2018 Award Recipients

When asked how he viewed his role as a leader, supporting our volunteers with the Association, Vic (recipient of the Claude Edwards Leadership Award) responded:

Association president Jean-Guy Soulière, left, and Vice Ashdown.
« Leadership is simple – all you need to do is convince your followers that the direction you have chosen is the best available under the circumstances. Better still if they believe that the selected course was their idea in the first place. As Mahatma Gandhi so famously put it, “There go my people, I must follow them for I am their leader.” Simple - yes; easy to do - often not. 


— Vic Ashdown, Nanaimo & Area Branch



Here’s to you, volunteers!

Congratulations to the recipients and nominees for our 2018 Volunteer Recognition Awards.

Dedicated volunteers are the lifeblood of our Association. More than 800 volunteers work at the branch, regional and national levels, each driven by the desire to make a difference. We would not be the Association we are today without them.

Our volunteers took centre stage at the National Association of Federal Retirees 2018 Volunteer Recognition Awards ceremony, June 20 in Gatineau, Que. This was an opportunity to shine a light on the phenomenal work our volunteers have demonstrated, working on behalf of members, branches, communities and the Association.

The theme for this very special soirée was an evening at Mardi Gras with a splash of jazz. Guests joined the fun sporting masks, hats, beads and colourful costumes.


Individual awards

Association president Jean-Guy Soulière, left,
and Vic Ashdown.

Vic Ashdown of the Nanaimo and Area branch received the Claude Edwards leadership award.

An Association volunteer since 2001, Vic's leadership has been particularly apparent in his support of the significant technological upgrades that the Association has introduced over the years.

Vic served as a member of the National ad-hoc Web-based Membership System (WMS) Committee, guiding and supporting roll-out of the new system to branches. When WMS was replaced by the Client Management System (CMS) in 2015, he worked closely with the national office during the transition and was a true champion for the new system in the field, coaching his colleagues and helping with testing and trouble shooting.

An inspiring leader, Vic has held a number of senior leadership roles on his branch board and is known as an exceptionally helpful mentor and coach, sharing his considerable knowledge and experience in a broad range of areas.


Association president Jean-Guy Soulière, left, 
and Christine Desloges.

Christine Desloges of the Ottawa branch received the Collaboration Award. Christine’s passion is financial literacy. Over the past year, she forged strong collaborative relationships with key partners involved in improving financial literacy in Canada to provide branch members an opportunity to access and improve their understanding of personal financial issues.

Partners in the program included the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, Chartered Professional Accounts of Canada and the Ontario Securities Commission.

Thanks to Christine’s vision and leadership, more than 350 members have benefitted from this program.


Association president Jean-Guy Soulière, left, 
and Pierre Cousineau.

Volunteerism award-winner, Pierre Cousineau, is a member and volunteer with the Quebec branch and a leading volunteer advocate and advisor on senior issues in the province of Quebec. He is president of the Outaouais Table of Consultation for Seniors and Retirees (TCARO) — a regional forum that promotes awareness and support for seniors’ issues — and serves as vice-president of the Quebec Conference of Regional Tables of Consultation of Seniors.

His work at the provincial level included negotiations with the Quebec Treasury Board and Quebec Seniors Secretariat to develop an equitable funding formula for regional seniors’ tables.

Pierre also participates in G15 — a Coalition of Quebec seniors’ organizations that works to create consensus and influence decision makers on seniors’ issues — of which the National Association of Federal Retirees is also a member.

From left, Jean-Guy Soulière, Vic Ashdown, Christine Desloges and Pierre Cousineau.

From left, Association president Jean-Guy Soulière, Vic Ashdown, Christine Desloges and Pierre Cousineau.













Branch awards

New for 2018 is the introduction of the branch excellence award, recognizing a branch for demonstrated overall excellence in a broad range of areas. Three branches were recognized this year for their outstanding work.

Ceci O’Flaherty, left, and Association
president Jean-Guy Soulière.

The Winnipeg and District branch received the advocacy award. Postcards supporting the initiative to stop Bill C-27 were printed and distributed to all members attending the branch’s general meeting. It contributed $50,000 in the past two years to the Defense of Benefits Fund at the national office. This year, the branch supported advocacy in the Manitoba/Northwest Ontario Region by supplementing the Advocacy Program Officer‘s (APO) budget for work in the region. It also actively promotes all advocacy messages initiated by the National Office in its semi-annual newsletters and invites the APO to speak at all general meetings. This branch also reaches out to all MPs who represent the Association’s members to ensure they are aware of the Association’s mandate.


Serge Boisseau, Association president Jean Guy Souliere, Jean Marc Demers, Micheline LeFrancois, Yves Bouchard.

The membership recruitment and engagement award went to the Quebec branchIts two vice-presidents were assigned the respective duties of communications and recruitment champions. Each of these leaders took on the responsibility of initiating programs and activities to promote recruitment, including:

  • Assessing member preferences through surveys on partnerships, social activities and advocacy.
  • Updating the branch website and transforming the president’s letter into a monthly newsletter in both official languages, resulting in an increase in subscribers from 800 to 2,000.
  • Identifying networking opportunities to regain access to pre-retirement seminars.
  • Creating and producing a marketing tool: a coaster with the Association’s contact information and the slogan “I Recruit … I Am Involved” and convincing a restaurant concessionary to offer the coasters to its federal employee customers. Currently, more than 1,000 coasters have been circulated


Ceci O’Flaherty, left, and Association president Jean-Guy Soulière

Ceci O’Flaherty, left, and Association 
president Jean-Guy Soulière.


The Winnipeg and District branch took home its second award of the evening: the volunteer support and development award. The branch has a succession plan in place and all board members actively recruit volunteers to help at three meetings a year, the speakers’ series and other branch social activities.

Every year, following the election of the new board members, the branch holds a two-day planning/orientation/team-building retreat to welcome new board members and to assign areas of responsibility. All board members attend the regional learning conference in the fall and the branch helps fund attendance for executive members from other smaller branches.

Other initiatives include having directors at large; using a buddy system to ensure that trained volunteers can step into key positions when they become vacant; sending three observers to the AMM; and financially supporting a smaller branch in sending an observer to the AMM.

The branch’s board also mentors volunteers at other branches, providing guidance and support on website design and maintenance, and financial management.

The Volunteer Recognition Awards Selection Committee was so impressed by the quality of two of the submissions for the branch excellence award they recommended that two awards be presented.


Association president Jean-Guy Soulière, left,
and Bernd Hirsekorn

The Fraser Valley West branch has excelled in the delivery of services and programs that contribute to branch effectiveness. Some of its key activities include:

  • Visiting all candidates during elections and regular subsequent MP visits in their catchment area of eight federal constituents and 12 provincial ridings. In addition, it supports all national advocacy initiatives, supporting numerous campaigns, town halls and all-candidates meetings.
  • Recruiting and engaging volunteers through social and learning activities and casual monthly meet-and-chat coffee meetings.
  • Recruiting members by engaging with regional unions, distributing recruitment materials at the BC Regional PSAC convention and convincing PSAC to set up a link on its main webpage to the association’s national website.

Association president Jean Guy Souliere, Ceci O’Flaherty, Donna Dobson, Paula Nygaard, Lionel Guerard, Tom Higham, Dorian Guerard.

The third time was a charm for the the Winnipeg and District branch when it was named the co-recipient of the branch excellence award. It consistently engaged its members with well-attended meetings, a golf tournament, a Canada 150/Branch 50th anniversary celebration and a successful speakers series. Recruitment initiative included participating in community events and Second Careers Assistance Network (SCAN) seminars with the Department of National Defence and piloting a member recruitment drive.

President Jean-Guy Soulière poses with the 2018 branch award winners. From left, Dorian Guerard, Lionel Guerard, Ceci O’Flaherty, Donna Dobson, Tom Higham, Jean-Guy Soulière, Paula Nygaard, Leslie Gaudette, Bernd Hirsekorn, Jean-Marc Demers and Ian Blake.
Association president Jean-Guy Soulière poses with the 2018 branch award winners. From left, Dorian Guerard, 
Lionel Guerard, Ceci O’Flaherty, Donna Dobson, Tom Higham, Jean-Guy Soulière, Paula Nygaard, 
Leslie Gaudette, Bernd Hirsekorn, Jean-Marc Demers and Ian Blake.


A heartfelt thank you to Léonard LeBlanc, director of the Atlantic district who served as chair of the 2018 Volunteer Recognition Awards Committee, and chair of the 2018 Volunteer Recognition Selection Committee, along with Shawn McCord, a senior consultant with Johnson Inc., Patricia Jarrett, former president of Winnipeg and District branch and Yvan Vigneault, Quebec’s advocacy program officer.

On behalf of our volunteers, a sincere thank you goes out to one of our most valued preferred partners —  insurance provider Johnson Inc. An evening this special would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship and participation of the Johnson team.