A letter from the General Secretary, Michael Blair, was sent to all retirees on November 22, 2021 that outlined recent discussions and decisions about benefits for retirees of the United Church. You can review the General Secretary's letter here.
If you are a retired member of the United Church and did not receive this communication by email or Canada Post, please contact UCCBenefitsNews@united-church.ca to provide your current information so we can update our records.
The United Church of Canada Pension Plan joined 34 other institutional investors to sign a Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change. Collectively, these investors manage more than $5.2 trillion in assets.
Coordinated by the Responsible Investment Association (RIA), the Statement also makes clear the actions major Canadian investors will take to advance the global pursuit of net zero ahead of the most important climate gathering in history – COP26. This includes disclosing their financed emissions and setting an expectation that their investees will establish emissions targets and report on their progress.
Marcus Robertson, Chair of the Pension Board, said, “The Pension Plan has endorsed the Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change as part of the Plan’s journey to net zero. The Plan has made strides through its engagement efforts, but this significant commitment to net zero by 2050 will require changes to the Plan’s investment strategy, as long-term goals are established, portfolios are adjusted and progress towards those goals is measured.”
RIA worked closely with the Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative (RRII) in the development of the Statement to ensure Indigenous perspectives are incorporated into the Statement. “Despite Indigenous Peoples often being the first and most affected by the climate crisis, Indigenous perspectives and voices are often left out of investors’ decision-making on climate action,” says Mark Sevestre, Founding Member of NATOA. “This raises the stakes of the transition to a low carbon economy for Indigenous Peoples. For the transition to be just in Canada, Indigenous Peoples’ rights and perspectives need to be centred and prioritized.”
As we try and uphold our commitment to you by providing more information about the Benefits Plan changes, please visit the Group Benefits page, under Life, Health & Dental, Disability Benefits. The formal benefit plan text document is in development and will be published when finalized, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, what you need to know is in the following:
Further to the announcement of changes to the group benefits plans, a letter has been sent to all plan members with more detail. It can be found in the Document Library, under Benefits Administration.
A Comparison Chart of the changes and an FAQ are also available on the same page with more information.
If you have any questions about these changes, please contact Benefits@united-church.ca. Due to current workloads, the Benefits Team will only be accepting questions by email at this time.
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 email@example.com. Due to current workloads, the Benefits Team will only be accepting questions by email at this time.
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.
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.