Message From Our President

August 23, 2023

In my last President’s Message, I mentioned that we continue to face our most serious challenge – that being our inability to attract new volunteers to lead our branch. While we were successful in electing a new branch treasurer, Máirín Ring, at our AGM in March, we have been unable to attract any new vvolunteers. Unfortunately, my prediction that we may likely be losing more of our valuable long serving board members and volunteers at the end of their term, or sooner, has come to fruition, with the recent resignation of Gloria Cayea, our Vice-President. 

We shall very much miss Gloria as a member of our board. Since 2010, Gloria has filled a number of board positions – most notably, branch president for nine years during which time she led the branch through the change of the Association to a not-for-profit corporation. She also served as branch advocacy contact and past president, and has been active in contacting our members as a member of the telephone committee. We shall miss her experience, counsel, and enthusiasm for our organization.

I am pleased to be able to say that we had a very successful outing with members of the Sarnia Lawn Bowling Club. Not only did they welcome us to their “pitch”, but they also shared with us their knowledge and passion for the game. It is possible that we may have an opportunity to further hone our skills again with them next year.

We have scheduled a general membership meeting for Wednesday, Sept. 20. The meeting will take place at White Squirrel Golf Club located just north of Grand Bend on Hwy 21. It will start at 11:30 a.m. and a buffet lunch will be served. After lunch, a speaker from the County of Lambton Library System, Nicola Holland, will talk about some of the innovative changes being made. Further details on the event are available in the “Events” listing on our website. I look forward to seeing you there!

Lawrie Lachapelle
Bluewater Branch


April 03, 2023

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I was elected President of the Bluewater Branch of Federal Retirees.  Being new to the branch, and the board, in particular, meant everything that I have been involved in has been a learning experience. Overall, I believe the year has gone fairly well, an achievement that would not have been possible without the capable assistance of the branch board, as well as Volunteers from other branches, such as Bruce Challis, our branch services coordinator, and national office staff.

We have accomplished most of what we set out to do this year. We have staged three meetings with a meal, and two social events. Attendance was in the six per cent of membership range, consistent with, if not a little better than national results. We also tried to expand our recruitment efforts through contact with the Fisheries and Oceans Employee Association, and Coast Guard Alumni. Our efforts in that area will continue. Communication has also been a focus for us this year, with messages being delivered through e-blasts, Sage reports and our website. Our finances and reporting are in good shape. While we did not undertake any advocacy initiatives, we arranged for a speaker on health care at one of our meetings. We have been active at the Ontario district and national levels of the Association, attending meetings and participating in webinars; as well as completing a survey related to branch financing. Several of us also participated in finance-related webinars to improve our understanding of this important function.

Looking ahead to the coming year, we continue to face our most serious challenge – that being our inability to attract new Volunteers to lead our branch. We have, though, elected a new treasurer, Máirín Ring, who completes our elected executive. She takes over from Diane Kerr, who served our branch well in times of significant change. Nonetheless, we shall likely be losing more of our valuable board members and volunteers at the end of their term at the 2024 AGM;
and we will be looking to find dedicated members to replace them.  

The National Association of Federal Retirees remains strong – and we are intent on maintaining and strengthening our Bluewater Branch.

I would like to thank the board and volunteers of our branch for their assistance and guidance; and for “being there”.  It is my hope that as we enter the Association’s 60th Anniversary year, a spirit of enthusiasm permeates our branch, and leads us to an active and exciting year.

It would not be me if I didn’t have one last request. Please communicate with me and our board of directors. We all wish to have a vibrant and active organization, and communication is key to achieving that.

Lawrie Lachapelle
Bluewater Branch


February 27, 2023

As I write this, we are enduring the massive winter storm that has affected so many people across North America.  I hope that you have been able to stay warm and safe, and enjoy the season even if you have had to adjust your plans.

Our branch needs to start planning for 2023.  Building on 2022, we plan to hold several social activities in addition to our spring meeting and our Annual General Meeting in March. If you were able to attend our Christmas luncheon on November 30, you might recall that lawn bowling was being proposed. Indoor bowling and a golf day have also been suggested.

In my first “President’s Message” in June, I identified three items that I had learned since having been elected as your president.  Two of those were:

  • the importance of membership in influencing issues of importance to the Association; and

  • the importance of Volunteers to lead our branch.

These issues remain a priority for our branch, as well as the Association.  I ask that you assist our branch to increase our numbers by promoting membership in the Association and inviting potential members to branch events.  I also ask that you consider “Volunteering” in one of the board positions.  With the exception of myself, all of our Executive will be reaching the end of their term in 2023.

Looking ahead, the national board of directors will be considering important issues related to the Association’s branches – branch restructuring and branch financing.  Updates on these issues will be available through all the communication tools used by the Association.

Speaking of communication, I want to again encourage two-way communication by branch members. Your board wants to provide the best possible service to branch members, and your input will help us to do so.

Lawrie Lachapelle
Branch President


October 01, 2022

Fall is now upon us after a hot and dry summer; and we will now start turning our attention to indoor activities, and vacations in warmer climes. I hope that Hurricanes Fiona and Ian have not affected you, your family and friends. Our thoughts, in particular, go out to our colleagues in the Atlantic provinces who continue to endure the devastation resulting from Hurricane Fiona.

2022 is proving to be an exciting year for our Association. A new national president, Roy Goodall, and a new national vice-president, Helene Nadeau, have been elected to lead Federal Retirees for the next few years. A national survey has also been undertaken to look at the financing of branches, the results of which will be brought forward for decision next year.

The most significant and exciting development, though, has been the conclusion of an agreement on updating the Public Service Health Care Plan. This is the culmination of 2 1/2 years of negotiation; the position of the Association having first been determined following a 2017 survey of members. Improvements have been made to a wide variety of insured benefits, including vision, hearing, medical practitioners, hospital, and mental health. 

Maintaining and improving the PSHCP is one of the most important priorities for Federal Retirees.  It is great to see the positive results that our Association achieved for us!  I am particularly pleased with the improvements achieved, and hope that you will agree that the Association is worth your continued support as a member and volunteer!

Closer to home, we hosted a very successful cruise of the St. Clair River on the “Duc d’Orleans II” near the end of August. Over 30 members took advantage of the opportunity to see and learn more about the river over lunch under perfect weather. More recently, we have initiated contact with the Fisheries and Oceans Employee Association and Coast Guard Alumni to see how we could better work together to the benefit of our members.

As I mentioned in one of my previous messages, two-way communication and more volunteers will help our branch to better serve our members.  I would be happy to hear from you, our members, on anything I have said or missed in this message.


July 24, 2022

Good day to Bluewater Branch members.

I hope that you are enjoying the summer weather and a return to your favourite seasonal activities.

Your Bluewater Branch board has met several times, with a view to organizing activities for the membership, and communicating information on a timely basis. Hopefully you are planning to attend the Duc d’Orleans cruise on August 24th to enjoy a leisurely cruise, and renew Bluewater Branch acquaintances.

Since my election as branch president in April, I have participated in regional and national meetings, as well as those of the branch board. Participants at all of these meetings are enthusiastic and dedicated. A large and active membership is essential to the Association in representing our members.

One of our most serious branch challenges is finding new volunteers to lead the branch. In this regard we are not alone, as other branches report a similar situation. We have been, and are, incredibly fortunate to have a dedicated team leading the Bluewater Branch. However, it is not fair to expect them to continue to shoulder these responsibilities year after year.  We need “new blood” to carry on the excellent service they have been providing.  So please, consider volunteering for a position on the board.

While we intend to keep you informed of branch and Association news and activities, we would like to encourage two-way consideration. If you have any suggestions, comments, and ideas about what we are doing, or not doing, please let us know. Your input is valuable to ensure the Bluewater Branch is addressing and meeting the needs of its members.

Lawrie Lachapelle