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Purchasing Service

​​​In addition to the content on this page, you can refer to the publication, Purchasing Service, for additional information.

Value of Purchasing ​Service

Purchasing service is beneficial to you because it increases your pensionable service, which in turn increases your pension.

Cost of Purchasing Ser​​vice

The cost of purchasing pensionable service equals the value of the increase in pension benefit as calculated on the date of application. The calculation uses your projected annual pensionable salary or your five-year average pensionable salary at the date of application, whichever is higher, and assumes that the pension will be paid at the earliest possible date. The purchase is cost neutral, resulting in no subsidized cost to you or the Plan.

Obtaining an Esti​mate

ATRF or our website can estimate the cost of purchasing pensionable service. You are encouraged to obtain an estimate before making a formal application. ATRF will provide an approximate cost and, if you have sufficient pensionable service to be entitled to a pension, will provide estimated pension amounts with and without the purchase.

You may also use the estimator in MyPension to calcula​te the cost of purchasing pensionable service.​

Limitations and Conditio​​ns

Pensionable service can be purchased in total, or in half-year increments. If you are applying for a pension, any portion of service can be purchased. Each type of pensionable service purchase has specific eligibility requirements. Under the tax rules, a maximum of one year of pensionable service may be provided for any calendar year or school year. Generally, purchases of post-1989 pensionable service must first be approved by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Once approved, the purchase is fully tax-deductible but reduces your RRSP contribution room. Since each Plan member’s financial situation is different, you should contact CRA or your financial adviser for more detailed information.

Leave Li​m​​​its

Under the Income Tax Act, there are specific limits for purchasing periods of leave. According to Information Circular IC 72-13R8, the limits for purchasing parental and employer-approved leaves are indicated below.

Pre-1991 Leave​​s

The maximum that can be purchased is three years of leave for any calendar years prior to 1991. The type of leave is irrelevant; it can be all parental leave, all employer-approved leave or a combination of both. However, it cannot exceed three years in total.

Post-1990 Le​aves

Members can purchase a maximum of:

  • three years of parental leave for calendar years after 1990, and
  • five years of employer-approved leave for calendar years after 1990.

Purchase of Employer-Approve​​​d Leaves

Any employer-approved leave can be purchased if you:

  • were a contributing active member of ATRF or on strike immediately before the leave, and
  • are currently accruing pensionable service as a contributing active member of ATRF or as a disabled member.

You are not required to return to employment with the same employer after the leave ends, nor are you required to take any minimum number of courses during an educational or professional improvement leave.

Leave ​​Limits

Under the Income Tax Act, there are specific limits for purchasing periods of leave. See “Limitations and Conditions” above for these details.

Purchase of Previously R​efunded Service

If you have withdrawn contributions and interest from ATRF for a period of pensionable service, you can purchase this service if you are currently accruing pensionable service as a contributing active member or as a disabled member.

Purchase of Substitute Servi​​ce​

Only substitute service provided with an ATRF employer since May 1, 1971 may be purchased.

If you are currently applying for an ATRF pension:

  • you may purchase any amount of substitute service, and
  • the cost is shared by the Alberta Go​vernment.

If you are currently accruing pensionable service as a contributing active member or as a disabled member:

  • You may purchase any amount of substitute service.
  • If you purchase fewer than 186 days, you are required to pay the full cost.
  • If you purchase service in 186-day blocks, the cost is shared by the Alberta Government.

If you are not currently accruing pensionable service as a contributing active member or as a disabled member:

  • you may purchase only 186-day blocks of substitute service, and
  • the cost is shared by the Alberta Government.

In any case, there is no cost sharing if the substitute service was rendered with an ATRF private school.

Purchase of Disability S​ervice to August 31, 1992

Periods of disability before September 1, 1992 can be purchased if:

  • you are currently accruing pensionable service as a contributing active member or as a disabled member,
  • you were a contributing active member, on strike or on leave of absence immediately before your period of disability,
  • you withdrew from teaching because of a disability even though you may have been capable of other gainful employment, and
  • you received a long-term or extended disability benefit or you can provide satisfactory medical evidence to support your disability.

Purchase of Past Private Scho​ol Service

Service with ATRF private schools can be purchased if:

  • you are currently accruing pensionable service as a contributing active member or as a disabled member,
  • the private school is currently an ATRF employer, or was an ATRF employer in the past, and
  • you are or were a member of the Private School Teachers’ Pension Plan.

For service with a private school after December 31, 1991, the tax rules require that the private school must have had a pension plan in place, you must no longer be a member of that plan, and no benefits may remain to your credit for the service.

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