OTTAWA – Julie White has a grown son who lives in Toronto and suffers from a condition that produces debilitating migraines one to three times per week.
Representing the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC), White told a Ottawa Pharmacare conference Saturday that by trial and error her son’s doctors found a set of drugs that would give him “an approximation of a normal life.”
The bad news is the drugs cost $5,000-$6,000 per year and are not covered by the Ontario government. When White lived in Vancouver, her son was able to get assistance on the costs from the BC government.
Now she pays for them personally out of her retirement pension income.
White is among the 20 per cent of pensioners who were able to carry their benefits into retirement, but these retiree benefits only cover her personally, not her parents, kids, nieces, nephews, neighbours or friends.
Despite what she calls her “Cadillac” plan, she is aware that as a retiree she herself is vulnerable to negotiations every two years over the contents and rules of that plan. During the present ideological attack on the wages and benefits of working people, retirees are feeling unease over the ability of unions to maintain these plans, particularly for retirees.