History - page 1 of 4
History of the National Association of Federal Retirees
FSNA has a proud history of protecting pensioners’ interests, seeking improvements to their benefits, and participating in the development of social policies for all seniors.
FSNA was established in 1963. The driving force and the leader in establishing this Association was Fred Whitehouse, who retired in 1962 as President of the Civil Service Federation and who was very concerned about the public service pensions.
From his home in Victoria and with the assistance of his wife, Fred began contacting individual retirees and organizations to seek support for a national superannuation organization. At that time there existed only five local but unconnected associations.
FSNA has since grown into a well-managed not-for-profit advocacy organization that is the proud owner of its National Office building in Ottawa and that has more than 160,000 members, as of 2008.
FSNA’s early years
The Founding Convention, in 1963, was attended by little more than 20 people representing some 1,600 members.
In those early years the Association’s approach to advocacy was formed as FSNA representatives made presentations to Prime Minister Lester Pearson and to a number of Cabinet Ministers.
By the time the First National Convention was held three years later, membership had doubled to 3,200 and there were 24 branches across the country.
From the beginning, FSNA pressed for full indexation of pensions and, in 1967, presented a brief to the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons studying pensions. In 1969, the Government passed legislation to increase the pensions of retired civil servants and their dependants.
Bill C-194 provided for annual indexing to a maximum of 2 percent, the same limit that was applied to Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and veterans’ pensions.
The 70’s: a time of growth
The 1970’s can be remembered for the continued growth of the Association and achievement of several objectives.
In January 1974, future pensions were granted full indexing to match the consumer price index and increases of up to almost 11.5 percent were given to those not fully protected against inflation due to the 2 percent limit on indexing.
The age at which pensions became payable without actuarial reduction was lowered to 55 for Public Service (PS), Canadian Forces (CF), and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members with 30 or more years of pensionable service.
At the same time, FSNA gained representation on the Public Service Superannuation Advisory Committee, and started to attend those meetings at which the superannuation benefits of retirees were discussed.
In 1978, after the government announced its intention to replace fully indexed pensions with adjustments determined on a three-year basis, FSNA tackled the demanding job of protecting the existing benefits against those seeking to reduce or eliminate them.