CSANews 116

Publication mail agreement no: 40063603 OFFICIAL NEWS MAGAZINE OF THE CANADIAN SNOWBIRD ASSOCIATION | FALL 2020 | ISSUE 116 IN THIS ISSUE TRAVEL Stay safe FINANCE Survival strategies HEALTH All about vaccines

Snowbirds have unique needs that we understand. Protect your home and auto with an insurance plan designed for your lifestyle. We’ll be with you all year long. Call us for a quote today 1-800.267.8000 Heading South this Winter? Endorsedby theCanadianSnowbirdAssociation. UnderwrittenbyRoyal&SunAlliance InsuranceCo. RSA isa registered tradenameofRoyal&SunAlliance InsuranceCompanyofCanada. “RSA”and theRSA logoare trademarksusedunder licence fromRSA InsuranceGroupplc

Editor’s Message CSANews© is published four times a year and is Copyright Fall 2020 by Medipac International Communications Inc., 180 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 2T5. 416.441.7000. Subscription Price: $9.95 Canada; $20.00 U.S. and foreign. Single copy: $3.95. Prices include tax. Published by Medipac International Communications Inc. Opinions expressed are those of the writers and are not necessarily those of the CSA, Medipac International Communications Inc. or its affiliates, their Directors, Officers, or other employees or agents. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No: 40063603. ISSN No: 1195-2393 Barb & Ron Kroll Dr. Robert MacMillan Dr. Denise Martin Shari McIntyre David McPherson Andrew Moore-Crispin Rex Vogel Robert Wiersema Judith Adam Gabrielle Bauer Alexis Campbell Donna Carter Michael Coren Jennifer Cox James Dolan John Hardy Karen Huestis Ron Steeves Garry McDonald Ted Popel Wendy Caban Bob Slack James Leroux Mike Legault John Foster James Carl Simpson Johanne Blain Michael MacKenzie Wallace Weylie President First Vice-President Second Vice-President Treasurer Secretary Past-President Director Director Director Director Director Executive Director Legal Counsel CSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Editor CSA Editor President Art Director Director of Operations Marketing & Events Specialist J. Ross Quigley Karen Huestis Christopher Davidge Peter Prusa Paula McGovern Fran Castricone FALL 2020 | ISSUE 116 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada. Merv Magus Illustrator The very first COVID-19 case, of which I ampersonally aware, occurred a few days ago. It involved one of our own Medipac staff members. We had instituted very strict COVID-19 guidelines and strategies throughout our offices, so the fallout was pretty minor and directly involved only three other staff members. These people were sent home and requested to self-isolate for 14 days. We are still contact tracing outside of our offices for our employee’s personal contacts, and the Board of Health is assisting us; or perhaps we are assisting them. So far, this appears to be a very isolated instance of COVID-19 and we expect no other cases to arise. In an abundance of caution, we did send several other employees to be tested; they all had negative test results and have now returned to work. We really need them now, too, as this is our busiest time of year with Early Bird sales and applications. I was surprised, and impressed, by how quickly the tests were performed and how quickly the negative results came back. The government seems to have this complicated process well under control − our congratulations. Congratulations are also due to our great friends, Jack and Jenny Parry, on their 60th wedding anniversary. Jack was the Founding President of the Canadian Snowbird Association and, with his wonderful wife Jenny by his side, served the Association’s snowbird members and, really, all travellers for many years. They are both remarkable people and they have led remarkable lives, always working to help others. Their accomplishments on behalf of the CSA in fighting governments and getting laws changed − and preventing new draconian laws − would fill a book. Well done, Jack and Jenny, and thank you for everything. Sincerely, Ross P.S.: Our employee has completely recovered after a nasty six-day fight with the COVID-19 bug and everything is back to normal. CSANews | FALL 2020 | 3

Table of Contents Features FALL 2020 | ISSUE 116 OFFICIAL NEWS MAGAZINE OF THE CANADIAN SNOWBIRD ASSOCIATION Close Calls Keeping safe while enjoying a sense of adventure. by Barb & Ron Kroll 16 Travel SPECIAL SECTION: snowbirding during a pandemic 36 Vitamin D The latest evidence about the possible role of vitamin D in mitigating COVID-19. 37 COVID-19, the flu & you It's never been more important to keep up to date on your annual flu shot! 38 Roadside restaurants, eat your heart out! Packing three days of food in your car for your drive south. 42 So where do we stand with COVID-19? Update on potential COVID-19 vaccines. 44 Travel Readies For A Rebound Updates on how airlines are implementing changes for public health and safety. Randy White and Doc Ford of Sanibel Island Dave takes you to Florida's Southwest, and into the dangerous world of Doc Ford. by Dave Hunter 22 Travel 4 | www.snowbirds.org

Table of Contents Departments 54 CSA Online by Andrew Moore-Crispin 56 Longevity by Jennifer Cox 57 Book Review by Robert Wiersema 58 Gardening by Judith Adam 60 Food & Drink by Shari McIntyre 62 Fun & Games 63 Grins & Giggles 64 CSA Application 65 CSA Benefits 66 Fast Facts  3 Editor’s Message  6 Snowbird Alert 10 Bird Talk 12 President’s Message 13 Government Relations Report 14 Insurance by J. Ross Quigley 15 Opinion by Michael Coren 47 Fitness by Jennifer Cox 51 Health Pulse 52 Golf by David McPherson 26 48 Living in the New Normal Looking forward to planning the trip south – safely. by Rex Vogel All About Vaccines A potential vaccine for COVID-19 is top of mind for the whole world. But what exactly does a vaccine do? by Dr. Robert MacMillan RV Lifestyle Finance 30 Eleven (or so) Survival Strategies for a Volatile World Practical hints and tips to help protect your finances, your portfolio and your mental health. by James Dolan Health CSANews | FALL 2020 | 5

SnowbirdAlert FRAUD A GROWING CONCERN DURING COVID-19 While the technology we use for day-to-day banking continues to advance, fraudsters are perfecting their methods to get your money. Scams are becoming so sophisticated that they are increasingly difficult to detect. Fraudsters often pose as collection agencies or financial service companies offering loans, debt consolidation and other services. Scams include unsolicited texts, e-mails and calls requesting urgent action or payment. They may seem to come from a financial institution, but be wary of this type of request because financial institutions will never ask for personal information, login credentials or account information by e-mail or text. Unless you have contacted your financial institution, you cannot be certain that any call, e-mail or text you receive is really from your financial institution. If you are concerned, contact your financial institution. And to protect yourself, make sure that you never provide your personal or financial information by e-mail or text. Also, do not click on any links or attachments in unsolicited texts or e-mails. It is always best to enter the financial institution’s website into your browser yourself. What to do if you fall victim to financial fraud If you are a victim of a scam, it is important to immediately inform your bank and credit card companies, if appropriate, to see whether any accounts have been opened in your name, or whether your existing accounts have been tampered with. If at any time your accounts or credit cards have been compromised, change your password. By reporting the fraud, you will save other consumers. It is important to report the incident to the local police. You can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888495-8501 or fill out an online report. Learn more about identity theft, types of fraud and other threats and scams at canada.ca/money. www.newscanada.com 6 | www.snowbirds.org

SnowbirdAlert How will the pandemic affect your retirement? A few short months ago, a global pandemic was seen by many as a theoretical risk. Today, it is causing disruptions in economies and stock markets around the world. While the potential for a global pandemic has always existed, the necessary lockdowns to protect public health and the resulting economic impact of COVID-19 are not things which many could have predicted. And, while many of us are naturally concerned about the impact of the pandemic on our own lives, one thing that we don’t have to worry about is the effect on our national pension, the Canada Pension Plan. The people at CPP Investments, which is responsible for investing the money in the CPP fund, spend a lot of time thinking about risks that could affect the security of your pension fund – including unforeseen events that may spring up. They have weathered crises before and know that higher levels of market volatility make it evenmore important to stay focused on the long term. For example, during the global financial crisis in 2008, the fund lost 18.8 per cent in value in a single year. But, just six years later, its investments gained 18.3 per cent in one year alone. Over the past two decades, the fund has grown from $36.9 billion to $409.6 billion, and the Office of the Chief Actuary of Canada says that it continues to be sustainable for 75 years. And this year, even with a particularly volatile 90 days leading up to the organization’s financial year-end, it still managed to deliver a positive return for the fiscal year and earned $12.1 billion in investment income after costs. More importantly, the fund’s 10-year net annualized rate of return remained strong at 9.9 per cent. That’s why you can rest assured that this pension will be there for you when you retire – whether that’s tomorrow, or 25, 50 or 75 years from now. Learn more at cppinvestments.com. www.newscanada.com CSANews | FALL 2020 | 7

Join the satisfied CSA members who chose SimplyConnect for their wireless service! What they are saying about SimplyConnect: To learn more, visit the website or call SimplyConnect’s dedicated live agents today at 1-888-281-2105. Refer. Earn. Save. Already a customer? With our Refer and Earn program, customers and anyone they succesfully refer to SimplyConnect can share a $100 credit4 towards their wireless service! Visit simplyconnect.ca/refer to begin. “SimplyConnect is by far the best cellphone company I have ever dealt with. I have and will continue to recommend this company to everyone. The selection of services is wonderful. And the service you receive is above and beyond. Travelling South every year has always been a cellphone nightmare until someone recommended SimplyConnect to me, that changed everything!” - Godfrey Customer since September 2018 Simpleanda ordable wireless service to always keep you connected What is SimplyConnect? SimplyConnect is a Canadian cell phone service provider committed to offering a friendly, affordable andeasy-to-use wireless service. It is focused on providing cell phone service to help Canadians with what’s most important: staying connected and engaged while maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle. It has simpli ed the cell phone experience with affordable plans and phones delivered directly to you at no shipping cost. Simple and affordable Individual plans start from $16.20/month1. SimplyConnect also offers Couples and Family plans starting at $36/month for 2 lines1 which include unlimited talk and text between users across Canada, so you can stay connected with loved ones all the time. It also offers a wide selection of phones including basic and smartphones starting from $02, reliable national LTE network coverage, 30-day money back guarantee and friendly Canadian customer service. Exclusive discounts for members Members of the Canadian Snowbid Association can get discounts: 10% OFFTalk & Text plans1 and 15% OFFSmartphone plans1! “Greatest service ever! It leaves other providers I had in the past way behind in the dust, no comparison whatsoever!” - Roger Customer since August 2019

Wireless plans to stay connected in Canada and the U.S. With SimplyConnect Canada/U.S. plans, your phone, rates and number are the same, whether you are in Canada or in the U.S. You’ll never have to worry about long distance charges to the U.S., switching plans when travelling, temporary numbers or changing SIM cards ever again. Canada/U.S. plans start from $36/month1. Perfect for Canadians who travel back and forth between Canada and the U.S. Offer shown is available until October 31, 2020or while quantities last and are subject to change without notice. 1 10% off applies to the Talk & Text monthly plan fees, and 15% off applies to the Smartphone monthly plan fees. Discount applies for as long as you are a member of the Canadian Snowbird Association and cannot be combined with Bring Your Own Phone discount, Tablet Data plans and Wireless Home Phone plans. 2Device pricing and minimum monthly rate plan apply for each line, and vary by term and plan chosen. Early cancellation fees apply with a 2-yr term. 3Bonus data, minutes and text vary by term and plan chosen. Other offers cannot be combined. 4. Share $100 referral credit offer is valid for wireless new activations only with a 2-yr term. Some conditions apply, call 1-888-281-2105 or visit simplyconnect.ca/csa for details. All trademarks are property of their respective owners. + Unlimitedminutes Unlimited text messages Talk & Text Plan $30 $27 /month1 Save 10% Moto E for $02 NEW! NEW! Check our most popular Canada-wide plans! Smartphone Plan 4 GBof data Unlimitedminutes Unlimitedmessages $45 $3825 Save 15% /month1 Provides peace of mind at home and on the go Stay in touch when you need it the most Perfect for emergencies Why choose this plan? Why choose this plan? Browse the internet and access email Download the apps that are right for you Capture moments with better photos + Samsung Galaxy A51 for $1002 Call 1 888 281 2105and quote promo code: CSASAVE2020 Plan includesCanada-wide minutes, voicemail, call display and name display. $100 Save 15% $85/month for 2 lines1 Unlimited calling and texting between both users, share 1 GB 2 GBof data and 400 800minutes inCanada/U.S.3 Couples Data Plan Canada/U.S. + Samsung Galaxy A10e for $02 Includes bonus data and minutes

BirdTalk Dear Bird Talk, We are snowbirds who spent the winters in California. We have tracked our days in the U.S. very carefully and every year, we file Form 8840. It has recently come to our attention that there are two rules in place for Canadians visiting the U.S. One rule relates to the IRS and permits visits for up to 182 days within a calendar year under the substantial presence test. The second rule concerns us, as we were not aware of the U.S. immigration rules. This rule permits visits to the U.S. for up to 182 days during any rolling 12-month period. This rule greatly concerns us, as a 12-month rolling period can definitely put us offside, as we could exceed 182 days. If we are abiding by the IRS rules and are filing Form 8840 every year, is there a chance we could be in trouble under the U.S. immigration laws if our days in the U.S. for a particular 12-month period (not a calendar year) exceed 182 days? Maureen Crowshaw Calgary, AB Ed.: The simple answer is “yes.” The IRS wants to tax you if you stay for longer than six months, but the immigration people really want to control you. The rolling 12-month period is sacrosanct and can be administered quite aggressively. The border guards have computers that are getting better every day and they know more than you think. I would do everything I could to abide by this rule and be very careful if you decide to go to the U.S. a month earlier this year. That is usually how people get into trouble; and never lie, of course. Dear Bird Talk, I have two issues with travel insurance. Firstly, although I continue to pay premiums for out-of-country insurance, the insurer will not cover any travel to Florida if I fall ill to coronavirus, because the Canadian Travel Service is advising against non-essential travel to the U.S. The insurance companies are collecting huge dollars in premiums, with minimal claims risk. Is CSA lobbying insurers to refund a portion of premiums, similar to what the auto insurers are doing? Secondly, as one looks to potential travel this fall/winter, it would appear that no Canadian will be able to acquire any travel insurance that will include coronavirus until the Canada Travel Advisory changes the current advisory. I assume that the CSA-sponsored insurance also does not include coronavirus coverage? For many snowbirds, the availability of out-of-country travel insurance (that includes coronavirus coverage) will be the principal factor in terms of whether one dares to set foot in the U.S. John Nichols Peterborough, ON Ed.: I have to address that one comment about insurers having “minimal claims risk.” Last year, one of the insurers lost $55 million dollars on their travel insurance business. Also, we at Medipac settled more than $35 million dollars in medical claims. So there is, actually, lots of risk. As to refunds like the auto insurers, there is no change in risk for travel insurers. In fact, travel insurers have had dramatically increased risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Medipac did refund millions of dollars when many snowbirds thought that they were being forced to come home and we refunded the unused portion of their premium. The CSA-sponsored insurance actually does cover COVID-19. Medipac remains committed to paying claims, including COVID-19 claims, for this winter’s travel season. This is the case, even though the Canadian government may still have COVID-19 travel advisories issued. This is a “read the fine print” travel insurance year, as several companies are saying that they will cover you for COVID-19 claims. This is not exactly correct. Some of these policies have not updated their travel advisory clauses and will only cover you if the government removes the COVID-19 travel advisories. Another question which you may want to ask yourself or your other insurer is “Will any claim be paid during a COVID-19 advisory not to travel?” Dear Bird Talk, Mr. Quigley says that Medipac will cover policyholders for COVID-19 this winter and is encouraging us to purchase coverage through their Early Bird program. However, the Canadian government currently has a travel advisory to most countries in the world and there is no saying when that will be removed. My current Medipac coverage specifically states that the policy won’t cover claims incurred in a country where there is a travel advisory. Is Medipac modifying their policy so that we can travel to Florida even if there is still a travel advisory in effect to the U.S. this winter? Wendy Flewelling Innisfil, ON Ed.: When the COVID-19 travel advisory was first published, we sent a note to all of our clients stating that Medipac would be covering all COVID-19 claims while they were away. Our Early Bird plan does include coverage for COVID-19, in spite of the travel advisory clause, and the surrounding materials confirmed that. Our main season policy has been rewritten so that it is now very clear. Dear Bird Talk, The U.S. Congress has formally approached Canada to open our borders as quickly as possible. This could be the right time for CSA to request that our government include the “extended stay provision” for Canadians, that has been stalled in Congress for many years. This change could be politically beneficial for both governments. Hopefully, this request is currently underway. Thank you and keep up the good work of keeping Canadians informed. Barry Johnson Tappen, BC Ed.: We have been after them like a dog with a bone. We will see what the upcoming election brings – hopefully, a lot more common sense. 10 | www.snowbirds.org

BirdTalk Featuring the letters & concerns of our members SEND YOUR LETTERS TO Bird Talk, c/o CSANews 180 Lesmill Road Toronto, Ontario M3B 2T5 or by e-mail: csawriteus@snowbirds.org Bird Talk Dear Bird Talk, As a snowbird living in a seasonal home in Canada, I am concerned about reaching my Florida home for the winter if land borders are closed. However, I have heard that we may be able to fly down. Is this correct? Valerie Wood Belwood, ON Ed.: This is correct and we have lots of examples to prove it. Many of the normal airlines have flights to the U.S., but to limited destinations until business picks up. We believe that it is very safe as long as you take the normal precautions of masks, distancing and hand washing/sanitizers. The CSA is working on having the U.S. allow us to enter by vehicle as “essential travel,” if we own or rent a home in the U.S. You might try calling the border office where you are planning to cross and asking them if going to your home in the U.S. will count as “essential travel.” If they say ‘yes’, and I think that some border officials will, then ask for their name so that you can use it when you cross. Dear Bird Talk, Hi. Just received my summer issue and reading the letter from J. Ross Quigley. Note that he indicates in the third paragraph that the border to the United States is now open, which it is not. Please review any publishing for corrections beforehand, as this sends a very definite different message than what we are getting from our government. If it can’t be proven, then please don’t publish. Thank you, Seymone Armstrong Ed.:We received a dozen letters such as yours, Seymone, so I was perhaps not as clear as I could have been. Most of my facts are facts; my opinions, however, are mine alone. The U.S. border is open if you fly, and hopefully I was clear on that point. Several airlines, including Air Canada andWestJet, are flying regular flights to U.S. destinations, every single day. Canadians are having no problems getting on the plane or getting off the plane, although the normal security has been heightened somewhat. We are working on approved vehicle access. Dear Bird Talk, Really enjoyed the article, “Knowwhere you go when you’re going South for the winter.” Lots of good, common-sense tips. I would have liked to see an assessment done on I-95, as it is a major route taken by travellers fromNS, NB, NF and Quebec. The Toronto area is really Central Canada and not the East Coast. It is always disappointing when we Maritimers and Quebecers are lumped in with Toronto, which only Torontonians think is the centre of the universe. Lou Fougere Baddeck, Nova Scotia Ed.: We have been after Dave Hunter to do an I-95 book for some time to be a companion to his I-75 book, which is excellent. As an aside, I am not sure that there are many people from the “Centre of the Universe” – Toronto − as many of them actually came from all over the world. I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for instance, and do try to display the wonders of the East Coast as much as possible. And I do send all of my friends there on vacation and some to retire. Love Baddeck, of course. CSANews | FALL 2020 | 11

President’s Message Karen Huestis CSA President As we go to press, the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential travel. Officially, the land border remains closed until September 21, but there is every indication that this date will be extended. We understand that many of you are understandably not planning a trip south this winter, while others are anxious to cross the border to check in on family, friends and their winter properties. Our goal at the Canadian Snowbird Association is to ensure that our members have the most current and accurate information available so that you can make informed decisions about how and when to safely travel to your winter homes. There seems to be continued confusion around the status of the border with the United States. As Ron Steeves discusses in his Government Relations Report, air travel to the United States is still permissible. The ban on non-essential travel covers the land border between Canada and the United States, as well as air, sea and rail travel into Canada. Non-essential travel by air and sea into the United States is still permitted at this time. Despite the pandemic, low interest rates appear to be fueling a boost in Florida home sales. Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages were averaging 3.16% in July, which represents a 40-year low. After a dramatic tail-off between March and May, new pending sales are increasing and real estate values are rising across Florida. New pending sales of single-family homes were up by 23.2% this June compared to last June and new pending sales of condo-townhouse units are up by 19.8%, according to Florida realtors. Also in June, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was US$282,000, up by 4.4% from the previous year according to Florida realtors. June’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was US$210,000, up by 7.7% over the June 2019 figure. Inmuch of Arizona, real estate demand is also high while housing inventory remains low. In the Phoenix area, house closings fromMay to June increased by 55%, which represents the single greatest month-over-month increase since 2001. Though both Florida and Arizona appear to be strong sellers’ markets, historically low interest rates are great news for buyers as well. Having said that, continued high rates of unemployment and the eventual expiration of several federal and state moratoriums on foreclosures may well lead to a decline in housing prices within the next 12-18 months. As always, we will be keeping a close eye on the situation. We are pleased to report that most Canadian provinces have now eased their restrictions on the supply of prescription medication. These restrictions were introduced in March and allowed pharmacies to hand out only 30 days of medication, instead of the typical supply of 90-100 days. These measures were originally implemented to prevent drug shortages due to increased demand and stockpiling at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now that supplies have stabilized, residents in most provinces should be able to obtain their regular supply and travel allotments of prescription medication. Residents of Saskatchewan can now access their personal health information online. “MySaskHealthRecord” is a secure website that enables Saskatchewan residents to quickly and easily access their personal health information. Those who choose to sign up can access their personal health information including laboratory test results, medical imaging reports and immunization history, as well as a personal history of in-patient, outpatient and emergency visits to a health-care facility. It also serves as a personal health summary that keeps track of allergies, family history and medical conditions. Virtual health records seemmore useful than ever, given the current situation with COVID-19. You can read more about this initiative by visitingwww.ehealthsask.ca. In March, the state of Hawaii imposed a 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state travellers. Starting on September 1, all “transPacific” travellers − including Canadians − will be allowed to visit Hawaii without having to undergo quarantine, as long as they provide a negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival. Canadian airlines will begin to resume flights to Hawaii during the first week of September. Canadians returning from Hawaii and all other international destinations must still observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they return to Canada. Whether you are travelling this winter or remaining home in Canada, please remember to maintain a two-metre distance from those not in your household or social bubble, wear face coverings when appropriate, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and continue to disinfect high-touch surfaces. We will get through this. Stay safe! 12 | www.snowbirds.org

Government Relations Report Ron Steeves First Vice-President During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Snowbird Association’s government relations efforts have focused onmaintaining a dialogue with Canadian and American government officials and agencies regarding the restriction against non-essential travel at the land border. CSA representatives are ensuring that the concerns of our members are heard during this international crisis. The association also continues to work on our upcoming legal challenge against the Ontario government for terminating the Out-of-Country (OOC) Travellers Program, which previously provided reimbursement to Ontario residents faced with medical emergencies outside of the country. CSA members continue to inquire as to when the land border between Canada and the United States will open to non-essential travel. While, at the time of writing, the current restrictions at the land border have been put in place until September 21, in all likelihood these measures will be extended. We understand the frustration of our members, particularly those who are full-time RVers and for whom flying into the United States is not an option which they can exercise. The situation at the land border is being assessed on a daily basis by public health professionals in both countries. Once we have more concrete information about the current restrictions and when they will be lifted, we will provide it to members as quickly as possible. While the United States Congress negotiates a bipartisan stimulus package in response to the economic impact of the pandemic stateside, consideration of our Canadian Retiree Visa proposal will likely be postponed during this current Congressional session. As you know, the association has been working on increasing the length of time that retired Canadians are permitted to spend in the United States for leisure purposes from six to eight months. CSA representatives will ensure that our Canadian Snowbird Visa Act is reintroduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate when the next session of Congress begins in early 2021. The results of the upcoming 2020 general election and the new composition of the House and Senate will inform our government relations strategy going forward. Over the past few months, CSA staff have been conducting research for the eighth edition of the Canadian Travellers’ Report Card. Our Canadian Travellers’ Report Card, which the association publishes every two years, provides detailed information about every province and territory’s travel and health-related policies. The categories we examine include the preservation of health coverage, meaning how long residents are permitted to be outside of their home province or territory and still maintain access to their government health insurance plan. We also analyze access to emergency health coverage when abroad, which is the amount that provincial and territorial governments reimburse, if any, for medical emergencies that occur outside of Canada, as well as provincial and territorial drug plan vacation supply policies. The last two issues that we cover in our report are access to voting rights for travellers and the availability of government information, meaning how accessible do the provinces and territories make the information addressing these various policies. We will be giving each provincial and territorial government the opportunity to respond to the information that we have compiled and will include in our report any additional details which they provide. As always, the CSA will be utilizing the services of a thirdparty to grade each province and territory on the categories that we examine. The most notable change which will be highlighted in this edition of our report card is the Ontario government’s cancellation of out-of-country insurance coverage, which came into effect on January 1, 2020. Ontario is the only province in Canada not to provide residents with reimbursement for medical emergencies outside of the country. This is a clear violation of both federal law in theCanada Health Act, as well as provincial law in the OntarioHealth Insurance Act. As I mentioned in my last column, the CSA’s legal action against the Ontario government is scheduled to be heard by a judicial panel of the Ontario Divisional Court at the end of August. Once we receive the court’s decision, we will distribute a member advisory via e-mail providing details on the result. Once again, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of our members who donated to our Special Action Fund. This crucial legal action would not be possible without your generosity. CSANews | FALL 2020 | 13

J. Ross Quigley CEO Medipac International Inc. Insurance Our readers were very excited when we announced that Medipac would insure medical expenses arising from COVID-19 when travelling both inside and outside of Canada. We are very aware of the federal government’s travel warning that you should only travel if it is “essential” travel but we felt that, being a snowbird, it is essential to visit your homes in the United States, and elsewhere, during the winter months. So, Medipac does insure COVID-19. It is not necessary to revisit the huge health benefits of travelling to warmer, and/or drier climates during the winter months. We also feel that we are just as safe, if not more so, when at our winter homes. Several of our staff spent many of the COVID-19 months of February, March, April and part of May, earlier this year, in the southern United States. Perhaps we were lucky, but COVID19 was really not a factor. But we were very, very careful. We do not want anyone to get a false sense of security just because they have insurance for COVID-19. This is still a very serious and dangerous disease. We recommend that you always wear a mask when you are out in public. Social distancing of at least six feet is optimal and washing your hands regularly is a necessity. We have a box of gloves (nitrile preferably) and masks at each of our doors to the outside world and you should, too. Taking these with you, when you go out, should become as automatic as picking up your sunglasses and your car keys. We believe that the N95 and the KN95 masks are the best to use, and this has been borne out by some clinical trials. Some of the cloth masks can be very ineffective, depending on the material used, and a little research may help you decide what mask to wear. And don’t cheat! A mask should cover your mouthand your nose. Help others and help yourselves, too. And now for the “D” Factor…it has been clinically proven that most of the serious cases of COVID-19 were found to have a vitamin D deficiency. This means that there was not enough vitamin D in their bodies. This is not a medical science fact, yet, but I believe that it will be soon. Vitamin D appears to have a very beneficial effect in protecting you from the COVID-19 virus. Dr. Bob MacMillan has been preaching about the importance of vitamin D in his articles in this magazine for years. And we always instinctively knew that he was right. Now we have another very strong reason to protect ourselves with that simple vitamin. The recommended amounts to take vary all over the place, but it appears that 1,200 to 2,000 mg per day is a proper dosage. D3 is the recommended version and lots of sun (within reason) as well as fish oils, etc. will prove very helpful, too. I would talk to your doctor and see what he or she recommends; perhaps a little internet research will also help with your decision. I was particularly impressed by a Joe Rogan sequence on YouTube about vitamin D. Perhaps you should watch it, too. Stay safe; travel safe; and socially distance are today’s watchwords. Pay attention. The “D” Factor 14 | www.snowbirds.org

In early July, a letter signed by 150 leading writers was published in Harper’s magazine. Signatories included authors J.K. Rowling and Margaret Atwood, and various other influential figures. While welcoming discussion about racial injustice, it condemned “restriction of debate” and “a vogue for public shaming and ostracism.” It was, in effect, about what has come to be known as “cancel culture” and “the war on free speech.” It garnered a great deal of attention. Cancel culture is indeed a worrying phenomenon. In extreme cases, people are hounded for things which they said or wrote much earlier in their lives and no longer believe. Jobs have been lost and reputations smashed, and it’s not always the wealthy and powerful who are victims. Nor is forgiveness especially prominent in all of this because, sometimes, when the accused do show genuine remorse, it makes little difference. I’m certainly opposed to some of the intolerance that we’ve seen, but freedom of speech is not quite as straightforward as some would suggest. There’s the “freedom” to speak, and then there is the “ability” to be heard. In other words, those with wealth and privilege haven’t really had to worry about any of this, because easy access to a newspaper or television network does tend to make one’s freedom just a little more significant. Some years ago, in Toronto, at a major gathering of Canadian evangelicals, a prominent Palestinian Christian was scheduled to lecture. A devout and experienced man, he always spoke of justice and peace. But the atmosphere at this event was strongly Christian Zionist, backed by misunderstood Biblical eschatology. Even though the speaker was dedicated to building bridges with Israelis, delegates pressured the organizers and he was cancelled. I asked some media colleagues for help in reversing this decision. Nobody was willing to do so. More than a decade later, some of those very colleagues are now denouncing what they loudly reject as cancel culture. On a personal level, I had a quite profound conversion of life seven years ago. The details aren’t important, but it led to me changing my stance on some controversial issues. I was, understandably, fired from certain conservative publications and broadcasters, but the campaign went much further. There was a clear attempt to silence me, even to destroy me. I remember one e-mail in particular, because it arrived just before Christmas: “It is felt that with the high public profile you have in media and social networking in relation to gay marriage it is felt that we have to part our ways as an organization.” I had a written list of the confirmed dates on which I was supposed to work for this broadcaster, had been involved with it for years, and had never even mentioned the issue of equal marriage on its television show. Yet I was still cancelled − dismissed by a conservative entity for having liberal views. And that has historically been the way. It is only now, when those on the left challenge more traditional ideas about race, sexuality and politics, that we see such a strong reaction fromalleged defenders of free speech. This is about more than just inconsistency, it’s about an unwillingness to empathize. Hyperbole doesn’t help. I returned to university in 2016, after a hiatus of 34 years. Contrary to what I’d read about political correctness, for three years at various colleges at the University of Toronto, I saw the same attitudes and openness that I’d encountered so long ago in Britain. If anything, the students were less entitled and more studious. Absolute certainty, any certainty, can be a dangerous weapon. A politically and morally healthy society − a politically and morally healthy person, for that matter − asks questions more often than it gives answers. Some people, long impotent, are flexing newly discovered muscles and sometimes hitting too hard and even hitting the wrong targets. But reality cries out to be heard. The status quo has enjoyed virtually unquestioned dominance for centuries, and we will find some sort of balance in due course. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be trans, of colour, or part of any group that has in so many ways been pushed to the edges of the body politic and the media and corporate worlds. I am, after all, a 61-year-old straight white man. God forbid we lose our sense of humour, our kindness, our humanity. But, at the same time, pray that we can imagine and work for a fairer, better future. Opinion with Michael Coren CSANews | FALL 2020 | 15

Close Calls We didn’t use our travel insurance, but thank goodness we had it! After 45 years of travelling, we’ve learned that even if you’re healthy when you begin your journey, unanticipated circumstances can cause sickness and injuries requiring medical treatment. Some examples? During a fascinating Sahara tour, our group visited a Berber camp. After a roast lamb dinner, we sat on sand dunes to listen to traditional music. A sideways glance revealed a yellow scorpion with its tail and venomous stinger raised. We abruptly jumped away and stood for the rest of the performance, watching the sand as closely as the entertainers. An internet search later described the symptoms of the deathstalker scorpion’s sting – increased heart rate and blood pressure, excruciating pain, convulsions and coma requiring medical attention. Gulp. Story and photos by Barb & Ron Kroll Above – Desert scorpion raises tail with venomous stinger Left – Sitting on Sahara sand dunes, listening to Berber musicians 16 | www.snowbirds.org Travel

Creepy crawlies & other critters It wasn’t our only encounter with scorpions. As we sat around a campfire after an African game drive, a scorpion fell from a tree onto the guide sitting beside us. “No problem,” he said. “This species is not dangerous.” Minutes later, he swatted a tsetse fly that bit him. Showing it to us, he explained: “It can transmit sleeping sickness.” We hoped that our long-sleeved shirts diligently sprayed with insect repellent would protect us. (They did.) In Sri Lanka, a mosquito net draped around our rainforest hotel bed offered protection from malaria. After closing the net around us for the night, we glanced up and gasped. Dangling above us was a large, hairy spider. We couldn’t get out of bed fast enough. After we called reception, an employee arrived. His eyes widened as he looked at the spider. “One bite and…” he said, as he slid his finger across his neck. He disappeared, leaving us looking at each other with raised eyebrows. Returning minutes later with a broom, he whacked the critter after knocking it to the floor. We slept fitfully for the rest of the night. Months later, we were surprised to see a New Mexico park ranger holding a similar-looking spider. “The venom of North American tarantulas is not as toxic as that of Asian and African species,” he told us, “but they have barbed hairs that can irritate your skin or damage your eyes and nasal passages.” Dangerous creatures also live in the water. After our Amazon cruise ship docked near a beach, we decided to go swimming. The ship’s doctor told passengers, “The tan-coloured water by the beach is more hazardous than the nearby dark water. The tiny candiru fish that live in it have an affinity for urine. They can swim up the urethra and open their fins. The only way to remove them is by surgery.” We shuddered and cancelled our swims. We narrowly averted another medical emergency in the Amazon jungle after a villager urgently motioned us away from a large tree. Showing us a hard shell filled with Brazil nuts, he explained that it drops from the high branches like a cannonball. A falling shell killed a child the day before our visit. Another too-close-for-comfort moment occurred after an Amazon canoe tour. A lodge employee showed us a newspaper photo of a giant anaconda that was cut open, revealing the bodies of two fishermen. “Anacondas have also attacked monkeys around here,” he said. We suddenly realized that the large snakes lurked in the water where we were canoeing. Worse yet, some paddlers didn’t wear life-jackets. Tarantula Canoeing in the Amazon Tsetse fly CSANews | FALL 2020 | 17 Travel

Swan calms down after protecting his mate & her eggs behind a pile of tulip blossoms Monkey dismantles marigold garlands stolen from us Vendor sells marigold garlands in Indian temple Surprise! Surprise! Injuries can happen when you least expect them. Visitors to India’s Hindu temples frequently buy marigold garlands as offerings. We purchased two garlands. After the vendor placed them around our necks, we strolled through the peaceful grounds, watching the worshippers and the monkeys that congregated at the temple. Suddenly, two large monkeys approached us on their hind feet, fangs bared. Thoughts of needing rabies shots from monkey bites raced through our minds as they backed us against a wall. Reaching out with sharp claws, they snatched the garlands from our necks. Sitting down, they carefully dismantled the garlands, munching the marigolds. Whew! Not all close calls happen in exotic locations. In the Netherlands, we photographed farmers removing tulip blossoms to encourage the bulbs to grow. When we approached a pile of red tulip flowers, a large male swan started chasing us, flapping his wings and snapping his beak. As we backed away quickly – nearly tripping in our retreat – we realized that the bird was defending his nesting mate and her eggs behind the flowers. We later learned that bites from aggressive swans can cause serious infections. 18 | www.snowbirds.org Travel

Tummy troubles In Costa Rica, our tour group visited a park where visitors took turns holding docile, green iguanas. The guide neglected to tell us that iguanas carry salmonella on their scaly skin. Being fastidious about cleanliness, we washed our hands before lunch. Members of our group who didn’t clean their hands suffered the consequences. One person required antibiotics and IV fluids for dehydration. Sometimes, even taking precautions doesn’t prevent illness. During India’s Pushkar Camel Fair, hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors travel to Rajasthan’s desert to see this combined pilgrimage and livestock-trading festival. Camels and cattle stretch across sand dunes for as far as the eye can see. We stayed in a tented hotel with a restaurant. Although we drank only bottled water and avoided ice cubes, we came down with bad cases of “Delhi belly.” Later, we discovered that, due to water shortages, staff “washed” the dishes by rubbing them with sand – undoubtedly contaminated by dung from countless camels. The condition resolved when we returned to our urban hotel the following day. Treacherous roads & tsunamis On driving tours, we always took off-the-beaten-track scenic routes rather than expressways. Sometimes, we had warnings of potential catastrophes − such as the falling rocks sign in Norway − minutes before a landslide of boulders tumbled onto the road in front of us. At other times, we had no hint of impending disaster. One morning, we awoke in our Nicaragua seaside resort cottage to discover water surrounding our bed. While we slept, an undersea earthquake had triggered a small tsunami. We debated whether we should risk potential injuries by wading to higher ground or climbing up on the roof, if the water rose higher. When we called the front desk, staff assured us that the water would retreat. (It did.) Holding green iguana in Costa Rica Camels & cattle at Pushkar Camel Fair Family rides camel to tented hotel at Pushkar Camel Fair Landslide of boulders on Norwegian road CSANews | FALL 2020 | 19 Travel

Close calls Good luck spared us from other medical emergencies. Picturesque icebergs dotted our route as we cruised along Greenland’s western coast. Thinking about the Titanic, we asked the captain about the safety of cruising amid so many chunks of ice. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Today’s ships have more precise equipment to detect icebergs than the Titanic did, more than a century ago.” After we disembarked in Greenland, the ship continued to Antarctica, where it hit an iceberg and sank. Fortunately, passengers and crew avoided drowning and hypothermia after they abandoned ship and were rescued from lifeboats by another vessel. On other trips, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. During a Turkish cave tour, we photographed beautifully illuminated stalactites reflected in deep pools on both sides of our path. Suddenly, the lights went out. We couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces. Electrical blackouts in the region could last for hours or days. No one had a flashlight. (This happened before cell phones existed.) Luckily, our guide had a book of matches in his pocket. Clinging to each other, we followed him along the path until eachmatch burned to his fingertips. Just as the flame from his last match vanished, we reached the entrance. After observing the sweat dripping from our guide’s face and his trembling hands, we realized that our escape could’ve had disastrous consequences. We also narrowly avoided harm in more popular tourist destinations. As we photographed Honolulu, Hawaii on a helicopter tour, the door popped open. Our pilot worried that the open door would break off and hit the tail rotor. We grabbed the handle and pulled the door close to the helicopter, while the pilot made a quick retreat to the airport to secure the door. On Hawaii’s Big Island, a pair of runaway horses nearly resulted in broken bones. After skirting a rain forest and fording a river during a horseback tour, our wrangler Smitty warned us: “Horses love to scratch their backs in the sand. Don’t let them roll over when you reach the beach, because you could be injured.” Icebergs surround ship on Greenland coast Illuminated cave before extended power blackout Wrangler Smitty adjusts saddle prior to horse ride on Hawaii’s Big Island Aerial view of Honolulu & Waikiki from helicopter before door flew open 20 | www.snowbirds.org Travel

Barb & Ron Kroll publish the trip-planning website www.KrollTravel.com Read the fine print! While guided horseback riding trips aren’t usually dangerous, other adventure activities such as rock climbing, bungee jumping and paragliding are riskier. In Tennessee, when we had the opportunity to go tandem skydiving with Leon, an experienced skydiver, our journalistic response was: “What a great story!” Because Leon wanted to ensure that we had the courage to jump out of the plane’s open door, he asked us to first jump off a cliff in a tethered hang-glider. As we stepped off the precipice, the sensation of flying – rather than falling –motivated us to do the 5,500-foot skydive. The cold air that ruffled our clothing as we free-fell 1,500 feet at 200 mph warmed after Leon pulled the cord for the 4,000-foot parachute descent. Our bird’s-eye view of the approaching landscape was exhilarating. The euphoria that we felt after landing was later replaced with dismay when we noticed that hang-gliding and skydiving were excluded from our insurance. From that moment on, we carefully reviewed the policy before every trip. Will fear of injuries or illness ever stop us from travelling? Not a chance. None of our near mishaps resulted in insurance claims. But, considering the alternative outcomes, we always ensure our peace of mind by booking coverage for medical emergencies. We don’t leave home without it. Just as he predicted, our horses started to roll over on the beach. As we pulled up on the reins, the horses weren’t happy. Pinning their ears back, they galloped off to the forest, forcing us to do seated limbo dances to avoid being knocked off by low-hanging branches. Fortunately, Smitty rushed to us quickly and halted the horses. Smitty tells riders not to let their horses roll over on the beach Parachute landing after tandem skydiving in Tennessee CSANews | FALL 2020 | 21 Travel