“Irish Need Not Apply:” The McIvor Family History

The earliest memory I have of my grandfather, William John McIvor (after whom I was named) and grandmother Catherine Brady McIvor (nee McCann) were their brogue Scottish accents, particularly that of my grandfather. Both were born in Glasgow, Scotland. My mother was extremely proud of her Scottish roots and until her death most recently prominently displayed the Campbell Clan tartan and plaque on her wall. She was always quick to boast of her Scottish heritage.

From very early in my life when asked about my own heritage, I was quickly identified myself as half German (Anhorn) and half Scottish (McIvor).

Most recently however, while conducting some genealogy research in relation to our McIvor family tree, I discovered, much to my surprise, that my family originated not from Scotland but rather Ireland and that my true ancestry therefore is not Scottish but Irish! READ ON

Ageism and the Insurance Industry

-A Topic Which is Not Often Mentioned

In the 1960’s, Geriatrician Robert Butler coined the phrase “ageism”. It was used in the context of the prevailing social practice of stereotyping older people and the aging process in a negative manner. It reflected existing societal attitudes towards the elderly, which portrayed them often in disparaging terms and that identified them as unflattering stereotypes. As time progressed, ageism was viewed more in a legal context having regard to policy or practices, which were considered prejudicial or discriminatory in nature.

Today, ageism is defined more specifically as discrimination on the basis of a person’s age.

In a time of increased diversity and a desire to promote inclusivity within Canada, ageism is seen as one of the newest challenges facing society. Much of the world is caught up in the #MeToo movement, which focuses on sexual harassment in the workplace. But in addition, there is a growing awareness and strong sentiment being expressed also about age discrimination in the workplace environment.

But there are other areas where ageism is not often mentioned but in reality exists to the financial detriment to the “retiree” or “senior citizen”. This prompted one observer to remark,

Ageism is the most tolerated form of social prejudice in Canada and there is no greater safe haven for this kind of prejudice than in the insurance industry.”

In my opinion, one of the last bastions, where age discrimination continues to be accepted and tolerated is in the area of private sector insurance and in particular, private health insurance and more specifically, Travel Medical Insurance.

Let me explain.


A “Busy” Retirement: Is it the Right Kind of Busy?

In a recent article entitled, “The Emotional Phases of Retirement”, I reviewed in some detail various academic studies on “retirement” that focused on a part of retirement planning not often considered or discussed, as people contemplate this phase in their life. Most articles and books on retirement planning place emphasis on the financial aspect of retirement, many promoting their own version of a plan which is guaranteed to produce financial results. Few discuss in any meaningful fashion, the “emotional” aspects of retirement and how to cope with this significant change in lifestyle. A friend who is much younger than I and who is still working but contemplating this next phase in his life, recently asked me, “if I had any difficulty in adjusting to retirement”. After a lively discussion, I sent him an email with some information on the topic.  READ ON

The Emotional “Phases” of Retirement: From a Canadian Perspective

In a recent article entitled, “Forgive Me-I Just Had a Senior’s Moment”, I lamented in somewhat of a reflective mood about describing myself as a “senior” and the inherent but short lived guilt, I felt about taking advantage of a “senior discount”. In the course of my article, while in a moment of brief melancholy, I discussed the terms “senior citizen” and “retirement” and in my research discovered that a considerable amount of academic study has taken place about this phenomena (“retirement”) and it peaked my interest so much so, that I decided to delve into the subject a little bit more and to educate myself on what has been described by many as the “emotional” phases of retirement. READ On

Forgive Me -I Just Had a “Senior’s Moment”

My wife and I went to a movie last night and although I had done this before, I had an epiphany as I stepped up to the ticket window and purchased a movie ticket. “Two Seniors for ‘The Wife’ ” I said. The fact that I had asked for and received a “senior” discount sent a chill through my body and it caused me to reflect on “things” including life itself. What does it mean to be a “senior”? Does this term properly define this station of my life? Is this the last train station before we depart for “points” beyond?

“Is this term an appropriate and accurate  description of my current status?” I asked myself. READ ON

The Canadian Traveler Abroad: Explore. Dream. Discover.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”-Mark Twain

In an earlier article entitled, “The Canadian Traveler and Trip Cancellation Insurance and Trip Interruption Insurance”, I reviewed in some detail the nuances of this type of insurance product generally available to the Canadian traveler, either as a standalone insurance product or one that is imbedded and forms part of a medical travel insurance policy or is a feature of the “use” of some credit cards in booking your holiday. My wife as an example is a retired teacher and we have had the luxury of travelling to the United States and other places around the world and being protected with medical travel insurance as part of her retirement package through Alberta Retired Teachers Association (ARTA). Imbedded in this coverage is generous trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance.

For the Canadian traveler going abroad or anywhere for that matter, this type of insurance product is very important. But there are other things you should consider doing before starting your next adventure. READ ON

The Canadian Traveler and Trip Cancellation Insurance and Trip Interruption Insurance

The Canadian Traveler and Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance

“Are You in Good Hands?”

In an earlier article entitled, “Travel Insurance and the “Pre-Existing Condition” Enigma and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America (or Elsewhere), I outlined in some detail the necessity for some form of travel insurance for those Canadians that spend an extended period of time down south, far from the cold frigid temperatures, which we typically experience during the months January through March. For those of us who are retired and are living the “good” life, we often plan while we are still continue to be in good health, the occasional holiday or extended holiday to Europe or other destinations beyond North America.

My wife and I together with another couple are planning a 10-day Baltic cruise in the spring with stops in Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and other notable cities and ports along the way. Another couple, who we know well, are planning a hiking holiday to Italy and Croatia and when recently talking about our upcoming adventures, one of our friends enquired about whether or not we were planning to get trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance. To be honest, I hadn’t given it much thought but on further reflection and further prompting from her, I decided to investigate these additional product offerings made available to the Canadian traveler by the insurance industry and others.READ ON

The Right to Privacy, Border Security and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America

In my most recent article entitled, “Cannabis, Medical Marijuana and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America”, I examined the ramifications of the use of cannabis whether recreationally or for medicinal purposes, now that the substance is legal in Canada and the implications of such use for the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America. As I explained, many Canadians seeking access to the U.S. may now be faced with an ethical, moral and legal dilemma, when they may be asked now among the usual perfunctory questions by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agent at a port of entry,” Have you ever used marijuana in the past for any purpose”? In conclusion of the article, I summarized the issue as follows:

“Some Canadians are under the mistaken belief that with the legalization of Cannabis in Canada, that past or continuing legitimate medical use by prescription and/or past or current recreational use will not have any adverse effect on their ability to enter the United States of America.  Although the majority of us will not be using Cannabis (marijuana) for medicinal or recreational purposes, now that it is legal in Canada, the same cannot be said for many of our friends or family members, particularly as availability increases and the stigma associated with it becomes more relaxed. For those who may be tempted to give it a “try”, it is all about the “risk” verses the “reward”, particularly for the frequent Canadian Visitor to the United States of America.

Until there is greater clarification by the Department of Homeland Security, many Canadian Visitors to the United States may be faced with an ethical, moral and legal dilemma, when asked the least intrusive question by the US CBP agent, “Do you have a prescription for medical marijuana? Or that penultimate question,” Have you ever used marijuana in the past for any purpose?”

In either case, be prepared to give an answer!”

These somewhat invasive questions raise a broader issue in relation to the competing interests of border security and the right to privacy and the impact these competing interests have on the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America. READ ON

Cannabis, Medical Marijuana and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America

“But Officer I Have a Prescription”

In a previous article entitled, “Bill C-45: The Cannabis Act and the Canadian Visitor to the United States”, I discussed the then proposed legislation and the potential impact of the legalization of “marijuana” on the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America. Since then, of course, we have seen the passage of the legislation which makes Canada the first country of the G7 nations to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis. Since coming into effect in October 2018, there continues to be concerns expressed by some “Snowbirds” and other travelers to the U.S., to what degree, if any, an admission to CBP agent that the traveler has “used” marijuana either recreationally or medically, will have on his or her admission into the United States. I decided to examine the issue more closely, particularly, after a close friend reported that on his most recent attendance at a U.S. port of entry, (January 2019) he was asked “out of the blue” by a U.S. CBP agent, among the several perfunctory questions, “Do you have a prescription for medical marijuana? READ ON

Air Travel and the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America

As frequent extended visitors to the United States of America, (affectionately referred to as “Snowbirds”) it is not uncommon for my wife and I to drive to our destination (in our case, Palm Springs) and fly back to Canada from time to time for various reasons. For example, we routinely return to Canada for the Christmas season and return down south in early January. This is typical for a lot of our Snowbird friends. Occasionally, it becomes necessary to voluntarily cancel or change a flight, which depending on the circumstances can have some severe financial consequences. More often, flight cancellations or extended delays are encountered, which unfortunately occurred on our most recent return visit back to Canada. It is therefore prudent for the frequent flying “Snowbird” to be aware of the “rules” relating to air travel to and from the U.S. and the implications that these exigent circumstances might create. Hopefully this article will provide some valuable information and provide some guidance for future air travel for the Canadian Visitor to the United States of America.