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April 18, 2022

Don’t let work and life drain you – learn to recharge

When we feel overloaded, our tendency is to do just one more thing or push through. Managing this way actually depletes our energy and reduces our focus and productivity. This means we have to work harder and longer to get the same results we’d achieve if we took time to recharge.

Join the Workplace Strategies for Mental Health public webinar for Don’t let work and life drain you – learn to recharge – a live, interactive event on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. EST in recognition of Mental Health Week.

Mary Ann Baynton, Director of Collaboration and Strategy with Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, and Organizational Health Consultants on Canada Life’s Well-being team will share tips and insights as we:

  • Explore strategies and resources to recharge and find balance
  • Brainstorm specific actions that could prevent or reduce workload stress
  • Prepare to talk about workload management with leaders or teams
  • Explore a variety of activities to help us relax, calm our minds and energize us

There’s no registration required – just click on the event link a bit before the start time. It may be the most informative and inspiring 45 minutes of your day!

This is a Microsoft Teams Live event. Make sure you’ve downloaded the Microsoft Teams app before the webinar.
Find local number.
Phone conference ID: 751 106 57#

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April 4, 2022

Thriving in a Digital World

LifeSpeak

Technology is supposed to make life easier—so why does it create so much stress?

It can seem like the digital world introduces two new problems for every one it solves. Social media helps us stay in touch with friends and family, but promotes insecurity and loneliness. Laptops simplify everyday tasks, but induce back and neck pain from hunching over a screen all day.

We need the right tools to make sure the digital world works for us, not against us. This month, LifeSpeak’s experts will help you survive and thrive with resources on reducing screen time, mitigating loneliness, overcoming tech addiction and more. They’ll help you decode common challenges and build a healthier lifestyle.

On April 20 at 12:00 p.m. ET the Ask the Expert web chat by Nina Hersher addresses how to protect your mental wellness when using technology.

Check out your LifeSpeak platform now! Log in using the Group Account option. The password is "wellness".

WorkHealthLife

Technology has expanded to the counselling world, opening up opportunities for people to access mental health services from the comfort of their own home. Here are some great articles that highlight the positive steps in our digital world:

On the other hand, there are so many different types of social media – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok – that may have a negative impact on our mental health. These articles touch on social media and reminds us not to take it too seriously:

These articles, and more, can be found in the Health & Wellbeing tab, under General mental health. WorkHealthLife also offers online group counselling to support you during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  • Anxiety: This Online Group is designed to support you with the anxiety you are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Parenting: This Online Group is designed to support you in parenting your school age child through the COVID-19 pandemic

UCRD

Learn to step back and unplug from the digital world to make space for rest in your own life through author David Shepherd’s journey to reclaim Sabbath. Written as a diary, Seeking Sabbath, follows Shepherd as he decides to practice the discipline of a day of rest each week over a six-month period.

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March 24, 2022

Welcome Back, Connex!

After a year-long hiatus, Connex is back! This version will pick up where the print version left off and will only be available online. Going forward, Connex will focus mainly on pension, benefits, and payroll news.

If you were previously receiving an email about Connex and didn’t see it in your inbox, check your spam folder! If it’s still not there and you would like to receive Connex, please sign up for the latest news and updates on the Newsroom page.

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Links

Previous issues of Connex can be found on the United Church Commons, under Communications, Publications and Media.

March 4, 2022

Lifestyle Medicine Paving the Path to Wellness

The third webinar of Teladoc Health's 5-topic series - Lifestyle Medicine Paving the Path to Wellness - will be hosted by Dr. Tim Foggin and Dr. Beth Frates on Wednesday, March 23 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

During the discussion, Dr. Frates and Dr. Foggin will review concrete examples of how small lifestyle-related, health-enhancing changes can improve our overall well-being. They’ll review principles that take listeners on a journey across the mind, body, and spirit, with practical self-reflection exercises.

This webinar will be recorded and shared later if you’re interested but unable to attend.

Attendees will learn:

  • Perspectives on the return to normal, and strategies to cope with stress
  • Concrete examples of how small changes can improve their overall health and well-being
  • The latest evidence regarding lifestyle factors

Dr. Frates is a trained physiatrist and a health and wellness coach, with expertise in Lifestyle Medicine. She is an award-winning teacher at Harvard Medical School, where she is an assistant clinical professor and considered a pioneer in lifestyle medicine. Dr. Frates won the election for President-elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine in August 2020 and works as the Director of Wellness Programming at the Stroke Institute for Research and Recovery at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, in conjunction to serving as the Director of Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness for the Department of Surgery at Mass General Hospital. She authored a Lifestyle Medicine syllabus, co-authored the Lifestyle Medicine Handbook: An introduction to the Power of Healthy Habits and co-created Lifestyle Medicine 101, a full college curriculum. In 2020, Beth co-authored The Teen Lifestyle Medicine Handbook and co-created an entire curriculum for teens to be used by communities and schools in their health and wellness classes as well as just as general reference for teens and parents. Most recently, Dr. Frates co-authored the book PAVING the Path to Wellness Workbook: A guide to thriving with a healthy body, peaceful mind, and joyful heart. Dr. Frates has her own Lifestyle Medicine consulting/coaching practice where she sees patients 1:1 and in group settings.

Dr. Timothy Foggin is the Medical Director for Canada at Teladoc Health and a Certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician.  Dr. Foggin completed Medical 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 the Medical Director for Canada.

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Links

Register to be part of this exciting discussion on Lifestyle Medicine Paving the Path to Wellness.

March 2, 2022

Debunking Nutrition Myths

LifeSpeak

There is so much conflicting information on nutrition circulating on the internet, social media in particular, and it is not easy to decipher what is true. For some of us, we end up focusing on the myths that are linked to weight loss, however, eating healthy goes beyond that - it is important for our heart and bone health, and much more. In this month’s video series, LifeSpeak’s expert, Toby Amidor, will talk about debunking nutrition myths.

On March 16 at 12:00 p.m. ET the Ask the Expert web chat by Nishta Saxena addresses how to incorporate eating well into your lifestyle.

Check out your LifeSpeak platform now! Log in using the Group Account option. The password is "wellness".

WorkHealthLife

Did you know that through your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), you can connect with one of Morneau Shepell's Registered Dietitians? Your diet can strongly affect your mood, health and energy levels. Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet can be a challenge with a hectic schedule and multiple personal and family demands. Fortunately, the Nutrition Support Services can help you achieve your goals. The Nutrition program is provided by Registered Dietitians who promote disease prevention and disease management through diet. You can get started online or by calling 1-844-671-3327.

 

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Links

Expert Blog - Eating for Brain Health

Web chat Transcript - Nutrition that boosts your immunity

WorkHealthLife - Food & Nutrition

March 1, 2022

Pension Increase Effective January 1, 2022

Good news! As announced in a recent letter from Pension Board Chair, Marcus Robertson, pension plan members will receive a pension increase effective January 1, 2022.

Pensioners and Deferred Members
Current pensioners and deferred members will receive a 4 percent* increase to their pension amount effective January 1, 2022.

* The Income Tax Act and regulations limit pension increases to the cumulative growth in Consumer Price Index since the pension commenced. For this reason, recently retired pensioners and deferred members who terminated employment recently will see a lesser increase.

Active Members
For active members, the accrual rate will increase to 1.85 percent in 2022 from the base rate of 1.4 percent. In 2023 the accrual rate is scheduled to return to 1.4 percent.

What Does “Accrual Rate” Mean?
The accrual rate is the rate at which you earn your pension. In 2019, you earn your pension at the rate of 1.4 percent of your pensionable earnings.

How Does This Work?
You earn a piece of pension every year that you work and contribute to the plan—like building blocks.

For example, let’s assume that a member’s pensionable earnings stayed constant at $60,000 every year, (for easy figuring). From 2019 to 2023, that member would earn

Year

Accrual Rate Formula

Pension Credit Earned

2019

1.4% 1.4% of $60,000 $   840

2020

1.85% 1.85% of $60,000 $  1,110

2021

1.625% 1.625% of $60,000

$    975

2022 1.85% 1.85% of $60,000

$  1,110

2023 1.4% 1.4% of $60,000

$   840

At the end of your career, the annual pension amounts earned each year will add up to the total annual pension you will receive every year for the rest of your life. So, the higher amount earned in 2022 will continue to benefit you for the rest of your retired life.

What about Future Increases?
There will be no automatic indexing or increase going forward. The Pension Board and Pension Plan Advisory Committee annually assess the resources available and determine whether there are surplus funds that can be used to increase benefits.

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February 10, 2022

Preparing for Retirement

LifeSpeak

Are there any secrets for having a successful and peaceful retirement? Retirement has drastically changed these last few years – there is a lot to plan and it can be overwhelming to start, or to help loved ones. However, there are some ways to help you prepare for a happy and fruitful retirement. LifeSpeak’s expert, Jan Cullinane, will share a few of those in this month’s video series.

On February 16 at 12:00 p.m. the Ask the Expert web chat by Shannon Lee Simmons and Bob Gavlak addresses how to better manage money.

Check out your LifeSpeak platform now! Log in using the Group Account option. The password is "wellness".

WorkHealthLife

For those a few years away from retirement, it always helps to do some preparation to see what to expect. On the WorkHealthLife site, under financial security, there are 12 articles on retirement. Take the Are you ready for retirement? quiz, or read their article on Planning for your retirement: things to consider. Don’t forget, you can always contact your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) to speak to someone about additional resources for retirement. You can get started online, or call 1-844-671-3327.

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February 8, 2022

A Day In The Life: The cost of wellbeing for Black identifying individuals

On February 24 at 12:00 p.m. EST, LifeWorks would like to invite you to their Black History Month event. In alignment with this year’s theme – Black Health and Wellbeing – this one-hour session, entitled “A Day In The Life: The cost of wellbeing for Black identifying individuals” will explore many themes around the health and wellness systems, external environment, self-care and their impact on Black health.

This webinar will be hosted by Paula Allen, Global Leader, Research and Total Wellbeing, with speakers Dr. Joseph Smith and Michelle Gardner.

Dr. Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith is a PhD. His doctorate is in the Humanities and encompasses key notions amongst the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, religious studies, and literature with a focus on the philosophies of self-consciousness within the west and the intellectual background of black consciousness. He is a qualified elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educator and the current Vice Principal of Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute; co-founder of the non-profit organization Generation Chosen which seeks to interrupt intergenerational cycles of trauma and poverty; a former project coordinator for the Black Experience Project housed/funded by Environics Research Institute; a facilitator and consultant in the area of Anti-Black Racism and Emotional health at Life Works; sits on the board of Operation Black Vote Canada as the Director of Youth Outreach; and is a founding member of the Foundation for Black Communities which is a non-profit organization.

Michelle Gardner
Michelle has actively worked in the local community for more than 20 years, spearheading local programs. Her community experience includes being a facilitator of an adult literacy program, a director for youth programs, a women's community group instructor, and a conference speaker. She holds a bachelor's in theology, is a registered clinical counselor, and has a life coach certification. In tandem with her community activities, Michelle is a successful Corporate Communications and Events Planner with 11 years of experience working for a global logistics company managing large and small events, vetting keynote speakers, and planning executive c-suite level workshops. Her corporate portfolio included:

  • Managing partner sponsorship agreements.
  • Allocating funds to charitable organizations.
  • Organized onsite company-sponsored activities across Canada, including the highly esteemed Grey Cup event.
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February 3, 2022

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
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Learn more at United in Learning

Register for February 14, 2022

January 27, 2022

Fact Sheet: Augmenting the Active Member Health and Dental Plan

Are you looking to augment the Active member health and dental plan? Here are a few things to consider:

The United Church plan, the United Church rates

  • Our plan’s premium is 100% employer paid. Your employer pays 7.77% of your pensionable earnings for the Active benefits plan, of which 5.96% is for health and dental coverage. These rates change annually and will be posted on the Pension and Benefits deductions page mid-December.
  • You do not have to complete medical or health questionnaires to enroll in our benefits plan.
  • We pay for expert advice to design and manage a plan for our members.
  • We do not pay commissions on insurance or services we purchase for the plan – this may not be true of third parties selling individual plans, including affinity groups.
  • The rates we charge reflect the anticipated costs of running the plans and there is no profit margin.

Other plans

  • Will include a profit margin and possibly commission.
  • Will not integrate with our plan. They will be designed to provide coverage where there is no employer sponsored coverage, and will essentially, in many cases, simply duplicate our plan’s coverage, not augment it.
    • For instance, our insurer (Green Shield Canada) can offer such individual supplemental plans but our analysis found them to represent poor value for money.
  • Some options offered in the market or by affinity groups are actually ‘conversion plans’ and are only available to people who lost coverage under their employer sponsored plan. Members who were previously enrolled in the “Optional Health & Dental Plan” did not lose health and dental coverage – access to the additional coverage afforded by the Optional plan was lost.

Can I opt-out of the United Church Health & Dental Plan?

  • Our plan does not allow waiver of coverage unless you have another privately sponsored plan from other employment or a spouse. (Please note, it does not save any premiums because core benefits are assessed as one benefit, fully paid by the employer.) Full participation is an integral part of the Active plan.
  • We offer a broad plan to provide benefits to our members that are affordable to employers while still protecting members against catastrophic hardship.
  • The Active plan is largely employer paid and includes a number of valuable benefits:
    • Employer Paid
      • Health and Dental Coverage
      • Life insurance
      • Dependent Life Insurance
      • Accidental Death & Dismemberment
      • Employee and Family Assistance Plan
      • Restorative Care Plan
    • Employee Paid
      • Long Term Disability Plan (employee paid is the common practice, allowing any benefits collected to be tax free)
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