Branch President's Report

Spring 2021 (as appeared in the spring issue of Sage )

On behalf of our branch executive, I extend best wishes to all of you and your families for a healthy and happy 2021.

Reflecting back on 2020, I am sure we all agree it was a year like no other we have experienced. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our national office directed all branches to put on hold any planned in-person meetings and/or events we would normally deliver. As a result, we switched our branch operations to a virtual mode. Thanks to Mark Leonard, we secured a license from Zoom technology, an IT platform provider to conduct our meetings. In 2020, we conducted six virtual executive meetings, participated in two virtual district meetings and I attended the virtual annual membership meeting in early December. We also met with two local Members of Parliament in December.

While I am pleased with our success in switching our branch operations to a virtual mode, we did miss meeting with members at our normal membership meetings and events. We do hope to resume in-person meetings and events once we are cleared to do so, and look forward to a time when we can provide our normal calendar of events to you. Please stay safe as we all await the vaccine roll-out!

This year will be another challenging one as we await the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines and Health Canada's eventual declaration that the pandemic is over, and will signal a return to our normal in-person meetings and events. It could take a portion of, or the entire year to see us to that point.

This is our branch election year and we are working with national office to conduct our May 4,2021, annual general meeting using Zoom technology. It is simple to do and you can participate, using a computer, laptop, tablet, or by telephone. Details confirming the date and times, as well as how to register and join in will be provided through a notice to members. We will also post the instructions on the branch and national websites and contact the members on the telephone callers' lists by phone, with those details.

This year we have 10 members of the executive standing for re-election. Please see the list along with each of our portfolios on the last page of this report. We did see one member of the executive, Lorraine Harper step down and we welcome any member(s) who is/are interested in volunteering some time to the branch operation, to stand for election. You can e-mail your interest to,, or send it by mail to the branch address listed in this report.

We have set our calendar of events for 2021. Our annual general meeting will be held using Zoom Technology. We are aiming for May 4. After that, our calendar is dependent on when we receive clearance to conduct events and meetings in person. The fall meeting is slated for September 14 and the Christmas meeting for December 7. The annual golf day will be June 11, if we can hold it. In the event we cannot hold it then, we will look to re-schedule it either in the fall of 2021, or June of 2022. We have reserved July 20 at the Casablanca Winery Inn for the Summer Luncheon. We will await instructions from the organizers of the October 1, International Day of Older Persons in Hamilton and the Remembrance Day service at the Warplane Heritage Museum as to whether these events will take place.

As mentioned, we are undertaking an advocacy program to meet with our eight area Members of Parliament as well as the Members of Provincial Parliament in our area, on the need for national standards and funding to improve seniors care in long term care facilities and through home care. It has been evident for some time there is a huge need for standards, and the pandemic has brought even more attention to the issue and the urgency!

On December 14, we met with Minister Filomena Tassi from the West Hamilton-Ancaster-Dundas riding and on December 18 we met with Minister Karina Gould from the Burlington riding. We have a meeting set for January 12 with Scott Duvall. MP for the Hamilton Mountain riding. Plans are underway to meet with the remaining five MPs and the eight MPPs in our branch area. Our objective is to introduce our Association, outline our priorities, and discuss the need for national standards for long-term care and home care for seniors. Our approach is to establish that this is a national need that crosses political party lines and to seek support from both levels of government across all party lines.

Our branch outreach program saw the delivery of a webinar on Oct. 20, 2020, by our preferred partner, Hearing Life Canada on hearing loss. We are looking at possible webinars we can secure that would be of interest to our members.

Our director of outreach, Dave Miller, arranged a virtual meeting on Dec. 3, 2020, with a representative of the Canmet MATERIALS Laboratory to discuss our participation in any pre-retirement seminars they are planning. Dave along with Mark Leonard will present the Association's PowerPoint presentation on the benefits of membership with the Association to a group of Canmet employees who are scheduled to attend a virtual retirement seminar on February 11. This is an excellent recruiting opportunity for us and we continue to pursue such opportunities with federal employers within the branch area.

We saw a drop in our membership in 2020, due largely in part to normal attrition and a reduced need of MEDOC as travel became restricted. National office undertook the 2nd annual Mega Recruitment Campaign as well as a win back members campaign last fall to recruit new and some lapsed members. We undertook a branch pilot to encourage members who currently pay their fees by cheque or credit card to convert to deduction direct at source (DDS), undertaken by Gloria Reid, Penny Wirth, Cathy Tarves, Carol Desoer and John Wiggins of our executive. All three initiatives resulted in an increase in our membership numbers at the end of December 2020, which is very encouraging. We continue to examine ways to increase our membership numbers and would welcome any suggestions or support from you in 2021.

This year will see the end of district director, Ted Young's, second term with our national board of directors. Ted has been a tireless worker on the board and has supported this branch in our fellowship and core service delivery throughout his time on the board. Many of you have met Ted as he has attended most of our luncheon meetings, our golf days and our summer lunches. Plans are underway to nominate a replacement candidate and we will speak to that as the year progresses. 

As well, our provincial advocacy pfficer (PAO), Nancy Gleason, has announced she is stepping down. Nancy joined us at our fall open house in 2018, which many of you attended, and we will miss her dedication and passion for our Advocacy programs!

Finally, as I was writing this report, our national president, Jean-Guy Souliere, advised all association volunteers on January 6, that our CEO, Simon Coakeley, will be leaving our Association in February. Simon has done an excellent job as our CEO and has worked with our national board and the branches as we progressed from an Association of retired federal employees to one of, if not the most recognized, seniors’ organizations in Canada. Simon brought his knowledge of the importance of our pensions and benefits with him as a longstanding Association member and former federal employee which was beneficial to all members as he "got us". Simon fully understood our mission, vision and values and embraced the advocacy programs we have launched over our existence, especially those we have undertaken during the past 7 years. He will be missed and I am eternally grateful for his many contributions to this Association!


Mike Walters
Branch president