CSANews 114

President’s Message Karen Huestis CSA President B ill and I would like to welcome all of you home to Canada. During these challenging times, it is essential to have a resource which you can trust. As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves, the Canadian Snowbird Association will continue to provide you with the most current, up-to-date and accurate information available. We will continue to do this through our electronic member advisories, CSANews and our website at www.snowbirds.org . Despite the Ontario government’s mandatory closure of non-essential services in the prov- ince, the CSA office in Toronto continues to operate remotely. During this time, CSA staff remain available to members by phone and e-mail and will continue to provide answers to your questions. As policies change, the association will con- tinue to work with government officials and agencies in Canada and the United States to ensure that your voice is heard and that your interests continue to be represented. As the current situation develops, we will continue to advocate on your behalf and to provide you with the critical information and services that you rely on, as we have for more than 25 years. On February 21, 2020, the province of Alberta announced that it will no longer cover elective, non-emergency health services performed out of the country. The change took effect on April 1, 2020. Although that coverage has now been eliminated, I am happy to report that Alberta will continue to partially cover emergency out-of-country health services. Alberta has seen the level of anger gener- ated among snowbirds by the elimination of out-of-country insurance in Ontario and has chosen a different path. According to a release put out by the Alberta Ministry of Health, “There will be no change for emergency health services. Unlike the recent change in Ontario, Albertans will continue to be partially reimbursed for insured emergency health services needed when travelling out- side of Canada.” On behalf of the Canadian Snowbird Association, I would like to thank Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro for listening to the concerns of our members andmaintaining this important access to out-of-country emergency health- care funding. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, Bill and I began our annual winter tour at the Snowbird Extravaganza in Lakeland, Florida. After Lakeland, we headed to Pharr, Texas for the Winter Texans’ Snowbird Extravaganza, followed by the Canadian Snowbird Celebration in Mesa, Arizona. We then embarked upon our Winter Information Meeting tour. This year, we kicked things off for the first time in Sun City West, Arizona, before visiting our friends in both Indio and Winterhaven, California. We then headed back to Florida with stops in Immokalee, Bradenton, Clearwater and Port Charlotte. Once again, on behalf of your Board of Directors, I would like to thank all of the volunteers and all those who attended any of our shows; there is absolutely no way we could continue to do this without all of your participation. Thanks also to our partners at Medipac for all of the logistical support which they provide in bringing you these great events. CSA staff are working hard in finalizing the 2020 membership renewal campaign. Although a little more challenging than in years past, I’mhappy to report that we remain right on schedule. Included in our first mailing will be the most recent version of IRS Form 8840, the Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens. Any Canadian snowbird who typically spends four months or longer in the United States every calendar year needs to file this formwith the IRS, in order to be treated as a non-resident for tax purposes. One form needs to be filed per person and forms should be filed by the deadline of June 15, 2020. If you have any questions related to the filing of Form 8840, please do not hesitate to contact our office toll-free at 1-800-265- 3200, or by e-mail at csastaff@snowbirds.org . It would have been hard to imagine when we left for our winter destinations that we would be coming home to a situation such as this. Now that we are home, it is important that we continue to listen to the directives of our public health officials so that we remain safe. Although our shared border with the United States is currently closed, it will reopen and we will return to our winter homes. Again, if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us…we are here to help you. 10 | www. snowbirds .org

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy MzMzNzMx