Report from District Health Reps Annual Meeting

Jun 08, 2023

District and Unit Health Representative Workshop

Aging with Dignity

June 4&5 2023  


Dr. Samir Sinha MD Director of Geriatrics at Mt. Sinai Hospital Toronto.

Dr. Sinha’s breadth of international training and expertise in health policy and the delivery of services related to the care of the elderly have made him a highly regarded expert in the care of older adults. He has consulted and advised hospitals and health authorities in Britain, Canada, the United States and China on the implementation and administration of unique, integrated and innovative models of geriatric care that reduce disease burden, improve access and capacity and ultimately promote health.

In 2023, 19% of our population is over 65 and this proportion is growing. By 2031 one in four Canadians will be over 65. The needs of this age group will be tremendous and Canada is not ready to meet their requirements for healthy aging. Concerningly, government actions, in the opinion of Dr. Samir, are going the wrong way. Long Term Care homes are being built. People needing care are being moved away from their families and communities to obtain assistance .The elderly needing care are being held in hospitals waiting for a bed in a Long Term Care (LTC) facility placements.

Covid 19 has made it evident that nearly 100% of our elderly do not want to be placed in a “home”. They want to age in their own home and community  with assistance. It costs $750 a day to hold someone in the hospital; $200 a day for Long Term Care and $103 a day for Home Care. Denmark has a great system for aging at Home, it is healthier and much cheaper than LTC homes. Denmark has increased their Home Care budget toward an aging at home system that:

-promotes preventative care,

– strengthens home and community care,

– supports unpaid care givers,

– develops accessible safe communities and

– improves social connections to reduce loneliness and social isolation.

Loneliness is as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Denmark pays home care workers and nurses the same which creates stability in the workplace. Ontario is going the wrong way, fiscally and by institutionalizing our seniors into unhealthy and depressing environments.

Can we fix it? Yes, become informed and get politically involved. There are enough senior voters to influence or vote out any government.

Benefits Update

Dental and Extended Health Care benefits are in deficit due to increased use and cost. They usually plan on a 2% increase in dental but this year it was raised 8.5%

Best Doctors were asking for increases of 4 to7%. It has been replaced by Cloud MD.

The Group Insurance Program booklet will be out in June with the delivery of  Renaissancemagazine. The insurance name has been changed to Entente. It can’t be mistaken for RTIP and the name reflects what RTO/ERO is all about, “Understanding, collaboration and support within a community of shared values and trust.”

We are no longer insured by Sun Life (purchased by Securian Canada) but fortunately we are working with the same people.

Travel (RTO, Johnson, Global Excel)


We have changed our travel insurer from Allianz to Global Excel RSA. The coverage is far superior. Our Plan fell behind in Travel Assistance so this year many enhancements have been put in place. For example, Medical Emergency went from 2 million to 10 million and Baggage Insurance went from $0 to $1000/trip. The trip enhancements are vast. Check out pages 26 and 43-88 of the Entente booklet.


Proof of Departure and Arrival

Remember proof of the date of departure from and arrival to your Province is necessary.


Stability Clause

If you have been ill other than a minor ailment and plan to travel, make sure your condition is stable as defined on page 65 of Entente. When in doubt call Johnson Inc. at  1 877 406 9007.

Global Excel

You can call Global Excel before a trip if you would like up-to-date information on your travel location. If you have a medical issue while travelling, 80% of the issues are covered with one call to Global Excel. The contact information is on the back of Entente. For many places you can have a doctor visit you or receive a call from a doctor. This prevents a trip to a local hospital.

Global Excel has a Travel App you can get from the APP Store. Go to the APP Store to download the Travel Aid App and select Global Excel. It has a wide variety of information and can be used to directly call 911 emergency numbers for the country you are visiting. In some cases you can talk to a doctor directly from the app.

Cloud MD

This replaces Best Doctors and is a Medical Second Opinion. If you have a disturbing diagnosis and would like clarification, a second opinion, coaching, access to a specialist, or health and wellness support read page 28 of Entente and call 1 866 814 0018. This can be used as often as you like and it is open to other family members. Kii is their portal (back of Entente).

When The Social is Medical : Social Interventions In Primary Care.

“If medicine is to fulfil her great task, then she must enter the political and social life. Do we not always find the disease of the populace traceable to defects in society.”    Rudolph Virchow 1862


Dr. Gary Bloch St Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Bloch gave the example of Annie. Annie was 62 years old. She had diabetes and in spite of being on the right drugs they couldn’t get her blood sugar down. Upon closer examination Dr. Bloch discovered she was looking after 2 grandchildren and was making $1300 a month and paying $800 for rent. She was living in poverty and couldn’t afford to buy nutritious food. He asked he if she filed her income taxes. She said no. A team of volunteers helped her with her taxes and with tax advantages, her income was doubled. His first question to patients is now, “Do you file income tax”. Dr. Bloch linked poverty to health and has had huge success in treating patients by understanding their social situation and incorporating a team of professional volunteers to pull them out of poverty and isolation.

Digital Claims Portal

Submitting claims on line is simple. If you can text pictures of your

grandchild you can submit a claim on line. Call Johnson Inc. they will walk you through the process.

Caregiver Burnout: Don’t Confuse Courage with Burnout Patricia Wendy

Caregiver burnout is a serious problem in Ontario. It is so intense and stressful that Wendy pointed out it can lead to Elder Abuse. The caregiver must reach out for help, use coping strategies, set reasonable expectations, and make time for themselves. Other countries don’t have this situation because caregivers are paid well and have an abundance of support for respite.

We had several “Caregivers” in the audience and they emphatically outlined how the present caregiver assistance system is challenged.

If you are a caregiver and need support, you must call Ontario Caregiver at 1 833 416 2273 or 1 888 877 1626

Thank you to the Executive, I really enjoyed the Workshop.

Phil van Diepen D/UHR District 6