General Information

Who contributes to the Salary Indemnity Fund?
  • Effective 2015–16, each teacher contributes 1.67% of the salary earned. Of that, 0.46% support the short-term portion of the plan and 1.21% support the long-term portion.

    All teachers must contribute to the short-term portion of the plan. However, if a teacher has reached factor 88, 64 years of age, or is in receipt of a registered pension, she/he may withdraw from the long-term portion of the plan.

Who is eligible to collect benefits from these plans?
  • Under the short-term portion of the plan, a teacher may receive benefits from the plan, beginning the day after the last day of paid work or sick leave, if the teacher is prevented, by illness or injury, from performing her/his normal employment duties. A teacher may receive short-term disability benefits for 120 days.

    Once into long-term disability, a teacher may receive benefits for up to one year, being disabled from her/his own “occupation.” After that first year, the teacher must be suffering from a mental or physical disability that prevents the teacher from performing the duties of any gainful employment, and is designated as being disabled from “any occupations.”

Who pays the benefits?
  • Short-term claims are adjudicated and paid by the BC Teachers’ Federation, while long-term claims are adjudicated and paid by Great-West Life. However, this is not an insured plan. Both short-term and long-term benefits are paid directly from members’ Salary Indemnity Plan fees.
How long can a teacher remain on benefits?
  • Once a teacher has been in receipt of benefits for 90 days, a medical specialist must support the claim. A teacher can continue to receive benefits from the plan so long as the on-going medical supports the claim.
How many people are currently receiving benefits?
  • There are approximately 2,364 teachers currently receiving short-term or long-term benefits from the plan.
How do we know if we have enough money to pay these claims?
  • The Plan is subject to an actuarial evaluation each year. As a result, we always know the status of the funding of the plan and the Salary Indemnity Plan fee is reviewed annually.
Could the plan run out of money and not be able to pay benefits to teachers currently on claim?
  • As of June 30, 2015, the fund has a surplus of approximately $98 million. There is sufficient money set aside to pay the benefits to all teachers who are currently on claim. The fund is invested and managed professionally, in accordance with BCTF policy, and the BCTF Finance Committee oversees the investment managers each quarter. The fund is diversified, and invested conservatively.

For more information:

Salary Indemnity Plan Flowchart

CTA - What if you get sick

Factor 88? Don’t wait

A member who has attained age 64, has reached factor ‘88’ (age plus contributory service), or is in receipt of a retirement pension under a registered pension plan, may voluntarily withdraw from the long-term portion of the Salary Indemnity Plan. Withdrawal may be made during any school year in which one of the foregoing conditions has been met and upon the completion of the appropriate withdrawal form. Withdrawal will be effective, upon approval, in September for applications received in that month. Applications submitted later will be effective the month following approval of the application.

In making an application for withdrawal, you should ensure that in the event of serious illness or accident you have sufficient accumulated sick leave which, when combined with 120 days of benefit from SIP: short-term, will protect your salary to the end of the month in which you reach factor ‘90’ or the end of the month you attain age 65, whichever comes first.

Principals and vice-principals should contact their HR department to inquire if they are members of the BCTF SIP or the disability plan offered through the BCPVPA. The BCPVPA plan will have its withdrawal guidelines.

Applications are available by contacting the BCTF Income Security Division

Additional Links

Salary Indemnity Plan (SIP) - Short-Term - FAQ

Included for your information are some basic responses to frequently asked questions regarding the short-term portion of the Salary Indemnity Plan.

I’m out of, or running out of, sick leave. How do I apply for SIP?
  • Members, who suspect that their illness will continue beyond their sick leave entitlements, are encouraged to contact the Income Security Division of the BCTF at least one month prior to the expiration of their sick leave. A short-term disability benefits application package can be obtained from the CTA office.
How much does SIP pay?
  • SIP benefits are 50% of the salary reported to us by the school district. The benefit is non-taxable. In addition, the member does not pay, but receives credit for having paid, their pension as well as local and BCTF fees.
How long does SIP last?
  • A member is entitled to a maximum of 120 days of short-term disability benefits, in respect of any one claim.
Are SIP benefits taxable? How do I get my T4?
  • SIP benefits are not taxable because it is a self-insured plan. You have already paid income tax on the monthly fee deducted from your pay, therefore the benefits cannot be taxed. You will not receive a T4.
While on SIP, will my Teachers’ Pension be paid?
  • Members on SIP receive full pensionable credit for the portion of time for which they receive benefits.
Will SIP pay my benefits (medical/extended health/dental/life insurance)?
  • Unfortunately, SIP does not cover those benefits. A member applying for SIP is encouraged to consult with their school district or local union office to inquire about maintaining benefits. In some cases, the school district will continue to cost-share the benefit premiums for a period of time.
Does SIP pay Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) premiums?
  • SIP does not pay CPP and EI premiums. A member, in receipt of disability benefits, is not employed by the SIP. Therefore, CPP contributory time is not credited and disability benefits are not considered insurable earnings under the EI mandate.
Am I entitled to SIP short-term if I have withdrawn from the long-term portion of the plan?
  • All members pay the short-term portion of the SIP fee and are entitled to apply for short-term disability benefits.
Why do I have to use my sick leave entitlements before going on short-term SIP?
  • Your local association has negotiated sick leave provisions into your local collective agreement. These provisions place the onus on the employer (school board) to provide full pay with respect to a documented illness until the expiration of sick leave or the maximum number of sick leave days that may be used in a year. Once again, the Salary Indemnity Plan regulations are very clear that a member shall be eligible for benefits on the first working day following the termination/expiration of sick leave.
Can I skip short-term and go directly to the long-term portion of SIP if I have a long-term illness?
  • The plan regulations are quite specific that a member shall be eligible for long-term disability benefits immediately following the termination of sick leave and SIP short-term benefits. Therefore, it is not possible to skip the short-term portion of the plan and go directly to the long-term portion.

Salary Indemnity Plan (SIP) - Long-Term - FAQ

Included for your information are some basic responses to frequently asked questions regarding the long-term portion of the Salary Indemnity Plan.

Who pays the teacher’s fees?
  • Fees like BCTF, local dues, and SIP are all waived while in receipt of both short and long-term benefits. However, those fees will be deducted for any portion the member is working accommodation employment. (Regulation 7.3—locals and the BCTF also waive their fees)

    Members pay a fee (in 2012, the fee was 1.63%) that is allocated to the short-term and long-term portion of the Salary Indemnity Plan. That fee is fixed annually at the AGM of the BCTF. Members may withdraw from paying the long-term portion of the fee once they have reached factor 88 (sum of age and years of service) or 64 years of age or age 65. However, withdrawal should only occur if the member has enough sick days accumulated that will allow them to remain at full salary should they become medically unable to work before reaching factor 90.

Are my medical bills paid by GWL?
  • No, SIP Regulation 3.8 says: “Expenses incurred by the member in obtaining medical certificates or other requested information under this regulation shall be borne by the member….” The only exception is when a member is required to submit to an independent medical examination (IME) by medical professionals selected by the plan administrator (Regulation 3.4).
You have my claim, how long do I wait for a decision? What is the LTD claim process?
  • If they have the necessary information, GWL often turns around a decision within a few weeks. However, it is not unusual for GWL to require further medical information or clarification on the medical information submitted as part of the application. If this is the case, members are notified by GWL. GWL will likely telephone a member for an interview before the decision. Once a decision has been reached the member is contacted by telephone with a follow-up letter.
Why does GWL ask for additional medical and other information?
  • SIP Regulation 3.7 indicates that: “A member in receipt of benefits for more than three months will be required to provide supporting medical evidence indicating that he/she is receiving ongoing care and treatment by a licensed specialist physician for that disability, or a registered psychologist as directed by a licensed physician except where the plan administrator is aware that the disability is terminal.”

    All regulations are passed at BCTF Annual General Meetings by a 75% majority of the delegates. Great-West Life must adjudicate and manage the claims according to the regulations they have been given.

What happens to my extended health benefits and am I covered?
  • While on LTD benefits a member’s continued involvement in their district’s extended health benefits plan (EHB) will depend on the language in their Collective Agreement. Many plans require members to pay both the employee and employer’s share of contributions to remain on their EHB plan while on LTD. It is important to check with your local union office to ensure you maintain coverage while on LTD.