Pension Points for Employers December 2021

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Didn't get a chance to read the Pension Points newsletter in your inbox? You can look at all the articles below.

CEO Message

ATRF CEO Rod Matheson
ATRF CEO Rod Matheson

It’s been another few months of hectic activity and ongoing change, so there are a few important items that I’d like to update you on. First of all, our staff continue to work remotely throughout this enduring pandemic.

Once it is safe to do so, we plan to open our doors to the public and members once again, and we will be sure to keep you informed when this change takes place.

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ATA Teacher Count

Every year, the ATA conducts a member count using the data that each school board reports for the month of November through ATRF-CS. This yearly activity assists the ATA with their budgeting. ATA and ATRF work in partnership with school boards to ensure accurate and up-to-date data is provided in a timely manner. Please ensure you report your November 2021 data before the first week of January 2022. Thank you for being current with your monthly reporting.

Annual Plan Member Statements

Annual Plan Member Statements will be available to plan members digitally or by mail in the new year. Mailing dates are posted on the ATRF website as mailings are completed. Remember to encourage your staff to sign up to access their MyPension portal for a safe, secure, and convenient way to view their statements at any time once they’re available.

Retirement Transition Offerings

A  quick reminder that if you’re planning on offering employees a retirement transition program, it’s critical that you and your teachers follow the necessary steps to ensure that they qualify and apply for their pension.

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Returning to Teaching After Retirement

Returning to the classroom may impact members’ pensions. Members receiving an ATRF pension may only teach up to 0.6 of a school year before their pension payments are affected. If 0.6 service is exceeded, their monthly pension payment will be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the amount of monthly salary paid, up to the monthly pension amount.

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Introducing ATRF’s New Website

This fall, ATRF launched a new website, featuring a clean aesthetic driven by our desire to make pension information easily accessible and understandable. Although our web address is staying the same (atrf.com), when you arrive at our site you will see an enhanced user experience that puts members, employers, and stakeholders first.

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Reporting December Leave and Disability Payouts

If a member goes on disability or takes a leave of absence in the month of December, the payout is to be reported in January of the following year. If the payout is reported in December, it will cause the member to earn over one year of pensionable service. Members cannot exceed one year of service in either a calendar or school year. If the payout is reported in December, ATRF will notify you to ‘DR – Delete Record’ the payout record and re-report the record in the month of January.

Employees Who Turn 71

Birthdays are a time for celebration, but it’s important to remember that, per the Income Tax Act, employees are unable to contribute to their pension plan after the end of the calendar year in which they turn age 71.

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The 2021 Annual Report is Coming Soon

We encourage you to look on our website for the Annual Report and Highlights in January of 2022. If your teachers would like to receive a digital version of the highlights, instead of having a copy mailed to them, encourage them to log in to MyPension to make this selection. On the opening page they can select Join/Update our Email list and change their mailing preferences.

Welcome to New Employers

A warm welcome to our three newest employers who joined the plans on September 1- two new charter schools and a private school.

Plan Member Satisfaction Remains High

A plan member survey completed in the spring shows satisfaction in our service remains high, with plan members finding value in our website, information materials, tools and services, and our online MyPension portal.

The survey was emailed to 59,994 active, retired, and inactive members, and generated a very good response rate of more than 18%. View the infographic highlighting the survey results.

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New Webinars Available

ATRF has a number of webinars available through Zoom. We have webinars for:

  • teachers who are planning to retire,
  • new teachers,
  • substitute teachers, and
  • every other teacher in between.

We even have a webinar about purchasing service, which will be of particular interest if you have teachers that have returned from a personal or parental leave, as well as a webinar for teachers that have transferred to Alberta from another province or territory.

Please go to the Meet With Us page for a description of our webinars and how teachers can register to attend. A list of upcoming webinar dates is available on MyPension. New dates, times, and topics will be added regularly, so please remind your teachers to sign in to MyPension often to view the up-to-date schedule.

YMPE Update

This Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) for 2022 is $64,900.00. The Defined Benefit limit, set by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), is $3,420.00 for 2022; therefore, the maximum pensionable salary will be $190,470.00 for 2022.

This information will be reflected in the ATRF-CS Build #551. An email will be sent directly to all employers when the build is ready, and will also be located on our website.

On our website, you will see detailed tables providing information on the applicable contribution rates, YMPE, and maximum pensionable salary (salary cap) to ensure your payroll reflects these rates. For information about the 2022-23 contribution rates, be sure to watch for the annual report, coming out this January.

Reporting Substitute Service in ATRF-CS

When reporting substitute service records in ATRF-CS, there are a few special codes that could be used. Below is a brief summary of what code should be used in certain situations:

  • Special Code 53 – Substitute service for retired members
  • Special Code 33 – Substitute service for members who are not receiving a pension
  • Special Code 43 – Substitute service – Statutory Holidays only

Do you have other questions about ATRF-CS? Check out our user manual, our employer section of the website, or send an email to helpdesk@atrf.com.

Closed for the Holidays

ATRF will be closed for services and inquiries from December 25, 2021 through January 3, 2022, re-opening on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. Our physical offices in the Alberta Teachers’ Association building are currently closed to the public, but our staff are working hard to ensure ATRF members continue to receive services during the pandemic. Remember that the MyPension online portal is always available, as well as the ATRF website. We wish you and your family a safe, healthy, and joyous holiday season and look forward to serving you again in 2022.

ATRF is Growing its Online Presence

Have you checked us out on social media yet? We want to make it easy for you to engage with us online, so we’ve expanded our social media presence. ATRF now has accounts on Facebook and Twitter, in addition to our already popular LinkedIn page.

Like and follow our content to stay in the know about your teacher pension. Our ATRF social media channels will keep you in the loop with important member information, business updates, and upcoming webinars and offerings. Follow us.