Elected directors want health benefits

Strathcona Regional District elected officials want assistance in paying for Medical Services Plan

Elected officials want the Strathcona Regional District to pay for some of their health benefits.

Jude Schooner, director representing Tahsis, said she does not have Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage and questioned why the regional district does not offer it as part of its group benefits package.

“I’ve asked before and the answer I got was that most directors already are covered by other organizations but others, such as myself, are not,” Schooner said at a board meeting March 28.

Tom Yates, acting chief administrative officer of the regional district, said that while the director’s salary and financial policy mentions MSP payments, nothing was ever set in stone.

“Although the wording of the current director remuneration bylaw suggests that it may have been intended in the past, the coverage of MSP premiums for directors does not appear to have ever been implemented for the Strathcona Regional District or its predecessor, Comox-Strathcona Regional District.”

Regional district staff, on the other hand, do have MSP premiums paid for them by their employer.

Brenda Leigh, director for Area D (Oyster Bay-Buttle Lake), said staff and directors should reap much of the same benefits.

“Some of us are not covered at all by MSP,” Leigh said. “If our regional district staff are covered 100 per cent, then our directors should be covered.”

In B.C., MSP premiums must legally be paid by, or on behalf of, every resident.

Those who make $22,000 or less annually are not billed. For those with an annual income of $30,000 or more, monthly rates are $66.50 for one person, $120.50 for a family of two and $133 for a family of three or more, effective January 1, 2013.

Schooner wants regional district staff to look into the implications of having MSP premiums paid 50 per cent by the regional district and 50 per cent by each director.

The board is expected at Wednesday’s meeting to make a decision on whether or not to include MSP premiums as part of the directors’ group benefits package.