Keep in mind, you can’t forfeit your pay to circumvent the rules. If the position or duty entitles you to compensation and you decide to decline it, your service will still count toward the limit.
Don't shake on it, yet
If you plan on working after retirement, your arrangement to return to work in education directly or indirectly for a participating employer must be made after your pension starts – you can’t finalize re-employment plans while you’re still working. A bona fide cessation of employment means there must be no re-employment in education between your resignation date and your pension inception date.
A resignation is considered valid only if:
Your employer confirms acceptance of your resignation without condition
No arrangement has been made to return to work in education, and
You've either received, or arrangements have been made to pay, any applicable gratuity
Teaching isn't the only type of work that counts as re-employment. For plan purposes, your work after retirement is subject to the re-employment limit if you:
Work, or are otherwise engaged in an activity, in any capacity for:
a school board in Ontario;
a designated private school;
a designated organization; or
the Ministry of Education*.
Work as a teacher (includes, but isn't limited to, tutor, guidance counsellor, librarian, vice-principal, principal or other supervisory officer positions):
under an authorized exchange program;
for an Ontario government ministry; or
for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
Work as a volunteer and you're entitled to compensation (including gifts or honorariums) for the position or activity (applies even if you don't accept payment to which you're entitled).
* If you work, or have worked, in a non-teaching capacity for the Ministry of Education, contact us to determine how re-employment rules affect you.
Working for more than a year – option to recalculate your pension
You may be able to increase your pension if you haven't worked any re-employment since you started your pension.You can choose to stop your pension and have additional service count toward it. To be eligible for this recalculation option, you must:
notify us to suspend your pension before you first begin any re-employment work*; and
stop your pension until you've accrued at least one year of credited service.
* If you’re unsure whether an activity for which you’re entitled to compensation counts as re-employment, contact us before you begin. For example, certain types of volunteer or professional development activities could count as re-employment work.
If you choose to recalculate your pension, you'll contribute while you're working. When you're ready to restart your pension, we'll recalculate it with the additional credit, based on pension rules in effect at the time. While this will usually result in a higher pension, in rare circumstances it can lower benefits for you or your survivors.
Before you decide to contribute immediately upon your return to work, contact us for information on the implications of your decision.
Disability pensions and re-employment
If you're receiving a disability pension and return to work, you can also choose to have your pension recalculated. To be eligible, the same rules above apply except for how long you must work.
To have your pension recalculated, you must work for the equivalent of two years or more.
If you plan to return to work, notify us immediately so we can stop your disability pension.
The re-employment rules may apply even if you don't get paid for your work. You can't forfeit your pay to circumvent the rules. If the position or duty entitles you to compensation and you decide to decline it, your service will still count toward the limit. Keep in mind that payments for services rendered may include gifts and gift certificates.
To determine if volunteer work for a participating employer counts toward the limit, ask yourself the following questions:
Are you paid for this activity or entitled to payment and choose to forfeit it?
Have you been paid for performing this activity in the past, in and of itself?
If you answer “yes” to either of the above, it's likely re-employment. If you're still unsure, contact us.
Self-employment and third-party arrangements
There are times when you may not work directly for an employer who participates in the plan. If you've made self-employment or third-party arrangements to work after retirement and are unsure if the work is subject to re-employment rules, ask yourself these questions:
Are the services you provide normally performed by an employee at the participating employer?
Does a participating employer assign and control your duties?
If you answer “yes” to either of the above, then your work after retirement is likely subject to re-employment rules. Here are three examples to help illustrate the difference between what is and isn't considered re-employment.
Example 1 – Mary, caterer
After retiring, Mary started her own catering business, Just Like Home. Once a week, she delivers hot lunches to a few of the local elementary schools. As a retired teacher, Mary especially enjoys visiting her school clients.
Does it count?
No. The school, the participating employer, doesn't control the services provided by Just Like Home. In addition, Mary's service as a caterer wouldn't normally be performed by an employee. Therefore, Mary wouldn't have to count any of this time toward the limit. Mary's situation is an example of self-employment.
Example 2 – George, teacher program co-ordinator
George works part-time for Reach for the Top, a private company that provides teaching services in schools.
Does it count?
Yes. Any school that hires employees from Reach for the Top directly controls the services provided by the company. In addition, George's service would normally be performed by an employee rather than contracted out. Therefore, he would have to count his work toward the limit. George's situation is an example of being engaged indirectly through a third-party arrangement.
Example 3 – Donna, professional development
Donna works part-time as a coach for principals. She was hired by the Ontario Principals' Council (OPC), an organization that doesn't participate in the plan. Donna works with principals at their schools. The OPC assigns her work hours and which schools to visit.
Does it count?
Yes. Even though the OPC isn't a participating employer, professional development training is normally performed by employees hired directly by participating employers (i.e., district school boards). Because Donna is indirectly providing services to a district school board, working after retirement rules apply.
Still not sure?
You should always contact us before you begin working after retirement if you're unsure whether re-employment rules apply to your situation. Where questionable situations are discovered, we'll consider the work after retirement subject to the re-employment rules if the arrangement is in place to escape the application of the re-employment rules.
The Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) and Ontario government must agree to any change in plan terms. While we can help you understand the re-employment rules, we're unable to change them. We also can't anticipate when any changes may occur, so our contact centre won't be able to answer questions about potential changes to re-employment rules.