|The founding convention of NSGREA was held in September of 1985 in the same hotel where we are today.
At its inception NSGREA had 65 members. Only those who retired as NSGEU members were eligible for membership. Wisely, that soon changed and anyone who received a pension from the Nova Scotia Public Service Superannuation Plan became eligible. Anyone who retired as an NSGEU member, regardless of pension plans, was also eligible for membership. As well, the spouse of a deceased member became eligible for membership.
The person who spearheaded the move to create NSGREA became our first President, the late Redvers Cainey. "RED", as he was affectionately known by those who knew him, felt that retirees needed an organization to keep a keen eye on issues and problems faced by retired members. In the beginning, the Association office was a room in President Cainey's home. As membership grew, the need for larger office space became obvious. A very good space was found in the Downsview Mall in Lower Sackville, for reasonable rent. Subsequesntly, when Downsview was no longer available, we were able to secure our present location on Cobequid Road in Lower Sackville.
In the early 1990's, the Association obtained a federal grant which it allowed to create 10 Regions throughout the province, each with its own executive. With changes over the ensuing years, the Association still has 10 Regions, nine within the province and one which consists of all members who reside outside the boundaries of Nova Scotia.
Over the years, the Association has participated in, or has made several presentations to, several bodies which have had an influence on the lives of retirees and their spouses. Obviously, the most recent event which affected ALL retirees was the 2010 Financial Measures Act that made significant changes to the Public Service Superannuation Plan. The Association did everything it could to restore the 'cost of living' part of this legislation. Only those directly involved in this effort are able to fully understand and appreciate the situation they faced.
The Association has, over the years, made presentations to bodies such as the Law Amendments Committee of the House of Assembly. We have made submissions to Boards and Agencies dealing with power rate increases, telephone rate increases, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), income security programs, health care and Pharmacare.
A little known fact is that Retirees, before the Association was organized, had no health plan other than the benefits of MSI. President Cainey fought for a plan and was successful in obtaining the plan we enjoy today. At the time Mr. Cainey began his efforts to obtain the plan, many senior bureaucrats in government were very much against retirees enjoying their own health plan.
NSGREA has been an active participant in the activities of the Senior Citizens Secretariat Consultation Committee, which was initially known as the Group of Seven. Today, with the addition of more groups, this body is now known as the Group of Nine. Our representatives on this Committee have taken a very active part on the issues brought before the Group. Earlier in 2016, when the provincial government was proposing significant increases to the Seniors Pharmacare Program, NSGREA President Bernard Conrad assumed a very active role opposing those increases which ultimately led government to put off the planned increases.
Over the years, NSGREA has been successful in achieving benefits for its members. Each of these were obtained as a result of hard bargaining with various provincial government departments. As mentioned above, getting the health plan for our members was a significant achievement.
During the pension holiday in the early 1990's, NSGREA was able to make significant gains for many members on their pension. Spousal benefits were increased to 66 2/3% of the members pension. Also, if the retiree passes away within their first five (5) years following retirement, , their spouse will receive their full pension before reverting to 66 2/3%. NSGREA was successful as well in getting full indexing for those members. As an example, one member received a 79% increase in his pension. At the time this happened, we had many older retirees who had retired prior to the indexing benefit, which was not implemented until January of 1984.
At the time the above happened, there was a Pensions Investment Advisory Committee in existence. We were able to appoint a member to this Committee which was not popular with many politicians and bureaucrats.
NSGREA, with the assistance of one of our members from Region 3, Ernest Pass, devised the Older Driver's Program in 2002 for drivers over the age of 65.
NSGREA was extremely fortunate to have Region 3 members Glane Gorveatt and Doug Gough, who worked to create our own web site - www.nsgrea.ca
As of the first few months of 2017, we are extremely proud of the fact that we can boast the fact that we are an organization of more that 3200 dues paying members.
|The majority of the above historical content was graciously provided by
one of our Past Presidents and longtime Region 3 member - Mr. Steve MacDonald
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