In most provinces/territories, a newly-hired teacher is required to sign a written contract. However, in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Yukon, a formal letter of acceptance constitutes the contract. The terms of the contract continue indefinitely until it is terminated by either the teacher or the board.
In order to terminate a contract, appropriate written notice must be given. A teacher may terminate a contract effective at the end of June (all provinces), or the end of December (Manitoba, Ontario). In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and the Yukon, the termination may take place at any time provided that thirty days notice is given (ninety days in Newfoundland).
The school board may also terminate a contract under the same notice restrictions as outlined above and must also give reasons for the termination where the teacher is no longer under a probationary term. In such cases, the teacher may appeal the dismissal to an impartial board of reference or arbitration tribunal, and in some provinces/territories a teacher on probation may also have the right to appeal.
In Canada, the basic salary scale and benefit package offered to a newly-hired teacher is established through negotiations between the teachers’ association and representatives of the provincial/territorial government. Generally, teacher salary schedules are determined by a combination of years of post-secondary education and years of teaching experience. Additional allowances are paid to teachers whose position will include additional administrative responsibilities.
Benefit packages can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but will include a combination of the following:
- Dental insurance
- Life insurance
- Maternity leave
- Compassionate leave
- Cumulative sick leave
- Sabbatical and study leave
- Supplementary medical insurance
- Long-term disability insurance
- Retirement gratuities.
Social Security Plans
Teachers are required to contribute to the social security programs of the federal government, such as employment insurance, which provide benefits for those unemployed by maternity or illness, or due to unavailability of suitable work. In addition, the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan provides a basic minimum retirement allowance and certain disability and survivors’ benefits. Teachers also contribute to provincial/territorial hospital and medical insurance plans, the costs of which are shared by the federal and provincial governments. While coverage varies across the country, such plans cover the basic expenses of hospital accommodation and physicians’ services.
Each province/territory operates a compulsory retirement plan whereby teachers receive a pension in retirement. Contributions vary across the country.
A multi-lateral reciprocal agreement between some provinces and territories permits teachers to transfer pension credits from one jurisdiction to another. However since these reciprocal arrangements may vary, teachers should check directly with the respective provincial/territorial pension administrator for details.