Newsletter November 2014

New! President’s Message

By: Nathan Martindale, WTA President

In the afternoon Executive members participated in a plenary facilitated by Changemakers, a firm hired by the WTA to carry-out a review of the association’s public profile.  The session was the Executive’s opportunity to input as a stakeholder in this review.  Changemakers also led Executive through a process to develop a mission, values and vision statement for the association.  It was a revealing and fruitful exercise that enlightened and engaged new executive members while recharging experienced members

School Visit Reflections-Chapter 1

By: Kristin Insull, WTA Vice-President

To date, the President and I have visited roughly 1/6th of the schools in the Winnipeg School Division.  All but two have been exclusively elementary schools.  As a high school teacher, this is unfamiliar, frightening and yet, entertaining, territory.

Most visits have been in the school’s library.  These bright, open and inviting spaces often showcase the learning priorities of the school, the appreciation for different cultures, and the recent accomplishments of the students.  When not in the library, we have overtaken a teachers’ classroom.  The dedication to the creation of spaces conducive to learning and organization are unparalleled in high school classrooms.  Both venues have had sufficient copies of classics such as “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”, “Grumpy Bird” and “Scaredy Squirrel” to keep me entertained while we wait for teachers to arrive.

Physical spaces aside, I am in awe of elementary teachers.  Don’t get me wrong – teaching high school requires a specific skill set, and a different level of accountability, and junior high school teachers are in a class of their own with their ability to wrangle young people in the throes of hormonal change into desks, but elementary teachers have a new and special place in my heart.

I honestly do not understand how you manage to corral these small, sticky, bundles of energy into a room, and teach them anything meaningful, such that by the time they get to high school, they actually know stuff.  It isn’t often that a high school teacher would be afforded the opportunity to see inner workings of an elementary school, and appreciate the differences in pedagogical and emotional investment in the education of students.  For all the work you do, thank you.

School visits are winding down now, and will start up again the New Year.  Letters with proposed dates will be sent to Council Representatives.  Please confirm with the WTA Office whether the date works, and if it doesn’t, we will do our best to reschedule you.

Workplace Safety and Health updates

By: Kristin Insull, Chairperson, WTA Workplace Safety and Health Committee

As previously mentioned, the Winnipeg School Division is no longer operating under a variance of the legislation that permitted small work locations to have only a worker rep, rather than committee, in place to handle workplace safety and health concerns.  Now, each work location must have a committee in place with representation from all employee groups and administration.  The administrative representative is automatically a co-chair of the committee, and another co-chair should be elected at the first meeting.  Co-chairs are responsible for the organization and setting of the committees.

Two and a half months into the year, the training for WPSH reps is winding down, and local committees should have begun meeting.  A memo sent to work locations in August outlines the responsibilities of these school based committees:

  • “review accident and injury statistics and reports and to identify trends which may require safety training or accident prevention activities;
  • conduct regular worksite inspections (four annually) to familiarize themselves with the activities ongoing within the worksite and to identify hazardous conditions and employee concerns with respect to safety and health issues;
  • make recommendations to the Division on issues which cannot be resolved at the local worksite;
  • participate in education activities to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their duties; and
  • foster the development of safety and health awareness amongst all staff employed at the worksite.”

WPSH concerns that cannot be resolved at the local committee level are dealt with by the Central Committee.  This committee’s composition is the same as that of the local committees, and we meet regularly with the WSD Safety Officers to resolve issues, discuss policy, training and other safety initiatives in the division.  If you wish to have a concern dealt with by the Central Committee, you can fill out the Workplace Safety and Health Concern Form found under forms on the WTA website.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the WTA office either by email or phone.

Hearing Conservation Program-Reminder

By: Kristin Insull, Chairperson, WTA Workplace Safety and Health Committee

Permanent and Term Employees working in the following areas for a minimum of four hours per day: Physical Education, Music (Band, Choir, Dance) Industrial Arts/Vocational (Auto Body, Mechanics, Construction, Home Renovations, Carpentry, Metals, Cafeteria, Broadcasting, Aviation) are required to participate in the annual MANDATORY hearing tests by registering in Employee Connect under Category WPSH.  If you have any questions please contact Hedy Prince at 789-0492 or email

Dental Plan Improvements in 2015

The Group Benefits Committee of The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association has recently made improvements to the dental group plan.

In summary, the WTA has enacted a deducible holiday for the 2015 calendar year and increased the annual benefit maximum for orthodontics.

Deductibles are typically applied before you are reimbursed for dental care.  Currently, the deductible for individuals is $25 each calendar year and the deductible for families is $50 each calendar year.  Starting January 1, 2015, members of the plan will enjoy a Deductible Holiday meaning single and family members will not have to pay any deductible costs for any dental care treatments performed in 2015.

The basis of payment will continue to be The Manitoba Dental Association Fee Guide in effect January 1, 2015.

Reimbursement levels will also remain the same:  routine treatment – 100%; major treatment – 60% and orthodontic treatment – 50%.  Plan maximums for routine and major treatment will also continue unchanged at $2,500 per person each calendar year.

However, the plan maximum for orthodontic treatment effective January 1, 2015, will increase to $1,500 per person per calendar year.  The maximum is currently $1,250 per person per calendar year.

The WTA Group Benefits Committee supervises insurance plans with the assistance of Aon Hewitt who provides consulting services in the administration of benefits services.  The committee is pleased to improve the plan and will continue to carefully manage the program to offer dental coverage that is specific to WTA members’ needs

Group Benefits Mobile

Manulife Financial’s new mobile app lets you manage your benefits plan on the go

Did you know that Manulife just released a mobile app? Now you can manage your benefits on your smartphone or tablet.

It’s available in all app stores for all smartphone devices (Apple App StoreSM, Google PlayTM, BlackBerry® WorldTM and Windows® Store).

With the app, you will be able to:

  • Submit claims from your smartphone
  • View your most recent claims
  • Explore claim details.

Visit your favourite app store to download it now and enjoy the convenience of managing your benefits on the go.  Try a demo of Group Benefits Mobile here.

Manulife Plan Member Secure Site Services and Features

All your benefits information is just a click away!

The Plan Member Secure Site gives you easy access to all your Group Benefits information including:

  • The ability to receive your claims payments up to 70% faster with Direct Deposit
  • At-a-glance view of your coverage information
  • A quick view of the status of your five most recent claims plus a detailed historical view of your claims history and the ability to sort your claims by type (e.g. Status, Statement Date)
  • Quick access to forms and brochures
  • The ability to print a Benefits Card from anywhere in the world as long as you have Internet access.


Safe and Secure

All your personal information, such as your banking information, is always retrieved from Manulife’s secure system network. There is no way for the general public to access your personal information from our website.

Getting started

Depending on your plan, you may automatically receive your activation key within
a week of receiving your benefit kit. If so, follow the steps in the letter to register
and activate your Internet account. If you have not received a letter within a week
of your benefit kit, follow the Getting Started steps to obtain your personal activation
key by mail.

  1. You’ll need your plan contract number and your plan member certificate which
    can be found on either your claim statement or on your benefits card. If you
    don’t have these, contact your plan administrator (Sue Lee, WSD Benefits Clerk, 204-775-0231).
  2.  Go to, hover over the sign in button located at the top of the screen, and select Plan member under Group benefits from the drop down menu.
  3.  Fill in all of the information on the registration page. Be sure to enter your email address so you will be able to take advantage of the electronic notification feature.

Signing up for Direct Deposit

Choose My profile from the top navigation, then Update banking information.

  • You’ll need your bank, transit and account numbers, printed on the bottom of your personal cheque.
  • If you’re not sure which numbers go where, simply click on the ”Where can I find my banking information?” link and a sample cheque will appear, showing you where to find the information.
  • If you don’t have a personal cheque, call your banking institution for this information.
  • You can remove or change your personal banking information at any time.

When you sign up for direct deposit you’ll also receive the Electronic Claim Statement feature automatically, allowing you to access your claim statement online. Give Manulife your e-mail address and they’ll let you know that your claim is processed. This way, you’ll know exactly how much your reimbursement will be. Electronic claim statements can be used to submit to another benefits company if you plan to coordinate your benefits with your spouse.


To ask a question, send Manulife an e-mail. Choose Questions in the top navigation, then Send a note under Email us. Choose how and where the Customer Service Representative contacts you with an answer.

Provider eClaims

Claims submission, adjudication and reimbursement made easier

To provide fast and convenient service, Manulife Financial is now offering another electronic health care claims solution. Provider eClaimswas developed in partnership with TELUS HealthTM, a leader in Canada’s claims and benefits management sector. It is designed to simplify the claims experience by allowing many health care providers to submit plan member claims directly to Manulife right at the point of care. In many instances, this means plan members will only have to pay the amount not covered by the plan for approved claims.

Helping plan members optimize their health and wealth through Provider eClaims

The following health care providers are able to submit claims directly to Manulife on behalf of plan members: massage therapists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, opticians and optometrists.

Plan members can find eligible providers located near them by

Claims are typically adjudicated while the plan member is still in the provider’s office, so in most situations, the member and provider know right away how much is covered by the plan.

In many instances, the plan member only pays the provider what the plan doesn’t cover. Manulife then pays the balance directly to the provider. In other instances, the plan member will pay the entire amount of the claim and reimbursement for the covered portion will be automatically deposited into their bank account.

It is an entirely digital experience, eliminating the need to submit paper claim forms, and delivering electronic payment and statements to both providers and plan members.

There is no change to the way in which claims are adjudicated. All claims submitted through providers are sent to TELUS Health’s eClaims portal and then adjudicated through Manulife’s claims system.


The convenience of a completely digital experience

Since Provider eClaims is a digital service, plan members must be activated on the plan member site, and signed up for direct deposit and electronic claims statements.
If a plan member does not meet these requirements, their health care provider will receive a message explaining what the plan member needs to do in order to be eligible.

In addition to having access to Provider eClaims, signing up for direct deposit and electronic claims statements will also allow plan members to enjoy the convenience
of having claims payments deposited directly into their bank account and receiving alerts when their claims are ready.

Protected from fraud and abuse

Manulife uses cutting-edge detection and prevention technology for all of their online claims services, including Provider eClaims.

Plan members still receive an electronic claims statement even if payment is made to the provider.

Manulife applies state-of-the-art safeguards to all eClaims, along with additional electronic measures.

Submitted claims are subject to rigorous adjudication and verification through Manulife’s comprehensive provider database.

In addition to the automated detection systems, claims are randomly selected for audit.

Increased electronic tracking also creates an easily verifiable trail of information, further protecting the benefits that plan members value.

Manulife also has flexibility for special handling actions, including notification to providers when a plan member is required to submit a paper claim.

2014-2015 WTA Pre-Retirement Seminars

If you are 48 years of age or older and a WTA  member, you can register for one of the two WTA Pre-retirement Seminars offered for the 2014/2015 school year.

The dates of the seminars are:

5:00 p.m., January 29, 2015 – Deadline for registration is January 15
5:00 p.m., March 24, 2015 – Deadline for registration is March 10

Please e-mail Michael Krauss at for your TRAF authorization number and process for registration.