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November 8, 2021

Eating for Optimal Health

A healthy diet throughout life supports normal growth, development and ageing, and reduces the risk of chronic disease leading to overall health and well-being. This month, LifeSpeak’s Expert, Toby Amidor, will share her nutrition tips – in six parts – to fully benefit from the food we eat:

Eating for:

  1. A well-balanced diet
  2. Heart health
  3. Cancer prevention
  4. Healthy bones
  5. A healthy gut
  6. Optimal health: FAQ

Also, LifeSpeak is excited to invite you to discover the all new platform! Find all the same great content that is more user friendly and has an even better user experience. Check out your new LifeSpeak platform now! Log in using the Group Account option. The password is "wellness".

WorkLifeHealth

WorkLifeHealth has a section on Food & Nutrition under the health & well-being, physical well-being headings. You can read articles on:

  • Health eating for busy families
  • Growing older eating wiser
  • Eating healthy – for you and your budget

They also have a section on Nutrition Support, under My Services. Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet can be a challenge with a hectic schedule and multiple personal and family demands.  Select the purple “Get started online” button to explore your options.

November 3, 2021

Canadian Investor Statement on Climate Change

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.”

Links
November 3, 2021

Lifestyle Medicine and Breast Cancer Webinar

On Wednesday, December 1st at 2 pm ET join Dr. Timothy Foggin and Dr. Amy Comander for a virtual fireside chat about Lifestyle Medicine and Breast Cancer, understanding the role of lifestyle in cancer development and resources for lifestyle preventions.

During the discussion, Dr. Comander and Dr. Foggin will discuss lifestyle interventions, including exercise, diet, mind/body connections, and:

  • Breast cancer risk factors and the role of genetics
  • The latest evidence regarding lifestyle factors and breast cancer risk reduction
  • The importance of return to screening given delays during the pandemic

Register here to be part of this discussion on Lifestyle Medicine and Breast Cancer.

Dr. Amy Comander is the Director of Breast Oncology and Survivorship at the Mass General Cancer Center in Waltham and Newton Wellesley Hospital and Medical Director of the Mass General Cancer Center in Waltham. Dr. Comander received her MD at Yale University School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency and Hematology-Oncology fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. She is board certified in Hematology and Medical Oncology, as well as in Lifestyle Medicine. She is on the board of the Ellie Fund, which provides support to women with breast cancer in Massachusetts. Dr. Comander has a passion for improving the quality of life and outcome of cancer survivors through lifestyle interventions, including exercise, diet, and mind/body strategies.  She practices what she preaches, having run 8 consecutive Boston Marathons for charitable causes.

Dr. Timothy Foggin is the Medical Director for Canada at Teladoc Health and public health expert. Dr. Foggin completed Med School and his family medicine residency at McGill University in Montreal and his Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency at UBC in Vancouver. He has worked for Teladoc Health first as the VP and Medical Director of Teladoc Health in Asia and more recently as medical director for Canada. 

 

Links

Teladoc Health

Register - Lifestyle Medicine and Breast Cancer webinar

November 2, 2021

Additional Information on the Group Benefits Plan Changes

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:

  • FAQ
  • Comparison Chart
  • Benefits Plan Video
  • Benefits Plan Summary (coming soon)
Links
October 20, 2021

Group Benefits Change

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.

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.

Links
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.

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.

Links
August 23, 2021

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.

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