APRUO Bulletin, January 2024
Rédacteur / Editor : Frans De Bruyn Traductions par / Translations by : André Lapierre
Letter from Our President
We now begin our 26th year as an Associationwith energy and a renewed determination to represent your interests as University of Ottawa retirees! And very soon, this will take very concrete forms. First, through the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) Collective Agreementrenewal, which is taking place in 2024.
As you know, our various benefits as retirees are not negotiated by the APRUO, but by the APUO, which is why we maintain privileged ties with the latter. The Administrative Committee, taking into account the various comments made in last year's survey, drew up a list of points which we felt were essential to renegotiate, and in November 2023 I met with APUO management and presented them with this list. An open and constructive discussion ensued. We will, of course, keep you informed of the outcome of the renewal.
Then, by the implementation of the Action Plan proposed at the Annual General Meeting in May 2023, aiming at making APRUO better known, reinforcing our recruitment and retention strategies, enriching information on our various benefits, and proposing activities to promote members' development and social interaction.
We have already put in place certain measures for each of these objectives. For example, we have created new work teams within the Administrative Committee to generate new activities engaging members or to improve communication towards current and future members. We have added two new sections to our website : one sharing members' achievements during their retirement (under membership) and the other listing external organizations who contact us to recruit volunteers. We have also added on our website some precisions in the description of our various benefits. Other developments are expected in the coming months.
Let's wish us all a very good year 2024!
Departure of Admin Committee Member
We would like to thank Marie Drolet for her service on the Administrative Committee over the past year. Marie brought great energy and enthusiasm to her role, for which we are very grateful, but responsibilities elsewhere make it impossible for her to continue in her role. On behalf of the Association, we thank Marie warmly for her contributions to the APRUO and we wish her all the best in her future endeavours
Pension Indexation for 2024
The Human Resources Service at the University of Ottawa has announced a pension plan indexation increase of 3.73% for 2024, which is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the period from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023. The CPI increase in this period was 4.73%, which results in a pension payment increase of 3.73%, beginning with the January 2024 pension payment. The increase is one per cent less than a full 4.73% because the pension plan does not automatically award the amount of increases that fall between 2% and 3%. The following formula explains how the indexing percentage is calculated.:
- If the increase in the CPI is less than 2%, the adjustment will be equal to the percentage increase in the CPI.
- If it is between 2% and 3%, plan members will receive a 2% increase.
- If the increase in the CPI is greater than 3%, the pension increase will be 1% less than the CPI.
From time to time, APRUO members can also receive “catch-up” indexation increases, which are applied to previously unpaid portions of past indexation increases. (Currently there are unpaid portions of 1% in each of the years 2022 and 2023.) These catch-up indexations are granted when the increase in the total value of the pension plan fund meets or exceeds specified criteria. In April 2022, for example, the Board of Governors approved a catch-up increase of 0.21% for the year 2019. Such catch-up awards are not retroactive; they apply only after the date of the catch-up award.
The pension indexing announcement issued by Human Resources can be accessed by clicking on the link below, which will take you to the "Pension Plan Publications Page." The announcement is filed under the "Pension Indexation" tab as a PDF document, which you can download. See https://www.uottawa.ca/about-us/faculty-and-staff/human-resources/pension-plan-publications A record of previous indexations can be found on the APRUO website at: https://apruo.ca/pension-benefits/pension-indexing
Negotiations for New APUO Collective Agreement
The current Collective Agreement of the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) expires this year, and preparations for a new round of negotiations with the employer are now underway. This process is important to all APRUO members, since the APUO represents retired academic staff in the negotiation of retiree benefits and other matters of importance to retirees.
Benefits currently enjoyed by retired academic staff members that were previously negotiated by the APRUO are to be found chiefly under article 40 of the Collective Agreement. The following is a list of sections in the Collective Agreement that are relevant to our members:
17.2.2: Professeur invité;
17.5: Professeure auxiliaire.
38.2: Rights & privileges of retirees;
40.1, esp. 40.1.2: Benefits studies;
40.6: Frais de scolarité – Tuition fees;
40.9: CDSS / HCSA;
Appendix F.1: Letter of Understanding, “Concernant le Régime de pension – Regarding the Pension Plan”
On November 7, the President of the APRUO, Sylvie Lauzon met with Dimitrios Karmis, APUO's new President; Colin Monpetit, First Vice-President; and Administrative Director Michel Desjardins. She conveyed to them APRUO's concerns in the current round of negotiations. We will keep members informed about the outcome of these negotiations.
APRUO Scholarship Winners for 2024
The APRUO sponsors an endowed scholarship fund for eligible students at the University of Ottawa. The terms of reference for the scholarship specify that “students who are the children, grandchildren or dependent children of University of Ottawa employees (active or retired)” are eligible to apply for financial assistance. (For the scholarship terms of reference, see the following web link: https://apruo.ca/scholarships/terms-of-reference.)
In recent years, the APRUO has awarded several scholarships each year, and in 2024 four awards of $2,000 each will be offered. Profiles of past awardees are featured on the APRUO website. Details about our scholarship winners for 2024 will be available on our website soon. We thank all our members who have contributed to the scholarship endowment fund over the years. Donations can be made on the APRUO website at the following web page: https://apruo.ca/scholarships/donate .
Improvements to Our Website
As part of the Action Plan mentioned in the “Letter from Our President” above, we are implementing changes and additions to the APRUO website to improve communications with our members and to promote a sense of social and collegial cohesion within our membership. To this end we have added some new web pages and we are continuting to update the information of the site to ensure it is as accurate and complete as possible. In this article we outline some of the key changes implemented so far.
(In addition to the three initiatives highlighted below, we are also updating and augmenting the existing information on our website, and we invite members to bring to our attention any inaccuracies, glitches, dead links, etc. you might encounter in using the site.)
News from Members
Under the “Membership” tab on our website, we have created a new page called “News of Our Members,” in which we aim to share news of our colleagues’ activities and accomplishments. Honours and awards, special projects in the academic sphere and the wider community, and book publications are some of the activities we would invite you to bring to our attention for inclusion on this page, which you can view in its preliminary stage at the following link: https://apruo.ca/docs/news-of-our-members.
Volunteer Opportunities and Invitations for Members
As we informed you last fall, the APRUO is approached from time to time by outside organizations, such as “Academics without Borders,” requesting that we publicize their activities with our members or solicit volunteer participation in their work. The Admin Committee has reviewed some of these requests (from educational associations and non-governmental organizations), and when they appear to be of potential interest to our members, we plan to disseminate the information on the website via a new web page called “Volunteer Opportunities, Invitations.” This will be located under the “Resources and Opportunities” tab; a preliminary version can be seen here: https://apruo.ca/docs/volunteer-opportunities-invitations. Please check this page regularly for new listings, and we invite you to register with any group or activity of interest to you.
Sharing photos taken at events sponsored by the APRUO, such as the recent reception and book launch to honour our past-President Pierre Calvé, seems an ideal way to promote a sense of community. In this spirit, we have created our first photo gallery, which is currently available for viewing under the “About APRUO” tab at https://apruo.ca/about-apruo/photo-gallery. To access the photos, simply click on the image and headline of the event you wish to view. Currently, we have only one gallery to share, but more appear here after future APRUO activities and events.
We have requested Ignite Web Solutions, the company that hosts our website, to review it for compliance with standards of accessibility. Given the demographic profile of our Association, a key priority for us is to make the website as accessible as possible to our members, who may have visual or other challenges that make it difficult to use the Internet. An internationally accepted standard for web accessibility called WCAG 2.0, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, offers a guide to what can be done to improve our website.
Ignite has completed its review and is now in the process of implementing changes to improve accessibility. The changes will not be obvious to the naked eye. What is being updated on the website is background markup that enables users employing accessibility software, such as JAWS (“Job Access With Speech”) for those with visual deficiencies, to use the site and make it available to them.
Administrative Committee: Roles and Responsibilities
As part of the implementation of the APRUO Action Plan to improve the services we offer to our members, the Administrative Committee has assigned new roles to committee members, along with the responsibilities and files previously allocated. Here is a list of key portfolios, together with the names of the individuals responsible in each instance.
Roles (December 2023)
- Scholarships : Leslie Laczko, président; Andrée Durieux-Smith; Raymond Leblanc
- ARUCC : André Lapierre, agent de liaison
- Communication : Frans De Bruyn, co-ordinator; Doug Clayton; Richard Clément; Sylvie Lauzon (ex officio)
- Deaths and retirements : Charles Belleau
- Executive : Sylvie Lauzon, présidente; Frans De Bruyn, Past President; Charles Belleau, vice-président; Doug Clayton, Secretary; Richard Clément, trésorier
- Special Projects: Doug Angus; Andrée Durieux-Smith; Raymond Leblanc
- Members’ Achievements : To be announced
- Membership Renewal : Richard Clément
- Pension : Charles Belleau, membre votant; André Lapierre, observateur
- Website : Frans De Bruyn
- Parking : André Lapierre
News from CURAC
The new CURAC (College and University Retiree Associations of Canada) website is nearing completion and will be much easier to navigate with plenty of news and information on activities of other university and college retiree associations throughout Canada as well as information of general interest to retirees.
Preparations are well underway for the 2024 CURAC National Conference and AGM which will take place at the University of Waterloo, May 22-24, 2024. The theme this year is Thriving in Retirement and is sponsored by the University of Waterloo Retirees Association: https://uwaterloo.ca/retirees-association/conference-2024. If you happen to be in the Waterloo area at that time (home to the largest population of Old Order Mennonites in Canada, less than one hour from the Stratford Festival, close to St. Jacobs Market, etc.), or if you are searching for a stimulating experience in the spring, mark your calendars! APRUO will be represented at the event by André Lapierre who is also a current member of the CURAC Board of Directors.
APRUO Membership Renewal
The key to our effectiveness as an Association is the financial support we receive from our membership. If your membership is lapsing, you will be contacted as part of our annual membership campaign. We wouldd like to encourage you to sign up.
To renew your membership is very easy:
- Go to https://apruo.ca/user/signin/?goto=membership%2Frenew-membership
And follow the instructions for existing users (“Renew Membership”) or for new members (“Become a Member”).
- Send an “INTERAC” transfer of $25, $50 or $75 (1, 2 or 3 years) to email@example.com
- Send a cheque to APRUO in one of those amounts to:
Treasurer APRUO, University of Ottawa, 141 Louis Pasteur. OTTAWA, ON, K1N 6N5
Inquiries about membership can be directed to Richard Clément at firstname.lastname@example.org.