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As a member of the BCTF you are entitled to a valuable asset: your pension through the Teachers’ Pension Plan (the “Plan”). As a member of the Plan, you are eligible for a lifetime monthly pension when you retire. Below are some important numbers all members should be aware of with respect to their Plan. Links to the Teachers’ Pension Plan website are provided where you can obtain more detail.

3 - You can buy service for up to three years of maternity or parental/adoption leave over our career. If you take off more than three years total for maternity or parental/adoption leaves, you can purchase the portion above the three-year maximum as a general leave. You may purchase up to five years of general leaves over your career. https://tpp.pensionsbc.ca/eligibility-for-buying-service-for-a-leave

5 - To buy service, you must apply within five years from the end of your leave or within 30 days of ending your employment with the employer with whom the leave occurred, whichever occurs first. If you buy an annual portion of a multi-year leave, the five-year purchase deadline starts at the end of the portion that is purchased. You don’t need to wait until you return to work to buy an annual portion of a multi-year leave. https://tpp.pensionsbc.ca/cost-considerations

7 - If you have taken an employer-approved leave of absence or quit work to raise a child under age seven, you may have your child-rearing time recognized as contributory service. You get a month of contributory service for every month during which you make a contribution to the Plan (or are deemed to have made a contribution).  Your contributory service is used to determine if your pension will be reduced at retirement and, if so, by how much. You must apply for the child-rearing credit while you are an active member or within 30 days of ending your job with all Plan employers.

9.2 - The Plan, which has a long-term investment horizon of decades, not months, showed a 10-year annual average return of 9.2 percent up to December 31, 2020. Despite the pandemic, the plan’s one-year return was an even stronger 10.7 percent.

10 - The Plan is jointly managed by ten trustees, five of whom are appointed by the employer partner (the provincial government) and five of whom are appointed by the member partner (BCTF). The trustees appoint directors to the boards of British Columbia Pension Corporation (which provides benefit administration services) and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (which provides investment management services).

25 - When you retire, only about 25 percent of your pension is paid by contributions made by you and your employer. The remainder of your pension is provided by the Plan’s investments.

30 - You must apply to buy service for a layoff period either while you are an active member or within 30 days of ending employment with all plan employers.

45 - Online courses and webinars are available from the Plan to help answer all your pension questions. You can take a 45-minute online course any time at the link below.

102.5 – the most recent valuation report showed that the Plan had a surplus and was 102.5 percent funded. The valuation is like a report card showing whether the plan is on track to meet its pension promise. If the assets are the same as or more than the liabilities, the plan is fully funded. A shortfall in assets is an unfunded liability which the Board of Trustees must address by adjusting contribution rates for members and employers.

2001 – On April 2, 2001 the provincial government and the BCTF entered into a joint trust agreement empowering the Teachers’ Pension Board of Trustees to administer the Plan, subject to limitations set out in the agreement and applicable laws. Over the years amendments were made to the joint trust agreement. In 2021, the Plan partners incorporated the various amendments into a restated joint trust agreement.

2018 – On January 1, 2018 the Plan was redesigned to become more equitable for all members no matter when they retire, what they earn, or what their work experience is. Members now pay the same contribution rate regardless of their salary for the same benefit accrual. For pensionable service earned after December 31, 2017, the basic lifetime pension formula uses an accrual rate of 1.9 percent multiplied by a member’s highest average salary and their post-2017 pensionable service.

100,000 – The Plan provides secure retirement income for more than 100,000 plan members which includes about 49,000 active members (working and contributing to the Plan), about 40,000 retired members (receiving a pension) and about 12,000 inactive members (no longer working for a plan employer but have left their contributions with the Plan and may be eligible for a pension).

1.584 billion – The December 31, 2020 valuation report showed a surplus in the Plan’s basic account of $1.584 billion as reported in the September 2021 Board Meeting highlights.

34.3 billion – The Plan’s net assets in 2020 were valued at $34.3 billion which included investment returns of $3.4 billion and $771 million from member and employer contributions in 2020.

1949 - Sarb Lalli is the Assistant Director, Pensions and Group Benefits at the BCTF. He is available at local 1949 to answer your Pension-related questions and provide assistance if you need to appeal a decision by the Teachers’ Pension Plan. For specific information about your pension please visit the TPP website and login to “My Account” using your Person ID number which can be found on your Member’s Benefit Statement. You can also contact the TPP’s customer service representatives at 1-800-665-6770 for personal assistance.

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Category/Topic: News & Updates
Tag: Benefits