(Presented to the AGM March 2017)

      As usual 2016 has been a busy, busy, challenging year. During your career you served Canada with honour and dedication, and now the Central Okanagan Association of Federal Retirees Branch 07 wants to serve you! We do this through supporting you by advocating for your rights, pensions, and health benefits, and partnering with preferred companies for member discounts, providing you with information relative to your needs, and by holding special events both for and within the community.

     NAFR has 81 Branches nationwide, and have over 180,000 members, which allows us to have a large advocacy voice in national affairs such as the new Health Accord and pension matters.
     Locally, our Membership Team had an extremely busy year looking after our 1600+ members, the renewal of their membership cards, and the multitude of questions arising.
     The National Office staff have been most co-operative in working with our team and all the changes.
     Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in April, at which time the members approved our new By-laws that were subsequently forwarded to National Office for final approval.
     The District Conference of BC Branches was held in Chilliwack in May, covering topics that would be discussed at the Annual Meeting of Members (AMM) and positions to be taken by our Branches.
     The Annual Meeting of Members (AMM) was held in June in Ottawa, sponsored by the
National Office. All 81 Branches, District Directors, and the National Office and Board were in attendance. The meeting was an exciting chance to review policy, assess and pass Resolutions and related bylaws. Guest speakers and Preferred Partners were in attendance, supplementing the presentations from the National Office. It was also important to meet the New CEO, Mr Simon Coakeley.
     Of special note is that our Branch was awarded the National Award for “INNOVATION”, especially noting our Branch’s ongoing series of “Learning Experiences” which cover topics of vital importance for our Members. Additionally, Ethel Robidoux received a “President’s Commendation” for her 20 years of dedicated service of providing “Care and Concern” to our members in times of sickness and health related issues.
     On October 17 our Branch hosted the 6th Learning Experience at the Mary Irwin Theatre for the benefit of our members and as a recruitment initiative for those that are not yet members. 124 people attended (not including 12 volunteers) and they were introduced to nine Branch Member Services Partners. Most that attended were not aware that these partnership relationships existed. Door prizes were available, and the winner of the fantastic VIA Rail Heritage trip was thrilled. The attendees were given presentations on services provided by MEDOC and Service Canada. People who attended were very grateful to learn of the services available to them and were very interested on attending Learning Experience VII.
     Our Branch was selected by the National Office to host a Town Hall Meeting November 8th regarding the “Health Accord” as proposed by the Federal Government. It was a joint program with the Canadian Medical Association, National Office, and local provincial representatives. Our V/Pres, Christine Juba was able to coordinate all participant’s presentations and activities resulting in a well-attended evening at the Mary Irwin Theater. The National Office has released a final report to the Federal Government representing a combined summary for the Branches across Canada.
     We have been trying to improve the communication process with all of our members. We use the internet, but approximately only 1100 have an email address out of 1600 active members. Along with our Branch Website at, Christine has recently developed a Facebook page available at Central Okanagan Federal Retirees. It has received accolades from National Office. We continue to man the office telephone 24/7 at 250-712-6213 to answer queries from you the members. I guess the last resort is to use the telephone, but instead of dialing 1600 different numbers, we can use a “Robocall” system for major happenings. Additionally, our Central Okanagan Newsletter was mailed to all members in September highlighting the President's Message, team reports, golf sports day, upcoming events, and branch member service partners. If we can’t contact you with any of these methods, we can only hope you will update our records accordingly. We invite you to look at our Website which the Communications Team has made
changes to layout, content, and updating information as it becomes available. We hope it has become more meaningful to you.
     Membership fees as of January 2017 showed a small increase to $47.76 ($3.98 per month) for a single membership and $62.04 ($5.17 per month) for a double membership.

- Our Spring Luncheon was enjoyed by 59 people on April 23rd. Entertainment was appreciated by all.
-The 20th annual Golf and mini-golf Tournament and reception was held in June on a beautiful day at the Mission Creek course and a local Mini Golf course.
- The yearly Adopt-A-Road program was held in April and October.
- A General Meeting was held October 22nd with the Community Services Manager making a very informative presentation.
-The Care and Concern Team, under Ethel Robidoux’s direction, continued to be available to visit members in hospital or care facilities to provide a friendly face of support and show our concern for their wellbeing.
- We have continued to promote our MedWatch program since it saves lives, and is supported by numerous agencies. This program received increased interest from our members when we displayed it at our General Meeting and Learning Experiences.
- A disturbing event happened this fall. As you are aware there are dozens of scam or fraudulent happenings going on at all times. It appears that some perpetrators were able to breach our National Office data base and obtain confidential information regarding email addresses, names and positions of individuals in various branches in order to scam them and us for large sums of money. I was able to work closely with the RCMP, and specifically National Office, to provide the evidence necessary to launch an insurance claim to retrieve the majority of the funds, but we still had to cover a deductible sum. More importantly, we have all been made aware of the pitfalls of the internet and scam artists.
- Remembrance Day – on Nov 11th members laid wreaths on your behalf and participated at the local area services.
-The annual Salvation Army Kettle Campaign was held December. Thirty two of our members manned the kettles for a day at each of two locations in West Kelowna and at the Capri Center. We were invited to a breakfast to show their appreciation to the various participating organizations.
- Our annual Christmas Luncheon was enjoyed by all, and the entertainment included a rousing renditions of numerous Christmas carols and songs. Some went home with door prizes, plus half of a 50/50 draw which was a record $100. Our “gaming license” allows us to put the branch share into a special community outreach account to help needy families in the community at Christmas. We have received letters of appreciation from the Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) and from the single mother of the selected family.

- We are working with the National Office to hold the government to account to “honour their promises” regarding our pensions. A government Bill C27 is currently before the “House” that could downgrade our current “Defined Benefit “pensions to a number of varied plans that could affect all of our pensions and benefits. Branches are requested to interact with our local Members of Parliament and to present NAFR’s position, and hopefully convince the government to withdraw the Bill and stand by its promises.
- Again, we are working with National Office to launch a major recruiting campaign to increase our overall membership. In our area, it is estimated that only 50% of retired public servants (Military, Public Service, RCMP, and retired Federal Judges) are members of NAFR. They are obviously a very ripe recruiting ground.

     Once again it has been a very busy year supporting you, the members. Thank you to the Branch Executives, Board Members, and all other volunteers who have made our activities a reality! You have made our Central Okanagan Branch what it is today; “Making a Difference”.
     You do not need to be a Board Member to help out. We have supporting “Teams”: in which you can be a valued member.
- Do you have a specific qualification or task of interest?
- Do you a little time to spare?
- We will provide training and support if required!
Come help us “Make a Difference”.

Larry Crabb President
Central Okanagan Branch BC07