School Board Recruiters Will Face Tough Challenges for Another Decade
In December 1998, the College warned that 45 per cent of active teachers would reach retirement age by 2008. But the latest College study shows that after Ontario's education system was hit by a massive wave of retirements, the profession remains just as vulnerable to retirements as it was two years ago. One in four of Ontario's remaining teachers will retire by 2005. Forty-five per cent will retire by 2010.


By Frank McIntyre

The retirement of 15,500 active teachers over the past two years is just the beginning of a massive hand-off from one generation to the next. The latest College study shows that more teachers will be able to retire in 2002 than when the 85-factor early retirement window for Ontario teachers opened in 1998.

The experience of 1998 — when more than 10,000 active teachers retired — tells us that many will choose early retirement. The difference two years from now for Ontario boards of education is that the reserve pool of former Ontario graduates, former teachers and occasional teachers they recruited from in 1998 is now substantially depleted. For many areas and teaching subjects, it could be a tough road for board recruiters.

Over the past two years a reserve pool of former teachers and recent graduates re-joined the profession to take the retirees' places across the province. Occasional teachers also took up regular teaching positions in significant numbers. Most 1998 and 1999 graduates of our faculties of education joined the profession immediately and thousands more teachers entered Ontario from other provinces and countries. But this pre-1998 reserve pool is not being substantially replenished.


In a follow-up to the Ontario College of Teachers 1998 ground-breaking study of teacher retirements, the College registry shows that the near-retirement age group in 2000 continues at historic high numbers despite the exodus that has already taken place over the past two years. More than 46,000 of this year's Ontario-qualified teachers will likely retire from the profession by 2005 and 78,000 may be gone by 2010. The teacher-hiring boom of the 1960s continues to drive historic high teacher retirements today. The 47 to 54 age group are significantly greater in average yearly number than those who preceded and those who followed them into the profession. The College registry reveals that this group, the prime retirement group now, is 3,000 larger in each age level than younger teachers aged 26 to 46.

This unusually high retirement bulge does not end until we reach the next decade. By 2010 the much smaller age groups now in their mid-forties become the prime retirement populations and the annual teacher exodus is sharply reduced.

This year's forecast identifies an average retirement rate of 9,200 qualified teachers annually over the period 2001 to 2005. The following five-year period, 2006 through 2010, brings somewhat lower withdrawal rates of 6,400 per year. A rate of 4,300 per year emerges for 2011 to 2015, much lower numbers that reflect the low hiring rates for Ontario teachers in the 1970s.


High rates of teacher retirements will continue throughout this decade in all regions of Ontario. Through 2005, losses to retirement range from a low of 26 per cent in southwest Ontario to a high of 29 per cent in Toronto. Over the decade, more than four in 10 teachers will retire in every region of the province.

Although the retirement rate for French-language certified teachers is slightly lower than for English-language teachers, both French and English school boards will need to engage in constant recruitment campaigns and orientation of large numbers of new teachers throughout the decade. Twenty-one per cent of French-language certified teachers retire by 2005 and 40 per cent by 2010 — only six per cent below the corresponding rates for English-language teachers.

Elementary and secondary qualified teacher groups will both experience high retirement rates over the five and 10-year forecast period. Thirty-one per cent of Primary-Junior qualified teachers and 27 per cent of Intermediate-Senior likely retire by 2005. By 2010, 54 per cent of Primary-Junior and 47 per cent of Intermediate-Senior retire. Most Junior-Intermediate qualified teachers do not reach retirement by 2010, since this Ontario certification is relatively new.


Earlier College reports identified a gradual decline in the proportion of male teachers in the province. This trend is well established now with new male teachers increasingly rare in both elementary and secondary schools. The younger the group, the smaller the proportion that is male. One in four Primary-Junior (PJ) teachers aged 55 and older are male. Among PJ teachers under 30, only one in eight are male.

Intermediate-Senior (IS) teachers show the same pattern and it appears even more dramatic given that secondary school teachers used to be predominantly male. The majority of IS teachers aged 55 and older are male. Compared with this high of 57 per cent male, only 30 per cent of those under age 30 are male. Junior-Intermediate qualified teachers present a similar pattern.

Teaching subjects traditionally considered to be "male subjects" show the same trend. Three of every four older teachers with math or science qualifications are males. The under-30 group by contrast shows males down to one in three. Even in computer studies males are less than half of the younger teacher group.

As the retirements of this decade unfold, teaching populations in Ontario's secondary schools will take on more and more the appearance of those in elementary schools. Very quickly, most departments will become substantially female. Males in the current generation are deserting the teaching profession in Ontario.


More than three of four teachers who hold vice-principal and principal qualifications today will retire by 2010. By far the majority of teachers who hold the Principal's Qualification Part II, or its equivalent, are 50 or older. The College registry shows that 25 per cent are age 55 and older and 65 per cent are age 50 or more. Only 16 per cent of those who hold the qualification are under age 45.

The gender shift is also evident among this group. Female teachers are now one-half of all teachers qualified for vice-principal and principal roles and 60 per cent of College members under age 50 who hold this qualification are now female. This year's retirements will very likely ensure that female teachers will for the foreseeable future make up the majority of teachers qualified for leadership roles in Ontario schools.

Frank McIntyre is the College's human resources consultant. He can be reached at fmcintyre@oct.ca.

New Data-Sharing Agreement Gives Profession Better Information

For the first time ever, the College can compare teachers' pension plan information on employment and pension eligibility with College teacher qualification records to pinpoint boards and regions that will suffer most from teacher retirements.

The College, the Ministry of Education and the Ontario Teachers' Federation agreed in early 2000 to a pilot project merging the College's teacher qualifications data with the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board (OTPPB) data. A formal protocol protects the privacy of individual teachers in the data sharing process.

Using actual age-plus-service factors and a simplified version of the OTPPB actuarial model for forecasting retirement, the College found that 23 per cent of the 140,000 teachers employed in 1999 by OTPPB-recognized employers (the study excluded first-year teachers) have either already retired or can be expected to retire by 2005. A further 17 per cent retire by 2010. In total, four in 10 of Ontario's experienced teachers in 1999 leave the profession this decade.

The retirement pattern is consistent with the College's more comprehensive studies of all Ontario-qualified teachers who are included in the College registry, whether they are employed by OTPPB-recognized employers or not.

The highest rates of retirement are hitting Northern Ontario school boards and the public and Catholic boards in Toronto. At 26 per cent retired by 2005, Northern Ontario presents a significantly older teacher population than central Ontario where only 19 per cent retire by mid-decade.

This lower central Ontario retirement rate is not a source of much comfort for recruiters in school boards around Toronto, however. The relatively recent population growth in central Ontario that accounts for the younger age profile of teachers hired in the 1980s and 1990s is forecast to continue. Significant growth in population, school enrolment and, therefore, teacher numbers in the region add further recruitment pressures to the retirement replacement demand for these boards.

Looking across the province, Toronto follows the lead of Northern Ontario with 24 per cent retiring by 2005, northwest Ontario hits 23 per cent, eastern and southwest Ontario stand at 22 per cent, with south central Ontario the young region with its lower 19 per cent gone by 2005.

Teachers who hold Primary-Junior qualifications are the group nearest to retirement. By 2005, 26 per cent of the 1999 experienced teacher population will have retired, with a further 19 per cent expected to depart by 2010.

An examination of school board type shows English public boards leading with 25 per cent to retire by 2005 and 41 per cent in total by 2010. French Catholic boards follow with 22 per cent and 37 per cent respectively. Younger profiles are evident among English Catholic school board teachers at 19 per cent and 35 per cent. The lowest retirement forecast is among the small group of French public school board teachers at 16 per cent and 31 per cent.