PAST  SCHEDULED GUEST SPEAKERS

2013  -  2001



May's (2013) Guest Speaker

Our guest speaker for the third meeting of 2013 was Dave Peters, at this time the official NSGREA representative on the Trusteeship Board.   He indicated that the actuarial statement is due out on Dec. 31, 2014 and that at that time if the pension fund is 100% funded, there will be no additional indexing to the 1.25%.   If the fund is below 90%, then contributions must increase.   We may get additional indexing if the fund is between 100% and 110%.   If at least a 120% funded pension, then that will mandate indexing in some form.    He stated that his role on the Board is only limited by the legislation.


March's (2013) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the second meeting of 2013 was Marlene Russell of RBC Investments who spoke about financial planning, along with two colleagues - Bernadette MacDonald, Ann Ragbir & Wendy Sentner.   This group of four work as mobile financial planners with RBC Investments, meeting with clients wherever and whenever convenient.   They spoke on cash flow, asset mix, mutual funds, GICs, stocks & bond funds.


January's (2013) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the first meeting of 2013 was Peter Landry, senior partner of Landry & McGillivray, specializing in civil law, wills, power of attorney and the like.   He spoke on creating and making changes to Wills, Personal Directives (living wills), and Power of Attorney documents (both general & special).


May's (2012) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the third meeting of 2012 was Theresa Horwell of the Halifax Regional Police Department's Senior's Home Safety Program.   She is also Chair of the Accessibility Board for Mayor Peter Kelly.   She indicated that seniors 55+ are eligible for the program.


January's (2012) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the first meeting of 2012 was Region 6 member Dave Peters, also a member of the Joint Trusteeship Advisory Committee.   He spoke on the Committee's latest meeting, of January 13th, and his paper entitled The Broken Pension Promise, which he presented at the previous NSGREA Convention.  


November's (2011) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the last bi-monthly meeting of 2011 was Steven Wolff, Chief Executive Officer of the NS Pension Agency.   He was also joined by two other staff members at the Agency - Kim Blinn, Chief Pensions Office, and Sonya Wilson, Client Services.  

The NS Pension Agency was established in 2006 as a special perations agency of the Department of Finance. In addition to our pension, it also provides pension and investment administration to NSTU, the MLA plan and SYSCO plan.  The agency reports to the Superannuation Plan trustee – the Minister of Finance.  The NSTU trustee has 9 members and reports administrative matters to the Deputy Minister of Finance.  Two divisions - Pension and Investment. NSPA purchases key services from Province – Payroll Service and Info Technology Structure. The Agency is part-owner of entire Purdy's Wharf complex and is responsible for day-to-day operations of the various plans. The Pension Division is responsible for the various announcements that are distributed. There are also other responsibilities, including Client Services, Communications, a Pension Division and an Investment Division.   Mr. Wolff advised the group that some types of trusteeships comprise members and government.   In some cases in Canada, retirees are not members of the trusteeship.


March's (2011) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the first bi-monthly meeting of 2011 was Herb MacDonald, former Policy Analyst with the Nova Scotia Pension Agency and now a retired member of this association.   Herb gave in considerable detail a chronological history of the NS Pension Agency, which was created in 2005 through the reorganization of the Pensions Division of the Department of Finance.   In 2006, a Penson Advisory Committee was established to provide adsvice to the Trustee re operation of the Public Service Plan.   He went on to say that, in 2007, NSGREA was given a seat on this Committee which provided us with input on pension rules and investment policy.   This continued until the Committee was disbanded following changes to the Public Service Plan passed as part of the Financial Measures Act in May of 2010.   This culminated in a change to the indexing rules which implemented an annual COLA indexing of 1.25% until 2015, after which any further  indexing will be depended on the funding level of the Plan.   Herb, along with member Dave Peters, is currently representing NSGREA as part of the government's PSSP Governance Working Group, an advisory committee of six people to advise the Minister of Finance about options for trusteeship of the Pension Fund.


September's (2010) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the fourth bi-monthly meeting of 2010 was Dave Peters, Past President, NSGEU and he spoke about the Pension Fund.   The changes were due to the Financial Measures Act which was passed in May 2010.   An Advisory Committee has been formed that includes Dave Peters and Herb MacDonald that is to make recommendations to the Minister of Finance about how to make changes to the Trusteeship for the Pension Fund.   It was suggested that NSGREA focus its efforts on changing the mind of Government through various means.   Our future as pensioners is at stake.


November's (2009) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the last bi-monthly meeting of 2009 was the Honourable Graham Steele, NS Minister of Finance & MLA for Halifax Fairview. Honourable Minister Steele is also the Minister of Acadian Affairs and the Minister responsible for the Securities Act, the Insurance Act, the Credit Union Act, Part 1 of the Gaming Control Act, the Utility and Review Board Act and the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.

In the 40 minute time frame alloted to him, Minister Steele spoke primarily on our pension fund via questions and dialogue from the floor.  
He indicated that, for the public record, as of March 31/09 our pension fund was 60.8% funded.   Currently it is still less than 70% funded.   He applauded our efforts to take on and negotiate a great stand alone dental plan for our members.


January's (2009) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the first bi-monthly meeting of 2009 was Mr. Bill Vangorder, President of the Halifax Chapter of CARP.   

Mr. Vangorder spoke on the recent changes made within the organization, and the co-operation between CARP and other Seniors’ groups such as our own.   He indicated that presently there are about 5000 members of CARP in Nova Scotia – about half within the Metro Halifax area.   He stated that our drafted letter to the Prime Minister re RRIF is in line with what CARP is recommending.   He indicated that now with the local Halifax Chapter, CARP can become more actively involved with local businesses and companies.


November (2008) Presentation
Region 3 Secretary Doug Gough presentede a video on the use (or mis-use) of cell phones by drivers of motor vehicles in motion.  

This was taken from a recent TV presentation entitled “Killer Texting”.


March's (2008) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the meeting in March was Michelle Raymond, MLA for Halifax Atlantic, NDP Critic for Tourism & Culture, Communications Nova Scotia and the Human Rights Act.   Ms. Raymond spoke about legislation she has introduced to protect health insurance coverage for employees (and family members) who leave group coverage before the age of 65.   Many employees find themselves without health coverage when they leave their jobs, unless they are allowed to carry on with their group policy.   Finding new coverage can be difficult and expensive, since any illness that arose while people were previously insured, is now a pre-existing condition.   For those people who can't get new coverage, prescription drug bills can mean serious financial consequences.   Her proposed legislation would allow 30 days for people to find new coverage, on the same terms.

NEWS RELEASE  -  November 26, 2007
Raymond To Introduce Legislation Protecting Individuals From The Loss Of Health Insurance
November 26, 2007

Halifax - Michele Raymond, NDP MLA for Halifax Atlantic, will introduce legislation today that would protect Nova Scotians from the loss of health insurance in special circumstances like divorce, termination of employment, or death of an insured spouse.

“Life happens,” says Raymond. “Sometimes the protection of health insurance can disappear overnight if someone suddenly loses their job or is separated from a spouse who carries the insurance.”

The NDP bill would allow individuals who lose health insurance coverage to apply for
a 30-day extension while they obtain new coverage.

The bill also states that insurance companies cannot penalize individuals for a pre-existing condition if the condition has not been treated in the last six months of the original coverage or the first twelve months of the new coverage.

“When people lose group health coverage after they’ve been on one plan for a long time, they find the can’t get coverage for any condition that came up while they were on the first plan,” says Raymond. “This legislation saves people from a lot of unnecessary worry when they suddenly lose group health insurance coverage.”


November's (2007) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for November was Mr. Craig Merriam, a financial advisor with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).   Mr. Merriam had spoken at our Regional meeting in Dartmouth back on September 15, 2005.   Again he answered many questions dealing with RRSPs, RIFs, and other financial matters as they pertain to seniors and others of us in our retirement years.


January's (2007) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the first bi-monthly meeting of 2007 was Ms. Brigitte Neumann, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Brigitte Neumann began her career as a sociologist conducting research on immigration, health services, community planning, and drug dependency issues.   Since a career change in 1988 when she became Director of the Women’s Directorate and in 1996, after she became Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, she has served eleven Status of Women ministers, four Advisory Council chairs and about 40 Advisory Council members.   The council addresses what women want – fair pay and pensions, safety in homes and communities, good health and well-being and an inclusive society.   Brigitte spoke about Council initiatives in these areas today, including women's programs, pay equity, childcare issues, elimination of the Court Challenges Programs, etc.


November's (2006) Guest Speakers
Our guest speakers for the fifth and final meeting of 2006 were Ms. Lisa Grandy and Ms. Cheryl Purcell-Cotnam of the NS Dept. of Health - Continuing Care Division.   Ms. Grandy is the Manager of District 9 (Captial Health District), and Ms. Purcell-Cotnam is the Manager of Eligibility Review for Continuing Care.   Both presented on the current state of Continuing Care in Nova Scotia.   Continuing Care serves people who need ongoing care outside of hospital, either on a long-term or short-term basis.   The NS Government's website on Continuing Care is   http://www.gov.ns.ca/health/ccs/default.htm


March's (2006) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for the second meeting of 2006 was Mr. Edison Yeadon, a former prisoner-of-war under Japanese control, who reminisced about his experiences as a 17 year old in 1941 Halifax.   Tempted by the prospect of adventure, he took a job aboard a Norwegian supply ship as part of the many Atlantic convoys of the day, only to end up being captured by the Germans, turned over to the Japanese and ending up spending three years in a POW camp until being liberated at the end of the war.

Click on  http://www.thememoryproject.com/digital-archive/profile.cfm?collectionid=277&cnf=wwII  to read (and hear in his own words) an excerpt from his diary outlining his more than 3 1/2 year experience as a merchant mariner and prisoner-of-war in the hands of the Japanese.


January's (2006) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for our first meeting of the New Year was Mr. Ian Johnson,  Policy Analyst / Researcher with the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union for the past ten years.    Previously he was the Senior Policy Analyst with the Nova Scotia Provincial Health Council, Researcher with the Nova Scotia NDP Caucus, and Social Development Worker with the former City of Halifax.


November's (2005) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker was Ms Michele Raymond, NDP MLA for Halifax Atlantic.
Her Bio can be seen at   http://www.ns.ndp.ca/site_pages/candidates.php?select_id=9&printable=yes

She spoke to us on various topics, including
    • current situation on nursing homes
    • current state of energy costs affecting all of us, including gasoline, fuel oil, electricity and natural gas
    • property taxes
    • Pharmacare drug coverage

September's (2005) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for September was Mr. Craig Merriam, a financial advisor with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).   Mr. Merriam enlightened all those present with a brief slide presentation entitled "Planning for an Enjoyable Retirement".   Mr. Merriam answered various questions regarding RRSPs, RIFs, and other financial matters related to our retirement years. 


March's (2005) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for March was Nutritionist Laurie Barker of Sobey's Stores in Halifax.   Laurie had spoken to our group back in January of last year, as well as giving us a tour of the Mumford Rd store and pointing out the locations of various healthy food items.   This time she spoke to us on sodium in our daily diet. 


January's (2005) Guest Speaker

Our guest speaker for this January was to be Laurie Barker, Registered Professional Dietition for Sobey's Stores.   She was our guest speaker a year ago, and offered at the time a tour of Sobey's Mumford Road store, indicating where to find the most nutritious foods for a healthy diet.   It seemed appropriate we have her back to start off the new year on a healthy footing.   More related information can be found at   http://diabetessupport.ns.ca/resources.html#sobeys_schedule  

Due to a snowstorm on the 20th, our January meeting date has been changed to the 27th.   As a result, and due to a prior commitment, Laurie's talk has been postponed until our meeting in March.

January's speaker on the 27th will be our Secretary, Doug Gough, who will update the members with a visual demonstration of the current status of our website www.nsgrea.ca

March's (2004) Guest Speaker

Our guest speaker at the meeting in March held in Halifax was the Honourable Graham Steele, NDP MLA for Halifax Fairview.   Following a brief presentation on a number of current issues, a very productive Q&A session took place.


January's (2004) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker to start the new year was Ms. Laurie Barker, a nutritionist with Sobey's Stores.   Laurie graduated from Dalhousie University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree, and from Saint Francis Xavier University in 1998 with a degree in Human Nutrition.   She then did a one year internship in Vancouver, followed by a two year program at one of the local hospitals and with the British Columbia Public Health Department.   She has since been working with the Sobey's  Stores for the past two years delivering programs on nutrition.   She spoke to us on healthy eating habits and how to improve one's nutritional requirements.


November's (2003) Guest Speaker
November's guest speaker was Ms. Robin Latta of the Gerontology Association of Nova Scotia (GANS), who spoke to the group on the recently developed online community site for NS Seniors - LinkAGES.   Learn more at  http://www.nsgrea.ca/linkAGES.html .


September's (2003) Guest Speaker
Our guest speakers for the September meeting were Ms. Berni Duda of Volunteer Services, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre (QE2 HSC) located in Halifax, and Ms Dachia Joudrey from the Nova Scotia Hospital (NSH) and the East Coast Forensic Hospital (ECFH), both located in Dartmouth.

Ms. Duda is the Coordinator of Marketing and Recruitment of volunteers at the QE2 HSC, with 16 years of experience in all aspects of volunteer coordination including program development, volunteer placement and training.

Ms. Joudrey's role in volunteer services combines direct volunteer placement with both inpatients and outpatients being serviced by a psychiatric hospital, and conducting public education to volunteers about mental illnesses and hospital services.   This involves the Nova Scotia Hospital site, the Halifax County East team outpatient site at Cole Harbour Place, the New Beginnings Clubhouse in Dartmouth, and the new East Coast Forensic Hospital located in Burnside.

Ms. Duda gave us a brief but comprehensive overview of the various volunteer programs in place throughout the many sites of the QE2 HSC located in the heart of Halifax, including reception and hospitality volunteer programs, retail services, the Dianna Bleakney Guild, the weekend/coffee program and musical programs, to list a few.

Ms. Joudrey concentrated her remarks to an overview of the many volunteer services offered within the Capital Health District Mental Health Program, both at the Nova Scotia Hospital and at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Burnside.   She indicated that, depending on the amount of time a volunteer has to give, he or she can volunteer weekdays, evenings or weekends, whether it be a few or several hours per week.   Programs offered include patient library, pet visitation, recreation, companionship role modelling, arts and crafts and friendly visiting.

Telephone numbers to call for more information include 473-5420 for the QE2 HSC, and 464-3163 for the NSH and ECFH.


January's (2003) Guest Speaker
Our guest speaker for January's meeting was Constable Donald Jenkins of the HRM Police Department.   Constable Jenkins began his 19 year policing career with the Dartmouth Police Department prior to amalgamation.   He is currently the Community Crime Prevention Officer for the HRM, providing both personal and residential safety courses to the public.

His talk was both highly informative and extremely entertaining.  Specifically aimed at seniors, and with special emphasis to women, he covered the topics of home invasion and personal safety, as well as lightly touching on consumer fraud and scams.   His talk was followed by a 10 minute video presentation (produced by the Department of Justice), which re-emphasized the main points of his talk.   We look forward to his return at a later meeting to further elaborate on this most important subject.


May's (2002) Guest Speaker
There was NO guest speaker for the meeting in May, as this time was used for discussion and formulation of resolutions for the NSGREA's forthcoming annual meeting in September, 2002


March's (2002) Guest Speaker
The scheduled speaker at our recent meeting on March 14th of 2002 was Jean Shaw, Elderobics Coordinator, Elderobics Association of Nova Scotia.  At the meeting she presented an interactive demonstration in the various aspects of elderobics, in which those present took an active part.  This included running on the spot, as well as various twisting, stretching and flexing exercises.

The Elderobics Program was initiated by the Halifax/Dartmouth YMCA in 1979, and is administered by a volunteer board of directors made up of older adults and a staff coordinator.  Classes are held from September to mid-June at various locations throughout Halifax/Dartmouth.  Elderobics is a mild exercise program for men and women over fifty-five years of age and concentrates on improving joint flexibility, muscle strength, heart-lung fitness, better posture and reducing stress.

Ms. Shaw, BA, BPHE, took her physical and health education at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.  She is an accredited YMCA and NSFFLA instructor, as well as an instructor and instructor/trainer at the Centre for Activity and Ageing, University of Western Ontario.  She also holds current CPR certification.  She has a total of 32 years work experience in the health and fitness field in a variety of capacities, 4 years at the Halifax YMCA and 28 years at the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth.  She is currently (since 1980) Coordinator and Director of the Elderobics Fitness Program for Older Adults, Elderobics Association of Nova Scotia.

Further information can be obtained by phoning Ms. Shaw at 423-9709, Ext. 269 or the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth at 423-9622.


January's (2002) Guest Speaker
The scheduled speaker at our meeting on January 17th of 2002 was Valerie Joan White, long standing Coordinator of the Senior Citizens' Secretariat.

Ms. White is a native of New Ross, Lunenburg County, and has been a Registered Social Worker with twenty-five years of public service in direct social work and social policy and planning. 

She has served as Coordinator of the Senior Citizens Secretariat, the provincial office which deals with aging issues, since its formation in 1980.  In that capacity she works closely with the Provincial Departments of Government, seniors and seniors' organizations and professional organizations concerned with aging.  She is a member of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Committee of Officials for the Ministers Responsible for Seniors. 

Ms. White has chaired Provincial and National Conferences on Aging and recently served on the Canada Coordinating Committee for the International Year of Older Persons.  Ms. White has contributed to numerous publications and policy papers and has guest lectured at several Nova Scotian Universities in the field of aging and economics.  She is an active volunteer, serving this year as the first woman President of the Rotary Club of Halifax, Board Member of Mother Berchman Centre and serves on numerous other Boards, Councils, projects and organizations concerned with aging and the aged.  During leisure hours she enjoys sailing, gardening, skiing and music. 

Ms. White is an alumnus of the Governor General Study Group, a member of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers and other related professional associations.  As well, she is a Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.



November's (2001) Guest Speaker

The scheduled speaker at our meeting on November 15th of 2001 was Aliesje MacInnis, Manager of Pharmacare Administration, who spoke on behalf of the Provincial Government's Pharmacare Program for Senior Citizens.


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