HISTORY OF CURAC/ARUCC
by Ken Rea (revised 21 January, 2007)
I. Background: The CAERA Years
The feasibility of organizing a national association of academic retirees’ associations in Canada was first explored at a meeting held during what were then called the “Learneds” at the University of Calgary in 1994. A task force was established which contacted the presidents of universities and colleges across Canada, asking them to distribute a questionnaire to any known retirees’ groups. The response was apparently encouraging. Although no formal organization was subsequently established, a small secretariat located at the University of Regina was set up to channel information of interest to Canadian retirees’ associations to the CAUT, which offered to publish such information in its Bulletin and which also established a web site for the new “virtual organization” CAERA (Canadian Association of Emeriti and Retired Academics). The understanding was that retirees’ associations affiliated with CAERA would send material to the secretariat in Regina which would pass it through a small editorial committee to CAUT which would then publish it online.
Although subsequent meetings to discuss CAERA were held in conjunction with the “Learneds” (since 1998 “Congress”) at Université du Québec à Montréal, Brock, Memorial and Ottawa universities, it appears that CAERA remained “virtual”, existing in name only. The CAERA website continued to be maintained by CAUT, but was inactive as no postings were made to it.
The University of Alberta Association of Professors Emeriti sponsored another meeting to discuss CAERA in conjunction with Congress 2000 in Edmonton. Following that meeting the Alberta group established an ad hoc committee to consider, among other things, the possibility of establishing a more substantial national association. The committee contacted some seventy Canadian faculty associations, requesting information about retirees’ organizations. It received, one way or another, information about twenty-four such groups which were then contacted directly early in 2001. About ten responses were obtained and the information was combined with that obtained from an earlier survey carried out by Professor Winter (Acadia). Alison Scott-Prelorentzos distributed a report summarizing the data in August, 2001. One proposal emerging from that report was that CAERA should be “reorganized in some tangible way”. It was also suggested that the name might be changed to make it more inclusive, perhaps something like “Canadian Association of University Retirees’ Associations”. Other proposals were that each local association should name a representative to such a body and that a regularly-updated list of such associations and their representatives be posted on a national website.