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As one retired “Retired from the Job Not from Life”
As one door closes on a senior's working life, another opens. The new retiree looks out on a scene providing familiar but challenging opportunities.
Seniors are a growing influence in Canadian society. The numbers alone show it: seniors were 9% of the Canadian population in 1960; 14% in 2009 and will be 25% in 2036. This is a political force to be reckoned with.
The Canadian Labour Congress recognized this shift when it founded the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) in 1993.
CURC, led by President Pat Kerwin, encourages and recruits the seniors and retirees to keep their union activism by joining CURC and its campaigns. These include the public pensions improvement campaign for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Old Age Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the campaign for a national Pharmacare program.
And CURC seniors are finding that their unified voices are being heard. A year-long pension campaign resulted in eight provinces backing the CPP improvement campaign. The opposition of Prime Minister Harper means public pension improvements will be a major issue in the next federal election. The lobbying work by delegations of CURC members who met with elected representatives of all parties has already done much to put the pension issue in the election spotlight.
CURC embraces many issues on behalf of members, including support for the Canadian Health Coalition campaign to establish a national Pharmacare program. The Saskatchewan Federation of Union Retiree successfully lobbied the Calvert government to include a promise for pharmacare for everyone in the last provincial election. Currently they are promoting the Canadian Health Coalition – Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study that showed that a national plan could provide universal coverage and save more than $10 billion annually. As well, CURC has reached out with many in labour to campaign for the ex-Nortel employees who lost pensions and benefits in the company bankruptcy.
To campaign successfully, CURC continues to organize and develop provincial, and local area councils which ensure that seniors' voices are heard. As Larry Wark, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Union Retirees said, key union people are now becoming retirees and it's time for all CURC affiliates to increase their visibility.
To learn more about CURC, please go to the web site http://unionretiree.ca where you can find out the local contacts and download issues of the CURC magazine, Union Retiree, as well as news releases and public position papers .
Many people retiring from the job lose their health and welfare benefits, CURC provides good value plans for such people. CURC needs you and you need CURC.