Pension and retirement information for active teachers

Green page hero image

Contact the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) for more information about the following:

  • Contributions
  • Transferring services from or to Alberta
  • Purchasing service
  • Steps to retirement
  • Information about your own pension amounts
  • Forms to change your beneficiary
  • Pension options
  • Income tax calculation
  • And much more!

Accessing information about your pension

ATRF is the administrator and trustee of the Teachers’ Pension Plan.

The ATRF website has a myriad of information:

  • Plan rules
  • Investment reports
  • Forms and information kits
  • Pensioner information
  • Employer information
  • And much more

Also check out ATRF’s MyPension online services:

  • Service calculator
  • Tax calculator

Registering for MyPension is easy:

  1. At the bottom of the ATRF homepage, click on Access MyPension Tool and then click on Register.
  2. Accept the agreement.
  3. Enter your ATRF ID number (from your member statement).
  4. Create your MyPension user ID and password.

Registration is complete!

ATRF pension counsellors are available for personal interviews at 1-800-661-9582.

Pension Q&A

I am a full-time teacher thinking of reducing my full-time equivalency (FTE). What effect will this have on my pension?

You have two options, which will both reduce your pension:

  • Reducing your assignment. The calculation of pension payments uses annualized salaries. So reducing your assignment will reduce your pensionable service.
  • Requesting a partial leave of absence. You can buy pensionable service for that leave. In this instance, salary is not annualized unless you do buy that service back.

Be aware of other factors when considering these options. Contact Teacher Employment Services (TES) for advice.

Before you make a change to your FTE, you should also review your pension estimates using both options to see which will have a lesser effect. Contact an ATRF pension counsellor to discuss those effects.

What effect does a strike have on my pension?

A strike will reduce your pension by both years of service and salary.

During a strike, a teacher’s daily rate of pay is .05 per cent, or 1/200 of annual salary. For example, for a 10-day strike, you would lose 10/200, or 5 per cent annual salary. You would also lose .95 of a year of pensionable service.

The length of the strike is not included in the calculation of your pension. In the calculation of your pension, the missing 10 days would be used from the previous year to make up the 60 highest consecutive months’ calculation. This would likely be at a lower salary rate and would reduce your pension.

You cannot buy service lost as a result of a strike. But you have the option of retiring at a later date to make up lost service.

What is the YMPE?

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) uses a maximum salary to calculate contributions to the plan. To keep up with inflation, the yearly maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE) changes yearly.

All employees pay CPP contributions on salary up to the YMPE. That amount is also matched by the employer.

The CPP benefit (when received) is a calculation that pays 0.6 per cent of the YMPE.

The ATRF benefit (when received) is a calculation that pays 1.4 per cent of teacher salaries.

When combined with the CPP, both benefits mean that teachers can retire with 70 per cent of their pre-retirement income.

What other savings plans are available to ATA members?

Capital Estate Planning offers the ATA group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) program through payroll deduction.

The plans with the group include more than 40 funds from a wide range of financial institutions.

Capital Estate Planning can help you find the best investment strategy for yourself. Contact them at www.capitalplanning.ca for more information.

Substitute teachers

Can substitute teachers participate in the Teachers’ Pension Plan?

Day-to-day substitute teaching does not qualify for pension contributions.

Pension contributions occur when a substitute teacher is on contract.

Substitute service can be purchased at a subsidized rate in 186-day blocks. You can purchase service in those blocks at any time in your teaching career. But any amount of service can be purchased at the time of retirement, also at the subsidized rate.

There are specific rules concerning pension funds and gaining access to them before retirement. Teachers are eligible for a pension after five years of service. The funds are then “locked in” and must provide retirement income.

Is there an association for retired teachers?

The Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association (ARTA) is an association for retired teachers. Teachers with an ATRF pension become regular members. Affiliate memberships are available to retirees from Alberta universities (professors) and other education public sector employees.

ARTA has 17 local branches in Alberta and one satellite branch in British Columbia. ARTA provides the following benefits to members:

  • Extended health-care benefits, dental, life insurance and travel insurance
  • Social activities
  • Support with pension and health-care issues
  • Advocacy for public education and the teaching profession
  • Eligibility for other products (such as discounts at various suppliers)

Note: If coverage for benefits begins within 60 days of losing your own group coverage, a medical report is not required.

Contact ARTA at 780-822-2400 (in Edmonton) or 1-855-212-2400 (anywhere in Canada and the United States).

Retirement Q&A

How can I know if I will have enough income to support myself in retirement?

The Canadian Retirement Income Calculator is a great tool for evaluating your post-retirement income. To use the calculator, you will need to have information about your ATRF pension benefit, CPP statement of contributions, and your other financial resources.

Should I retire or should I keep working for a few more years?

Retirement is one of the most important decisions of your life. It is important to have the best information before making the choice. Consider attending a Retirement Education Workshop and visiting the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) MyPension Online Portal for your pension estimate and other resources.

Planning to retire in the next 10 years?

How will federal benefits contribute to my post-retirement income?

Information on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and old age security (OAS) can be found at My Service Canada Account (MSCA). You can access estimates of your CPP and OAS benefits, as well as application forms and other resources.

How can I know if I will have enough income to support myself in retirement?

The Canadian Retirement Income Calculator is a great tool for evaluating your post-retirement income. To use the calculator, you will need to have information about your ATRF pension benefit, CPP statement of contributions, and your other financial resources.

The ATRF advised me that I first need to give notice to my employer. How do I do that?

Your employer requires at least 30 days’ written notice for you to retire. Check out this sample resignation letter.

How and when should I start the retirement process?

Here are a couple tools that can help:

Where can I find help with deciding on my beneficiary to my pension plan when I die?

According to legislation, your spouse or partner receives your pension if you die. A named beneficiary receives your pension if your spouse or partner also dies. Access more information and the form from ATRF.

Where can I find answers to other pension questions (such as contributions, marriage breakdown, pensionable salary, pensionable service, retirement or termination)?

Contact an ATRF pension counsellor directly at 1-800-661-9582.

How do I access benefits (dental, extended health care, prescriptions and so on) when I retire?

Access retiree benefits from the Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association (ARTA) or the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP).

Teachers with Calgary Catholic, Calgary Public, Fort McMurray Catholic and Rocky View should contact the ARTA directly.

How do I get my will in order? Do I also need a personal directive and power of attorney?

Estate planning is important for all (especially when considering retirement). The video at the bottom of this page has great advice relevant to this topic.

Contact

Teacher Employment Services

tes@ata.ab.ca

780-447-9400 (Edmonton area)

1 800 232 7208 (toll free)