (780) 455-5999, 1-888-816-9991        Tel: (403) 291-9247, 1-877-637-2254
  8                       E-Mail:          E-Mail:

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