[University of Waterloo]


Past days


About the DB

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

  • Benefits continue for post-65 employees
  • Women's Day event 'a success'
  • The robots arrive, and more notes
Chris Redmond

World Water Day

On this week's list from the human resources department:

  • Sharcnet High Performance Computing software specialist, Physics, USG 11
  • Marketing coordinator, housing and residence, USG 6
  • Graduate residence admissions and marketing specialist, housing and residences, USG 6
  • Undergraduate residence admissions and marketing specialist, housing and residences, USG 6
  • Controls technologist, plant operations
  • Custodial foreperson, plant operations, USG 8
  • Information technology specialist, mechanical engineering, USG 9/10
  • Group director, instructional technologies and services, information systems and technology, USG 15
  • Temporary position: administrative assistant/coordinator, new faculty recruitment and support, office of the associate provost (academic and student affairs)

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Benefits continue for post-65 employees

    Some staff and faculty members could end up collecting a salary and a pension at the same time by the year 2011, thanks to a combination of federal and provincial laws about retirement.

    By Ontario law, mandatory retirement at the traditional age of 65 will be forbidden after December 12 of this year. By federal law, a registered pension plan has to start paying out a pension at the end of the year when an individual turns 69. Result: someone who stays on at UW past 65 (which will still be called "normal retirement date") for another four-plus years will start receiving a pension even they're still in full-time work.

    If they keep working between 65 and 69, they'll continue paying premiums to the UW pension plan and watching their future pensions increase.

    Those are among the highlights of a memo that's being distributed to UW employees today, setting out the proposals that will go to the university's board of governors from the pension and benefits committee. Comments are invited until April 17, the memo says, and the board will discuss and decide in early June.

    "The removal of mandatory retirement is both welcome and worrisome," says the memo: "Welcome because valuable and productive employees may stay and continue to contribute to UW's success. Pension plan liabilities may also decrease since employees will be taking their pensions at a later date and presumably collecting them over a shorter period of time. However, it is also worrisome because when employees do not retire at age 65 the cost of benefits may increase. As well, salary costs to the University will increase due to lack of turnover in the system (normally when employees retire, they are replaced by new employees with lower salaries)."

    With the change in the law, "employees will be able to continue employment as long as they are able to perform their jobs," the memo points out. "Benefits will continue for employees past age 65 with some modifications." The extended health care plan will continue for those individuals, and so will the dental plan and sick leave coverage.

    At age 69, when a pension has to start, employees who stay on the job will start getting the same benefits as retirees: pretty much the same health plan as they had before, but no dental plan. Long-term disability will end at age 65, and sick leave after 65 will be limited to a total of 120 days. Life insurance will be available on a reduced scale.

    As for pensions, employees past age 65 will keep on making contributions to the pension fund, and accruing pensions, until they reach the post-69 point where the federal government says the pension has to start. The P&B committee is recommending that the board eliminate an existing option that a few employees have, called "actuarial adjustment", that lets them stop paying into the pension plan before retirement.

    And the "commuted value" system, by which an individual takes a lump sum at retirement rather than a UW pension, will be allowed only up to "normal retirement date" at age 65. Someone who stays on past 65 must take a normal pension when they do retire.

    Special provisions are mentioned in the memo for the few employees who have been at UW so long (since before 1969) that they started here under different pension rules, and already have the right to work past 65, until they turn 68. The human resources department says there are 19 such people still on the active faculty and staff.

    Women's Day event 'a success'

    UW's "first annual" International Women's Day Dinner, held at the University Club on March 8, was a success, the organizing committee reports. Committee chair Christine Tauer Martin of counselling services says the plan was to start small to see if staff and faculty women in the university would be interested, so only 75 tickets were available this year.

    [Three women with big smiles]

    Harriet Lyons, Elaine Brown and Pat Cunningham at the event

    A colleague on the organizing group, Linda Mackay, sends this report: "The themes that inspired the evening were 'sharing community' and 'making our own history'. Emcee Catherine Schryer of the English department invited attendees to share inspiring stories about a person, a place, or an event at the University that made a difference in their lives. Each table selected someone of significance who had contributed to the University. Some of the women mentioned included Mary Malone, Catherine Schryer, Hildegard Marsden, Catherine Booth and Issy Mackay. The entire department of Anthropology, where the number of female faculty have for many years equaled or exceeded male faculty and where 'it has been normal to be a female faculty member', was nominated as a place which has benefited many women.

    "The invited guest speakers were Pat Cunningham, Alumni Officer for the Faculty of Math, and Harriet Lyons, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Pat spoke about the 'women of influence' who have had a profound impact on her, beginning with her own mother. She spoke generously of the many women involved in important volunteer and social development positions in the community. She herself has been an active volunteer in the United Way Campaign and Keystone Campaign at the University as well as in community projects.

    "Harriet Lyons gave an entertaining historical overview of how diverse cross sections of women were mentored in the field of anthropology. She described that out of 'lemons' (the obstacles and limitations of the cultural norms and gender inequities of the times) many women were able to generate 'lemonade', in producing research and work which revealed important information about women's lives across cultures and countries.

    "The evening was highlighted by an appearance by Elaine Brown (Administration Office, Village 1), who offered the crowd an entertaining set of silky standards, singing 'Misty', 'People' and 'Evergreen'. Her final selection simmered as people snapped their fingers in rhythm to a steamy rendition of 'Fever'.

    "The three course meal, prepared by Chef Denise Allen, was inspired by international fare: a tasty Greek salad was followed by chicken marinara and a delicious tiramisu mousse cake. Club Supervisor Gary Molson and his staff ensured a seamless and hospitable service. Door prizes and table favours were donated by Dove's self esteem fund, Rheo Thompson Candies of Stratford and the UW Recreation Committee. The event was sponsored by the university's Human Resources and Student Services, and the Faculty Association.

    "Feedback was very positive and the committee hopes that the annual event will continue to grow in size and popularity." She notes that the IWD web site has photos of the event and will be announcing plans for next year.

    Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gordon Miller speaks 10 a.m., WLU Bricker Academic Building room 102.

    Fine arts study abroad: studio or art history course in England and Scotland, May 2007, information session 12 noon, East Campus Hall room 1219, or e-mail jmcoutu@uwaterloo.ca.

    Credit Union Mortgages: information session 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302, sponsored by Education Credit Union.

    'AustraLearn' information session about teachers' college in Australia and New Zealand, 12:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Smarter Health seminar: Ernie Wallace, Smart Systems for Health, "The Ontario Laboratories Information System", 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

    Café-rencontre du département d'études françaises: David Porreca, département des études classiques, "Hermès Trismégiste, la métamorphose d'un sage païen au Moyen Age," 15h30, Modern Languages salle 246.

    'UW Innovate!' session about innovation in fourth-year engineering design projects, 5 to 8 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

    'The Vagina Monologues' student production 7:30 tonight (Student Life Centre multipurpose room), Thursday (Bombshelter pub), and Friday (Humanities Studio 180), student tickets $8 at SLC turnkey desk.

    Diversity awareness campaign presents Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the 1957 "Little Rock Nine", speaking on her civil rights experience and social change, 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre, free.

    Cultural Caravan with cultural performances, displays and food, Thursday 3 to 8 p.m., Student Life Centre great hall.

    Art gallery reception for the closing of "Inscriptions" by Jane Buyers and "The Black Notebooks" by Brigitte Radecki, Thursday 7 to 9 p.m., East Campus Hall.

    Jewish studies lecture: Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, "Can All Religions Be True?" Thursday 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College great hall.

    Orchestra@UWaterloo concert: "Crossing Borders", with pianist Alan Li, winner of the concerto competition, Thursday 8 p.m, Humanities Theatre, free tickets 888-4908.

    UW Chamber Choir end-of-term concert Friday 8 p.m., "The Magic Mozart", St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, tickets $10 (students $8).

    Warrior Weekend activities and movies Friday and Saturday evening, Student Life Centre, details online.

    Blood donor clinic March 27-31, Student Life Centre, appointments now at the turnkey desk.

    English Language Proficiency Examination Wednesday, April 5 at 7 p.m., Physical Activities Complex.

    The robots arrive, and more notes

    The Waterloo Regional FIRST Robotics competition gets going on campus today, bringing in some 30 teams of high schoolers who have built their robots (from parts provided by the organizers) and will now race them for fun, fame and honours. Practice rounds start at 10:00 today, serious competition runs for most of tomorrow, and the final rounds are Saturday, all in the Physical Activities Complex, where volunteers from UW are involved with everything from judging to T-shirts. Spectators are welcome throughout the competition; admission is free.

    Spring is here, as you may have noticed despite a few overnight flakes of snow. "It was a warmer than average winter," says Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station -- again, you may have noticed that -- "but overall not the record-breaking season that it has been in the western part of Canada. January was definitely a record-setting month, at 5 degrees above average. However, both February and this first part of March has been close to average." Detailed figures for the season, and month by month, are on the weather station web site.

    [Weaver] Carol Ann Weaver (right), music professor at Conrad Grebel University College, will host a pair of benefit concerts today in response to the AIDS pandemic in Africa. Weaver has composed a piece entitled "Every Three Children" that symbolizes the number of children infected with the AIDS virus in parts of Africa. The piece, with live music and actual field recordings of children's singing, is based on Weaver's many trips to Africa over the years. It will be performed twice today in the Grebel chapel: as the 12:30 free concert and in the 4:30 chapel service. Both events feature Weaver on piano, vocals by Rebecca Campbell, the Chapel Choir, drummer Arun Pal, and guest performers and readers.

    Here's a note from English student Marc Goral: "If you're like most University students, you're interested in discussions on sex; but if you're open to perspectives other than the typical portrayal of sex that saturates the media and society, and are looking for an alternative, theological perspective, come to the upcoming talk on God and Sex. The talk will reflect Christian ideas and the teachings of Pope John Paul II, presented by Dr. Peter Erb, a professor of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University. This talk is hosted by three clubs: Compass Catholic Fellowship, Youth For Christ, and Waterloo Chinese Catholic Community. The event is open to anyone, regardless of their religious background or views on sex. The purpose of the event is to present a religious view of sexuality, incite thought and discussion on the issue, and for students' interest and enjoyment. The event will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Student Life Centre Multi-Purpose Room. The talk is free, open to all, and requires no prior registration."

    The UW library reports in its electronic newsletter that "An annual gift from the Ross and Doris Dixon Foundation assists the Library with purchasing equipment and furnishings that enhances services to persons with disabilities. Last year, funds were used to purchase a ClearView 517 full-colour desktop video magnifier used by patrons with low vision. This year the Library has used the funds available to purchase a new student computer terminal equipped with assistive software and ergonomic chairs."

    An organization called the Laurier Association for Lifelong Learning offers non-credit courses in connection with the continuing education office at Wilfrid Laurier University, evidently aimed at retired people, and it's striking to see how many of its offerings are taught by UW faculty, present or past. Among the instructors this term: Darrol Bryant of Renison College, retired English professor Roman Dubinski, former dance professor Ruth Priddle, Herb Lefcourt of the psychology department, Ted McGee of the St. Jerome's University English department, and Alan Morgan of earth sciences.

    [Lyle] One of the pioneers who brought the study of optometry to Waterloo, William Lyle, died March 17. Lyle (left) had been a faculty member at the College of Optometry of Ontario, long established in Toronto, before it moved to become the UW optometry school as of July 1, 1967. He retired in 1982.

    Staff and faculty in the department of electrical and computer engineering have announced a bake sale for this Friday, on the third floor of the CEIT building. "Come on out for your morning coffee break and support a worth cause," says a flyer, the cause being the campaign against juvenile arthritis. A 50-50 ticket draw will be held to add to the proceeds. More information: phone ext. 5771.

    The weekly stress relaxation series sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program continues with a noon-hour session today in Math and Computer room 5158. . . . The UW Recreation Committee will hold a noon-hour class Thursday on "Feng Shui: The Ancient Art of Placement and Design". . . . A group of local high school students will be on campus tomorrow for a six-hour competition in digital map generation and data analysis, sponsored by the faculty of environmental studies. . . .


    Communications and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
    200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
    (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
    www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Daily Bulletin
    Copyright © 2006 University of Waterloo