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Planning workshop sets course for LCC benefit plans

“This process came at an important time,” remarked Board of Managers chair Lois Griffin

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WINNIPEG - For the first time in its twenty-year history, Lutheran Church–Canada’s Worker Benefit Plans (WBP) conducted a strategic planning workshop to define its role and mission in an ever-changing employee health and benefits environment. Joining the plan’s Board of Managers and staff members were twelve participants representing WBP’s constituencies: members, congregations, schools and higher education institutions.

“This process came at an important time,” remarked Board of Managers chair Lois Griffin. “Meeting with representatives of all our constituents not only gave the board immediate feedback, but began establishing relationships that are important to our future.”

Facilitated by Rev. Dr. Dieter Kays, president and CEO of FaithLife Financial, the workshop goal was “to establish the strategic framework that will provide guidance to develop a plan design and funding strategy that will ensure a sustainable future.”

Presentations from LCC treasurer, Dwayne Cleave and consultants Mark Dahlman and Nancy Swerhun provided information on the current state of LCC finances and demographics; health benefit plans and pension plans. Group discussions and feedback produced vision and mission statements, defined six values and identified five strategic directions.

The group decided that the mission of Worker Benefit Plans is “to serve members and employers by ensuring the provision of sustainable benefits” summarized in its current slogan “Serving those who serve.” To guide decisions by the Board of Managers, the vision statement says that “we will develop an efficient, innovative and sustainable benefit plan with shared responsibility among engaged stakeholders.”

An organization such as WBP also requires values by which it conducts its business. Participants identified integrity; transparency; stewardship; consultation; shared responsibility; and excellence as the most important values for the department.

To achieve its stated vision and mission, LCC’s Worker Benefit Plans intends to focus on five primary areas:
1. Ensure sustainability and stability of the plan
2. Ensure an educated and knowledgeable employer and member base
3. Cultivate meaningful involvement from stakeholders with shared responsibility
4. Promote health and wellness of stakeholders
5. Enhance and strengthen the governance process

The Board of Managers next scheduled meeting is March 9 and 10 in Edmonton. Before the meeting the board and its consultants will conduct two focus group sessions March 8. The purpose is to inform stakeholders about the financial position of the plans and to allow them the opportunity to provide feedback and input on proposed changes to plan design and funding practices.

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