A Bumpy Road to Pension Reform

An article from our upcoming Winter 2018 Newsletter, available in February

The University of Guelph is continuing to move toward participation in a new multi-university sector Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan (JSSP).  Progress however, has not been easy.

The University Pension Project was formally launched in 2014, led by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), with the goal of creating a multi-employer, jointly-sponsored pension plan.  The University of Guelph has been an enthusiastic participant, with representation from the administration, the Faculty Association and other bargaining groups.

As of last August, a tentative agreement had been reached between three universities: Guelph, Toronto and Queen’s to move forward with a new JSPP.  The tentative agreement included the three faculty associations and the United Steelworkers union.  It has not been an easy negotiation process however. Several universities in Ontario did not take part in the initiative and numerous bargaining groups in each of the remaining universities withdrew from the discussions.

The target date for implementation of the new JSPP is July of 2019.  The participants are now entering the “communications” phase.  Current employees of each university will have to vote in favour of proceeding.  Although retirees are not significantly affected by the move, we also have a voice regarding the proposal.  Please stay tuned; UGRA is prepared to assist the University in communicating information to Guelph retirees.

Doug Badger, CPA CGA (Retired), member of the UGRA Exec

UGRA Fall Forum

Food for Thought… and for Health!

 Arboretum Centre
Thursday, November 16, 1:00–3:30

Doors Open and Refreshments at 1:00 (note earlier time)
Program begin at 1:30


Introductory Remarks
Peter Kevan, UGRA President

Excellence in Food and Nutrition: University of Guelph Innovations
Andrea Buchholz (FRAN)

Vitamins and Minerals from A to Z
Janis Randall Simpson (FRAN)

Functional Foods for Healthy Aging
Alison Duncan (HHNS)

UGRA Travel – Churchill Adventurers

Didn’t we have a time!  The UGRA Churchill Adventure, August 2017

Twenty-four intrepid UGRA adventurers (and at least as many cameras) explored the Churchill area from August 22 to 29th on an expedition brilliantly planned by Peter Kevan and expedited by Vikki Tremblay’s travel planning.  We flew to Winnipeg and then took Calm Air to Rankin Inlet in Nunavut before continuing to Churchill and the Churchill Northern Science Centre (CNSC). It was actually a course on Environmental Studies on the Boreal-Arctic Transition, but it was also a “whale” of an UGRA trip. We needed bear guards when we were outside – and saw enough polar bears to realize the caution was warranted (12!). In their move to the coast in late summer in wait for seals once the sea-ice forms, some come into town and end up doing time in “bear jail”.  One morning our CNSC driver spotted a helicopter delivering a bear to the “hoosegow”, so we got a front row seat …from a safe distance.

There were hundreds of beluga whales in the Churchill Estuary, not to mention caribou, tundra swans, ptarmigans, bald eagles, Sandhill cranes, tiny wood frogs, snow geese, Canada geese and the Hudsonian godwit.  Plant life too – plumes of mountain avens and red fireweed, reindeer lichen, blueberries, brilliant orange rock lichen, and the characteristic coastal evergreens facing the wind with branches flying like flags.

Our days were packed. We explored the massive rocks on the coast, the taiga inland, got our boots wet in the peat fens and stayed up a night for the Aurora Borealis. There were visits to the old rocket range, to town and Itsanitaq (Inuit) Museum and to the old fortifications at Cape Merry and Fort Prince of Wales to hear the history of The Hudson’s Bay Company trading posts in the 1700s. We saw the Port of Churchill and went beluga watching (and listening) by ship, took dog cart rides and had a day out in a tundra buggy.  There were talks at night that helped us understand more about sea ice, polar bears and the disturbing story of the relocation of the Sayisi Dene people.  We were fortunate to be at the CNSC for its 40th anniversary gala and a talk by Sheila Watt-Cloutier, author of The Right to be Cold.

There was so much more – just ask us!  And when UGRA sets up another adventure, you will want to be there!

Roz Stevenson

Click on a picture below for a larger view; then click on that image to download full resolution original.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
UGAA Student Lounge (2nd floor by climbing wall)
Guelph Gryphons Athletic Centre

Join President Franco J. Vaccarino for an afternoon social to renew old acquaintances and hear what’s new and changing at the University.

The recently opened 25,000-square-foot Athletic Centre is creating a hub for health and wellness on campus. This new facility is helping to make Guelph Canada’s healthiest community, and to make the University of Guelph a global leader in healthy living.

Complimentary parking will be available.   Light refreshments to follow formal program.

RSVP by Wednesday August 23 at https://bit.ly/2017UGRetirees or call Claire Alexander at 519-824-4120, ext. 53098 or email calexand@uoguelph.ca.

CURAC Conference Newsletter

The UGRA is a founding member of CURAC (College and University Retiree Associations of Canada), a federation of Postsecondary retiree associations at colleges and universities across Canada. CURAC celebrated its 15th anniversary at its recent annual conference held at Carleton University this year. Besides being a great social opportunity for retirees, the conference featured discussions about the role of CURAC and member retiree associations and an impressive set of speakers covering a number of topics including retiree health and well-being.

Read articles about the Conference in the recent CURAC Post-Conference Newsletter, in particular, the reports of presentations by invited speakers. Speaker Bio’s and their slide presentations are available through a link in the newsletter.

  • What is the cost to Canada for access to the U.S. marketplace – Dr Ian Lee
  • Iconic Canadian beers a product of the temperance movement – Dr Matthew J. Bellamy
  • Collective responsibility to provide health care for all, especially those who need it most – Dr Jeff Turnbull
  • If we are all living longer, let’s make it a healthy experience – Dr William Dalziel and Dr Yoni Freedhoff
  • Two campuses collaborate to create a uniquely relevant high-tech degree – Dr Rebecca Trueman
  • Baristas can do better with a baccalaureate: longitudinal study shows how a degree pays off – Dr Ross Finnie
  • An active mind is as important as an active body – Dr Tim Pychyl


2017 Annual General Meeting & Luncheon

Thursday June 15, 2017  at 10:00 am
Arboretum Centre

The Annual General Meeting is the opportunity for all UGRA members to hear reports the work of the Executive Committee and to provide feedback and recommendations to the Exec. The members will elect members to the Exec Committee.  (See the 2017 Spring Newsletter for the agenda)

9:30 am      Refreshments and social gathering

10:00 am       Address by Daniel Atlin, University of Guelph Vice-President (external)   Daniel will talk about his role in this new executive position, the new University Strategic Plan, and the relationship between the University and the UGRA.

10:45 am       Start of Business Meeting

1. Call to Order
2. Approval of the Agenda
3. Approval of the Minutes of the June 2016 AGM (minutes on website: ugra.ca)
4. Reports from the Executive Committee
5. Appointment of the Financial Reviewer
6. Election of the 2017-2018 Executive
7. Adjournment

AGM Luncheon @ 12:15        Luncheon registration now CLOSED

Based on  last year’s success, we are hosting a luncheon following the 2017 AGM. UGRA retirees, and their partners, attending the AGM may remain for a light lunch. This is an opportunity to socialize in the relaxed setting of the Arboretum Centre. The cost is $20 per person and pre-payment is required(complete and mail the Luncheon Registration form in the 2017 Spring Newsletter  for delivery by May 31 or …

Register for the Luncheon and Pay ONLINE by May 31:

Click this PayPal link, and select the number of tickets, to complete your payment. (note: to just pay by credit card, skip the PayPal login and click the “Pay by Debit or Credit Card” at the bottom of the PayPal page.)

Payment Tool now Hidden

UGRA 2017 Spring Newsletter

The UGRA 2017 Spring Newsletter is being mailed to members who wish printed copies. The digital edition is available here:

UGRA newsletter 2017-2 Spring


  1. The UGRA AGM will be held June 15 @10am – refreshments at 9:30am.  The AGM is the annual opportunity for members to hear about the work of your Executive Committees and to provide guidance to the Exec about the future of the UGRA. see Newsletter for the meeting agenda.
  2. The AGM will start with an address by Daniel Atlin, UoG Vice President (External).
  3. Following the AGM, a Members’ Luncheon is planned – an opportunity to meet former colleagues. Please register and pay for the Luncheon ($20) before June 1. – See Newsletter for registration details.

CURAC Annual Conference


The UGRA is a member of the College and University Retirees Associations of Canada (CURAC) (see website: www.curac.ca) and participates in CURAC activities.

CURAC is hosting their annual conference at Carleton University this year.  Besides the CURAC Annual General meeting there are two days of presentations and discussion of issues that impact college/university retirees across Canada.  The conference is open to members of all retiree associations, including the University of Guelph Retirees Association (UGRA) – all University of Guelph retirees from all employee groups.

For $200 registration, the CURAC opens with a reception Wednesday, May 24, includes a dinner and speaker on May 26, and concludes Friday afternoon.  For more information, and to register, go to the Carleton University CURAC Conference website: http://carleton.ca/cura/curac/2017-curac-conference/

NOTE:  reduced rate rooms at the Best Western Downtown are available until April 27.