The impetus and funding for establishing an Association came from the Municipal Employees Pension Committee.
Without an Association there would not be an opportunity for retirees (union and exempt) to have input to the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees regarding their pension.
The MPRA advocates on behalf of the Municipal Pension Plan retirees regarding their pension, benefits, and other concerns.
In the fall of 2002 the Municipal Employees Pension Committee mandated the creation of a retirees’ association.
The reason for the creation of a retirees’ association was twofold: The first reason was to provide a forum for retirees to have a voice for their concerns and a means to direct these concerns to the pension committee; and secondly to satisfy the Joint Trust Agreement that there be a mechanism to nominate and appoint a retiree trustee and alternate trustee to the Board.
The Municipal Pension Retirees’ Association started with 6 Founding Members:
The first AGM was held at the Executive Inn, Conference Centre in Penticton on Wednesday September 17th, 2003. The MPRA was registered under the Societies Act.
The purpose of the association was and still is:
The purpose of the first AGM was to explore, understand, make corrections, suggestions and comments pertaining to the Constitution and Bylaws and elect a Provincial Executive.
We had at that date approximately 1300 members and 42 delegates at this meeting. We had 39 Districts in the province with another district to take out of Province members. The district members ranged from 11-94 and consisted of all retirees, union and non-union, receiving a Municipal Pension.
No paid expenses, money from dues helped pay for mailing and some meeting rooms where needed
By 2018 our membership had grown to just over 10,000 members and the number of Municipal Pension retirees has now grown to approximately 375,000 active, inactive, and retired members, and their employers. Our goal is to achieve a membership of 20,000 numbers that would fairly represent retirees.
Our province is divided into 6 Regions with a total of 34 Districts that hold four meetings per year. Our Provincial office is in West Kelowna and employs two part-time staff. The Provincial Executive consists of 16 volunteer members including our President. Volunteer members also fill the executive positions at the district level.
2019 our strength is our membership. To succeed in meeting our goals we must all work together. We must get involved. It is important to attend meetings. There are only 4 each year. On many occasions we have guest speakers on a range of topics that we enjoy. This is also a time to speak with others, share ideas and participate in discussions and decisions.
We are all volunteers who must continue to work to strengthen our organization by introducing potential members to the MPRA, signing up new members, greeting members as they arrive at the meeting, giving someone a ride, be on the phoning committee, be on a membership committee and let our name stand for an executive position. We must support our executives, District and Provincial. We must grow our membership.
The membership dues have only increased by $5.00 to $20.00 annually since inception, we have to date over 10,000 members. Our purpose has not changed, and it is a worthwhile organization and I still urge all retirees who are collecting a BC municipal pension to consider membership.
Many changes within the Provincial Executive this year with the retirement of Mary and Steve Polak, Terry Erskine (previously 1st vice-president) stepped up to the President position on September 16th, 2020.
Covid put a stop to in person meetings making membership growth a challenge. Zoom was introduced and we persevered during these difficult times.
Heather Holmes was hired as Operation Manager. Heather has a strong background in technology, business, and marketing. Previously employed at the local Chamber of Commerce and she has many years experience of a business owner herself.
The website was updated with a new look and online applications are now available. Social Media was introduced, and the automation of business processes began.
2022 dues are now free for the calendar year in which you apply. Annual dues are $22.00 per member and $40.00 per couple. Member dues have only increased $7 dollars since inception, we have to date over 10,000 members. Our purpose has not changed, and it remains a worthwhile organization with looks of value for its members.
Membership survey was completed in February and the Strategic Planning session was held in May. QR Codes were introduced for ease of signing up for membership and accessing the MPRA website. A new online app was also introduced for online membership cards and events calendar.
Membership drive has been started using digital marketing. The Winter Advisor came out with a new refreshed look and the MPRA logo was also refreshed:
We look forward to 2023 the MPRA 20th Anniversary which will be celebrated May 2023 at the Biennial Convention.