Health and Welfare Benefits
Power Sector Benefit Trust
Through the different Hiring Hall Collective Agreement arrangements money is paid by the employer from the members’ total wage package into an “operative welfare plan”. The operative health plan is administered by the Power Sector Benefit Trust (PSBT). The Trustees of the PSBT are charged with the fiduciary duty of ensuring the maintenance of the benefit plan in the most efficient and economical manner.
The PSBT benefit plan is carried by Great West Life, one of the major insurance companies in Canada.
Money remitted through the different Hiring Hall agreements for the health and welfare plan is used to purchase benefits for the members. The health and welfare benefits are mandatory for all Power Workers’ Union Hiring Hall members working through Appendix “A”.
For each hour a member of the Hiring Hall is paid (or works at OPG) a sum of money is forwarded to the PSBT at the end of each month. The current amount of $3.00 is part of the member’s total wage package and is deducted from pre-tax earnings. The money is placed in individual members accounts to purchase benefits on a monthly basis. The new cost of benefits for members is $348.68 (up from $333.85) for family coverage and $240.52 (up from $225.69) for single coverage. These monthly fees are subject to change as the costs of services change.
A member will only be put on the plan when he/she has accumulated enough money in his/her account to purchase 2 months coverage. Money is received in the member’s name the month after it is earned (money earned in April is received by the PSBT from the employer in the middle of May and posted to the member’s account at the end of May). Members can pay directly to the PSBT for coverage if they are out of work and their account is running short.
A Long Term Disability (LTD) plan has been established as part of the benefit plan. The LTD plan pays 65% of wages up to $2,500.00 per month after a 119 day waiting period. The LTD benefit can only be purchased with money earned at work and remitted by your employer.
Employee Family Assistance Program
As part of the health and welfare benefits members have access to a Member Assistance Program with Homewood Health, a leading Canadian provider of professional counseling services. The program provides the following services; life coaching; work-life balance; stress management; legal assistance; child and elder care support; workplace concerns; addictions counseling; and health and nutrition advice. More information can be obtained from the Homewood website at www.homeweb.ca.
Ashton Tuck Memorial Special Assistance Fund
Ashton Tuck was a founding member of the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers and for 20 years the Chair of the Power Sector Benefit Trust. Ashton left a legacy of helping members and the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers and the Power Workers’ Union have established the Ashton Tuck Special Assistance Fund through the Power Sector Benefit Trust to carry on Ashton’s work of assisting members in extreme hardship.
Members of the Power Sector Benefit Trust who as a result of specific and individual circumstances beyond their control find themselves in a position of extreme hardship may request assistance by providing a written request outlining their individual circumstances. A committee of Dave Armstrong and Michael Maurer from the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers and Gary Lemelin from the Power Workers’ Union will review the requests and offer assistance to those members who demonstrate extreme hardship on behalf of the Power Sector Benefit Trust.
Members who find themselves in extreme hardship and are unable to access other assistance can apply for assistance themselves or with the help of a representative by providing a written request that outlines their circumstance and the assistance being requested. The committee will review the request and provide assistance to those members based on the hardship and the assistance requested. The committee will maintain the confidentiality of all members making a request.
Benefit Account Refunds
The rules of the Power Sector Benefit Trust allow for a refund in the specific circumstances below. The rules were established by the Trustees to ensure the Trust remains solvent and viable for all the members of the plan. It is a cost plus plan, meaning it is responsible for all costs of the plan plus an administrative service fee.
- Regular Refunds
Members who accumulate money in their accounts in excess the amount required to purchase 9 months of coverage have the option of transferring the excess money into their retirement fund, receiving a taxable rebate or leaving the money in the account to continue purchasing coverage. This is done in January or February of each year. Members receive a form to be completed and returned to the Power Sector Benefit Trust when they enroll in the benefit plan indicating their choice. The member can change his or her option by requesting a new form from the Power Sector Benefit Plan and submitting the completed form effective the following year prior to December 31st each year.
- Refunds for Members Who Obtain Regular Positions
Members who obtain a position that includes benefits, and have money in their accounts in excess of the amount required to purchase 9 months of coverage, are eligible to transfer the excess money into their retirement fund, receive a taxable rebate of the excess money, or leave the excess money in their account to continue purchasing coverage. The Power Sector Benefit Trust will continue to purchase benefits with all money in a member’s account. Members who have applied for the excess money in these circumstances continue to be enrolled in the Power Sector Benefit Trust and are able to use the benefits of the plan until coverage is exhausted. To apply for a refund in these circumstances members should forward a copy of the Permanent Position Close-Out Form (click to download form) and their Offer Letter from the employer to the Power Sector Benefit Trust.
Power Sector Benefit Trust Summary
The following is a brief summary of benefit highlights:
Flat amount of $100,000
Dependents Group Life
Each Child: $5,000
Accidental Death & Dismemberment
Each member and spouse:
Flat amount of $50,000
Long Term Disability
70 percent of wages to a maximum of $2,500 per month. 119-day waiting period.
Extended Health Care
- Private Duty Nursing
- Aids, services and supplies
- Orthopaedic shoes and orthotics
- Colostomy and ileostomy supplies
- Emergency Travel Assist
- Speech therapy
- Clinical psychology
- Chiropodists or podiatrists
- Hearing aids
- Vision care (eye glasses)
Pay Direct Drugs
The maximum dispensing fee is $7.00 per prescription (Drug Identification number). All drugs requiring a prescription by law are covered plus certain drugs not requiring a prescription.
Payment is made based upon the current Ontario Dental Association Schedule of Fees for General Practitioners. There is no annual deductible. Reimbursement is 100% of covered charges. Coverage is for Basic and Preventive procedures and includes coverage for periodontal work (treatment of gum disease) and root canal treatment (endodontics). Repair and adjustment of dentures is also covered.