Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

York University Retirees' Association

The York University Retirees' Association
is a voluntary group which represents
retired employees from all the employee
groups -- faculty, staff and managers --
who wish to maintain contact with
the University and each other.


If you are a York retiree or planning to retire and
you would like to receive an "info page" about the
Retirees’ Association (without having to surf this website),
please e-mail


Head and shoulders photo of Diane Woody
Diane Beelen Woody

As YURA co-presidents we welcome you to the YURA website; here you will find information about our organization, summaries of events and activities with photos, and a wealth of information about upcoming workshops and social outings as well as learning and volunteer opportunities. We strive to provide relevant information about wellness and well-being during retirement, the better to experience the joys and rewards of this stage of life, while simultaneously learning to navigate the inevitable challenges. We are proud to have one of the most active university retirees’ associations in Canada, with approximately 400 retired staff and faculty members.

Our first year as co-presidents has been a very busy one, with the additional challenge of completing two office moves. We are now happily settled in the Lorna Marsden Honour Court and we invite members to drop by (Tues/Wed/Thurs between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.). We thank our Office Volunteers who are currently assisting us with implementing a process for Records Management. We are deeply grateful to our co-officers, Secretary Marla Chodak and Treasurer Melody King, and to all....

... click here to read more

Head & shoulders photo of Steve Dranitsaris
Steve Dranitsaris

YURA's Campus Office Closes During CUPE 3903 Strike

The YURA office on the University campus has now officially closed and will remain closed until there is a settlement in the labour dispute between the University and CUPE 3903, the union representing contract faculty and graduate student teaching assistants and research assistants.

Our Association does not expect either its volunteer office staff or its members to cross picket lines when there is a legal strike taking place.

A virtual office arrangement has now been invoked similar to the period during summer months when the YURA office closes. YURA office e-mail and the phone-mail are being checked regularly and responses will be provided to enquiries and requests as may be possible. This website will continue to be updated with news and information about the Association and upcoming activities.

For University updates to the community about the labour disruption, please click here.

YURA Café Adjourns until the Fall

This popular online monthly coffee hour moderated by Fran Wilkinson, professor emerita of psychology, continued on the second Tuesday of the month at 10:00 a.m. during the winter and early spring.

At the YURA Café on Tuesday, January 9th, YURA co-presidents Diane Woody and Steve Dranitsaris discussed the role of the YURA Executive, the YURA office, and some of the items that YURA has been dealing with, including the planning of events for the 2024 year.  Participants also discussed matters on their mind that included the age-friendly study under Dr. Brad Meisner and novel experiences of the holiday season.

Mike Layton

At the February 13th session, Mike Layton, York's Chief Sustainability Officer, discussed with participants the University's sustainability strategy, initiatives underway, and some of the challenges ahead in reducing the University's carbon emissions. His slide presentation can be viewed by clicking here.

After Mike's presentation, YURA members in attendance shared views on what an Ontario university campus might look like in 20 years, given constant technological advancement, changing work and research arrangements, and the costs of running ever expanding campuses.

Dr. Fran Wilkinson

At the open discussion on March 12th, YURA members shared plans for travel and the summer months and discussed challenges of downsizing, exchanged commentary about health and personal safety concerns, including some of the more interesting scams that are circulating, and touched on the usual political items of the day.

April's Café was a lively and interactive get-together that ran 90 minutes. Discussion focused on the theme of this spring's CURAC conference: "Survive in retirement? No, thrive in retirement!" In turn, all participants shared how they are thriving in retirement. Very little was offered on the other side of the ledger other than the inevitable challenges of aging, including declining health, loss of friends and family, and keeping up with the pace of change.

We are grateful to Fran Wilkinson for moderating this monthly online get-together of YURA members and for organizing topics for discussion. The YURA Café will resume in September 2024. Details will be posted on this website and all registered YURA members will receive e-mail notification.

Overviews of the Fall 2023 sessions of the YURA Café can be read by clicking here.

Advance Care Planning session
- Navigating a Life-Changing Diagnosis

April 16 is Advance Care Planning Day in Canada, and the GTA Chapter of Dying with Dignity Canada is planning a stimulating event to mark the occasion. Seniors, their families and friends are invited to join Dr. Jeff Myers live as he interviews Dr. Sammy Winemaker and Dr. Hsien Seow about their essential guide for patients and family, Hope for the Best Plan for the Rest. Explore the 7 keys for navigating a life-changing diagnosis with experts in the field of end-of-life options. As we age, this is a scenario for which some may well want to be prepared. A question and answer session will follow the discussion.

This is an IN-PERSON event being held on the campus of the U.ofT. at Innis Town Hall Theatre, 2 Sussex Ave. (just west of St. George St., one block south from Bloor St. W.), Toronto from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. For more information and to purchase tickets for this event (a nominal $10), please click here.

“Hope for the Best, Plan for the Rest”

AROHE "Reimagining Retirement" Series
- Recordings of Sessions now Available online

During January and February, AROHE, the US-based Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education, of which YURA is a member, presented a three-session program, “Reimagining Retirement: Exploring Your Life Plan.” This virtual learning series was designed to help retirees clarify their goals and embrace the changes that occur during this chapter of life. The social, psychological, and emotional aspects of transitioning to, and living in, retirement were explored during the sessions.

“Reframing Identity Your Identity,” by Dr. Michelle Pannor Silver from the University of Toronto

“Reimagining Your Personalized Plan,” by Dr. Stacey Gordon from New York University

“Rebuilding Your Network,” featuring a panel of retired faculty and staff: Dr. Jan Blustein, New York University; Marty Howard, Boston University; Eddie Murphy, UCLA; and Dr. Louise Nasmith, University of British Columbia

For those interested or if you missed any of the sessions, the recordings can be viewed on the program website by clicking here.

YURA Walkers Raise $20,000 for Student Food Bank

Nineteen members of the York University Retirees’ Association, accompanied by several members of University staff, walked 5 km around the Keele Campus on October 3rd in support of the YFS Food Support Centre.  In total, more than $20,000 was raised from donations received to sponsor walk participants from retirees, friends, family and former co-workers and colleagues.

For the full story with more pics, click here.


The 2023 Annual General Meeting of the York University Retirees’ Association was held on Friday, October 27.   

Head & shoulders photo of Dr. Eileen de Villa in front of Toronto City Hall
Dr. Eileen de Villa

This year's guest speaker, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, discussed public health challenges and opportunities. Her talk was informative and thought provoking and generated a fairly dynamic question and answer session afterwards.

CLICK HERE for a report about the AGM with links to the agenda and reports covering YURA activities and finances for the past 2022-2023 year that were prepared for the AGM business meeting. Links are also provided to the slide presentation for the AGM business meeting and to a photo gallery of pictures taken at the event.

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the event.

YURA Membership 2023-2024

Click here for more information, instructions and forms for both membership renewal and applications to become new YURA members.

Membership renewal information and forms for the 2023-2024 year (October 1 to September 30) has been circulated to all current YURA members in early July. Membership registration is encouraged by August 15th of each year.

Donations for 2024

YURA members are encouraged to consider a donation to the one or more of the YURA sponsored student awards or other worthwhile YURA-sponsored projects at the University.  Among these are the YURA Graduate Student Award, the William Small Award, the YURA Mature Student Bursaries, the Student Food Bank, the York Camps Subsidy Fund (for local kids from disadvantaged families) or the Access to Postsecondary Program (aimed at middle school youth from the local Black Creek community).

To make an on-line donation or to arrange monthly contributions, please click here.

Membership Survey Results Summarized

More than 60% of YURA members participated in a survey conducted in 2022 by the Association's Executive Committee to learn about what members thought about current activities and how YURA could better support its members in the future. A summary of survey results, prepared by professor emeritus and former YURA co-president Ian Greene, can be found by clicking here.

College and University Retiree Associations of Canada (CURAC)

CURAC is the national organization of the postsecondary retirees' associations across Canada.  It speaks for the collective on a variety of public policy issues.  It provides a number of important services to its members, including an annual conference that highlights best practices among its member associations and promotes collaboration. YURA was among the founders of CURAC.  

All YURA members should check out the CURAC website to learn about the initiatives in which it is involved and the services and activities it offers to all retiree association members, including members of YURA.

Charmaine Courtis receives the 2023 CURAC Tribute Award

The 2023 CURAC Tribute Award has been presented to YURA’s Past Co-President, Charmaine Courtis.  The annual awards were announced at the 2023 Annual Conference of the College and University Retiree Associations of Canada, held in Saskatoon May 31 to June 2. 

Elected to the YURA executive in 2015, Charmaine served as Co-President (non-academic) from 2016 to 2022 and continues to serve as Immediate Past President. More...

Charmaine Courtis