Dear members, Today, the Quebec Branch of the National Association of Federal Retirees tabled a Brief to the Public Finance Committee of the National Assembly. The Committee will hold public hearings on retirement benefits from January 17 to January 20, 2017. The Committee is hearing comments on study papers entitled Consolidating the Plan to Strengthen Intergenerational Equity and Findings on Retirement in Quebec . Our brief, commenting specifically on Death Benefit will become part of the documentation of the Committee. 

The Quebec Branch, with the support of all 35,000 members of the 6 sections of the Federal Retirees in Quebec, is asking for a revised Death Benefit “in order to help Quebec families in caring for their deceased members and bring them to their last resting place with dignity." 

The branch is requesting an increased Death Benefit to $ 5,000, indexed annually and non-taxable instead of the current $ 2,500. 

The brief points out that the current Death Benefit of $ 2,500 is the result of a one-third decrease in 1998. At that time it was at a maximum of $ 3,580. It has never been changed since. 

The Quebec Branch asks that the Death Benefit be based on the best practices of the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail and of the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, two Quebec institutions closely related to the daily activities of citizens; they offer a Death Benefit of $ 5,000 in the event of a death at work or on the road.

It is useful to note that last year, the Quebec Branch of Federal Retirees raised the matter of Death Benefit in correspondence with Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister of Family, Children and Social Development, with Honorable Bill Morneau, Federal Minister of Finance, and also with Mr. Michel Després, chair of Retraite Québec. 

The Death Benefit provides families with the means to accompany their deceased member with dignity. This topic has often been addressed by the media. Among the more recent articles, I invite you to read Le Devoir, in its January 6, 2017 edition, which published a joint text referring to situations where the deceased persons were not provided with the respect they would have been entitled to. The authors argue that "it is not just a question of how to pay for a service, but a matter of human dignity owed to our dead." Le Devoir «Quand les morts subventionnent les vivants» (article in french) 

On the same subject, La Presse published on January 11, 2017 an article entitled "Funérailles à crédit? "by Mrs. Stéphanie Grammond who underlines, among other things, that “the problem is that this benefit has not been indexed for more than 20 years. More and more families are struggling to pay for funeral expenses, which have risen steadily. " (article in French) 

The Quebec Branch keeps monitoring the developments and will keep you posted. 

If you have any comments on this matter, please write to: 

Our best regards.

Yves Bouchard First Vice-President