As you move through your career, information about your pension will help you
make informed decisions.
What happens to my pension if I change school districts?
Throughout your career, you might change jobs and move from one district to another. One of the great benefits of the Teachers' Pension Plan is that wherever you go within BC, your pension plan goes with you. The pension contributions you make at your new job will be added to your past contributions to increase your future pension. You don't have to do a thing.
What happens to my pension if I take a break from my job?
You have choices. You can leave your pension contributions in the plan until you retire. You might be eligible to buy back service for the time you took off, to increase your future pension. See the next question and the fact sheet Purchasing leaves of absence for more information.
Alternatively, if you stop working for at least six months, you might be eligible to have your pension benefits paid out to you. However, there are important implications to this choice. More information is available in our fact sheet Terminating
Service and Breaks in Service
What is service?
Pensionable service is your actual working time—how many full-time equivalent years you spend working and contributing as a member of the Teachers' Pension Plan. For time worked before January 1, 2018, there is a cap of 35 years of pensionable service. For time worked on and after January 1, 2018, there is no cap; you can earn unlimited service. For teachers teaching on call (TTOCs), your pensionable service is based on the total days you are paid compared to the number of days available to TTOCs in the school year (a number school districts define annually). For all other teachers, your pensionable service is based on the total pensionable salary you earned compared to your full-time equivalent pensionable salary.
Contributory service is how many years you (and/or your employer) have made contributions to the Teachers' Pension Plan. It is used to determine whether your pension will be reduced if you retire before age 61 or, in some cases, as late as age 64. You earn one month of contributory service when you earn any pay that month, and you and/or your employer make the required contribution for that time.
For teachers and associated professionals, a year is counted as 10 months.
Can I buy back a leave of absence?
This depends on a number of factors, including whether the leave is paid, partially paid or unpaid. For more information, see the fact sheet Purchasing Leaves of Absence.
If you have taken an approved leave of absence with partial or no salary, you may be eligible to increase your pensionable service for your leave period by paying contributions (plus interest) in proportion to the unsalaried portion of your leave. Increasing your pensionable service may increase your pension benefit when you retire.
What about child-rearing time?
If you take time off work to raise a child, you may be able to count that time
away as part of your contributory service. Unlike purchasing a leave of absence,
you do not have to pay any money to be credited with child-rearing time. Rather,
you may count the time you took off as regular contributory service, which could
benefit you if you decide to retire under age 60, and counting your child-rearing
time would help you reach the 90 factor for an unreduced pension.
Can I move my pension time to, or from, another pension plan?
It may be possible if there is a reciprocal transfer agreement with that plan and you didn't take a refund or a commuted value transfer when you left that prior plan. Transfer agreements exist with other public sector pension plans in BC and elsewhere across Canada, including the federal public service pension plan. There are no agreements with pension plans outside of Canada.
If there is a reciprocal transfer agreement in place and there is a pension value shortfall, you can transfer your full service by paying the shortfall amount. A shortfall is the amount of money required to pay for the difference between the full service in your prior plan and the service credited to your new plan under the transfer agreement. A shortfall occurs for a number of reasons, including different pension benefit formulas in each plan and salary differences between your old and new position.
Every year I get a Member's Benefit Statement. What do I do with it?
The plan will send you a personalized Member’s Benefit Statement
once a year while you are contributing to the Teachers’ Pension Plan.
We also send statements to those on long-term disability. Your most recent statement is also available from the My Account page on this website.
This annual benefit statement lists your:
earliest retirement date,
earliest retirement date with an unreduced pension,
years of contributory service,
years of pensionable service,
contributions over the past year, and
total contributions to date.
Your statement also shows pension estimates into the
future. You should check the personal information carefully, and report any
errors or omissions to your plan right away.
Why do I get a Pension Adjustment statement? And what do I do with it?
You can contribute to RRSPs while you are contributing to the Teachers’
Pension Plan. However, since you are already contributing to a pension plan,
which is a tax-deferred retirement benefit, your RRSP contribution limit will
Every year, the corporation will send you a Pension Adjustment Statement—containing
details provided by your employer about your salary and service in the previous
year—through your payroll office sometime before the last day in February.
You will need to include the PA amount for the previous year and your Pension
Adjustment Statement with your yearly income tax return. You will be advised
by Canada Revenue Agency on your assessment notice how much
RRSP room you will have for the current year.
Why do I get a Report to Members each year?
Your pension plan is legally required to send each member
an accounting of the previous year's financial activities within six months
of the end of the fiscal year. The report tells you the financial state of
your plan, details assets and liabilities, includes membership information and provides plan updates.
Your board of trustees contributes a message to the membership, highlighting
important activities and looking ahead to the next year. Your plan also publishes
a full annual
report, which is available online.
You'll find more information on how your plan is managed, including annual reports
and investment information, on the Plan Governance section of this website.
Making the Most of Your Pension
This workshop is for mid-career members. It focuses on how the decisions you make throughout your career can affect your pension when you retire. Learn more, including how to register and view the complete workshop schedule!