National Association of Federal Retirees
Peel Halton and Area Branch
Branch History:

Branch History: (Recollections of the early years by David Barber)!

The Early Years... to September 9, 2003:

"... Early in 1993, John Eckertt, Regional Director for Central and Northern Ontario, surveyed the National Association of Federal Retirees members resident in Mississauga to ask if they would support the formation of a FSNA (now National Association of Federal Retirees) branch to the west of the metro Toronto/Peel regional boundary. The results were positive, so John called a meeting of interested National Association of Federal Retirees members for 8 June 1993 at the Mississauga Public Library at Square One to form a Planning Committee. About thirty five to forty people attended.

At about the same time, Ron Mansfield was instrumental in forming an association (known as ACRA) for retirees from Atomic Energy of Canada who had worked at their Sheridan Park, Mississauga offices. Ron emphasised that those interested in their federal pensions should also join FSNA (now National Association of Federal Retirees), primarily because FSNA (now National Association of Federal Retirees) was a federal organisation with access to ministers in the federal government.

So, as a then recent retiree and a member of ACRA, but not then an National Association of Federal Retirees member (I joined the Toronto branch on 1 July 1993 primarily to have access to National Association of Federal Retirees information), I attended the 8 June meeting primarily to learn more about National Association of Federal Retirees. Don Halfyard, Harold Henry, Mike Janacek, Andrew Korsberg, Allan Turner and I were elected to the planning committee and at a subsequent meeting of the committee (also held on 8 June) I was appointed as the chair of the committee with Harold Henry becoming secretary/treasurer. Why me for chair, you may ask? Because I had asked why Oakville was not included within the area proposed for this new branch. The answer to my question was that, at that time, not only Oakville but also all of Halton were part of National Association of Federal Retirees Western Ontario Region and so outside John Eckertt’s area of jurisdiction. It would therefore be up to the planning committee to make such a proposal. Ron Mansfield, then a member of the Toronto branch Board of Directors was co-opted to the planning committee as an advisor. John Eckertt was, as RD, an ex-officio member.

It soon became evident that the most appropriate date to start operating the new branch would be the beginning of a new calendar year and, as the fall of 1994 was scheduled as an ‘Insert Campaign’ year, it would be a wise decision to have the new branch up and running by 1 January 1994 as this gave six to nine months for the Board to learn how to run a branch before the influx of new members from the “Insert Campaign”. The other major decisions made by the committee were the branch administrative boundaries, branch by-laws, membership dues and an initial slate of officers. Through the National Office, a questionnaire was sent to all potential members of the new branch asking, among other things, if they would be willing to serve on the first board.

Following favourable responses from the Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo National Association of Federal Retirees branches, the decision was made to name the branch ‘Peel-Halton and Area Branch’ and to include all of the Regional Municipality of Peel and the towns of Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills in the Regional Municipality of Halton within our Administrative Area. The city of Burlington was not included as it had close associations with Hamilton.

The original branch by-laws were modeled on those of the Toronto branch.

In 1993 each National Association of Federal Retirees branch set its own membership dues for both members and spouses. Being between Toronto and Hamilton meant that the dues for the new branch could not be very different from those of our neighbours. Despite ‘start-up’ grants from the National Office, branch-operating expenses were a major concern during the first few years, in fact until the Branch dues were set at their current levels.

The inaugural meeting of the branch was held on 8th November 1993 at the Consumers Gas Blue Flame Room on Burnhamthorpe Rd, Mississauga. About 50 to 60 National Association of Federal Retirees Members attended. Besides approving the creation of the new branch, accepting the Proposed by-laws and a budget for 1994, those present elected the members of the first Board of Directors. These were David Barber - President; Allan Turner - Vice President; Harold Henry - Secretary; Louis Rainboth - Treasurer; Ron Page - Membership with Virginia Williams, Mike Covey, David Gentry, Mike Janacek and Jim Rowlatt as members at large. This board was elected to serve until the AGM in 1995 to give time for it become familiar with National Association of Federal Retirees policies and procedures.

Louis Rainboth resigned from the Board in 1996, at which time Ruth Gray became treasurer. Ron Page also resigned in 1996 and Harold Henry became Membership Chair. I advised the board at an early stage that I would resign as president once the branch finances were in a reasonably stable state - meaning that at the end of one calendar year there were sufficient funds in the bank to see the branch through most of the upcoming year.

James Rowlatt led a committee of Virginia Williams and Ron Mansfield, with me as an ex-officio member, that monitored government programs. It spent quite a lot of time studying proposed changes affecting pensions. We opposed the late 1990s legislation on pension reform. In 1998 Jim was elected as the RD for Central and Northern Ontario, but for health reasons he had resign from that position in 1999. Jim was our only branch life member.

I was appointed by John Eckertt to take part in the two rounds of discussions, the first early in 1995 and the latter early in 1998, which led to the current membership dues. I recall that there were well over 100 different rates among the 80 or so branches prior to the introduction of dues deduction at source (DDS) in 1996 and still more than 50 for the years 1996 to 1999.

During the years two of our board members passed away - VirginiaWilliams and Louis Rainboth.

Of the original board members only Harold Henry and I continued to the present day.

David Barber, Oakville, Ontario ..."

We would welcome comments on this brief history as well as any additions, anecdotes or other recollections that members may have of ‘the early days’. CONTACT US!

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