Academic Staff - FAQs

FAQs about the program

If you are unsure about your service, please contact volretirementprogram@ucalgary.ca for assistance.

No – the minimum requirement of 80 points is a firm criterion.

Continuous service in prior contingent-term or limited-term positions is counted for the purposes of eligibility; however, only service in a tenure-track or tenure appointment is used when calculating points to determine priority for approval.

Yes. RSL’s are not considered unpaid leaves, therefore, you are entitled to apply in the same manner as other staff members. The receipt of RSL may impact the value of the VRIP offer. Please consult the February 10, 2020 email from the Faculty Association setting out the impact of various RSL leaves.

No. If your application is approved, under salary continuance your retirement date will be effective July 1, 2021. Two months prior to that date, the university will request the pension options package from the UAPP plan administrator on your behalf. You can expect to receive this package a month in advance of July 1, 2021.

If you choose the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program lump sum payment option, your retirement date will be July 1, 2020. In this case, the process will begin two months prior to that date.

Yes. You will contribute pension contributions based on 100% of your rank salary as at July 1, 2020, with matching employer contributions. Please be aware that contribution rates for the Universities Academic Pension Plan are changing slightly effective July 1, 2020.

Salary Portion

Current Rates

Rates Effective July 1, 2020

On earnings up to YMPE

(2020 YMPE: $58,700)

12.46%

12.37%

On earnings in excess of YMPE up to pensionable salary cap (2020 salary cap:

172,221.11)

16.23%

16.32%

On earnings in excess of the pensionable salary cap

1.45%

1.52%

During salary continuance, cost sharing for continuing benefits will remain in force. Keep in mind that you are required to pay 100% of life insurance and your other voluntary (optional spousal/dependent life and voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment) benefits while the university pays for Accidental Death & Dismemberment. Premium costs for health and dental are shared per the collective agreement. Rates are subject to change at the time of renewal (effective September 1, 2020). You will continue to have access to the Employee and Family Assistance Plan.

During salary continuance, you will not have new annual Flexible Spending Account credits, Long Term Disability or Tuition Support benefits for yourself, spouse and dependent children. No out of province emergency travel coverage is provided. You will not receive the Professional Expense Reimbursement (i.e. the allocation for the 2020-2021 academic year will be $0 rather than the $1,750 for non-VRIP academic staff members).

Once the salary continuance begins, you will no longer have access to sick leave or other leave programs at the university. Long Term Disability coverage ceases on June 30, 2020.

Yes. You will receive a new card indicating only health and dental coverage with no emergency travel coverage.

You will not have access to emergent hospital and physician services or any travel assistance benefits while travelling outside of your home province or out of the country. You may wish to seek individual travel insurance if you are planning any travel.

No. Annual FSA credits will not be provided at July 1, 2020. If you choose the salary continuance option, you will be able to carry forward any FSA credits from the July 1, 2019 benefit year through the salary continuance period. During the salary continuance period, you may submit claims to use these credits in accordance with the benefit plan terms, as long as the expenses claimed are incurred by June 30, 2021. Keep in mind that any claims incurred up to June 30, 2020 must be submitted prior to September 30, 2020. Claims incurred after June 30, 2020 should be submitted as soon as they are incurred.

If you choose the lump-sum option, you will not be able to carry forward any FSA credits past June 30, 2020. You may only claim any remaining FSA credits for expenses incurred up to June 30, 2020, and you will have 90 days to submit a paper claim to Alberta Blue Cross following your June 30, 2020 employment end date. After your employment end date, you will no longer have access to your Alberta Blue Cross secure online account, so you will be required to submit a paper claim form. Claim forms are available on the Alberta Blue Cross website.

Any accrued vacation time must be used prior to June 30, 2020.  Any vacation amounts accrued and not taken will not be paid out.

If you choose the salary continuance option, you will be able to continue to supervise any students under your supervision as of the date of your acceptance for the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program through June 30, 2021.

If you choose the lump-sum option, your employment effectively ends on June 30, 2020. You will be able to continue to supervise any students under your supervision as of the date of your acceptance for the VRIP through June 30, 2021 with the appointment of a co-supervisor and the agreement of the grad student. The Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies may reassign supervisors in the event expectations for quality supervision are not met.

Once you have been accepted for the program, approval to become the supervisor of other students will need the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies on a case-by-case basis, similar to how someone holding emeritus/emerita status could be considered as described in clause 4.5 of the Graduate Student Supervision Policy. Your ability to continue to supervise graduate students beyond June 30, 2021 will depend upon whether or not you transition to emeritus/emerita status after retirement on June 30, 2021. The emeritus/emerita appointment process would be no different from the case of someone retiring outside of the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program. Being awarded emeritus/emerita status is not guaranteed.

If you choose the salary continuance option, you will be able to continue to access research funding currently held (grants or contracts) through June 30, 2021. Your ability to continue to access research funds currently held beyond June 30, 2021 will depend upon whether or not you transition to emeritus/emerita status after retirement on June 30, 2021.

If you choose the lump-sum option, your academic appointment ends on June 30, 2020. Your ability to continue to access research funding currently held will depend on your specific grant requirements; however, generally an academic appointment must be maintained in order to hold grant funds. Requests for an unpaid adjunct appointment for those who choose the lump-sum option may be considered on a case-by-case basis; however, approval of your department will be required, and applications cannot be made contingent on this approval.

If your research activities involve lab space, allocation of space will be determined through your Dean’s office through faculty-level processes independent of whether an academic staff member is on regular duties or accepted in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program.

Yes. Regular retirement policies continue to apply. Please refer this guide for details about retirement gifts/parties.

The ability to transfer some or all of your lump sum to your RRSP is dependent upon your service period and contribution room. Please see the break down between the Eligible Amount and Non-Eligible Amount below.

Retiring Allowance – Eligible Amount

As per CRA guidelines your eligible Retiring Allowance amount indicated below is allowed to be transferred directly to an RRSP without utilizing your personal RRSP room.

$2,000 for each year or part of a year before 1996 that the person worked for the employer;

Plus $1,500 for each year or part of a year before 1989 of employment in which any or all of the employer’s contributions to the Registered Pension Plan was not vested in the employee’s name when the employer pays the retiring allowance.

Members who can start drawing an immediate pension at age 55 or older will not be eligible for the $1,500 for each year or part of a year before 1989 because the employer’s contributions would have been vested. 

Retiring Allowance – Non-Eligible Amount

The remaining portion of your Severance payment is deemed as Non-Eligible. A transfer of all or part of this amount to an RRSP or a spousal RRSP is allowed as long as you have sufficient personal RRSP room available which can be found on your most recent CRA – Notice of Assessment.

FAQs about retirement

To obtain a pension estimate, use the retirement planner tool on the UAPP website. Visit www.uapp.ca and from the home page click on the Retirement Planner link and then click on the Register Now button to set up an online account. In 2017, this portal was upgraded. In you have not used this tool since that time, on your first visit to the upgraded portal your old login will not work and you will need to set up a new login.

For assistance, contact the UAPP Administration Centre at 1.866.709.2092.

Pensionable Service is the period of service for which contributions are made since the date of participation in the pension plan.

Years of pensionable service may not be equal to years of continuous service if your appointment is pension ineligible at the date of hire.

For service in UAPP, if you retire before age 60, your pension will be reduced if you do not have the 80 points (age plus pensionable service).

For UAPP, the early retirement reduction is calculated as the lesser of:

  1. 3% for each year short of 80 points, or
  2. 3% for each year short of age 60

For example, you are age 59 and have attained 75 points:

based on points, (80 -75) * 3% = 15% based on age, (60 - 59) * 3% = 3%

The early retirement reduction to be applied to your UAPP pension = 3%

For UAPP, you qualify for an unreduced pension if:

  1. you have attained 80 points (age plus pensionable service) between age 55 and 60, or
  2. you are age 60 or older even if you do not have the 80 points.

No. Human Resources will initiate this process. Approximately two months prior to your retirement which is either July 1, 2020 if you choose the lump sum or July 1, 2021 if you choose the salary continuance option, we will request a pensions options package from the plan administrator. You will then receive this package within 3 – 4 weeks.

If you were age 69 as of December 31, 2019 and still working, you would have been required to commence your UAPP monthly pension in accordance with the pension plan regulation and you no longer contribute to the UAPP. You will continue to receive the payment for as long as you live and participating in this program does not impact your pension payments. During the salary continuance portion of this program, no pension contributions will be deducted.

Your university group benefits coverage ceases on retirement. When you approach your retirement date of June 30, 2021, or earlier if you choose the lump sum option, you will receive a reminder that your benefits will end. At that time, you will receive information about conversion options and you may also consider purchasing post-retirement individual benefits coverage. There are many providers offering individual plans such as the Alberta Retirement Teachers’ Association (ARTA), Alberta Blue Cross, CAUT, Manulife, Canadian Retired Persons’ Association, Alberta Motor Association, etc. Please note that there is typically a short time frame in which to apply for individual coverage once you lose group coverage, medical evidence may be required and all costs are your responsibility.

As a University of Calgary employee you are eligible for preferred pricing through the Alberta Blue Cross Retiree Plan. Contact them directly to obtain a quote.

Information on the Alberta Retired Teachers Association can be found here.

Yes. If you are interested in this, you may apply for emeritus status once you retire. For details, refer to the information on the Human Resources website.

Refer to this retirement guide for details on a Retired Employee Card.

FAQs about payroll information

Staff that elect the salary continuance option will continue to receive regular pay deposits on the standard semi-monthly (10th and 25th) payroll frequency.

This will be paid as a lump sum retiring allowance. This retiring allowance can be allocated to either a cash payment or transferred directly to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP).

If allocated to cash payment, the employer will deduct income tax from any part of a retiring allowance paid directly to the recipient based on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) prescribed lump sum rate rates of 10% for < $5000, 20% for $5001-$15,000, and 30% for > $15,001.

If allocated to a RRSP, a transfer of all or part of this amount to an RRSP is allowed as long as you have sufficient personal RRSP room available which can be found on your most recent CRA – Notice of Assessment. No income tax will be withheld on this amount of the retiring allowance that is directly transferred to the recipient’s RRSP.

The amount transferred, as well as any other retiring allowance amounts paid to the employee or former employee, will be reported by the employer on a T4 Slip for Canada Revenue Agency purposes.

All final payments will be direct deposited to your bank account on file on the next available pay date (10th or 25th) and a pay statement will be mailed to your home address. Should your banking information change before your final payments are made, please contact the Payroll Department.

Your ROE will be filed electronically with Service Canada after your final payments have been processed with a reason of separation as E-Quit/Voluntary Retirement. Should you have any questions in regards to your ROE, please contact the Payroll Department.

You will receive your annual tax slip(s) via Canada Post by the end of February. Should your mailing address change before you receive your tax slip, please notify Human Resources Operations with your new mailing address.

The Government of Alberta's Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act, which was passed in 2015, applies to all public sector agencies, boards and commissions including universities. The law requires the University of Calgary to annually disclose the names, positions, compensation, non-monetary benefits, and severance / retiring allowance for all current and former faculty and staff whose employment income exceeds the annual threshold. Each year, the threshold is adjusted based on the annual Consumer Price Index.

If your compensation exceeds the annual threshold even as a retired employee, the University of Calgary will be required to publish the information detailed above on both the university’s Compensation Disclosure List and the Government of Alberta’s consolidated public sector body compensation database in December and June.

For further information, please refer to the University of Calgary’s website on the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Art. The website includes FAQ’s and will be updated with additional information as it becomes available from the Government of Alberta.

We can now confirm that all requests for the lump-sum payment option for the VRIP Incentive will be approved.

Additional FAQs

You will not be eligible for any re-employment with the University of Calgary until July 1, 2022.

This is possible only under exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the Provost; however, applications cannot be made contingent on this approval. Once approved to participate in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program, you may request approval to postpone the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program incentive; however, you must be prepared to participate in the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program regardless of whether your request is approved, as your application is irrevocable.

You will not be entitled to the Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) benefit for July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. If you choose the salary continuance option, you will be permitted to carry forward your accrued but unspent PER balance until June 30, 2021, in accordance with the Procedures and Guidelines of the PER Handbook and the terms of the Collective Agreement.  If you choose the lump-sum option, you will not be able to use your PER benefit beyond your employment end date of June 30, 2020. All claims for eligible expenses incurred up to June 30, 2020 must be made before August 31, 2020.

You will receive an email acknowledgement from VolRetirementProgram@ucalgary.ca within two business days.

Only if your application falls within the 10% limit of the total departmental number of continuing academic positions; however, acceptance into the program must be determined in order of descending points, and approval up to 5% is automatic. If your application is above the 10% threshold, your Dean/equivalent will not be informed that you applied.

If you choose the salary continuance option, your employment with the University in your current position continues through to the end of the salary continuance period (June 30, 2021); however, you are not on active duties during that time. If you choose the lump-sum payment option, your employment in your current position ends effective June 30, 2020.