Local and National Scholarships

DISTRICT 3 Scholarships:

District 3 has established awards of $750 at both Algoma University and Sault College.  Recipients are selected by their institution.

Contact:  Current President – rtoalgoma@gmail.com

NATIONAL Scholarships:

Applicants, who are members’ relatives applying for scholarships, must be in the last year from a Faculty of Education  or who were in any programme in their final year of a College or university.
                 CLICK HERE, for Natiional Details

RTOERO $3000 Scholarships Awarded to Two Local Students

Congratulations to Allan Middleton and Leah Ritacco on being recipients of the RTOERO Scholarship for 2021! This year, RTOERO awarded 20 scholarships valued at $3000 each to post-secondary (college or university) students enrolled in programs that lead to careers which could benefit RTOERO members and seniors in Canada. Allan Middleton and Leah Ritacco, both from Algoma, were recommended by two of our members in District 3 Algoma- Deb King (Allan’s mother) and Lynn Uhryn (Leah’s grandmother).

There are some interesting parallels in the study path of each of these students. Both started in Kinesiology, both are in their final year of their current program and both want to go into medicine. After my visit with each of them which was so interesting, I feel very confident about their futures and the contributions they will be making in our community where they both want to work eventually.

Allan Middleton is in his last year at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSOM) but his career path has been unique and varied. He began in Kinesiology at McMaster where he also excelled in the sport of wrestling. Allan continued his studies in the Physician Assistant program where he was encouraged to pursue medicine even further. Although he said that he wants to go into Family Medicine, he has a deep interest in specializing in Internal Medicine which covers many disciplines. In his spare time, Allan enjoys reading, running and a priority is being with his partner, Sydney, and their two young daughters, Hadley and Genevieve. After internship, Allan hopes to return to the Sault- we will be very lucky to have him here in Algoma!

Leah Ritacco is now in her final year in Kinesiology at Lake Superior State University. Her intent is to apply, both for medical schools in Canada as well as for the Physician Assistant 2-year program in the USA and Canada and hopes to be on the path for Family Medicine next year. When asked about how family medicine became her career goal, Leah said that it was a bit of a circuitous route. She had always wanted to be a dentist but through a co-op program in high school and a summer job with the Ministry of Northern Development involved in telemedicine, she realized that kinesiology and medicine might better use her strengths in sports and working with people. Leah will know in February where she will be headed next- we wish her well in her chosen profession.

On the RTOERO webpage it states: “RTOERO believes in the power of our community to secure a better future, and we are committed to helping secure better futures for students, for each other, and for seniors in Canada. One of the ways we work towards achieving this goal is through our post-secondary scholarship program, established with reference to our strategic goal: To improve the lives of members and seniors.” Allan Middleton and Leah Ritacco are such worthy recipients of these scholarships; they are well on their way to supporting our strategic goals.     

                                                                                                                                                      Submitted by Gayle Manley

Congratulations to Rich Prophet, RTOERO Chair!

Congratulations to Rich Prophet who was elected as the new Chair on the Board of Directors for RTOERO which is now a national organization! Kudos to a hard-working member of District 3!

Rich stepped into “retirement” in 2008. His dedication has been evident throughout his “retirement” serving District 3 as well as provincial committees in an exemplary manner. One only has to glance at our local RTOERO website to get testimony to his commitment.

District 3 has an impressive history with provincial leadership. Weldon Abernethy was President in 1977 and Mickey Contini was RTOERO President in 2002-2003. Gayle Manley has diligently served on the Health and Benefits Committee (2009 to the present). What an outstanding achievement this is!  Gayle is now serving a three-year term on the Board of Directors.  Imagine two members on the Board of Directors are from Sault Ste. Marie! Even the new Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors (Bill Huzar) originally taught in the Sault area. (He retired in British Columbia). To have had five members on the Board with roots well planted in District 3 is remarkable to say the least!

The members of District 3 are extremely proud of those who have sacrificed so much personal time to serve our organization both locally, provincially and nationally. We are confident that with Rich at the helm RTOERO will forge forward in a remarkable way into an exciting future.

UPDATED District 3 Travel Allowance

53 cents/km, to a maximum of $60.00 per Meeting.
District 3 encourages Carpooling!

Travel Expense Forms available at all District 3 Meetings.

Blair Sterling – Our 2020 Mickey Contini Award of Merit Recipient

The Mickey Contini Award of Merit has been established in District 3 Algoma to recognize outstanding contributions to our organization. We were extremely pleased to honour Blair Sterling as our district award winner this year. We would like to introduce Blair Sterling; the Mickey Contini 2020 Award recipient. Mickey would be so pleased because he knew Blair and respected his work in the teaching profession and his work with RTOERO.

Members in the East appreciate Blair’s commitment to RTOERO. He continues to co-ordinate all local members within the larger Soo group. He keeps in touch with all of the RTO members ensuring that they know about events and have the correct health contact numbers and information.

Blair cares about the welfare of all members. Blair is the go-to guy for RTOERO in and around the North Shore. Blair continues to believe that as seniors we must also know about our pensions. Blair helps all who call in and continues to check in with people that are retiring and have been retired for a time about their status. Blair was recognized in a past article in Accent on Algoma as a Super Senior.

Blair Sterling can be best summed up by the famous quote, “It‘s hard to forget someone who gave so much to remember”…  On behalf of District 3, congratulations on a well-deserved award, Blair Sterling.

Committee members: Bernice Whalen, Marie DellaVedova, Christopher Rous

Ontario's Health Care Nightmare

(This article was written in mid August and reflects the knowledge and situations at that time.)

Regrettably, the apprehensions expressed about the state of Ontario’s health care in the last edition of Accent of Algoma were proven to be well founded. The letter from Martha Foster, Chair of the RTO-ERO Board of Directors, to Health Minister Christine Elliott outlined concerns about gaps and cuts to health services for seniors. Hospital overcrowding and the personal support worker (PSW) crisis in long-term care was the focus of an article outlining reports of the suffering existing in hospitals and long-term care homes long before COVID-19.

These issues are far from new. Present and preceding provincial governments were long ago alerted to the alarming conditions in hospitals and long-term care. And over the years there have been many reports, articles and television documentaries outlining the deplorable conditions in long-term care homes. Little to no effective action was ever taken. And then the pandemic struck with a vengeance never before seen. And we had a catastrophe – a nightmare long in the making.

As of August 15, Ontario has had 42,437 cases of COVID-19 and 2,835 deaths. Many southern Ontario hospitals, already pushed to the limit with unsafe levels of overcrowding, were hard pressed to accommodate the needs of COVID-19 patients. Thankfully, through the concerted cooperation of Ontarians, we were able to “flatten the curve”. But overcrowded hospital conditions still exist. What will happen if there is a second wave? Medical experts are almost certain that a second wave will occur with an increased number of cases and fatalities.

It took revelations from Canada’s military to compel the Ontario government to acknowledge the horrendous and intolerable conditions in long-term care. These conditions fuelled the coronavirus allowing it to “spread like wildfire” and led to unimaginable suffering and needless deaths in numerous long-term care homes. Of the coronavirus deaths in Ontario, 1,800 residents in Ontario’s long-term care homes and eight workers have died of COVID-19.

 According to a survey conducted by the Ontario Health Coalition from July 10 to July 17, 2020 many long-term care residents continue to go without their basic needs being met largely due to severe staffing shortages. (www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca)

 Why didn’t Ontario act sooner to improve the conditions for seniors in long-term care? The government certainly had the information. And what will Ontario do now?

Let’s hope the province gets it right this time and makes sure our long-term care residents are housed in clean, safe facilities where they receive appropriate care and the dignity and respect they deserve. It is high time the province instituted a 4-hour minimum standard of front-line care for each resident.

But the Caring In Crisis Report of 2019 uses stark statistics to show us that the long-term care crisis will not be solved unless more qualified staff is available. The increased numbers and acuity of long–term care residents, the extremely poor working conditions and pay of personal support workers, and the low recruitment and retention of PSWs must all be addressed.

In July Premier Ford announced $1.75 billion for new long-term care beds and renovations. This is actually a re-announcement of funding slated before COVID-19 to build new beds and renovate existing beds. But increasing the number of beds will not be enough when there is a critical shortage of long-term care staff. No money has been announced to improve care and staffing levels.

Moreover, even though there have been widespread calls to make long-term care an integral part of the public health care system and not-for-profit, the Ford government has not moved to do so. 57% of Ontario’s nursing homes are for-profit institutions. That is the largest percentage in Canada. Researchers Nathan Stall, Aaron Jones, Kevin Brown, Paula Rochon and Andrew Costa looked at all 623 long-term care homes in Ontario from March 29 to May 20, 2020, tallying COVID-19 outbreaks, cases and deaths. Their research suggests that 85% of chain-operated for-profit homes have a significantly higher risk of worse COVID-19 outcomes and more related deaths than non-profit or municipally run homes. (Study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, July 2020)

Dr. Samir Sinha, a Toronto-based geriatrician not involved in the study, said 30,000 long-term care beds in Ontario are in dire need of upgrades. “Many of these older multi-bedded homes happen to be owned by for-profits,” Sinha said. “The study really speaks to the need to redevelop that.” (Canadian Press, July 22, 2020)

Public taxes and residents’ fees fund long-term care homes. Taxpayer money is given to private healthcare corporations that pay out rich dividends to private shareholders. In the last three months of the pandemic long-term care corporations paid shareholders many millions of dollars. Long-term care residents continue to live without adequate care.

According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal commentary (July, 2020), “If requirements to fund adequate levels of staffing affect the bottom lines of for-profit facilities, then it might be time for this care to be turned over to public and non-profit entities.”

We should all think about that.

Nightmares can reoccur.

Submitted by Marie DellaVedova, Member at Large

If you are a member of the RTOERO Extended Health Care Plan, you have access to the Venngo MemberPerks affinity program without any extra fees. MemberPerks gives you access to discounts at brand named stores and local places- discounts are available on-line as well as in-store.

Getting started is easy!

1. Sign Up – You just need to go to https://rto-ero.venngo.com to create your account and access all the great perks!

2. Download the Venngo Mobile app. Use your perks on the go!

3. Start savingSaving money is easy. Show the mobile app, print the perk, or shop online.

Here is a list of local businesses in Algoma offering discounts through Venngo:

MemberPerks 1

The Top 25 Perks based on savings for RTOERO members are reported as follows (These could be on-line, via telephone or in-store for Algoma members):

MemberPerks 2
*  Please note that perk merchants and discount offers are subject to change.
** Please visit https://rto-ero.venngo.com for current discount offers and redemption information.

National & Local Scholarships

LOCAL Scholarships – District 3 has established awards of $750 at both Algoma University and Sault College.  Recipients are selected by their institution.
                                       District 3 Contact:  Current President District 3 — rtoalgoma@gmail.com

NATIONAL Scholarship ProgrammeApplicants, who are members’ relatives, who apply for scholarships must be in the last year from a Faculty of
 or who were in any programme in their final year of a College or university.
 CLICK HERE, for Natiional Details

The Mickey Contini Award of Merit

The Mickey Contini Award of Merit was established within the Algoma District RTOERO to recognize outstanding contributions to the organization.

Nominees for the award will be selected in recognition of their outstanding and/or long term contributions to the work of RTOERO at the Provincial and/or District level. The Mickey Contini Award of Merit recognizes the great effort that Mickey Contini put forth on behalf of the members of RTOERO for so many years.


Previous Mickey Contini Award of Merit Recipients

2000 Barbara Lamb
2000 Jean DuQuesnay
2000 Leona Galloway

2001 Ben Smith
2001 Grant Lawson
2001 Jean King
2001 John Jefferson
2001 Orlando Sicoly

2003 Bill Kidd
2003 Mary Kidd
2003 Ken Frier
2003 Mickey Contini

2004 John Fleming
2004 Maj-Liisa Donaghue

2005 Marilyn Patterson

2006 Diane Marshall
2006 Leone Hamilton
2006 Pat Fremlin

2008 Bill Purnis

2009 Geoff Shaw

2010 Ora Mae James

2010 Bonnie Forsell

2010 Moyra O’Pallie

2011 Nancy Sachro

2012 Gary Wills

2013 Gayle Manley

2014 Marie DellaVedova

2015 Bruce Avery
2015 Page Nicolson

2016 Emily Noble

2017 Bernice Whalen

2018 Kathryn Greening

2019 Rich Prophet

2020 Blair Sterling

Mickey Contini

Mickey passed away December 7, 2014

To View or Download/Print the 2021 Mickey Contini Award of Merit Nomination Form, click the form

2021 Submission Date:  April 30, 2021


Either download and complete the Nomination Form, above, or fill in your nomination, below, and submit online right now!


The Award of Merit was established within the District 3 Algoma RTOERO to recognize outstanding contributions to the organization. Nominees for the award will be selected in recognition of their involvement in the work of RTOERO at the Provincial and/or District level. At the May 28, 2014 Annual General Meeting of RTOERO, the award was renamed THE MICKEY CONTINI AWARD OF MERIT. This recognizes and shows appreciation for all the efforts that Mickey made on behalf of the members of RTOERO throughout the years.

If you wish to nominate an eligible, worthy member, please provide a brief description of the nominee’s contributions to RTOERO locally and/or provincially in the form below, then CLICK SUBMITYou will receive a confirmation email.