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How a strike affects your pension

December 04, 2019

We’ve been receiving some questions about how a legal strike could affect your pension. We encourage you to read the following FAQs. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

  1. How could a strike affect my pension?
    Your time away from work is pensionable. Your employer will report a loss of salary, but not your absence. This means, you'll continue to receive credit.

    This loss of salary affects your future pension only if:

    • it occurs within your best five years of salary (these are typically your last five years before retirement); or
    • you’re applying for a lump sum from the plan (i.e., terminating from the plan).
    What do you need to do? Nothing. Once you apply for your benefit, we'll notify your affiliate. In most cases, they'll top up contributions on your behalf. If they don’t, we'll contact you directly and give you the option to contribute for the loss of salary yourself. You'd pay your contributions and the employer matching contributions, plus interest.
  2. I’m retiring at the end of this school year. Should I wait to submit my pension application until an agreement has been reached? (question added January 15, 2020)
    No, you don’t have to wait to apply for your pension. If you’re retiring in June, you can apply for your pension as early as March 1. We’ll calculate your pension based on the information we have on file.
    Once an agreement is reached and your employer reports the revised contract information, we’ll recalculate your pension. If the new amount is different than the original amount, we’ll adjust your pension and credit you with the difference, retroactively and with interest, to ensure there’s no adverse effect. What do you need to do?  Nothing. We'll work directly with your affiliate and your employer.
  3. I'm planning to submit my letter of resignation to my employer in the next couple of months but I’ve already applied for my pension. How could a strike affect my pension?
    Your time away from work is pensionable. Your employer will report a loss of salary, but not your absence. This means you’ll continue to receive credit.
    What do you need to do? Nothing. If a strike day(s) occurs within your best five years of salary, we’ll notify your affiliate. In most cases, they’ll top up contributions on your behalf. If they don’t, we’ll contact you directly, and give you the option to contribute for the loss of salary yourself. You’d pay your contributions and the employer matching contributions, plus interest. By doing so, your salary for the strike period remains whole, and there’s no adverse effect on your pension.
  4. I work part-time, how could a strike affect my pension?
    If you're working on contract or on a long-term occasional (LTO) basis, a strike day counts as a work day. Your time away from work is pensionable. Your employer will report a loss of salary, but not your absence. This means you’ll continue to receive credit in proportion to what you would’ve otherwise worked.
  5. I work occasionally, how could a strike affect my pension?
    If you only work occasionally and aren't guaranteed to work on any particular day, strike days aren't considered a work day.
  6. I’m a re-employed pensioner. How could a strike affect my pension? (updated on January 17, 2020)
    If you're a re-employed pensioner, strike days don't count toward your 50-day limit. This is because the pension plan only considers services that are provided to an employer for compensation as re-employment (with few exceptions for volunteer work). Strike pay from your federation or union doesn't count towards your 50-day limit as it's not paid by your employer. 
  7. Could pension benefits change as a result of a strike?
    The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has two sponsors: the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) and the Ontario government. Any changes to the plan are the responsibility of our co-sponsors.