Substitute teachers

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ATA Membership

  • Your active membership in the ATA starts on your first day of work as a substitute teacher and ends at the end of the school year. Removal from the substitute teacher roster will also end your active membership.
  • One per cent of your salary as a substitute teacher goes to the membership fee.
  • Active membership entitles you to
    • professional development opportunities (such as teachers’ convention),
    • scholarships,
    • free membership in one specialist council,
    • access to publications and the ATA library,
    • consultation and support from the ATA, and
    • the ability to serve on committees or be a delegate at the Annual Representative Assembly (ARA) or conferences.
  • Typically, as a substitute teacher, you are considered to be a member of the local to which you contribute the most fees.

For more information on substitute teachers, consult the monograph, Substitute Teachers: Professional Replacements.

Substitute Teachers’ Conference

  • Professional development aimed at substitute teachers’ needs
  • Held in October every year (on Friday evening and all day Saturday)
  • Held in Calgary or Edmonton or online
  • Fees of $50 or under
  • A travel allowance for the first 150 registrants (eligible to claim for mileage)
  • Help with accommodations (if you travel over 200 kilometres to the conference location, you can be reimbursed for a portion of your one-night hotel stay)

Find out more 


The Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) offers a benefit program to substitute teachers at the employee’s cost. You are eligible to apply for this supplemental package if you are on the substitute teacher roster of an ASEBP participating employer. Refer to ASEBP’s Supplemental Package page.

For more information, contact an ASEBP benefit specialist at 780-431-4786 (in Edmonton), 1-877-431-4786 (toll free in Alberta) or, or visit

Employment insurance

You may qualify for employment insurance (EI) benefits during nonteaching periods. Please consult Service Canada. The Service Canada website has a special section on EI and teachers.

You can obtain accurate records of employment from each school board for which you have provided service.


  • No contributions are made to a pension for noncontracted/substitute teacher work.
  • You may be able to purchase substitute service at a rate subsidized by the Government of Alberta. Contact the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) here or at 1-800-661-9582.
  • You can obtain accurate records of employment from each school board for which you have provided service.
  • Retired and teaching again? Contact ATRF to determine when a pension may be reduced according to the “0.6 rule.” Note that this rule does not apply to those doing substitute teacher work.
  • You can source benefits after retirement from the Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association (ARTA).

Substitute Teachers Committee

  • The Substitute Teachers Committee has been advising Provincial Executive Council (PEC) since 1987.
  • The committee studies the unique problems, concerns and needs of substitute teachers.
  • The committee consists of one member of PEC (as chair), three substitute teachers, one in-school administrator, one non-school administrator and one Association executive staff officer (as secretary). The secretary to this committee is an executive staff officer who works directly with substitute teachers and substitute teacher groups.

Terms are three years long, and recruitment for committees begins in March. View the current committee vacancies.

The Substitute Teachers Committee organizes the following:

Who Advocates for Substitute Teachers?

  • Central table bargaining is done by Teacher Employment Services—Collective Bargaining. These experts advocate for substitute teacher rights across the province. Subscribe to e-mail updates.
  • Local bargaining units may have local substitute teacher chairs and/or committees.
  • You can check your collective agreement on the Association’s website.
  • The provincial Substitute Teachers Committee advocates for substitute teachers.