Hopefully, everyone is safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic time. I know after some 6+ weeks in isolation, different areas of the country are now starting to look at a possible “new normal”. Because of this physical/social distancing situation that we have all been following, we had to abandon our regular WURA Spring General Meeting in April. When we will get back together as a group of seniors is definitely up in the air today. This is not a group the healthcare community would want us to bring together (until maybe, after a vaccine is out). But, I would like to give the WURA members group an update, as we are all in this together.
In case you are not aware, if you are a senior living alone, there is a new $9 million Canadian program, locally supported by the United Way, called the Windsor-Essex Seniors Call Assurance program, which offers seniors, who may feel isolated during the pandemic, free regular check-in phone calls, and referrals to local support services. Seniors can sign up by calling 1-877-771-2677 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. This Canada-wide program, which is supported until the end of June, is intended to help alleviate isolation by providing a meaningful social connection and support through regular telephone check-in calls and referrals to other community supports, if necessary. If you are living alone – Don’t be shy!
For those interested, because of problems with the WURA Travel Grant Application Form and process stemming from the new Finance System last year, Research Services (ORIS) has been working with me, Jake and the WURA Travel Grant Review Committee (Norm King, Maureen Irish and Datta Pillay) to produce a New Application Form and Flyer (on Knowledge Mobilization). When travel will be fairly restricted this year, WURA members might possibly be interested in Knowledge Mobilization grants. Please review the New Application Form, where WURA grants this year will be given for both travel and knowledge mobilization.
The WURA Executive members have all now reviewed the New Application Form and Flyer, explaining Knowledge Mobilization. Could you please review the New WURA Travel Application Form and possible interest in the Knowledge Mobilization area? If you are interested this year in either travel or the knowledge mobilization area, please reply by the June 15th application deadline. Richard Dumala will modify our WURA website to point to the New Travel Application Form and Flyer on Knowledge Mobilization (KMb).
In terms of activities mentioned in the flyer, the list is not exhaustive. There are really a broad range of activities that could be considered KMb, which is why the SSHRC link is included in the application form itself. Because the possible activities are so very broad, the list of eligible expenses is only a sample. It is up to our WURA Travel Grant Review Committee to adjudicate the eligible expenses that are outlined in the budget. As long as expenses fall within the terms of the university’s policies and collective agreement, we should be o.k.
I would like to thank Kate Rosser-Davies, from ORIS, who has indicated that she will assist our WURA members if they have any difficulties with the process being paperless this year. If enough WURA members are interested, she would also be willing to schedule a Teams call to give a short presentation to our members.
In other business, for those WURA members who may be worried about the impact of COVID-19 and the decline in the stock market on the pension funds, I have asked a member of the Pension Committee for his assessment of the situation. As with the recession in 2008/2009 and now the COVID-19 situation, the pension funds of the members are guaranteed, so should have no impact.
Since the WURA Spring General Meeting was not held in April, are there any issues that WURA members may wish the WURA Executive Committee to address? The WURA Pension & Benefits (P & B) Committee, on behalf of the WURA Executive Committee, have also begun discussions with the WUFA Contract Committee.
Many WURA members also normally pay their annual dues at the WURA Spring General Meeting. For those who have not paid this year, this is a reminder to send your cheque for $25 made out to "WURA" with address: Dr. Norman King, #103 1935 Normandy St., LaSalle Ont., N9H 1P2, by Friday, May 22nd. If you have outstanding dues and are not aware of how much you owe, please contact Norm at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send an updated 2020 WURA members list to IT Services, indicating those members who have free support for Online Office at the end of May.
It looks like there will be a slow and phased in re-opening of normal activities over the summer, but for us "old folks", continued caution should be the order of the day. Jake's rule of thumb, which I agree is: "Don't do anything dumb!", until this gets sorted out, which looks like a while yet. In the current environment, it is not a wise or healthy idea to get a group of seniors (WURA members) together. I guess we will have to play it by ear, to see how much the rules change in the summer or later. Stay safe and healthy! Thank you.