Pension Information Seminar
The United Church of Canada provides a Defined Benefit Pension Plan for all employees who work more than 14 hours a week. Join us for this 90 minute program held by Shenagh Rosa, Manager for Pension Compliance and Communication, on February 14, 2022 at 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET to learn about how the plan works, what it costs, what it provides, and how to apply for your pension when your are ready.
This seminar will cover:
- what a “defined benefit plan” is
- how costs and benefits are determined
- other ways that you might plan for retirement, including personal savings, government benefits, and coordination with other pension or benefits plans you may have access to
- options to consider as you prepare to retire.
All Members of the plan will find this information useful, but we particularly recommend it for
- People who are new to the plan (i.e. those who are recently hired)
- Members or their family members who are in the midst of a significant life change (birth, marriage, divorce, death, job change)
- People who are planning for retirement
- Members of Ministry & Personnel Committees or congregational Boards/Councils
- Church Treasurers
Group Benefits Plans 2022
PREMIUMS AND PLAN CHANGES
After careful consideration and a fulsome discussion, the Executive of the General Council (GCE) approved the closing of the Optional plan and redesign of the Core plan. Starting January 1, 2022, there will be only one plan, paid for by the employer, for all eligible active ministry personnel and employees of the church. The details of the coverage and maximums will be communicated later in the fall with a comprehensive FAQs to address questions members and employers might have.
In 2020, staff reported to GCE that the Core and Optional active employee health and dental plans had a deficit of $2.4 million in 2020 and anticipated growing deficits in subsequent years. Major plan redesigns or significant rate increases were required in order to achieve funded and sustainable plans. The Executive directed staff to undertake a thorough review of the plans and propose changes to achieve sustainability, while balancing costs and risks. The decision to discontinue the Optional plan is the best way to ensure the sustainability of one Core plan for all members. To read the full proposal, select "Document Library", and it can be found under Benefits Administration.
RETIREE HEALTH AND DENTAL
In 2020, the Executive of the General Council (GCE) approved premium increases to the Retiree Health and Dental Plan through 2024. About half of retired employees of the United Church elect to participate in this plan. In the last few years there has been a change in the membership’s demographics resulting in more members retiring with a monthly pension amount smaller than the current monthly premiums for the Retiree Health and Dental Plan. Some members are experiencing financial distress with the necessary premium increases. Concerned with future sustainability, the Executive approved a new financial threshold for pensioners who wish to enroll in the plan and a new one-time option for current members who are under that threshold to voluntarily opt out of the Retiree Health and Dental plan. They may not, however, re-enroll at a later date.
Detailed communication on both changes will be available by November 1, however, if you have any immediate questions, please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to current workloads, the Benefits Team will only be accepting questions by email at this time.
Mastering mental health takes work, but working towards becoming resilient and adaptable can help us navigate and manage stressful situations from spiraling out of control. We can use these attributes to weather the highs and lows of normal life, and adjust to the wild extremes of the pandemic. Throughout this pandemic, our mental health has been put to the test. We've been so busy worrying about our family, friends, and work – we haven't always had the energy to take care of ourselves, but it's important that we do.
Find spiritually-minded mental health resources at the United Church Bookstore in their Health and Wellness collection, with books focusing on depression, burnout, loss, and faith-based strategies for healing.
Top mental health experts provide you with practical resources, strategies and tools for building a stable, healthy mindset—no matter what life throws your way – with their Mastering Mental Health campaign. It is offered in three parts:
- Your Family
- Your Workplace
Log in using the Group Account option. The password is "wellness".
Join the Ask the Expert webchat with Janna Comrie, registered psychotherapist, on October 13, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
The French version will be held by Dre. Amélie Seidah, PhD psychologue, le 14 octobre 2021 à midi HE.
LifeWorks (formerly, Morneau Shepell) launched a microsite on their Heartbeat Hub earlier in the year to build your self-care toolkit. In this microsite, explore why self-care should be part of your routine and how to work it into your daily life, no matter the situation.
The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is also a great resource to use for short-term, solution-focused counselling. Your EFAP is a voluntary, confidential counselling service that allows you and your eligible family members to discuss personal or work-related problems and concerns in an understanding and professional environment. Your EFAP is a support service that can help you take the first step toward change.
WorkHealthLife offers numerous articles on mental health under their Health & Wellbeing tab. There is also a section that provides COVID-19 resources. Enter The United Church of Canada to gain access to the site.
Diversity and Equity in the Workplace
LifeSpeak - an extension of the United Church’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), to help keep you and your family mentally and physically healthy - offers a practical guide to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
This month, LifeSpeak is focusing on diversity and equity in the workplace.
There are two upcoming workshops that may be of interest to you, with LifeSpeak’s Ask the Expert:
The benefits of diversity and equity are endless, which is why it’s important for us all to be engaged in thoughtful dialogue and work towards tangible action and change. All of us can play a role in making our workplace one that is more welcoming for people of all identities.
Through LifeSpeak, you can also find video modules from Michael Bach, Founder and Chair of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, on how to create a diverse and inclusive workplace. While you’re on the LifeSpeak platform, be sure to check out the video modules on racial discrimination, too. Log in using the Group Account option. The password is "wellness".
WorkHealthLife by LifeWorks has articles and resources dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion under their Health & Wellbeing tab. Everyone has a right to go to work in a safe environment where they can be their full selves, and are valued for their skills, creativity, and work ethic and that honours their racial identity, religion, sexuality, gender identity, age, or physical or cognitive ability. Enter The United Church of Canada to gain access to the site.
Visit UCRD to access a wide range of books on diversity and equity in ministry and communities of faith.
Here are some additional United Church resources that you could engage with.
I’m sure you’ve received the email about Green Shield Canada’s new website, GSC everywhere, but, what’s it all about?
GSC everywhere has simplified and streamlined their most popular features—like submitting online claims, checking your coverage, and finding GSC-vetted health providers. The site lets you access your benefits from your smartphone, tablet, or computer when and where you need them. Take a quick video tour of GSC everywhere for an introduction before you log in.
You can log in with exactly the same username and password you used for the previous site.
If you haven’t registered, here is a video guide that can walk you through the registration process.
THE GSC EVERYWHERE APP
Like most of us, if you always have your phone within arms reach, then the GSC everywhere app is the way to go. You can submit a claim right from your phone or tablet, and always have access to your digital ID card. It’s available for Apple and Android devices and can be found wherever you download your apps.
Do you already have the GSC on the Go app? All you need to do is look out for the update to your current GSC on the Go app on your phone. Installing the update will automatically download GSC everywhere.
Achieving Work-Life Balance
This past year has brought a lot of changes in our daily lives. We had to adapt to new situations, from working remotely to home-schooling - keeping a harmony was challenging.
Back to Work and School considerations are moving to the forefront for many of us as September approaches. With kids returning to in-class learning and work places slowly reopening, this is a perfect opportunity to re-invigorate familiar patterns or establish new routines, prioritize self-care to stay grounded, and keep work-life balance in mind. This video series from LifeSpeak will help you meet the demands of home and work in order to feel healthier and strengthen our personal and working relationships. The video series is also offered in French. Log in using the Group Account, password: wellness
UCRD has Spiritual and Mental Health resources to help achieve a work-life balance. 'Sanctuary: Creating a Space for Grace in Your Life' and 'Sacred Rest' both describe the benefit of breaking away from the culture of 24/7 productivity to restore our spiritual and mental health. 'The Healthy Living Handbook’ offers easy, practical, real-life ways to live well and live better emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
LifeSpeak’s July Campaign: Reflecting on Relationships
All relationships whether with ourselves, partners, family, friends or colleagues are something to nurture, heal, and build upon. As human beings, healthy connections and relationships are crucial to our mental and emotional wellbeing.
Every relationship possesses unique contributors to one’s life, and consequently bears distinct hardships as well. Nourishing these relationships might be especially difficult during the pandemic, but it’s important that none are overlooked.
Over the next few weeks, let LifeSpeak’s experts guide you in strategies to strengthen and develop your relationships. The campaign will run from July 5 - 30 and will feature four relationship modules including:
- Friends & Colleagues
Be sure to also join the “Ask the Expert” discussion on July 21 at Noon ET with Allison Villa, Registered Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert.
The French version will be with Nathalie Gauthier on July 22 at Noon ET.
Log in at: united-church.lifespeak.com