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Human Resources

Human Resources

Benefits

Pharmacare

September 27, 2021

The Red River College benefits program provides coverage under applicable options for prescribed Drugs that are eligible under the provincial formulary. Eligible prescription drugs are covered until you have reached your Manitoba Pharmacare Deductible amount. When you and your dependents have claimed $750 in drug expenses, Canada Life will request that you apply for your Manitoba Pharmacare Deductible amount.

Manitoba Pharmacare provides 100% coverage for prescription drugs that are eligible under the provincial formulary after you have satisfied your deductible. Pharmacare deductibles are calculated based on your family income and must be requested by Manitoba Health.

How do I apply for my Manitoba Pharmacare deductible amount?

To apply to Manitoba Pharmacare for your deductible amount, complete the Pharmacare Application and Consent Authorization form on the government of Manitoba’s website and forward to the address noted on the form.

There are two Enrolment Options to choose from:

  • Option A One Time Program Enrolment (recommended) – This option only requires you to complete the form one time. Your Deductible amount will be automatically set on April 1st each benefit year and a new letter sent to you.
  • Option B Annual Application – This option requires you to apply each year and your deductible is only set upon processing of your application.

What do I do when I receive my Manitoba Pharmacare deductible amount?

Once you receive your letter from Manitoba Pharmacare you can send a scan or photo of the letter by uploading the document on GroupNet:

  • Log into GroupNet
  • Click “Contact us’ on the left menu bar
  • Under the Topic drop down menu select “Upload documents – general”
  • Click “+ Add Documents” – red button
  • Select the file to upload
  • Scroll down
  • Click “Send Message” – red button

Alternatively, you can email, mail or fax the letter with your plan number and ID number noted clearly on the letter to Canada Life at the following:

Drug Claims Management
Canada Life
P.O. Box 6000
Winnipeg, MB, R3C 3A5

Fax: (204) 946-7664
Email: sdppharmacare@gwl.ca

Should you have any questions about this process, please call Canada Life’s Drug Services’ Pharmacare line at 1-866-238-2891.

Supporting Your Wellness – Student/Youth Mental Health

In addition to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the growing awareness of how social media can impact the spreading of discrimination and harassment, and the complexities of what today’s youth face, we are seeing increased attention and focus on student mental health.

As added attention is given to student mental health, more research is being done to understand and help youth to become more resilient given the social complexities and technological advances of a constantly evolving world. The more we understand that not all families or individuals are alike, the more strategies we are able to create to overcome many of these issues.

What we know about student mental health:

  •  The majority of mental health disorders symptoms appear and may be diagnosed between ages 12 to 25, with 75% of mental health disorders first appearing among those 18 to 24 years old
  • 1 in 5 students in post-secondary school feel depressed and anxious or battling other mental health challenges
  • Mental health disorders represent approximately half of all diagnosed health concerns of young adults in the world (World Health Organization, 2010)
  • Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported emergency department visits by those aged 15 to 24 seeking mental health or substance abuse treatment rose 63% and hospitalizations jumped 67% between 2006 and 2016.

As we begin to understand more about mental health in youth and young adults, it is important to ensure during their key learning and educational years, steps are taken to build strong resiliency and coping strategies.

Support from parents; guardians; and caregivers:

As a key and influential support, there are steps and lessons that can be taken and applied throughout a child’s life to build resiliency:

  • Teach self-care. Being a positive role model for children it is important in building proper self-care tactics. Children often learn self-care strategies from their primary care providers, so if the caregiver isn’t being a good example of self-care, the child often mimics similar behaviours in life. Eating high nutrient foods, exercising regularly, and having a consistent sleep schedule are important to building strong self-care tactics. Be sure the child has time to pursue their own interests and fun activities, be sure they are not overscheduled. It is important for the child to learn the concept of “downtime” for recharging ones energy.
  • Nurture a positive self-view. Fostering positive self-esteem in a child can be a challenge. With so many external factors that contribute to self-esteem, it can be difficult to convince children regardless of their age that they are truly amazing and talented individuals. Helping the child reframe their hardships and helping them understand that current difficulties can help build strength and knowledge to handle challenges ahead are all appropriate steps in creating positive self-view.
  • Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook. Every student faces painful events and disappointment in their life. Receiving a poor grade, losing a friend, moving to a new school, or being bullied, physically, emotionally or online can all contribute to low-self-esteem and hinder an individual’s perspective on their future. Looking at the situation in a broader context and keeping a long-term focus can help the student see that there is a future beyond the current situation, and that future is good. An optimistic and positive outlook enables students to recognize and see the good things in life. This ability to focus on the positive allows them to bounce back from negative events more quickly, and show that life moves on after bad events.

Support in post-secondary years:

Post-secondary student life is thought to be a time of self-discovery, freedom, and new social experiences. However, for some it can be very stressful, difficult to navigate, and an environment that may lead to greater risk of mental health disorders. Here are some options to consider when speaking to your student:

  • Make connections. Encourage students to make friends by getting involved in their community or at school. Often, students leave home for the first time and lose immediate connection to their existing support network of family and friends. It is helpful in the beginning of the student’s post-secondary experience that they seek out opportunities to make connections with other people, so their support network can expand.
  • Maintain a routine. When attending post-secondary schooling, it is easy for a student to get out of routine. It is important that there is some structure in place so the student builds a schedule that ensure they are eating, exercising regularly, attending classes, maintaining their homework and studying, and having adequate time to rest.
  •  Look for opportunities for self-discovery. Post-secondary school is a time when a child becomes a young adult, often learning about themselves through the various adversities and challenges they will face. Help them by taking a look at the common challenges that await and reframe them as positive opportunities to grow and see “what they are made of”, as this can help them build upon their individual self-discovery.
  • Seek help. One of the most important things that a student needs to know is to seek help when needed. Regardless of the support needed, mental health or academic related, it is important to talk through the challenges they are facing in order to overcome them. Speaking about challenges can help the individual process their feelings, bring logic to the situation, and help come up with solutions to overcome the current situation, and prevent it from happening again.

Being a student has always been a challenge. No matter what age the student is, we have to work to create positive environments that foster learning and respect, while helping them to build resiliency so they can face any challenge what may come their way inside and outside of school.

To read the complete article ‘Student Mental Health” as well as access other resources visit the homeweb.ca site provided by your EFAP provider, Homewood Health.

You and your family can access confidential support 24/7 through the Homewood Health EFAP. Your EFAP can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, depression, life change and transitions and relationship concerns to name a few.

Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources, including homeweb.ca.

The EFAP is a professional and confidential service to support you in all aspects of your life. Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.

Is your child attending University or College?

August 26, 2021

If you have eligible unmarried dependent children who are age 22 or over and are full-time students, it is time to reconfirm student status.

To ensure your dependent children continue to receive uninterrupted Health and Dental coverage, be sure to update their student status with Pay & Benefits by e-mailing paybenefits@rrc.ca.

Is my dependent child considered a full-time student?

A child is considered a full-time student if they have registered in an educational institution for 15 hours a week or more sometime in the last 6 months. Your child is no longer deemed an eligible dependent if they are receiving compensation to attend an education institution.

Is my child covered while studying abroad?

Your dependent child will remain on your Health and Dental plan for the duration of their education, or until they reach age 25 as long as the following criteria is met:

  1.  Approval is given by the student’s provincial health plan,
  2. The student meets the definition of eligible dependent as noted in your benefits booklet

For more information on the provincial health plan, visit http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/mhsip/index.html.

Keep in mind, any routine or non-emergency services or expenses such as chiropractic care or prescription drugs incurred out-of-country will be reimbursed at the reasonable and customary amount charged in your province of residence.

If you feel your dependent’s coverage is inadequate and would like to explore additional coverage options, plans purchased in Canada for students abroad can be significantly less expensive than plans available through post-secondary institutions. Red River College employees have access to the HUB Emerge program which provides information and assistance in obtaining individual Health, Dental and Travel coverage. Contact HUB at 1-866-756-3281 or e-mail emerge@hubinternational.com for more information.

Is my child no longer qualifying as an eligible dependent deemed a Life Event?

Yes. Your child ceasing to qualify for coverage is considered an eligible Life Event. If you experience a Life Event you will be eligible to select a new Health & Dental option as long as you contact Human Resource Services within 60 days of the Life Event.

The above is a summary of the provisions of the group plan. In the event of a discrepancy between this benefit and the master contract, the terms of the group contract will apply.

Supporting Your Wellness

In Canada, it is our second September living with the wide-reaching effects of COVID-19. While we continue making strides towards turning a more confident corner against the pandemic through vaccination programs and diligent adherence to safety practices, the path to get to this point has not been easy. There have been confusing and changing pandemic regulations that vary from province to province. Information about various vaccines has also been confusing and problematic from a supply standpoint, not to mention concerns about side effects, and mixing vaccination formulas for second doses. There’s been so much loss: people we care about, life’s moments and milestones, and for many economic and food insecurities. Our summers are short. Spending time outside seemed to be a way to regain some semblance of everyday activities and normalcy.

We’re all exhausted from living this pandemic-altered reality. Unpredictability and uncertainty pile on in a month already full of change. Frankly, we think it’s important to acknowledge that we’re a bit off our collective game, and that’s okay.

Instead of letting overwhelming feelings hold us in their grip, we can name those stressors and look at supports that will help us move beyond them with confidence. Perhaps it starts by anchoring ourselves to what we do know about September. It can engage our senses with a beautiful display of autumn-coloured leaves, nostalgic smells and sounds that jump out at us in the cooler air. When we pause to ground ourselves, it can help us feel like we’re on more familiar ground so that we can move forward again.

Recognizing and managing stress

Stress is a normal part of our lives. It’s a holdover from prehistoric times when humans needed to respond to threats to stay alive. Today’s stressors may not have the same kinds of life-or-death moments encountered by our neanderthal cousins. However, they can still induce the same types of physical and mental responses.

Think about how you might respond to these situations:

  • Your boss just called to ask you to have a report ready today at noon instead of two days from now.
  • Your kids wouldn’t cooperate with getting dressed or eating breakfast today, and you need to be somewhere by the top of the hour.
  • You don’t want to do the dishes alone again this week while your partner has gone to watch a program.

These are stressful situations that are all related to external stimuli. They will cause you to feel pressure at the moment, but once the problems have been resolved, the stress subsides. You are experiencing normal stress. It’s not life-or-death.

But what about when the stress doesn’t go away, and you develop “persistent feeling[s] of apprehension or dread in situations that are not actually threatening?” 1 In this case, you are moving into chronic stress territory. The responses being triggered are something you’ve created through internal dialogue and your reactions may trigger anxiety.

What are some signs of stress and anxiety?

Stress

  • Caused by situations you experience.
  • Can be traced back to an external cause.
  • You use coping tools.
  • After they are resolved, the stress diminishes or disappears.

Anxiety

  •  Caused without an external stressor and linked to your internal dialogue.
  • Typically prolonged and chronic.
  • Left unmanaged can build from being mild, short-term, and manageable to severe disorders that can last for months and “negatively affect mood and functioning.”(2)

Both stress and anxiety

  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble focusing
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Difficulty with digestion.

We must remember that stress is not always bad. Stress is an important reaction that protects you from danger. When experiencing stress, your body releases hormones, adrenaline and cortisol increasing your blood pressure and heart rate providing the energy needed to fight or flee from crisis scenarios.

How has COVID-19 been stressful?

With the pandemic, we’ve all been dealing with isolation and being apart from friends and family. Simultaneously, we’ve been fearful of contracting the virus. Researchers are tracking how the pandemic’s mental stress is translating to increased and prolonged anxiety and depression.

We’ve been grieving our losses. In some cases, people we know have lost their lives directly because of the virus. Others may have indirectly because of delays in treatment or therapy caused by shifts in healthcare resource priorities. It’s been stressful working virtually using video and tele-conference technology which is not the same as being together in the same room.

For those who haven’t been able to work from home, remembering to social distance and remain physically distant makes everyone more cautious and less natural. Similarly, after a year of pandemic-related stay-at-home orders, you might find that your patience and tolerance have diminished with the people with whom you live.

What kinds of long-term changes could we begin to experience because of COVID-19?

The pandemic has shifted how we interact with each other and the types and locations of employment. For example, “the internet and social media have allowed us to reach into each other’s homes” but also learn new skills and develop new hobbies. Cooking, gardening, and improvising because of supply shortages have become commonplace as more people discover their creative side.

Similarly, for those who can work from home, this is a switch that may remain in place. New and additional safety protocols may be implemented for those who work in public settings in order to limit and reduce further community spread of infection. Additionally, with socially distanced and reduced ridership on mass transit, people may be more apt to walk or cycle to work. As a result, the hours where people need to be at work may shift, resulting in “the disappearance of the 9-5 altogether.”

Finally, with stay-at-home orders and a shift in commuting, the climate is getting some greatly needed relief. There have been drops in greenhouse gasses and harmful air contaminants. Similarly, traffic reductions have eliminated pollutants. Wildlife has returned. All of these events point to the prospect of how with a little more conscious decision-making, we can achieve a greener future.

Coping, building resiliency and moving ahead

Some easy ways to reduce stress and anxiety include:

  • Take a self-imposed media break – Sometimes you can be surprised and overcome by unproductive or negative thoughts and viewpoints expressed by social media connections. Recognize when social media and news media are elevating your stress levels and tune out. You may set daily limits or “mute” distressing content to give yourself a break.
  • Get outside and keep moving – Exercise is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and find good well-being.
  • Get enough rest – Never underestimate the power of a regular sleep cycle. Sleep hygiene plays an integral part in “cleaning the brain,” which can help alleviate brain fog symptoms and may help protect against neurocognitive decline.
  • Get help – Seek professional supports through various resources and services, including your Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP).

To read the complete article ‘Surviving Another September’ as well as access other resources in the “Surviving Another September” serries, visit the homeweb.ca site provided by your EFAP provider, Homewood Health. In addition, you also access the webinar for Post-Secondary Educators called Reducing Anxiety & Managing the Transition Back to Class.

You and your family can access confidential support 24/7 through the Homewood Health EFAP. Your EFAP can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, depression, life change and transitions and relationship concerns to name a few.

Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources, including homeweb.ca.

The EFAP is a professional and confidential service to support you in all aspects of your life. Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.

Life Events

August 6, 2021

Once you elect a Health & Dental option, you are locked in to that option until the next re-enrolment period which occurs every two years (next re-enrolment is scheduled for January 1, 2023). The only exception is if you experience a Life Event.

What is a Life Event?

A Life Event is:

  • Adding a dependent through marriage, common-law relationship, or birth/adoption of a child
  • Losing a dependent through death, divorce, or a child losing their eligibility as a dependent under your plan
  • Your spouse loses/gains coverage through their own employer’s group plan

Who is considered a spouse?

An eligible spouse includes your legal spouse, common-law spouse or former spouse. Keep in mind that you can only insure one spouse at a time.

Who is considered a dependent child?

An eligible dependent child includes you or your spouses unmarried and financially dependent natural, adopted, or step child or any other unmarried financially dependent child for whom you or your spouse has been appointed guardian and who meets at least one of the following conditions:

  1. Is under 22 years of age,
  2. Is under 25 years of age and attends an educational institution on a full-time basis, or became totally and permanently incapacitated for a continuous period while still considered to be a dependent under points 1 or 2 above.

A more detailed definition of dependent is provided in the Flex Benefits Booklet.

What do I do if I experience a Life Event?

If you experience a Life Event you will be eligible to select a new Health & Dental option as long as you contact Human Resource Services within 60 days of the Life Event. If a Life Event is not reported within 60 days you will not be eligible to change your Health & Dental option and your next opportunity will be during the next re-enrolment.

Should I report a Life Event if I missed the deadline?

Yes. You should report all changes that may impact your benefits plan to Human Resource Services including changes in dependents, changes in coordination of benefits information, changes in contact information, etc.
The above is a summary of the provisions of the group plan. In the event of a discrepancy between this benefit and the master contract, the terms of the group contract will apply.

Supporting Your Wellness

It is not news that regular movement, or exercise, has numerous health benefits. Regular exercise can reduce stress, strengthen the heart and lungs, improve energy levels, reduce the risk of some cancers, increase longevity, and improve your outlook on life. In short, exercise keeps you healthy, and makes you feel better.

Do something you enjoy. Fitness involves integrating physical activity into every day life by doing something you enjoy. It does not need to be about running a marathon or spending hours at a gym. You can choose sports, exercise equipment, walking, running, aerobics, weight lifting, dancing, yoga, and much more. The best thing is to do some combination of activities.

Don’t work out too hard too fast. You don’t want to end up sore and discouraged. Remember that everyone has different levels of physical fitness. Don’t compete with someone else or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Instead, challenge yourself to do better. If you start walking 15 minutes a day, add more time until you are up to 30 minutes. Then work on walking farther in that 30 minute time period.

Schedule your exercise times. It’s best to schedule your exercise times on your calendar as if they were important appointments. This way you will be able to balance your exercise program with family, work, and social activities. If possible, schedule your workouts in the morning – you get it done and out of the way and feel energized all day.

A little is better than nothing. If you feel like skipping a workout, do some kind of physical activity for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and you may feel like doing more once you’ve started. If you are feeling bored with your routine, try doing something new and different such as a Pilates class. Local recreation centres often offer a variety of classes that will help you improve your fitness.

To read the complete article ‘Improving Your Physical Fitness’ or find additional resources, visit the homeweb.ca site provided by your EFAP provider, Homewood Health.

You and your family can access confidential support 24/7 through the Homewood Health EFAP. Your EFAP can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, depression, life change and transitions and relationship concerns to name a few.

Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources, including homeweb.ca.

The EFAP is a professional and confidential service to support you in all aspects of your life. Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.

GroupNet for Plan Members & Digital Benefits Card

June 30, 2021

GroupNet gives you access to your benefits information and many user-friendly features conveniently on a mobile friendly platform available on any device!

GroupNet Features

Once you have registered for GroupNet you can:

  • Access your plan details
  • Access your Digital Benefits Card
  • View benefit balances
  • Access claim forms
  • Access your benefits booklet
  • Submit eligible claims
  • Access Canada Life’s Health & Wellness site
  • View your claim status, claim history and Explanation of Benefits (EOB)
  • Sign up for direct deposit to receive benefit payments faster
  • Search for eligible drugs or locate your nearest provider with Provider eClaims

How do I register GroupNet?

To register for GroupNet you will need:
1. Your Plan Number
2. Your Member ID

Registering only takes a few minutes. To register:

If you need help registering, click on the Need help registering link at the top of the registration screen.

Digital Benefits Card

Through GroupNet you can access your digital benefits card. Follow these steps to view, save and print your card online:

You can also view and save your card to your mobile device through the GroupNew mobile app.

Provider eClaims

Provider eClaims offers point of sale claim submission at approved providers, including chiropractors, physiotherapists and opticians who have registered. You can find out if your provider is registered by checking the provider listing on GroupNet.

Online Claim Submission

You can submit many of your claims online for faster processing and payment! Online claim submission is available for covered health care services such as prescription drugs, dental, vision and paramedical services.

At times, Canada Life may require a paper claim form and/or an invoice or receipt for certain claims, including medical services and supplies. Canada Life will notify you if a paper claim is required. If you are unsure, you can contact Canada Life at 1-800-957-9777 to determine whether your claim can be submitted online. If you need a paper claim form, they are available on GroupNet for Plan Members.

The above is a summary of the provisions of the group plan. In the event of a discrepancy between this benefit and the master contract, the terms of the group contract will apply.

Supporting Your Wellness

Many of us lead busy lives with numerous work and family commitments. Sometimes these commitments leave us feeling tired or anxious, and we can easily go long periods without relaxing. This is especially true as the pandemic continues to impact our lives. However, relaxation is perhaps the single most important key to health and well-being. It is vital to combating stress, which is known to contribute to the development of various diseases. Many mental health professionals suggest we take at least ten minutes a day to wind down. Taking this small amount of time for ourselves can reduce potential mental health problems, memory failure, or various physical ailments.

The benefits of relaxation are well documented, including:

  • Energy restoration. We often neglect the fact that we regularly push ourselves to the maximum. In order to keep generating more energy, we need to let our bodies rest. Relaxing allows our batteries to recharge and generate more energy that we can then devote to our activities.
  • Bodily repair. Our bodies are designed to repair themselves from the daily wear and tear we impose on them, and this mostly happens while we relax. By taking time to relax, we allow our bodies the opportunity to focus on healing.
  • Increased mental focus. Just as we push our bodies, we also tend to push our minds past their limits. Intense thinking can be just as draining as physical exertion. When we set aside time to relax, we quiet our thoughts and let our minds rest. This can often be more restorative than the physical aspects of relaxation.
  • Mood improvement. Relaxation can help us feel happier. Just the act of resting relieves stress and allows us to feel content. We can even take a more proactive role in improving our mood during periods of rest and enhance the effect. For instance, relaxation techniques such as visualizing a pleasant memory contribute a great deal to improving our mood.

Unfortunately, sometimes we are not able to relax. Maybe we don’t know how, cannot afford the time, or perhaps we find that our minds wander. Relaxing can be difficult, especially if we’re really busy.

We don’t necessarily need to relax in solitude, or solely when we’re at home. In fact, taking a few moments to relax while at work has been known to increase productivity and decrease restlessness. If you find that while at work or home you regularly feel stressed, tense, or anxious, try partaking in the simple activities listed below.

  • Clean your workspace. Clear your desk and virtual desktop, often. A cluttered desk will distract you, as each item is something you have to think about when you look at it. Keep a clear desk and your mind will follow suit.
  • Remember to breathe. Take even just two minutes to practice deep breathing – it shouldn’t be confined to meditation. Try to focus, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.Practicing deep breathing exercises often will train your body to take full breaths. This can be helpful to reduce your workday stress, going forward.
  • Exercise. Virtually any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever and relax you. Post-workout, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. You may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism from a workout, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
  • Meditate. Find time to meditate for 10 or 15 minutes each day. Meditation helps you control the flow of thoughts and will help you quell your worries and anxieties. Guided meditation is an easy introduction for those who have never meditated.
  • Read. ‘Relaxation reading’ is a great way to unwind. Lose yourself in the pages of the written word and stay away from reading anything work-related. The benefits of relaxation reading should not be underestimated, and the expression ‘curling up with a good book’ epitomizes the escapism that relaxation reading can provide.

Relaxation is extremely important. In general, it may seem counterproductive to set aside time to relax in the midst of a busy schedule. However, doing so either at work or at home can actually help us increase our productivity, accomplish more in less time, and feel happier overall.

To read the complete article ‘The Importance of Relaxation’ or find additional resources, visit the homeweb.ca site provided by your EFAP provider, Homewood Health.

You and your family can access confidential support 24/7 through the Homewood Health EFAP. Your EFAP can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, depression, life change and transitions and relationship concerns to name a few.

Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources, including homeweb.ca.

The EFAP is a professional and confidential service to support you in all aspects of your life. Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.

Beneficiary Designation

May 25, 2021

At least once a year, it is important to review your beneficiary to ensure it reflects your current situation. Careful planning and consideration should be taken to ensure proceeds reach the intended hands. If you have recently experienced a Life Event or a change in family situation, it may be a good time to review your beneficiary(ies).

What is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is:

  • The person, people or entity named on the insurance policy who will receive any proceeds from life insurance benefit(s).
  • For example, you may want to name your spouse or child as the beneficiary to receive proceeds in the event of your death.

Why should I designate a Beneficiary(ies)?

Life insurance proceeds are not taxable provided the named beneficiary is a person, and not the ‘Estate’. If you do not name a beneficiary, Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefits will be paid to your estate, may be subject to estate taxes and may be vulnerable to claims from creditors. You should discuss the tax implications with your personal financial advisor.

How do I change my eligible dependents and/or Beneficiary(ies)?

Complete a new Beneficiary Signature form which can be accessed at:

http://media.wix.com/ugd/a8e4c9_3565f8be674b443bbec09c1142d142e6.pdf

An original of the form is required, however, in the meantime you can scan the filled-out form(s) to humanresources@rrc.ca and mail the original(s) to:

Red River College

C409 – 2055 Notre Dame Avenue

Winnipeg, MB R3H 0J9

For further information or assistance, please contact your Pay & Benefits Specialist https://www.rrc.ca/hr/contact/.

When can I change my Beneficiary(ies)?

Changes in life circumstances, including marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child, are often good times to assess beneficiary changes. However, you may change your beneficiary at any time.

What is a Primary and Contingent Beneficiary?

  •  A primary beneficiary is the person or entity that first receives the proceeds of your account upon your death.
  • The contingent (secondary) beneficiary is your second choice to receive the benefit, only if the primary beneficiary dies before you.

Can I name a trust or a child as a beneficiary?

Yes. Children and trusts are eligible to be named as beneficiaries. When establishing a beneficiary, you will identify the beneficiary type and can select child or trust.

In most provinces, insurance proceeds cannot be paid directly to children under the age of 18. You can appoint a Trustee to receive the insurance proceeds “In Trust” for minor children to avoid delays if the court has to appoint a legal guardian or pay out to the Public Trustee.

The above is a summary of the provisions of the group plan. In the event of a discrepancy between this benefit and the master contract, the terms of the group contract will apply.

Supporting Your Wellness

Over a year into the pandemic, children and youth’s lives have been transformed in ways that we never thought possible. All of the worry and stress around social distancing, masking and hand-washing may be diminishing because it’s become part of a new routine. Still, other aspects have had a psychological and emotional impact.

Living with a stay-at-home order has meant that routines and social interactions have mainly been thrown out the window as parents try to cope and comply with frequent changes to procedures. School attendance may be “on” for children and high schoolers unless there is a lockdown or public health order not to attend.

Setting up remote learning at home has been particularly challenging in some cases. It’s unfamiliar, and many people in the same household may be competing for the same resources to complete their learning. Even though post-secondary studies have been almost exclusively online, similar challenges exist. In every case, and despite the best efforts put forth by educators, students of all ages are experiencing online learning fatigue.

There is also a tremendous sense of loss. Children and youth have missed being able to hang out and socialize with friends. Older youth and young adults may have experienced job losses or conversely moved into roles as frontline workers, assuming some measure of risk working in public capacities and being exposed to COVID-19 infection. There are still questions about missed events such as prom, graduation, and convocation ceremonies that seem likely not ever to occur for those who experienced the grinding halt early on.

Where can you look for help and support?

Recognizing early signs of mental health struggles in children and youth is an essential first step. Remember that these can be both emotional and physical, but it’s the prolonged presence and intensity that should trigger involvement from a doctor or mental health care professional.

Here are a few commons signs that may warrant further discussion:

  • Withdrawal and difficulty relating to family and friends
  • Difficulties in school (inability to focus, concentrate, or plan, maintain work volumes, low grades, problems with punctuality and performance)
  • Excessive fatigue or not being able to sleep
  • Lack of interest in eating, personal care and hygiene
  • Complaints of stomach-aches, headaches or other physical discomforts

To help, parents can create a sense of security by having age-appropriate, honest and open discussions that either you initiate or your child or your youth begins, this includes:

  • Offer reassurance and show respect by listening to understand. For example, if a conversation leans towards current events, first get a sense of their views and what they know.
  • Don’t over-explain.
  • Fill in the blanks as needed.
  • Seek their opinion and critical thinking and try not to overshadow what they share with your own beliefs.
  • Parents can also recommend positive and highly credible online resources such as Kid’s Help Phone, YMHC (Youth Mental health Canada). Children and youth can have discussions with anonymity and leverage online mental health supports.

Here are some other ideas for being supportive:

  • Model healthy unconditional expressions of love and ensure that boundaries for behaviour expectations and household contributions have been established and are met to build discipline, life skills and confidence, with an eye toward eventual independence.
  • Ensure healthy nutrition and regular eating habits with food that supports brain and body development. Avoid body shaming. Appreciate sensitivities to changes happening as they grow and develop.
  • Discuss optimal sleep habits and the need to disconnect. Consider a requirement to leave devices outside of bedrooms and sleeping areas. You may also be able to place connectivity restrictions on WIFI for certain times of the day or even specific devices.
  • Model regular physical activity and encourage play and participation.
  • Seek professional help when you notice behaviour changes or shifts. Don’t shy away from arranging counselling and therapy. Maintain involvement but be respectful of older youth’s need for privacy.
  • Use emotional intelligence to avoid conflict. Recognize when you need to de-escalate a situation and give them at least 20 minutes to reset and stress hormones to dissipate.
  • Approach relationships with an open mind and seek information so that you are better informed. Let your child or youth guide discussion or explain things. Ask questions. You don’t need and won’t have all of the answers, and that’s okay.

To read the complete article Children and Youth Mental Health or find additional resources, visit the homeweb.ca site provided by your EFAP provider, Homewood Health.

You and your family can access confidential support 24/7 through the Homewood Health EFAP. Your EFAP can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, depression, life change and transitions and relationship concerns to name a few

Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources, including homeweb.ca.

The EFAP is a professional and confidential service to support you in all aspects of your life. Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.

Paramedical Coverage

May 5, 2021

The Red River College benefits program provides coverage under applicable options for a variety of Paramedical Practitioners to support your health and wellness. Reimbursement of Paramedical expenses is based on your benefit option selected with consideration of the reasonable and customary limits.

What is a Paramedical Practitioner?

The term Paramedical is used to describe medical professional practitioners including:

✓ Audiologist                                                                           ✓ Osteopath
✓ Athletic Therapist                                                               ✓ Physiotherapist
✓ Chiropractor                                                                        ✓ Podiatrist/Chiropodist
✓ Dietician                                                                               ✓ Psychologist/Social Worker
✓ Massage Therapist                                                              ✓ Speech Therapist
✓ Naturopath

In order for your paramedical expense to be considered eligible under the group benefits plan, your paramedical practitioner must be licensed by the appropriate provincial or federal organization (as applicable).

Virtual Health Care During COVID-19

We wanted to remind you, as we continue to practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, virtual health care is available. Canada Life will accept receipts for virtual appointments from the following paramedical practitioners:

✓ Dietitian                                                                               ✓ Psychologist/Social Worker
✓ Naturopath                                                                          ✓ Speech therapist
✓ Physiotherapist

These are all subject to your benefit option selected and usual reasonable and customary limits. Please make sure to get proof of payment and submit these claims to Canada Life like any other claim.

Reasonable & Customary

Reimbursement of Health Care expenses, including coverage for paramedical practitioners, is subject to maximum amounts applicable to each benefit and considers reasonable and customary charges.

Reasonable – Treatment is considered reasonable if it is accepted by the Canadian medical profession, proven to be effective, and is of a form, intensity, frequency and duration essential to diagnosis or management of the disease or injury.

Customary – Customary charges are the lowest of:

  •  Representative prices in the area where the treatment was provided,
  •  Prices shown in any applicable professional association or fee guide, and
  • Maximum prices established by law

Paramedical expenses may also be eligible under your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA), if applicable. The Income Tax Act governs the type of expenses that can be reimbursed under the HCSA. As the list of eligible medical expenses and authorized medical practitioners by province is subject to change, visit www.cra-arc.gc.ca and search medical expenses for a complete list.

The above is a summary of the provisions of the group plan. In the event of a discrepancy between this benefit and the master contract, the terms of the group contract will apply.

Supporting Your Wellness

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the variant cases increases, the need to continue to practice physical distancing in addition to lockdown protocols restricting in-person interactions remains. While these measures help keep our communities, families and workplaces safe, they bring with it challenges such as a loss of routines, isolation fatigue and loneliness. Between these challenges, mitigating a third wave and new restrictions, it is even more critical for us to practice self-care strategies and find ways to stay connected with loved ones.

Isolation

Whether you’re in quarantine because you have contracted the virus or isolating to do your part in slowing the spread of COVID-19, being confined to your home with a decrease in social interactions can take a toll on your mental health. Some tactics to try include:

  • Create a daily routine. Keeping up with a routine will give you structure for your day.
  • Stay informed. Limit your media intake to reputable sources.
  • Stay active. Go for a walk or a bike ride, while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Keep in touch. Call or video chat with your friends and family.
  • Find a healthy distraction. Learn a new hobby or practice a skill you’ve been neglecting.

Loneliness

Everyone will experience loneliness differently; it is a personal experience. Some may not experience it at all but others may experience extreme feelings of loneliness. It is important to remember that you are not the only one feeling this way.

  • Try meditation or journaling to reflect on how you’re feeling each day. The feeling of loneliness may seem never-ending, so it’s important to stay connected to yourself and know your feelings are valid.
  • Ensure you stay connected with your professional and personal networks. With the technological possibilities nowadays, there are many ways to stay in touch with people, regardless of where they are.
  • Set up a weekly online video call. Playing virtual card or board games with friends or having a virtual family dinner can help you feel connected to your support system.

Self-Care

When what we have known as the “norm” is no longer relevant and there are so many drastic changes, it is important that we care for our mental health. One of the many ways to do so, is through self-care. There is so much information out there about what the “ideal” self-care routine looks like, but it is important to do what makes you feel good and fulfilled, as everyone’s self-care routine will look a bit different.

To help get you started, some very basic self-care tips include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising
  • Limiting your screen time
  • Spending some time outside

In addition to self-care, it is important to also practice self-compassion. Don’t resist your feelings of isolation or loneliness, but instead “find ways to be accepting of them as coming and going.”

Your EFAP provider, Homewood Health, has additional resources and articles relating to mental health, self-care and COVID-19 through the homeweb.ca site including a one hour webinar COVID-19: Loneliness & Isolation Fatigue – Self-Care Strategies that you can watch here.

You can access confidential support 24/7 through the Homewood Health EFAP. Your EFAP can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, depression, life change and transitions and relationship concerns to name a few

Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources, including homeweb.ca.

The EFAP is a professional and confidential service to support you in all aspects of your life. Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.

Returning to Campus After a COVID-19 Restriction

April 1, 2021

As the Code Red restriction start to ease up and we look to return to the campus, it is normal to feel anxiety about returning. In fact, a KPMG poll revealed that 54% of Canadians feel anxiety about returning to the office.

Going back to work on-site can stir up a range of emotions, from relief and excitement to stress and anxiety. Prioritizing your mental well-being can help you feel more at ease when returning to work, in addition to following health guidelines.

For many employees, the idea of returning to work can cause anxiety. For some, it’s the idea of being in the building itself and using common kitchen areas, crowded elevators or attending face-to-face meetings. For others, the idea of commuting or getting lunch at a nearby deli might be cause for worry.

If you’re feeling nervous about returning to work, here are some steps you can take to help manage this anxiety:

Prepare with your family

Returning to work will have an impact on everyone in your household. Perhaps you’ve got pets who have been used to having you around all the time – especially if you brought home a four-legged family member during lockdown. You might also have children who have become used to you working from home. Having open and honest conversations can help reduce the fear of the unknown and can help you navigate this shift in your routine together.

Ask your employer what the return-to-work policy looks like

Studies have shown fear of the unknown can significantly compound anxiety. Being worried about the uncertain, known as anticipatory anxiety, can leave you feeling overwhelmed and powerless. To remove some of this uncertainty, speak to your boss about what a return to work will look like.

  • You might want to ask:
  • Will all employees be returning or will we be taking a phased approach?
  • How many employees will be returning at once?
  • Have any physical changes been made to the working environment?
  • How will measures such as face covering and social distancing be enforced? Are any other workplace safety measures in place?
  • Will you be providing any PPE equipment, such as masks?

Talk to your coworkers about going back to work

You might want to exchange thoughts on how you’re coping and share strategies for things like commuting, or how to keep a safe distance in the office. Whether it’s during a scheduled check in or a casual conversation, sharing these experiences can help relieve some stress while also having the chance to learn and to support others.

Take time to adapt

Just as going into lockdown and the months that followed were a period of adjustment, going back to work may take some getting used to. Take it day by day, expect that straightforward tasks might take a little longer and don’t become angry with yourself or frustrated if things don’t feel ‘normal’ right away

Manage non-COVID anxiety, too

Worries about COVID aside, you may feel a general sense of worry about going back to work after such an extended break.

You may be working for the first time alongside new colleagues who joined during the work-from-home era, or you could also return to find former coworkers have been laid off or moved on. You may have become used to working on your own and now worry about interacting in larger groups.

Perhaps some renovation or building work during the shutdown makes the physical workplace look and feel different from how you remember.

People cope with change in a number of ways. Try figuring out which coping method you tend to use so you can look up some resources that can help you adjust to life in the new work environment.

Finally, remember:

  • Only listen to information from sources you trust. Communicate openly with management about things like the return-to-work policy or changes that might take place as the pandemic continues. Try to avoid water-cooler gossip or rumours that could add to anticipatory anxiety.
  • Manage your expectations. The experience you think you’ll have when you return to work could look quite different to reality. You won’t be able to envision what your new routine will look like until it happens. Expect that the first couple of weeks will be more stressful and that things will get easier. Whether you need extra time to deal with an emotional response or to adjust to things like changes in surroundings, give yourself time and space to manage expectations.
  • Celebrate the little things. For many of us, returning to work after COVID will be a milestone. Celebrating little things along the way such as the first day or first week, a piece of work you’ve delivered or simply making it through your commute can help raise your confidence and boost morale within your team.

Supporting Your Wellness

Our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Homewood Health, created a webinar for Post-Secondary Educators called Reducing Anxiety & Managing the Transition Back to Class.

Presented by Dr. Sandra Primiano, Ph.D., Psy.D, this 1 hour webinar will explore strategies for navigating the changes educators face with greater ease, while providing tips and tools to support your psychological well-being during these uncertain times. Click here to view the webinar.

You can access confidential support 24/7 through the Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). Your EFAP can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, life change and transitions, relationship concerns, and nutritional counselling to name a few

Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources, including homeweb.ca where you can find tips on how to improve your mental health hygiene.

The EFAP is a professional and confidential service to support you in all aspects of your life. Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.

Pre-Authorizations

February 26, 2021

Dental

If the total cost of a course of dental treatment is expected to exceed $500, it is suggested that a treatment plan be submitted to Canada Life prior to commencement of treatment. Canada Life will review the treatment plan and determine the amount of eligible expenses. Ask your dentist to submit a treatment plan (also referred to as a pre-determination) to Canada Life to determine your coverage amount. A dental pre-determination of benefits is only valid for 90 days.

Medical Services and Supplies

The Red River College benefits plan includes coverage for certain medical services and supplies provided they are considered reasonable and customary.

Treatment is considered reasonable if it is accepted by the Canadian medical profession, it is proven to be affective, and it is of a form, intensity, frequency and duration essential to diagnosis or management of the disease or injury.

Flex Options 2, 4 and 5 include coverage for other medical services and supplies subject to the applicable coinsurance, internal maximums and reasonable and customary charges.

What is covered under medical services and supplies?

Covered medical services and supplies are described in your Canada Life benefits booklet and include expenses such as:
• Cardiac Rehabilitation
• Medical Appliances – wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen equipment, crutches, etc.
• Prosthetic and Remedial Equipment

If you have questions about whether a particular service or supply is covered, you can review the details in your benefits booklet or contact Canada Life for further details.

Are CPAP machines and supplies covered?

The Canada Life group benefits plan will provide Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine coverage for the $500 copay amount required by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) in Manitoba. The plan also covers other eligible accessories and replacement supplies. To be eligible for coverage, you must first apply for the CPAP machine through the WRHA. The initial copayment will include the new CPAP machine and the following supplies:

• Interface (nasal, full-face or direct)
• Filters for your equipment
• Tubing

For more information regarding these types of claims and what documentation is required when submitting a claim, please contact Canada Life for further details.

The above is a summary of the provisions of the group plan. In the event of a discrepancy between this benefit and the master contract, the terms of the group contract will apply.

Supporting Your Wellness

February is Heart and Stroke month in Canada. Did you know cardiovascular disease or heart disease is the number one killer in Canada? It is also largely preventable by following these healthy tips:

Get plenty of exercise. Physical activity can literally be a lifesaver. Just 30 to 60 minutes a day, most days of the week will dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular activity also helps prevent and control risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.

Follow a good diet. Nutritious, balanced meals and healthy snacks may reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by helping you increase your intake of heart-healthy nutrients, manage your weight, keep your blood pressure down, control your blood sugar levels, and lower your cholesterol. A good way to start is to aim to include items from the four food groups: whole-grain products, vegetables and fruit, lower-fat milk products, and lower-fat meats and alternatives.

Keep your heart clean and drug free. The human heart’s job is to pump nutrient-rich blood throughout your body. If you smoke, take drugs inappropriately, or drink alcohol excessively, you are giving your heart extra work. Smoking doubles the risk of having a heart attack. The sooner you quit, the sooner your risk will start to decline. Illegal drugs and even prescribed medications taken inappropriately can affect your heart and be potentially fatal. Drinking alcohol in moderation may not pose a risk, but excessive drinking does pose a serious hazard to your heart. While alcohol flows in your blood stream, the nutrient-rich blood is less able to nourish the heart.

Reduce your stress. The relationship between stress and heart disease isn’t completely clear, but some people with high levels of stress or prolonged stress may have higher blood cholesterol, increased blood pressure, or be more prone to developing atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). If your life is full of stress, it can be hard to lead a healthy lifestyle. Some stress busters, in addition to being physically active and eating well, include identifying the source of your stress, taking time for yourself, making time to laugh, taking time off, and sharing your feelings.

To find more tips and resources such as the above, visit homeweb.ca. Provided by your EFAP provider, Homewood Health, homeweb.ca has a number of resources relating to mental health, the holiday season and the impact of COVID-19.

If you or someone you know are experiencing extended periods of loneliness and isolation, you can seek help through the EFAP. Please note, the EFAP is a professional, confidential, and proactive service to support you in all aspects of your life.
It can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, life change and transitions, relationship concerns, etc. Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources.

Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.

Health Care Spending Account & Claim Submission Requirements

January 27, 2021

Upcoming Submission Deadline!

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that if you have claims from the 2020 benefit year that you have not yet claimed against your HCSA balance, there is a 90 day claims run-off period to submit these claims.

When is the deadline?

2020 claims must be received by Canada Life prior to March 31st, 2021 to be claimed against your 2020 HCSA dollars. Any unused 2020 benefit dollars remaining after this period will be forfeited.

What are covered expenses?

The HCSA can be used to cover a range of benefits not normally covered under other types of group benefits plans or by provincial medical plans.

You are covered for 100% of eligible expenses that you incur while you and your dependents are covered, up to the total amount of dollars in your HCSA.

The Income Tax Act governs the types of expenses that can be reimbursed under the HCSA. This includes medical or dental services provided by a:

Licensed medical practitioner;
Dentist; or
Public or licensed private hospital.

Please visit www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency and search on medical expenses for a complete list.

When does my HCSA refresh?

Your HCSA refreshed effective January 1, 2021 based on the Flex Option you have chosen and part-time/full-time status where applicable. Please visit www.canadalife.com to review your claims history and obtain your HCSA statement including balance.

What happens if I have excess claims from 2020?

Under the HCSA, you can carry forward claims up to 12 months from the date of service. This means if you had more 2020 expenses than you had 2020 HCSA dollars, you can carry forward those claims for reimbursement against your 2021 HCSA balance.

The above is a summary of the provisions of the group plan. In the event of a discrepancy between this benefit and the master contract, the terms of the group contract will apply.

Supporting Your Wellness

Whether you’re motivated to start exercising, quit smoking or get promoted at work, setting goals and making resolutions can be an exciting – and sometimes daunting – prospect.

Your hopes should inspire and motivate, not evoke shame and create a fear of failure. Change and the resolve to alter or stop deeply ingrained habits can be really difficult. One way to approach difficult changes is to set goals instead of making resolutions. Why?

Fluid, realistic and attainable steps. A goal can be broken down into manageable steps, big or small, according to your feelings, and your ability to respond to challenge.
• That celebration of accomplishment. Each step you achieve serves as a win and a very effective motivator to keep going.
• Perception. A goal feels looser, more forgiving and feasible when compared to a hard and fast resolution, helping you to stay positive on your journey.
• Scope and practice. You create, break down and reach realistic goals every day, without realizing it, the process of establishing, planning and executing your new year’s goals is a process you’re a pro at already – and therefore more likely to succeed.

Whether you make goals or stick to traditional new year’s resolutions these tips will increase your odds for success:

• Think of what you’re adding, not taking away. Re-frame or reposition your thoughts, instead of “stop skipping the gym” change to “go to yoga”, or “cut the junk food” to “eat healthy”, this will allow you to feel less deprived and more inspired.
• Write them down so you can see them. Writing down your resolutions makes them tangible, visible things in your world. Displaying your hopes someplace you’ll see them often keeps them at the forefront of your mind and your intentions.
• Ask for help. When you need extra support, reach out to family, friends, local groups, or even professional coaches and/or counsellors.
• De-construct the big ones. Break down extra challenging goals (i.e.: “get fit”) into smaller steps you can tackle with confidence (i.e.: do 20 minutes on the treadmill, daily) so you have a firm plan to follow.
• Try, try again. If your resolution was to call mom weekly and you haven’t, don’t beat yourself up about it… just pick up the phone and start your new ritual again.
Set the stage for success. Create an environment that encourages, not undermines. If you’ve decided to run everyday, lay out your sneakers the night before.
• Reward yourself. Celebrate your small wins, as well as the big ones to add some fun and incentive to your process.

To find more tips and resources such as the above, visit homeweb.ca. Provided by your EFAP provider, Homewood Health, homeweb.ca has a number of resources relating to mental health, the holiday season and the impact of COVID-19.

If you or someone you know are experiencing extended periods of loneliness and isolation, you can seek help through the EFAP. Please note, the EFAP is a professional, confidential, and proactive service to support you in all aspects of your life.

It can help with a variety of situations such as stress, anxiety, life change and transitions, relationship concerns, etc. Your full suite of EFAP services includes counselling, Life Smart Coaching and Online resources.

Click here to review the Homewood Health EFAP resources available to you and to get contact information.