Institutional discrimination is being challenged in today's society. Many women are challenging the sexual discrimination and sexism that has occurred for far too many years in our institutions and our society. Racism has raised its ugly head in the United States because of the attitude of the leadership in that country. In Canada, we, as a society, have yet to come to terms with our racist attitude toward our indigenous people, but we are working (some would say not hard enough) to try to change our attitudes. But institutional and societal racism is still in Canada as noted by the killing of the indigenous youth in Saskatchewan, and the way the RCMP gave the news to his family and the not guilty verdict handed down by an all-white jury.
Ageism is another form of discrimination that exists in our institutions, and our society. Butler defined "ageism" as a combination of three connected elements. Among them were prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age, and the ageing process; discriminatory practices against older people; and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about elderly people. I believe that Green Sheild practices institutional ageism because they have, I believe discriminatory practices and perpetuate stereotypes about seniors.
The office staff are spending quite a bit of time dealing with questions and issues around Green Shield Canada (GSC) – the Extended Health provider for members in the Pension Plan. The move to Green Shield was a decision of the Pension Board of Trustees – not (us). The decision was made following an open competition; other insurance companies were invited to submit proposals and GSC won the competition. (We) play no role in this as we have no direct contractual relationship with GSC.
Green Shield to have upset many of my colleagues and the executive of the organization appears to be playing a game of "it's not me it is them" to try to placate members. The executive may not have a contractual relationship with Green Shield but they do have an obligation to their members to investigate the issues and if the membership is not happy to make their wishes known to the Pension Board of Trustees. The Pension Board will not listen to individual members but it may listen to an organization that speaks for thousands of members. If the executive chooses not to act then they by their inaction are accepting that institutional discrimination practiced by Green Shield is acceptable to them.
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