Autumn View Edition 2, 2016

A message from the Chair

The “Panama Papers” hit the news in a big way. Whether the impact will have subsided by the time this edition reaches you remains to be seen. Already it has had a large effect on the thinking about tax fairness and the burden of tax that is born by Joe taxpayer vs. the 1 per cent ultra-rich elite in this world.

For those of you that don’t know, the “Panama Papers” are a massive leak of documents out of a law firm in Panama. They show former and present world leaders, close friends and families of leaders, major companies, monarchs, drug traffickers and convicted fraudsters hiding their money in offshore tax havens worth billions of dollars.

The Prime Minister of Iceland was forced to resign because of his connection to these offshore tax shelter accounts and I am sure there will be more fallout around the world and in Canada as well.

The question, however, still seems to be, “The ultra-rich have been secretly hiding their money for years. How does this affect me?” Based on these papers alone, it is estimated the 200 to 300 billion dollars are hidden in offshore accounts and it is further estimated that Canada loses 7 to 8 billion a year in taxes, as a result of Canadians that are part of this.

Just think what could be done with that money. It could be used for infrastructure, schools, hospitals and homecare. We could, should and would all benefit.

For years our own national union, NUPGE, along with many others, have advocated for tax fairness. They have stressed the fallacy of tax breaks for the wealthy helping the economy, but in reality, they just help the rich get richer.  The “Panama Papers,” simply put, are just another example of the greed that prevails within the rich and the fact that the average person is once again left to bear the tax burden.

Ed Faulknor, Chair
OPSEU Retired Members Division

Think twice about tossing old tax records            

You may be itching to get rid of tax records once the typical six-year retention period has passed. But this can cause issues down the road. Documents may be needed years later, particularly if requested by the CRA. So keep them handy.

Gifts and inheritances

You may think the tax cost of a property is the $1 consideration noted on a legal document. However, when a gift is given, the donor is deemed to have realized proceeds equal to fair market value. This amount will be the tax cost to the gift recipient. Similarly, when a person passes away, they are deemed to dispose of their capital property at the fair market value on the date of their death (unless the property is left to a spouse). If you inherit property in these circumstances, the fair market value becomes your cost amount for tax purposes. While not mandated, it’s best practice for you to keep a copy of the schedule from the donor’s or deceased’s return indicating the reported proceeds for as long as you own the property.

Adjusted Cost Base

You may not realize that old documents can become relevant many years later. For example, a purchase agreement for a property purchased in 1985 and sold in 2015 should be kept until the end of 2021 (six years after the sale), since the sale proceeds affect tax calculations for 2015. You may also not realize that adjustments can be made to the tax cost of a property for items like capital improvements. So keep renovation and construction receipts.

Similarly, T3 slips, which show a return of capital, contain relevant information for calculating a capital gain or loss on a future disposition.

You should maintain a continuity schedule (ideally in a spreadsheet or other digital format) for investments and other assets, along with supporting documents that prove the original purchase amount and adjustments to the cost amount for tax purposes.

Election forms

Tax elections filed in the past can affect your taxes in the future. For example, a one-time election (Form T664) could be made for the 1994 tax year to allow you to bump up the tax cost of property by a maximum of $100,000. If Form T664 was previously filed with respect to a property, and you later want to claim that property under the principal residence exemption, CRA requires that you file Form T2091 (even if no tax would be payable). Without the bump-up information, you could report an incorrect capital gain. It is wise to keep a copy of a tax election filed until all properties related to the election are disposed of.

CPP benefits

These benefits are based on your pensionable earnings. Before you pitch your tax returns, consider confirming your contribution history online with Service Canada. You can make sure all contributions have been counted towards your future pensions. 

Allowable Business Investment Losses (ABILs)

If you’ve made a loan to, or an investment in, shares of a small company and the company is now insolvent, you may be able to claim half of the loss on your tax return as an ABIL. These claims are under increasing scrutiny by CRA and are likely to be audited. Retain all documentation relating to the investment or loan for at least six years after making the claim. This includes items such as promissory notes, loan agreements, and share certificates, but you should also keep financial statements, press releases and any other supporting information regarding the company.

Taxpayer relief provisions

It’s possible to ask CRA to waive interest and penalties, permit a late-filed election, accept an amended return, or issue a refund beyond the typical three-year period (for individuals and testamentary trusts only). So, you should keep supporting documentation for 10 years (the limitation period for relief claims). For example, if you missed a deduction for 2006, you have until December 31, 2016 to make a request to CRA for a refund.

Corporate capital gains

Capital gains realized after 1971 are subject to tax, so it is often helpful (even critical) to keep corporate tax returns from 1972 onwards. Consider the capital dividend account. Under certain circumstances, an election can be filed to pay out the tax-free portion of capital gains realized by a private corporation to its shareholders. All of the capital gains and losses realized after 1971 must be detailed on a schedule attached to the election form.

Or, consider that certain transactions between corporations can be subject to income tax, except to the extent of safe income, which is conceptually equal to after-tax retained earnings (the actual calculation can be complex). As safe income is cumulative (and corporate tax returns have many inter-related schedules), financial statements and tax returns for corporations should be kept for all years after 1971. Safe income can be calculated on a consolidated basis, so keep this information for all companies in the corporate group, as well.

If you are at all in doubt, consult the appropriate tax professional for personalized assistance.

By Stephanie Dietz                                                      

Published on Advisor.ca, March 4, 2016
Article provided by: Leony deGraaf Hastings, CFP, EPC, Certified Financial Planner

Ontario budget throws public services under the

infrastructure bus

February 25, 2016

Modest program improvements clawed back by cuts and privatization.

(TORONTO, ON) ─ The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) President Chris Buckley welcomed the thawing of the freeze on hospital funding and improvements to access for college and university students, but warned that these modest program improvements in certain sectors were being paid for by across-the-board cuts to others. Moreover, against public outcry, the Wynne government has held the line on austerity, cuts, and hydro privatization in order to fund its infrastructure plans.

“The 2016 Ontario Budget throws public services under the infrastructure bus when it should be presenting Ontarians with a road map for growing the economy and reversing the backslide to inequality,” said Buckley. “Piecemeal improvements to student financial assistance, disability support and other positive measures won’t help reduce inequality in Ontario if families are squeezed by precarious work, shrinking public services and increasing user fees.”

In its pre-budget submission, the OFL called on the Wynne Government to abandon its balanced budget fixation in favour of new investments in job creation, restoring public services and making sure that banks and corporations pay their fair share. The OFL cited a report released by the Ontario Common Front in November 2015, demonstrating that, by nearly every measure, Ontario is trailing every other province in income equality and poverty reduction. Among the most alarming findings are:

  • Ontario has experienced a 50 per cent increase in the duration of unemployment, making its long-term unemployment the second worst in Canada;
  • 7 million people are now earning within $4 of the minimum wage;
  • There has been a 38 per cent increase in poverty in Ontario over the past 20 years and nearly one in five Ontario children live in poverty;
  • Young Ontario families pay up to $19,000 a year for child care, the highest costs in Canada;
  • University tuition fees have outpaced inflation by 601 per cent while per student funding is dead last; and
  • Ontario funds all of its social programs at the lowest rate in Canada.

Some of the OFL’s asks are reflected in the budget and mark modest improvements that will be a benefit to working people. Among the budget announcements being welcomed by the OFL are:

  • A commitment to tackling climate change through the introduction of a “cap and trade” program;
  • Concrete measures to make higher education more affordable, in particular through enhanced up-front grants that specifically target low and middle-income students;
  • A lifting of the freeze on hospital funding through a new injection of $345 million; and
  • A “basic income pilot project,” the details of which will be determined in 2016.

“Wynne has given us one step forward, two steps back. Without increasing social program funding above inflation, this budget will further cement Ontario’s last place status for social program funding, income equality and poverty reduction,” said Buckley. “The shortcomings of today’s budget make it all the more essential for this government to move forward with bold plans to close Ontario’s gender wage gap and reform Ontario’s outdated labour laws so that every worker is lifted out of poverty and fairness becomes the law of the land.”

This article was taken from the website: www.ofl.ca

Beyond Limits: Ontario’s community hospital cuts worst in Canada

(April 13, 2016)

Toronto – The data is irrefutable. Ontario’s cuts to hospital nursing care and hospital beds are the most severe of anywhere in Canada. In a new report Beyond Limits: Ontario’s Deepening Hospital Cuts Crisis released today, the Ontario Health Coalition finds that the cuts to community hospital care are a result of eight consecutive years of cuts to global funding for the province’s hospitals. Now, heading into the ninth year in a row of real-dollar cuts to hospitals’ global budgets, Ontario’s community hospitals are now lagging behind virtually all other provinces in every reasonable measure of hospital funding. The coalition’s report includes an updated list tracking hospital service and staffing cuts in every region of the province for the last four years. Among the key findings:

  • Ontario’s government has cut hospitals’ global budgets in real-dollar terms for 8 years in a row. If the government does not change course, 2016-17 will be the ninth consecutive year of hospital cuts – the longest period of hospital cuts in the history of Ontario’s public hospitals.
  • Ontario now has the least amount of nursing care per average patient (including RN and RPN care).
  • Ontario has the fewest hospital beds left of all provinces in Canada, and lags far below the other provinces.
  • Ontario has the highest hospital readmission rates in Canada, and they are rising.
  • By every reasonable measure, Ontario’s hospital funding levels are at or near the bottom of the country and far from the average of the other provinces.
  • Cuts are resulting in a crisis of overcrowding; cancelled surgeries because there are no beds; too-early discharges; high re-admission rates; infections; violence; ambulance delays; understaffing; and compromised safety for patients and staff alike.

“That people are sleeping on stretchers in hallways in every major city in Ontario, sometimes for days at a time, is a travesty. Small and rural hospitals are being eviscerated despite all evidence regarding community need. The fact that staffing and funding are being cut to unsafe levels without any reasonable benchmarks shows just how far beyond any limits Ontario’s hospital cuts have gone,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “This issue should be considered the serious crisis that it truly is, by our policy makers.”

Student interns from Ryerson University’s nursing program, Patricia Julian and Celine Yu, helped to research and compile the list of cuts. They expressed shock at what they found. “Among the enormous cuts hospitals in the largest cities of Ontario, what stood out to me the most were the cuts to mental health services,” noted Patricia Julian, citing cuts from Hamilton’s east end psychiatric clinic to London, where mental health patients have been sleeping on the emergency department floor while waiting for hospital beds to open up. “These cuts are devastating to an already vulnerable population.”

“Northern and small community’s hospitals have been victim to numerous cuts and even the risk of closure,” reported Celine Yu. “These closures and cuts risk patients’ lives and ultimately the health of entire communities.”

“Like every Ontarian, we have been appalled at the money that is taken away from care in exorbitant executive salaries, consultants, PR people and ballooning managements,” noted Ms. Mehra. “But even taking this into account, Ontario’s government still funds our communities’ hospitals at a lower rate by every measure than other provinces and has cut care levels beyond any comparable jurisdiction. This underlines the facts that our government can and should choose to restore services and funding, and to ensure that funding goes to actual care and vital support services that patients rely upon.”

For more information: Kim Johnston, campaign director, 416 441-2502.

Media Release

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 604, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8
T. 416.441.2502 E. ohc@sympatico.ca

New Advancements in Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia currently affect 47.5 million people worldwide, which is why it is increasingly important to advance our understanding of the disease and its progression in order to find a cure.

For the first time, a research team from the University of California, Berkeley was able to track the whole progression of Alzheimer’s disease and the build-up of the protein tau in cognitively normal adults, who are alive, by using PET scans. A positron emission tomography scan, or PET scan, is an imaging test that uses a radioactive material to trace a disease. The radioactive tracer is often injected intravenously and travels via the bloodstream to organs and tissues, making them more visible.

In the study, 53 adults were separated into three groups: five adults were between the ages of 20 and 26, 33 were cognitively healthy adults between the ages of 64 and 90, and 15 participants showed early signs of Alzheimer’s and were between the ages of 53 and 77.

Using the PET scans, researchers were able to establish the stages of tau build-up in the brain of all three groups of participants. The results mirrored the stages of tau deposition known as Braak staging, which was developed through autopsies and is used to classify the degree of pathology in Alzheimer’s disease. This study was the first of its kind to show evidence of staging in people who are alive, as well as in people who show no signs of cognitive impairment. The researchers hope this will promote PET scans as a diagnostic tool.

The build-up of tau is one of the hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s disease, along with accumulation of beta amyloid plaques. While build-up of beta amyloid plaques has been considered the main cause of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, research in the last decade has revealed that tau may also play a significant role. However, researchers are still unsure of how the two interact exactly.

The accumulation of the tau protein is a normal part of aging, to a certain extent. Consistent with Braak stages, researchers confirmed in this study that tau accumulated as an individual aged in the medial temporal lobe, an area of the brain that houses the hippocampus, or memory center. The study also found that higher levels of tau accumulation are associated with greater declines in memory and learning, and that when tau spreads to other brain regions, there are greater declines in global function.

The research is an important advancement in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s; today, a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is only possible through post-mortem autopsy. Meanwhile, it is important to know that it’s never too early to make positive lifestyle changes to maintain a healthy brain, such as engaging in cognitively stimulating activities, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet. To keep up-to-date on the latest news in brain health research, sign up for the Cognitive Therapeutics monthly newsletter at www.CognitiveTherapeutics.com/Newsroom/.

Sources:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/uoc–psr022516.php  

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003827.htm

Seniors Driving Tips

Follow these 6 tips to ensure your safe driving abilities!

1. Get regular health check-ups.

Monitor changes in vision, hearing and mobility by getting regular medical check-ups. If your primary physician or optometrist notices changes, be proactive by following their recommended advice for glasses, hearing aids or other support devices. It is also important to manage any chronic conditions such as diabetes and be aware of how many medications you are taking as they may affect your driving abilities.

2. Maintain your mobility.

Adopt a fitness regimen to ensure your physical ability to drive. One of the most common mistakes older adults make is forgetting to check blind spots, so practice exercises that strengthen range of motion in your neck so that you are comfortable turning your head. We also recommend practicing yoga or trying back-strengthening exercises so that you are able to endure sitting while driving, though it may be best to avoid lengthy car rides.

3. Keep your car in good working condition.

Regular services, tune-ups and oil changes will ensure your car stays in tip-top shape. In addition, make sure that windshields, mirrors and headlights are clean and that the brightness on the dashboard’s instrument panel is turned all the way up to increase visibility when driving at night.

4. Plan ahead.

Avoid driving in dangerous weather conditions or during the evening hours when it is dark outside. These conditions may impair visibility and increase the chances of unforeseen obstacles and delays such as accidents, road closures or traffic. We also recommend looking up where you are going and planning your route ahead of time so that you won’t need to use GPS devices or look at maps while you are driving.

5. Take a refresher course.

Organizations like AAA believe that driving is a skill that should be continually improved, and to this end, offer driver refresher courses to the public. These courses help bring drivers up-to-speed on the latest advancements in vehicle technology, how they can affect your driving as well as the incentive of potential discounts on insurance premiums.

6. Know your limitations.

Be aware of your limitations and avoid any situations that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. For instance, if your hands hurt when turning the wheel, try using a wheel cover that is softer and can be easily gripped. By knowing your limitations, you can be proactive about reducing your risk factors to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Why I Like Retirement!

Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday

Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Two hours after he/she falls asleep on the couch.

Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10 per cent discount.

Privatization

When I think of privatization, I can't help but think of the 1979 movie, Norma Rae. I have seen this movie once, and thirty-five years later I can still remember it. That is how great of an impact that movie had on me. I am not an economist nor am I a politician, but I can tell you what will happen if our government privatizes services.

Privatization means the transfer of government goods and/or services to private ownership and operation. Over and over the privatization of public resources has proven that the taxpayers lose every time. The goal of any privately-run business is to make as much money as possible.

Capitalism is the motivator. Greed. Profits are achieved by cutting services, lowering wages, and by eliminating or reducing employee benefits, pension plans and vacation. This leads to unacceptable working conditions and, most importantly, lack of qualified, knowledgeable and experienced employees.

When standards are lowered, services are lowered, and society's most vulnerable – children, elderly, disabled and disadvantaged – will face compromised care. The government would have you believe that the sale of service makes sense for you the taxpayer. They sell an asset or service for a large sum of money to lower our deficit. Makes sense, right? However, it is short-sighted planning. The taxpayers will no longer receive any more dividends, income or profit from this service.

Privatization is similar to taking a buyout from your employer. You take a lump sum of money, leave your place of employment, and give up your benefits, pension, vacation, sick leave and future income. Once the money is gone, it is gone. Why would a company be interested in purchasing a government service unless it was going to make a substantial amount of money?

Is privatization worth it? We can look at recent examples of government privatizing services such as the Walkerton PUC, the recent gas plant scandal (cancelled contracts to private contractors cost taxpayers billions), Highway 407, road repair and maintenance. These services ended up costing taxpayers millions of dollars to fix, not to mention that the poor service that was delivered cost people their lives, health and wellbeing.

When services are being delivered for profit, they are not as good. Period. Canadians, and in particular Ontarians, are known throughout the world as having excellent health care. I am not ready to give up these quality services for lesser, possibly more expensive ones. I'm thinking quality not quantity here. It is not worth it. The example that always seems to come up in favour of privatization is liquor stores. Many people feel that the price of alcohol and beer would be lowered. This was not the case in Alberta. When the selling of alcohol and beer became private, the cost went up. LCBO staff are trained to recognize inebriated clientele, to diligently ask for identification, and they do not sell to anyone they feel are drunk or underage. LCBO staff members have the right to call the police or 911 if necessary. A privately-owned LCBO will want to maximize profit. They will sell beer and alcohol in corner stores and grocery stores. Do you actually think the store ownerwill be diligent in checking and verifying age requirements if it means losing a sale? If you area parent who has lost a son, daughter, spouse or friend because of a drunk driver I would be concerned.

The LCBO makes over $1.9 billion per year. A part of this substantial profit could all disappear if LCBO is privatized.

OPC Guidance Documents

Identity Theft and You

The Criminal Code was amended in 2010 to make identity fraud and identity theft criminal offences.

With today’s proliferation of technology, stealing innocent people’s identities in order to commit fraud has become a very lucrative business.

Cloaked in your stolen identity, a fraudster can cash your cheques, raid your bank accounts, bilk your credit card company and even load a big mortgage on your house.

The term identity theft can be used for everything from cheque forgery and the use of stolen credit cards to sophisticated scams in which an impostor adopts other people’s identity to gain access to their assets.

Identity thieves have many ways to get their hands on your personal information. Some simply steal old bills or preprinted credit card offers discarded in waste or recycling bins. Others exploit information lost or stolen from databases operated by retailers or other private-sector organizations and even government bodies.

You can, however, help protect yourself from unscrupulous criminals. One important way is to limit the amount of information you give out about yourself. This brochure describes some of the steps you can take to safeguard your identity and protect yourself from swindlers.

Incorporating these tips into your life doesn’t take long, but will lessen the chances that your personal information winds up in the wrong hands.

Tips for reducing the risk of identity theft

  • Be careful about sharing personal information or letting it circulate freely. When you are asked to provide personal information, ask how it will be used, why it is needed, who will be sharing it and how it will be safeguarded. Do not give out more than necessary.
  • Be particularly careful about your SIN; it is an important key to your identity, especially in credit reports and computer databases. Don’t share it unless absolutely necessary.
  • Talk with your children about identity theft and how to minimize the risk.

Phone

  • Don’t give out credit card numbers or other personal information over the phone unless it’s to a trusted person or you initiated the call yourself.
  • If someone calls unexpectedly and requests your personal or financial information, try calling the organization they are representing to verify that the request is legitimate. Reputable firms never ask for personal information without significant safeguards.

Credit cards

Keep track of when credit card bills are supposed to arrive, and call the company if they’re late.

  • Review all credit card and bank statements to make sure there are no unauthorized purchases.
  • If you do online banking, consult your statement frequently to check for any anomalies.
  • Check your credit report annually. Major credit reporting bureaus provide one free report each year.

Mail

  • Use a locked mailbox or one with a drop slot to prevent mail theft. If you use a regular box, pick up your mail as promptly as possible after it is delivered.
  • Ensure your mail is forwarded if you move.
  • Shred or destroy items with your name and address, such as preapproved credit card offers, insurance and loan applications, bills, and credit card receipts. Don’t discard them in your recycling or waste bins.
  • If you are going to be away from home, arrange for a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail. If this is impossible, Canada Post provides a mail-holding service for a fee.

Wallet

  • Carry only essential ID such as your driver’s licence and health card. Leave your social insurance number (SIN) card, passport and birth certificate in a safe place.
  • Do not let private organizations make copies of your ID documents unless there is a legitimate need and you know that they will be protected adequately. The information on the copy is as valuable as on the original document.

Online

  • Make sure your computer and mobile device are protected with passwords. Mobile phones and tablets are small and easily lost or stolen. They are full of personal information that could be compromised if they fall into the wrong hands.
  • Make sure your computer is equipped with online security and privacy safeguards including, but not limited to, firewalls and virus protection.
  • Create unique, hard-to-guess passwords for each of your online accounts and change them often, particularly if you suspect they may have been compromised.
  • Keep all software, especially security and privacy safeguards, up-to-date.
  • Whenever possible, do not engage in sensitive activities — like online banking or online purchases — on your mobile device when you are in public. You never know who may be watching or filming you in order to capture your personal information.
  • If you feel you need to log on to your e-mail or bank account from a library or other public computer, make sure no one can watch over your shoulder as you type in your password and other private information. Log out when you leave.
  • When you shop or bank online, or fill out online forms, look for the padlock symbol at the lower right corner of your screen (also look for “https” in the site URL). This symbol means the link between your computer and the site is encrypted, helping to protect the information while it is in transit. And be sure to log off when your transaction is complete.
  • Be careful about where and to whom you divulge or post any personal information online.
  • Don’t reply to suspicious e-mails, IM or text messages asking you to provide personal information online, even if they appear to come from financial institutions or government agencies. Call the bank or agency if you have doubts.
  • Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you are not using it – when you leave your device open by default, you leave your data vulnerable to access by others without your knowledge or consent whenever you pass through cafés and other places offering open, public wireless networks.
  • Delete all personal information from your electronic media devices before discarding, recycling or selling them. There are several ways to do this, for example by overwriting or destroying the media.

If you become a victim

If you think you’ve been targeted, there are some actions you should take to address the situation. Depending on the circumstances, you might need to:

  • Report the incident to local police if the matter involved a theft/crime.
  • Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501) if the matter involved a scam or fraud.
  • Seek a copy of your credit report and review it.
  • Advise your bank and credit card companies. Close any accounts and cancel any cards that may have been compromised.
  • Report any missing identity documents or cards, such as a driver’s licence, a health card or immigration documents to the appropriate organization.

Legislation Protecting Canada's Seniors come into Force

ETOBICOKE, January 14, 2013 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Alice Wong, M.P. for Richmond and Minister of State (Seniors), welcomed yesterday’s coming into force of the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act.

“Our Government is ensuring that crimes against our elderly are punished appropriately,” said Minister Nicholson. “Elder abuse is disgraceful and appalling; the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act will ensure tougher sentences for those who take advantage of these vulnerable members of our society.”

“This legislation further supports our Government’s existing action to eliminate elder abuse in all forms,” said Minister Wong. “Elder abuse will not be tolerated. Our Government continues to ensure that Canadians are made aware of this serious issue and that they have the necessary information and supports for preventative action.”

The Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act better protects seniors by ensuring tougher sentences for those who take advantage of elderly Canadians. Under the amendments to the Criminal Code, evidence that an offence had a significant impact on the victims due to their age – and other personal circumstances such as their health or financial situation – will now be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

The Government addresses elder abuse in a number of ways, including its elder abuse awareness campaigns and the New Horizons for Seniors Program. In 2011, the Government increased its investment in this program, which includes projects to increase elder abuse awareness, by $5 million per year, bringing its annual budget to $45 million.

More information about elder abuse can be found at www.seniors.gc.ca.

An online version of the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act is available at www.parl.gc.ca.

This is an older article that we are publishing to remind everyone that there is protection from Elder Abuse. The legislation covers all circumstances including abuse from family members.


Someone asked an old man: “Even after 70 years, you still call your wife – Darling, Honey, Luv. What’s the secret? Old man: “I forgot her name and I’m scared to ask her.”

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour.

But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over. to open up. “These cuts are devastating to an already vulnerable population.”

Electronic Autumn View?

We are a long way from this as a possible money saver and green thing to do, but we have had discussions about this as a consideration. The first step is to determine if there is an interest from you to have the choice of getting Autumn View sent to you electronically or to continue receiving the hard copy.

To determine if this is the case, we are asking you to contact the chair or vice-chair in your region. Contact information is listed in the front of Autumn View or email mdiadamo@opseu.org at the OPSEU Head Office.

Please let us know and we will determine if there is a desire to take this further.

Provincial Retired Members Division Executive

Question and Answer

Q. I was recently informed that retired members are eligible to apply for assistance from their regional Hardship Fund. I am very glad, if the need is there, that this is available but what I personally am interested in is how do I go about applying to serve on the Hardship Fund Committee?

A. It is unfortunately not possible for members of the Retired Members Division to serve on the committee. Just like the Resolutions Committee, Constitutional Committee and the Credentials Committee, the Hardship Committee is elected at the Regional meeting every second year and all these committees by OPSEU constitution are only open to those OPSEU members who are presently employed and paying dues.


These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says “for fast relief.”

Assistive Devices Program

Hearing Aids

What kinds of hearing aids are funded by the Assistive Devices Program (ADP)?

  • behind-the-ear hearing aids
  • in-the-ear hearing aids
  • canal hearing aids
  • completely-in-the-canal hearing aids

ADP also provides funding assistance for certain FM systems.

What kinds of hearing aids are not covered by the ADP?

  • hearing aids/FM systems that are used for a single purpose including school, work, sports, recreation or social activities
  • batteries
  • service plans
  • repairs
  • used hearing aids/FM systems

Who can apply?

Any permanent resident of Ontario with a long-term physical disability who requires the use of a hearing aid for six months or longer and has a valid Health Card issued in his or her name.

ADP does not pay for equipment available under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or for Group 'A' veterans for their pensioned conditions.

How do I apply for ADP funding?

Children (individuals 18 years of age and younger) who are applying for the first time or whose hearing is not stable must be examined by a medical doctor who is a hearing specialist (an otolaryngologist). The doctor will complete the appropriate section of the application form.

The doctor will refer you to an audiologist who is registered with ADP and called an authorizer. If you are already an ADP client, you may go directly to an audiologist registered with ADP. The audiologist will assess your hearing and select the appropriate make and model of hearing aid and FM system (if required) that meets your hearing needs. The assessment will include a hearing test.

Eligibility for ADP funding assistance is based on established policies. If you are determined eligible the authorizer will complete the appropriate sections of the application form.

Adults (individuals 19 years of age and older) may choose one of the following:

  1. Go to a doctor. The doctor will verify the need for the hearing aid and then complete the appropriate section of the application form.
    Then go to an authorizer who is registered with ADP – either an Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Practitioner. The authorizer will assess your hearing and select the appropriate make and model of hearingaid and FM system (if required) that meets your hearing needs. The assessment will include a hearing test. If you are determined eligible, the authorizer will complete the appropriate sections of the application form.
    OR
  2. Go to an audiologist who is a registered authorizer with ADP. The audiologist will verify your need for a hearing aid. The audiologist will assess your hearing and select the appropriate make and model of hearing aid and FM system (if required) that meets your hearing needs. The assessment will include a hearing test. If you are determined eligible, the authorizer will complete the appropriate sections of the application form.

Does the ADP pay for my hearing test?

No. OHIP may or you may be responsible for payment.

Who sells me the hearing aid?

You must buy your hearing aid from a vendor registered with ADP. The registered vendor bills ADP for the amount it will pay towards your hearing aid and charges you the remaining cost.

How much does ADP pay for hearing aids?

ADP will pay the ADP registered vendor 75 per cent up to a maximum of $500 of the cost of the hearing aid listed with ADP, including the earmold, and dispensing fee.

If you need hearing aids for both ears, ADP will pay the registered vendor 75 per cent up to a maximum of $1000 of the cost of two hearing aids listed with ADP, including earmolds, and dispensing fees.

The earmold must be bought at the same time as the hearing aid.

The registered vendor will charge a dispensing fee to fit the hearing aid. The dispensing fee may vary depending on the type of hearing aid.

For FM systems, ADP will pay the registered vendor 75 per cent up to a maximum of $1,350 of the cost of the ADP listed device and dispensing fee.

Will my health insurance company cover my share of the cost?

Many will. If you have private medical coverage, check with your insurer or agent.

What if I need to replace my hearing aid?

If you experience a significant change in your hearing or change in medical condition, please see your authorizer for an assessment of your hearing needs.

If your equipment is no longer under warranty and cannot be repaired at a reasonable cost, the ADP may contribute towards the cost of a replacement.

ADP will not pay for the replacement of equipment lost, stolen or damaged through misuse. You are encouraged to buy private insurance to cover these possibilities.

Taken from the Ontario Government, Ministry of Health & Long Term Care website.

Container Gardening

Containers and hanging baskets of all shapes and sizes can add wonderful colour and texture to your landscape. They can dress up the front porch, spice up the patio or add drama to the poolside. With a little know-how, you can have fabulous containers for months on end. Here are a few tips on caring for your container garden.

Plant Selection 

The most important factor to consider when container gardening is choosing the right plants for your location. Will your planter get sun all day, just in the morning, or not at all? Plants have specific light preferences, so understanding how much sun your plants will get is essential to your gardening success. Observe the light in the area and select plants accordingly.

Soil

The best type of soil to use for containers is lighter and more porous than regular garden soil. Select a potting mix that is specially formulated for use in containers, such as TERRA Container Soil. This will provide your plants with the best growing conditions possible.

Watering

Plants in containers can dry out very quickly due to the relatively small soil volume in which they’re planted. The best way to determine if your container is dry is to feel the soil. If the soil is dry up to the depth of your index finger, it’s time to water. Make sure you thoroughly wet the container. Hanging baskets which have dried right out may need to be soaked a few times before they retain water again. In summer months, you may need to water your container every day.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing is a must for containers. Frequent watering causes nutrients to rapidly leach out of the soil, and plants lacking nutrients become stressed and unattractive. Fertilizer can be applied either as a slow-release or a liquid. Slow-release fertilizers, such as Miracle Gro Shake n’ Feed, can be applied in the spring and will release over a set period, from two to four months. Alternately, a liquid fertilizer can be applied easily with a watering can throughout the growing season.

Deadheading

Removing faded flowers will not only improve the appearance of your container-grown plants, it can also increase their bloom time. Once spent flowers are removed, energy will be diverted from seed production back into flower production. If your plants begin to look straggly and unattractive by mid-summer, you might consider shearing them back by half to promote blooms and a bushier plant.

This article was take from the TERRA greenhouse website: www.terragreenhouses.com.

Drought-Tolerant Annuals

While some plants seem to be wilting and fading away in our summer heat, there are others that seem to thrive and flourish in it. These are some of the annuals you can use if you wish to conserve water, have little time for watering, or have hot and dry conditions in your landscape.

Dusty Miller

Dusty miller is an attractive grey foliage plant that works well in the hot sunny garden.

Gazania

A low-growing annual coming in a variety of flower colours. The flowers close at night.

Grasses

Many ornamental grasses are quite drought tolerant when planted out in the garden. If used in containers, watering is required more often.

Scaevola

A low-spreading sun-loving annual, which covers itself in blue/mauve fan- shaped flowers.

Portulaca or Rose Moss

Very tolerant of summer heat and drought. It is a low- growing, succulent plant that comes in an array of colours.

Sunflower

This old classic comes in a variety of colours and flower forms now. From giants to dwarfs, there is a sunflower for every need.

Other drought-tolerant annuals to consider include ageratum, calendula, cleome, celosia, cosmos, geranium, marigold, snapdragon, verbena, and zinnia.

This article was taken from the TERRA greenhouse website www.terragreenhouses.com.


Question: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?
Answer: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

Reporters interviewing a 104 year-old woman: “And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” the reporter asked... She simply replied, “No peer pressure.”

PDF iconDownload Autumn VIew Edition 2, 2016

Publication Date: 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - 2:15pm