Moira Macdonald asks in today's Toronto Sun whether or not retired teachers are hogging supply teaching jobs. Um, yes. Definitely. Most definitely. I have noted (but not really written) for some time that retirees coming back as occasional teachers is the biggest double-dip scam within the public service that I'm aware of. I can't think of another job paid from the public purse where retirees are treated so well.
As she points out, retired teachers (any certified teachers, regardless of what position they held at retirement) can return to work for up to 95 days without any penalty to their pension.
Not to mention, as Macdonald also notes, current OT contracts have gotten richer and richer over the past two cycles, to the point that you're paid a grid salary virtually from the first day of any supply placement. A few contracts ago, the grid rate only applied on OT placements once they hit a certain number of days. These were put in place so that new teachers could start accumulating seniority during their time in the OT gulag as they waited for a permanent contract— prior contracts would have many of these new teachers working very short-term placements for months and months and months and not gaining any seniority.
I still joke with a former Thames Valley staffer who retired as executive superintendent, was called to be acting director of education and then called upon again to be a superintendent of schools within the past three years. Every time I see him at a board function I ask if he's been pulled in from retirement again— but the point goes to the fact he can be pulled in without any pension penalty within the threshold.
All that said, a local contact within the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation explained to me earlier this year that the number of these double-dippers should start dropping soon. The 95-day penalty free ride is only for the first three years of retirement, after which the number of penalty free days drops to 20. The retirement hump — the milk and honey years for new teachers when full-time permanent contract positions were in abundance due to all the boomers who'd reached their 85 factor and were retiring — has passed in both elementary and secondary. For every year that goes by the number of teachers who are at 20 days will increase. More retirees with fewer penalty free days should make a difference in the number of days that become available as a result. Many of these provisions were brought in anticipation of this retirement hump, in that briefest of times when there may have been a teachers' shortage in this province.
Enforcement of the threshold is key, as Macdonald points out. Some boards are better than others, and some boards are not only acutely aware of the issue but also report monthly on the size of their supply lists and the percentage of each list that is made up of retirees.