Welcome to the Concordia University Pensioners Association's Web Site.
CUPA/ARUC serves to bring together retirees of Concordia University, both for social gatherings and to promote our interests as Concordia retirees, pensioners and golden-agers in general.
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Team Concordia Pensioners are Shuffling in Shuffle 32, September 24, 2021
For our fourth consecutive year team Concordia Pensioners is shuffling. Although again this year Shuffle 32 takes place virtually, it really works like the past 31 shuffles. Participants can register as a member of team Concordia Pensioners, or they can sponsor an individual on the team. Similar to last year, those who register as team members will not be walking from the downtown Sir George Williams Campus to the Loyola Campus but will instead walk around their neighbourhood or any other location of their choice.
This is the thirty-second Concordia University walk to raise funds for undergraduate and graduate student scholarships and bursaries; and it is the 4th year for the Concordia University Pension Association (CUPA) to register an official team. All proceeds from our Shuffle participation go directly to student awards. Since 2002, when CUPA first began offering student awards, our members have had the privilege of offering scholarships and bursaries to over 226 very appreciative students.
Registering online at https://advanceconcordia.ca/shuffle32 is the easiest way; please choose either to donate to team Concordia Pensioners or to support an individual shuffler who is registered as a team Concordia Pensioners member. If you are unable to take advantage of this method or just need some assistance or additional information, please do not hesitate to email me at email@example.com.
Team Concordia Pensioners has successfully raised more than $6,000.00 over the past three Shuffles. Our team goal for 2021 is $3,000.00. Let’s try to top that this year in Shuffle 32.
A Report from our Pension Committee
As you are aware, the rules in our Plan for inflation adjustment are somewhat conservative in so far as the portfolio must achieve certain benchmark returns over the recent period before any adjustment is permitted. This year—the COVID year! —we have had good returns, as reported in our last Newsletter, and pensions have been adjusted by 0.7% as of June 1. Unfortunately, there was of necessity a delay in conveying details of the calculation to Human Resources until well into June, before which time you received a notice of the exact amount of the dollar adjustment from the custodian, CIBC Mellon. This number to be sure is considerably less than the pension itself and led to some confusion if not worry among our members. Official notice of the increase arrived in time for the July disbursement. We should be able to do better in this regard.
The Committee’s work continues apace: we review performance, renew allocations in certain funds and continue to explore further investment avenues. Bread and butter issues. As I have indicated in previous communiques, issues surrounding ESG (i.e., Environment, Social and Governance) are preoccupying the investment world. The behaviour of pension funds in this regard is of particular importance, since funds such as ours represent huge sums of capital when aggregated across economies. The Concordia Pension Committee (more particularly, a sub-committee) has been studying the impact of ESG concerns in the Concordia context. Quebec law in this regard is fairly clear. All our investments must be guided only by the risk/return objectives of the Plan. ESG considerations cannot be overlaid as additional objectives. Yet there may evolve (I think it likely) a different regulatory environment according to which, for example, a climate impact focus would assume greater prominence in investment decisions. In this case, the risk/return framework may have to be expanded and the work of the committee open to greater scrutiny. In any event, I encourage our members to follow this issue in the financial press. It is not simply a portfolio allocation problem, but strikes much wider economic and social concerns.
If you have comments or questions relating to the Plan or its management, please feel free to contact me at Bryan.Campbell@Concordia.ca.
A Report from our Awards Committee
Established in 2002, the Concordia University Retired Faculty and Staff Scholarships and Awards Endowment Fund is managed by the Concordia University Foundation. The endowment is the result of the agreement between the University and the Concordia University Pensioners’ Association (CUPA) to use the proceeds of the demutualization of the Sun Life Insurance Policy to provide in-course support for graduate and undergraduate students in any Faculty at Concordia University. These awards are funded from the investment of the original endowment, any additional gifts, proceeds raised by shuffle team Concordia Pensioners and their sponsors, plus a CUPA “top-up” as necessary. Graduate award recipients are selected on the basis of academic excellence and financial need. The School of Graduate Studies administers these awards. Administered by the Financial Aid and Awards office, undergraduate awards are split 50-50 between scholarships and bursaries. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit while bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need and academic standing. For the fiscal year ended April 30, 2020, the most recent year for which there is confirmed data, the book value of the Fund was $719,722 while the market value as of the same date was $914,677. The annual payout is 3.5% of the weighted average market value of the endowment over the previous 36 months. For 2019-20, the annual payout resulted in four graduate scholarships, three undergraduate scholarships and three undergraduate bursaries being awarded.
At the graduate level, four students each received a scholarship in the amount of $5000. Award recipients were Leanne Letourneau, Doctor of Philosophy, Thesis, Humanities; Tristan Castonguay, Master of Science, Thesis, Exercise Science; Noura Nasser, Independent Studies; and Suzan Ali, Master of Applied Sciences, Thesis, Information Systems Security.
At the undergraduate level, three scholarships and three bursaries were awarded. Each of the scholarship recipients received an award of $2,000 while each of the bursary recipients received $2,375. The in-course scholarship recipients were: Raymond Al Homsi, (BSc, Specialization Biology), Danielle T. M. Nguyen, BSc, Major Biochemistry) and Maria Psomas (BA, Honours Psychology). The in-course bursary recipients were: Kyarra Dalton (BSc, Specialization, Behavioural Neuroscience), Sophia Delafontaine (BA, Major Journalism, Minor Sociology) and Kimberly Elston (BA, Major Anthropology, Minor First Peoples Studies).
During these pandemic times, no awards ceremony was held. However, in written words of thanks, several of our recipients expressed appreciation of their award, stressing that receipt of an award not only serves to recognize their hard work and to lighten their financial burden, but also to positively reaffirm their choice to further pursue their respective university career.
The original endowment provided for an annual payout of 5% which, as the endowment grew over time, provided for an annual payout of approximately $40,000. This was then divided into four graduate awards of $5,000 each, four undergraduate scholarships of $2,500 each, and four undergraduate bursaries of $2,500 each. With a view to growing the Foundation, in 2014-15 the Concordia University Foundation reduced the payout to 3.5%. However, for a three-year period (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17) the University generously topped up the Foundation payout to the accustomed 5%. Thus began the brainstorming of how to supplement the annual endowment payout, perhaps not to past levels, but to a level that would be sustainable and would continue to benefit deserving students.
As a result of your input through our Annual General Meetings and continuing discussions with Advancement, a decision was reached to abide, as best as possible, with the spirit and terms of the original endowment agreement. While the 3.5% annual payout results in available funds of $31,000 to $32,000, going forward, CUPA will offer four awards of a minimum of $5,000 each at the graduate level, four in-course scholarships and four in-course bursaries of $2,000 each thus totalling $36,000 annually. With the reduction in the rate of payout we are very fortunate that our CUPA representatives who drew up the original Endowment Agreement had the foresight to build in flexibility with respect to monetary value, number and distribution across Faculties of the awards, thus allowing us to adhere to the original intent and spirit.
With the help of Advancement, a CUPA Development account has been established to hold any monies supplemental to the endowment payout. This independent CUPA account is funded by donations made via the annual Shuffle, a portion of membership fees, and any donation revenue. One very successful annual event is the participation of Team Concordia Pensioners and their sponsors in the fall Shuffle. Pre-pandemic this entailed a walk from the downtown campus to the Loyola campus. Occurring virtually in September 2020, participants walked through their respective neighbourhoods. Over a three-year period, Team Concordia Pensioners and their sponsors have raised over $5,000 towards student awards. In addition, five dollars from each membership renewal goes toward topping up the account. Similarly, any other donations are also added to the CUPA Development account. To date, $6,820.00 has been deposited into the account. This includes $2,120.00 from the 2019 Shuffle, $3,170.00 from the 2020 Shuffle, $1,275.00 from member donations in 2019-20, and $255.00 from member donations in 2020-21. In fact, you may have noticed that the CUPA membership form includes ways in which members can make a charitable contribution targeting the Retired Faculty and Staff Scholarships and Awards Endowment through the annual Community Campaign. Please consider making a donation in any amount with which you are comfortable. In addition, you will be hearing from us soon about the plans for our Concordia Pensioners’ team for Shuffle 2021, Concordia’s 32nd Shuffle, to be held in September. As of now, it looks like the Shuffle will be virtual again this year. Finally, please keep an eye out for a CUPA FundOne Webpage, which we hope to have live at some point in the fall. The CUPA FundOne webpage will be dedicated to the Retired Faculty and Staff Endowment and make it easier to make contributions.
Please, if you have ideas, comments, or concerns we would appreciate hearing from you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chair, Scholarship Committee
A Message from the President
It has been quite a past sixteen months! I think back to March 11, 2020. My wife and I were at a local pub, participating in a trivia night organized to raise funds for a scholarship fund. Two days later, on March 13th, the Quebec Government announced that all schools and universities in the province would be closed for the next two weeks… and that was just the beginning.
Although we had been monitoring the evolving situation around Covid-19 and adhering to the public health guidelines that were being announced with increasing frequency, I don’t think many of us at that time fully realized how long the pandemic would last and the impact Covid-19 would have on us psychologically and on our personal and social lives.
Happily, with vaccination campaigns rolling out successfully and public health conditions stabilizing, restrictions are being relaxed and the future as to what may be possible in the upcoming year is becoming clearer. In view of that, we are cautiously optimistic that CUPARUC may be able to organize something in-person this Fall as well as hold the AGM and the always enjoyable Holiday Luncheon later in the year. We have begun planning with this optimism in mind, always cognizant of the safety and well-being of our community and in accordance with public health guidelines. We will keep you apprised as plans develop.
As noted in previous communiques, the CUPARUC Executive has continued to meet regularly (thanks to Zoom) during the pandemic. During this period, much behind the scenes work has been done by the Executive team on matters related to pensions, benefits and our scholarship and bursaries program. We have been active in responding to requests from, and providing support to, individual retirees on several different matters.
We have continued to interact, maintain, and strengthen positive relationships with several Concordia offices, including Human Resources, IITS, Advancement, Financial Services and Mail Services. Also, we have been actively participating in meetings and discussions with the College and University Retiree Associations of Canada (CURAC) and other Quebec university retiree associations.
During the pandemic several messages to members have been sent out over our Listserv and by mail, as have two Newsletters. The number of members joining the recently introduced CUPA Facebook page continues to grow. We are exploring means of improving member communications, the possibility of providing remote access to General Meetings and making available information about access to Later Life Learning opportunities.
Last September, Team Concordia Pensioners raised $3,170.00 during the annual Shuffle event, which is by far the most we have raised in the three years CUPA has participated. This was especially gratifying, considering the difficulties everyone was facing during the pandemic and the fact that the 2020 Shuffle was virtual. All the money we raised went towards our graduate and undergraduate in-course scholarships and bursaries.
The above provides a brief report on some of work that the CUPARUC Executive has been involved with since the beginning of the pandemic. More detailed reports will be issued over the summer months. The first reports will be issued in July and will focus on the Pension Plan and Scholarships and Awards portfolios.
By now everyone should have received the membership renewal information and forms for the 2021-2022 year. If you have already renewed your membership, thank-you. If not, I encourage you to do so. There is strength in numbers and the more active members we have, the greater our influence. In addition, a larger membership base supports the possibility of a wider range of activities. If for some reason you have not received the membership renewal information, please visit our website where all the necessary information and forms can be found.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please email us at email@example.com or by leaving a message on our voicemail (438-772-9119).
I can’t wait for us to finally be able to come together again, hopefully soon. Stay safe and well!
A Message from our Membership ChairRenew:
It is time to renew your membership in the Concordia University Pensioners’ Association for the 2021-2022 year. The fee is $30.00, with $5 going directly to our retired faculty and staff scholarship and bursary program. The dues renewal forms are included below.
In addition to the membership renewal information and since we haven’t had the opportunity to hold an Annual General Meeting since the beginning of the pandemic, I felt it is appropriate to incorporate a brief Membership Report in this mailing.
Our total number of paid-up members for the 2020-21 membership year was 221. As mentioned in the recent Newsletter, this is the lowest number of paid-up members we have had in some time. In the previous three years we had between 321 – 350 paid-up memberships. We hope that the reduction in members last year is due to pandemic-related issues. We are encouraged, however, that our membership will get back to regular levels this year as we have already received several renewals even before this mailing. It is important to note that we have continued to send mailings and email communications to recent past members, even if they are not up to date with their membership fees.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CUPARUC Executive has continued to meet (by Zoom) and work on matters of importance to retirees. Our President, Garry Milton, will be sending out a report in the coming weeks summarizing our activities over the past year. In-depth portfolio reports are scheduled to be distributed over the summer. It is our hope that we will be able to organize something in-person sometime this Fall and hold the AGM/Holiday Luncheon later this year, depending upon public health guidelines and protocols.
All the membership renewal information is included on the attached renewal forms but, as a reminder, you can pay by Electronic Transfer Payment OR by mailing a cheque.
If paying by Electronic Transfer Payment, please send the payment through your on-line banking to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the "message" section please indicate your name and the year(s) for which you are paying. If your personal information has changed, SVP include those details as well.
If paying by Cheque, please mail your cheque to the address indicated on the form and make the cheque payable to "Concordia University in Trust". If any of your personal information has changed, please update new information on the form and include it with the cheque.
If you have any questions or comments, please telephone us at 438-772-9119 and leave a message or send an e-mail to: email@example.com
Membership Chair, CUPARUC
The April, 2021 issue of the Newsletter (vol 31, no 1 - full version) is now available online. This newsletter is our first since October of last year and contains much timely information on many topics of interest to Concordia retirees.
CUPARUC now has a Facebook Page
We are excited to welcome you to the new CUPA /ARUC Facebook group! The new group is a one-stop tool for information dissemination, queries/discussions regarding CUPA as well as a resource of offerings for its members. But, most importantly, it is a means to (re)unite all Concordia retirees in a medium that offers social connectivity (rekindling of Con U friendships as well as creating new ones); offers helpful everyday info (where to get a Flu shot; discounts for seniors, etc); provides a place to respectfully discuss and share views, recipes, stories, crafts - to name but a few.
CUPA plays an important role in our retirement livelihood and it also has a role to play in ensuring that all Concordia retirees are 'taken care of' on a social level, too.
Join us by clicking on https://www.facebook.com/groups/646479872619655
If you do not have a Facebook page, simply Google how to set up a Facebook account. There are many sites that can direct you through the process but here is an easy one: https://www.wikihow.com/Set-up-a-Facebook-Account
- An Important Update - July 2, 2020
CUPARUC HAS A NEW TELEPHONE NUMBER
To better serve our members, CUPARUC has implemented a new telephone number and voicemail service.
Our new number is: 438-772-9119.
The new system will allow you to leave messages of up to two minutes in length and automatically prompts the Association when messages are received, which will enable us to respond to your questions and concerns in a more timely manner.
In addition to contacting us by telephone, you can also reach the Association by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have received many enquiries since the last message we sent out in early May regarding membership renewals and other topics. The CUPARUC Executive will be meeting shortly to discuss how we move forward in the current environment and will be sending out a communiqué later this month.
Until then, we wish everyone the best and hope you are all doing well and staying safe.
Fall General Meeting + Holiday Luncheon
Our Annual Fall General Meeting and Holiday Luncheon held on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 was a great success! We had a larger turnout than ever before!. The minutes of the meeting will be available in draft form soon. (They are not official until accepted at the next meeting.
New! Electronic Payment of Dues (Via Interac)
The Join/Renew link at the left has been completely updated! You may now download and send in the memberhip form in order to join, while sending in your dues electronically. To simply renew your membership and/or update your information, download the renewal form and follow the instructions. It is as simple as doing and Interac payment through your bank!
New Online Tools Coming Soon
The Cuparuc Executive have been exploring ways to share individual, personal information with members. The first project will be a tool whereby members can see whether their annual dues are up to date. We will also add a secure documents page where we can share with members documents that we could not put out on the open Internet. These projects will require a “sign-in” section of the website, where members will have to put in their username and password. We plan on creating initial passwords for most members by using a combination of information we have on file for them. Members will be invited (with instructions on the site) to change their password to something more personal and secure as soon as they first gain access. Those for whom we cannot automatically create a password will be advised of their username and password individually. If anyone does not wish to participate in this project and does not wish to have a personal account on our website, please inform your webmaster, Roger Kenner, of this desire at email@example.com Once members are comfortable with password-controlled section of the website, we hope to roll out other projects, such as on-line payment of dues and an online forum or bulletin board. More information will follow.
NEW WEBSITE ADDRESS
New security measures adopted by the University in January of 2016 made it impossible for us to continue to maintain our pensioners website on a Concordia server. The decision has been made to move our website to another server. Please note NEW ADDRESS below:
Please change all your links and shortcuts. The address is very much like the old one, except there is no period between cuparuc and concordia. Please note that there are two 'c' s together, in the middle of this address. The capital letters are optional and are provided only for clarity.
Please note that, until we can place a re-direct page at the old address, you will continue to see a Cuparuc web page there, but it no longer be updated. (If you are unsure which you are looking at, check the date at the bottom of the opening page: It should read Feburary 19, 2016 or later.
- CUPARUC Scholarsips and Awards: A photo of some of this year's award recipients has been placed on the page at the left. There is no longer a specific box to check off to contribute to our award; you must check off "other" and then write in the name of our award in full: Concordia Retired Faculty and Staff Awards Endowment Fund.
Scholarships and Awards
Did you know your Association funds numerous graduate and undergraduate awards? Check out the new Awards page at the left for more information.
Did you know that the Newsletter and Annual Minutes pages at the left include the entire collection, from the very first meeting? (There may remain a few gaps, as we cannot be sure of the number of newsletters published each year. Please help us if you have any of the missing material.
Have we got your latest email address? Check the colour of your name on the Membership List to see if we have an email address on file for you. If you fear that we may not have your most up-to-date email address, send a note to Roger@RogerKenner.ca with your latest email address.