Looking for a change? This is the time of year when teachers begin considering their options for the fall and, depending on their life circumstances, may be thinking about resigning their teaching contract. Whether the resignation is for the purpose of looking for employment in another school division or for retirement (if so, congratulations!), it is important for you to know your rights and obligations.
Resignation is not an easy decision. If you are on the fence, consider requesting a full-time unpaid leave of absence instead. Although an unpaid leave of absence is discretionary, if granted, it may be a way for you to keep your foot in the door in case you want or need to return to your current school division. Be sure to disclose to your employer the intent of the leave. Using a leave of absence for reasons inconsistent with those you provided at the time you requested the leave could be problematic. It is also wise to maintain your benefits during this leave to ensure that there is no gap in any income replacement insurance, such as Extended Disability Benefits, that is part of your benefits package. You also might wish to consider purchasing pensionable service from the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF). Contact ATRF about this option. If you choose to purchase pensionable service, be sure to do so as soon as possible after returning from your leave, because the cost of this service balloons if you delay. Consult your collective agreement or call Teacher Employment Services to find out more about the specific details of an unpaid leave of absence.
If you decide to resign, ensure that your resignation is done properly. If you are teaching on a temporary, probationary or interim contract that ends on June 30, you will not need to formally resign if you intend to work until your contract ends naturally on June 30. However, if you wish to resign your contract early or, in the case of a continuing contract, resign at any time, ensure that your resignation is consistent with the relevant provisions of the Education Act. Regardless of the type of teaching contract, if you wish to resign, you will have to provide 30 calendar days’ written notice to your school division. However, this rule changes slightly near vacation periods. Section 217 of the Education Act reads:
217(1) . . . a notice of termination of a contract of employment . . . must not be given by a board or a teacher
(a) in the 30 days preceding, or
a vacation period of 14 or more days’ duration.
This means that if you wish to end your contract near a vacation period, you will need to ensure that the school division receives your letter of resignation at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the vacation period. In some circumstances, however, it may not be possible for you to provide as much notice as is required by the Education Act. If this is the case, your school division may be agreeable to accepting your resignation by mutual agreement. If your school division is not agreeable, please call Teacher Employment Services to review your options.
When you resign your teaching contract, it is important to remember that your benefits will cease when your employment ends. For this reason, you should ensure that you have made any qualifying purchases and booked any necessary qualifying appointments (such as dental, optometry, chiropractic, physiotherapy and psychological appointments) prior to your last day of employment to ensure that you are covered for any related eligible expenses. There may be a period of time after your employment ends, called a runoff period, in which you can still submit eligible expenses to your health or wellness spending account, as long as those expenses were incurred before the date your employment ended. Consult with your benefits provider for more details.
If you are resigning to work in another school division next year, it is advisable to make your last official day of employment with your current school division as late as possible to ensure that you have benefit coverage until your new teaching contract starts. For example, if you have a new teaching contract beginning August 28, consider making your official resignation date with your current school division August 27. However, if you are resigning for the purpose of retirement, it is more financially advantageous for you to make your resignation effective the last operational day of the school year so that you can start collecting your pension in July. Please call Teacher Employment Services with any questions.
Resigning a teaching contract can present challenging considerations and decisions for teachers. Learn your rights and obligations. Call Teacher Employment Services at 1‑800‑232‑7208. #WEAREATA
The Nature of Teaching Duties (Part 2)—Duties in Classroom Instruction and the Role of Professional Time
Along with instructional time and assignable time, teachers have a professional responsibility for activities such as planning, preparation, marking and reporting.
A 2015 survey conducted by RA Malatest & Associates Ltd for the Ministry of Education examined teacher workload and found that an “average of approximately 80 minutes of additional activity accompanies each 60 minutes of instruction.”
Assignable time caps have existed for a long time and were added to all collective agreements in the first round of central bargaining in the 2012–16 round of bargaining. However, the professional time teachers spend to meet their practice obligations is unregulated. In general, professional timecan be defined as the time that is directed by teachers themselves.
• The when and the where determined by the teacher
• Time outside of the school day
• Time free from instruction
• Before and after school, unless assigned supervision or expected to be somewhere
• Weekends and holidays
Teachers have a duty to prepare adequately for daily teaching assignments and to plan each subject’s semester/year work to promote orderly development and progress. Planning units and creating instructional materials are professional time, because the teacher decides on the plan and materials for their students.
To conscientiously prepare lessons, the teacher must know exactly what is to be attempted from the beginning to the end of each lesson period. This is why planning is so time-consuming. As teachers should have a clear idea of how they and their students will accomplish the objectives, the teacher must make decisions about the method of presentation; proportions of teacher and student activity; student assignments, both in class and for homework; and other materials and instructional supports that will be used.
It would be absurd to attempt here to specify the length or nature of this preparation, since it will vary widely depending on the subject, the topic, and the experience and qualifications of the teacher. Additionally, no two teachers could, or should, present a lesson in exactly the same way. The methods by which a professional person practices are a matter for individual decision. It follows, then, that the amount of professional time allocated to preparation will also be individual to each teacher.
The methods by which a professional person practices are a matter for individual decision, so it follows that the amount of professional time allocated to preparation will also be individual to each teacher. #WEAREATA
Eligible Educator School Supply Tax Credit (Line 46900)
Unfortunately, it appears that teachers who claimed Line 46900--Eligible educator school supply tax credit(Line 46900) on their 2021 tax return will experience delays with their Notice of Assessment (and subsequent refunds).
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has informed teachers who have inquired about their returns that they would not be processing the 2021 tax returns for anyone who has claimed Line 46900 until the Royal Assent of Bill C-8 has been passed. Bill C-8 includes an increase in the School Supplies Tax Credit from 15 per cent to 25 per cent. Based on inquiries by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation/Fédération canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants (CTF/FCE), it appears that due to the combined effect of the late fall economic update that included the increased commitment, the late tabling of the bill to legislate the change and the minority government scenario, the government has been unable to pass this piece of legislation in the timeline they expected. As a result, teachers who claimed Line 46900 for their 2021 tax return should expect to see a delay of their Notice of Assessment.
The CTF/FCE has reached out to the Government of Canada to express their dissatisfaction that this expected delay was not communicated sooner and that other options outside of an indefinite delay until the Royal Assent of Bill C-8 were not explored. The CTF/FCE have written to staff in the Minister of Finance’s Office, the Minister of National Revenue’s Office and the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office. To date, only the Minister of National Revenue’s staff have responded and, while they recognized the severity of the issue and have agreed to provide support, they have encouraged the CTF/FCE to work directly with the Commissioner of Revenue.
If you are experiencing these delays, you are encouraged to contact the CTF/FCE’s Advocacy and Government Relations Coordinator, Mark Garcia via e-mail at email@example.com.
Additionally, if you wish to express your concerns about these delays and the lack of communication from the CRA or the Government of Canada, you are encouraged to contact your local Member of Parliament to advocate for better channels of communication between the federal government and the CTF/FCE.
Teachers who claimed Line 46900--Eligible educator school supply tax credit for their 2021 tax return should expect to be seeing a delay of their Notices of Assessment. If you are experiencing these delays, you are encouraged to contact the CTF/FCE’s Advocacy and Government Relations Coordinator, Mark Garcia via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates from ATA Provincial