Dear Members,

Summer-time is finally here. For me, it seems like I have been waiting a very long time for my favourite season to arrive. I didn’t think we would still be in this pandemic/lockdown situation more than a year after it started. But here we are. I hope you are all able to enjoy some much-needed time off and enjoy the nice weather and longer days.

I wanted to give my support and praise to all of those members working at home, dealing with an extreme change in their work life and still producing a tremendous amount of output, while keeping their home-life and families intact and dealing with the ups and downs of this pandemic. I would like to applaud and recognize those workers who have been coming into work, right from the start of this. So many building coordinators, building authorities, CBEOs, supervisors, health and safety personnel, technicians and employees who take care of clients, experiments, plants, animals, and to the entire RPPM group. The RPPM have kept the entire grid and infrastructure systems running as smoothly as in “normal times” throughout the entirety of NRC across Canada.

A few updates for members:

The new phoenix damages agreement; at the time of signing TBS and PSPC scheduled these additional payments to be paid out in May of this year. Unfortunately, that timeline has changed. Due to some errors in the payment system discovered upon testing the rollout, PSPC have decided to send payments later this Fall, in order to ensure that there are no further issues or errors as they send out this compensation.

Retired or former employees who meet the eligibility criteria will receive financial compensation for each fiscal year in which they are eligible. However, you will not receive compensation automatically. To receive Phoenix general damages, retired or former employees will have to file a separate claim form through Treasury Board. This will include the estates of deceased employees. Despite numerous requests, Treasury Board has yet to set up this claims process. As soon as this information is available, we will post the information on our website.

The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) renewal process is ongoing.

A Partners Committee, made up of public service unions, federal retirees association and TBS, is responsible for the renewal/negotiation of the health care plan. PSHCP changes and enhancements are achieved through a joint recommendation made by the Partners that is signed by the Treasury Board President.

The health care plan has not had a comprehensive review since 2006. Updates are needed to reflect medical advances as well as the increased cost of services. Many enhancements have been identified and there are competing priorities around the table.

Federal Retirees and bargaining agents (the RCEA included) have submitted a list of initial proposals to Treasury Board Secretariat representatives. The proposals include, among other items: (taken from www.federalretirees.ca)

  • Greater coverage for vision care (including laser eye surgery)
  • Improvements to paramedical services (such as physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic care) and adding new practitioners (e.g., audiologist, occupational therapist and registered dietician/nutritionist)
  • Removal of prescription requirements for paramedical claims
  • Improved coverage for durable equipment (including hearing aids, CPAP supplies, diabetes supplies, walkers and wheelchairs, and the introduction of coverage for injectable lubricants for joint pain)
  • Improvements to hospital coverage
  • Removal of the requirement that acupuncture is provided by a physician
  • Improved coverage of psychological services, including expanding access to a wider range of practitioners
  • Expand relief for more low-income pensioners
  • Increase to nursing services
  • Improvements to drug coverage, including catastrophic coverage and the introduction of coverage for medical cannabis, subject to relevant conditions, when prescribed by a physician
  • Greater out-of-country coverage
  • Other changes to improve coverage, such as convalescent and rehabilitative care, and adjustments to make your plan easier to access, like expanded direct billing

The RCEA Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday October 5, 2021, 5pm EST, and will be virtual again this year. If restrictions are lifted, we may be able to change to an in-person attendance. Until then, we will be planning for a virtual AGM.

Stay well,

Feel free to contact the RCEA or me at any time,

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