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September 29, 2021

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 benefits@united-church.ca. Due to current workloads, the Benefits Team will only be accepting questions by email at this time.

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September 28, 2021

Mastering Mental Health

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.

LifeSpeak

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:

  • Yourself
  • 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

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.

September 20, 2021

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

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.

Workhealthlife

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.

August 31, 2021

GSC everywhere

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.

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