SEPTEMBER 2017
THE BUZZ ON YOUR BENEFITS
Did you know ...that as an employee of a MERIT member, you qualify to apply for the Education Bursary Program ?

The Education Bursary Program was developed to help field employees in their education by providing a bursary for their apprenticeship tuition. The Bursary is provided to employees enrolled in one of the designated trades.

Eligible employees must work for a MERIT member when they register for the course, and must return to work for a MERIT member for 150 hours after the training is completed. Refunds will be made at the conclusion of the training, and ONLY if the applicant has passed the program. Click HERE to read more about our bursary policy.

An Education Bursary Program Application Form , transcript, and tuition receipt must be forwarded to MERIT within 3 months of completion of the training. 
INSIDE STORIES
I've been a member of the MERIT Office/Supervisory Plan for nearly five years. I am an infrequent user of the online claims submission process, which means each time I have a claim, I need to re-acquaint myself with how to do it.  What I love about the online submission process is that it is easy, intuitive and fast. I file a claim, get approval, and get my funds all in just a few short days. When I do have a question I can't find an answer to online, I call Mercon for help, and within minutes I'm back on track and moving the submission along.
 
I have never had a problem getting something processed, and that's a testament to how well the system is designed to be user friendly. It makes my life easier, so I love it!

Mark Cooper is the President of the Saskatchewan Construction Association. The SCA is a great MERIT partner, and has used our Office/Supervisory Plan to provide benefits to their staff for over 10 years.
EMPLOYEE ADDRESS UPDATES – HOUR BANK
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With the launch of online enrolment in August 2016, Hour Bank employees are now able to update their address and other contact information online - 24/7!

Instead of calling to provide updates to your address or dependents, you can now simply log into your personal account .

If you haven't already created an account, it's quick and easy to do so - you just need your Mercon ID number from your Drug Prescription card. 

If you find you're experiencing problems, just call the help desk at 1-877-263-7266 and they will help guide you through the process.
SELF-PAY OPTIONS
What happens to my benefits if I'm going to school OR I’m laid off and run out of banked hours?
 
Whenever your hour bank account balance falls below 150 hours, a letter will be sent to you advising you of the date your benefits will terminate. You can choose to have your benefits (except disability benefits) extended for up to 6 months under the self-pay option. The letter you receive will outline the steps required to set up your self-paid benefits.
 
The current rate for self-paid benefits for Saskatchewan employees is $180 per month. Self-paying provides you with all of the coverage of the normal MERIT plan except long and short term disability. Payment for self-pay benefits is only accepted by Visa, MC or pre-authorized debit. Forms can be found HERE .
 
When you return to work, once you accumulate enough hours to be back in benefit, your self-pay will automatically stop and you will revert back to the regular MERIT plan.
 
If you have any questions about the self-pay option, contact Mercon at 1.877.263.7266.

SATCC BURSARY WINNERS
Each year, Merit Saskatchewan provides two $500 bursaries to apprentices that have achieved excellence in their trade. Here's a look at this year's winners.
Zach Mackie is a now a journeyperson electrician, having completed his final level of apprenticeship in 2016. He is working with MERIT members, S.O.S. Electrical in Prince Albert. Zach took some electrical training in high school which was enough to “spark” some interest in the trade. A few years later, he was indentured and started the path toward his Red Seal. Zach currently lives in Prince Albert with his wife and two children. With responsibilities like that, we truly commend him for achieving a 96% average for his fourth
level of training.
Bill Holodniuk graduated from Meath Park High School in 1995. After 15 years at other assorted jobs, he decided to pursue a career in the trades and chose carpentry. He started apprenticing in 2011 with Pipestone Creek Contracting doing residential and light commercial projects. In 2013 he gained employment with Banff Constructors to obtain more rounded experience. He’s been employed with Banff ever since and is currently working at their Saskatchewan Hospital project in North Battleford. Bill completed his final level of carpentry in December 2016, and passed with an outstanding 95% average.

Congratulations to both Zach and Bill on their accomplishments!
They will be accepting their bursaries on October 27 at the
Sask Apprenticeship awards event in Regina.
TRAINING NEWS
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2018 Training Programs

Get ready to SUPER CHARGE your Construction Career!

Training is still the best way to advance your career and we’ve got some great new options for you starting in January 2018.

We’ve given our 2018 training programs a whole new look! Based on your feedback, we will be offering two certificates for the coming year:

  • MERIT Certified Construction Foreman
  •  MERIT Certified Construction Supervisor
 
To attain either of these certificates, you will need to complete some designated compulsory courses plus additional courses from a wide variety of topics, both in-class and via webinar. You can choose the topics that are most relevant for you and your career.

For those that just want a refresher in one or two subjects, that option is open as well. We’ve tried to maintain as much flexibility as possible in our 2018 training programs to meet the needs of each individual.

Click HERE to have a look at our training options – there’s something for everyone!
CORAM - CARRY THE KETTLE FIRST NATIONS PROJECT
This spring one of our MERIT members, Coram Construction , under the leadership of General Manager, Ian Knibbs, teamed up with Your Choice Homes to help teach, supervise, and assist 14 aboriginal youth from Carry the Kettle First Nations in building a tiny home from start to finish.
 
Coram Construction sent two of their very knowledgeable employees, Tayler Wells who’s currently a Superintendent at Coram, and Phil Matechuk who’s also a Superintendent, but also has a background teaching carpentry at Siast. Tayler and Phil weren’t sure what to expect going into the project but soon learned that it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
 
“At the start maybe only 2 of the students had previous construction experience. We started out by teaching the kids how to properly read a tape measure, then moved them up to cutting and installing materials”, Tayler said, “It didn’t take long for the youths to catch on. By the time we made our way into the interior of the house, the kids were cutting, installing the framing, and creating the layout with little to no help from myself and Phil”
 
Tayler explained that at Coram the new hires they generally bring on to the company have years of experience in the industry. He said it was something else to watch these kids who had zero experience, develop such a drive to learn.
 
During the close-out interviews with the kids Tayler was happy to hear questions from them regarding particular areas of construction, and how they could go about getting into the trades after school. He was very optimistic that a good portion of the youth who participated would one day be pursuing careers in one of the many trades they touched on.
 
Overall Tayler couldn’t say enough to express how rewarding the entire experience was for him, some days when it was time to pack up and go home he and Phil needed to ask the kids to stop and put down the tools because they just wanted to keep working into the night.
 
He also gained a better understanding of the challenges Aboriginal youth face in pursuing their career goals. He felt honoured to be a part of the project and able to give the kids the tools they needed to pursue their passion.
MEET OUR MERIT TEAM
Deandra Ortman joined Merit Saskatchewan June 2016. She was hired as the Sales and Marketing Assistant, which at that time was a brand new position within MERIT.

As an important contributor to the Merit marketing team, Deandra has a variety of responsibilities, all of which support the work done by our Member Service Reps. During a typical work day, you’ll find her calling contractors to set up appointments for the Service Reps, adding to our list of contractors to contact, preparing cost quotes and comparisons, or working on the quarterly edition of Merit Matters. Over the past year, Deandra has proven to be an invaluable part of the MERIT team as her skills and abilities are numerous.

Deandra was born and raised in Regina. In 2007 she and her husband bought an acreage outside of Regina where they are raising their two young boys Henry (6) and Magnus (4). In her spare time Deandra loves everything nature; you’ll often find her gardening, canning veggies from her garden, camping, fishing, or riding and spending time with her horse, cows and chickens, or just outside exploring with her boys. She is also very active in her home community, organizing the soccer league, sitting as the treasurer on the recreation board, and helping with various events.

Deandra looks forward to expanding her knowledge of the open shop industry and to continuing her interesting journey with MERIT.