Job Applicants Should Look North or Try Toronto Board Recruiters in the North and Toronto Face Highest Retirement Rates

The College is now able to pinpoint which regions of the province will be busiest replacing retiring teachers this decade. There will be jobs aplenty for new teachers in the North, Toronto and the southwest. English public school boards and elementary schools in all regions of the province will be particularly hard hit.


By Frank McIntyre

There is good news for aspiring elementary teachers in the latest College study of teacher retirements. They should be able to find jobs in just about any area of the province they choose over the next decade.

The study, the first to match qualifications with employment data, shows that of 93,020 teachers qualified for the Primary-Junior divisions in 1999, 24,388 retire by 2005 and another 17,524 by 2010, for a total exodus of 45 per cent of 1999 continuing elementary teachers.

Overall, of the total 140,366 teachers who continued to work in the province's schools beyond 1998 - the first year of the early retirement window - 55,984 retire by 2010. Some already did in 2000, 23 per cent of the group retire by 2005 and another 17 per cent by 2010.| Chart 1 |


Boards all across Northern Ontario have a huge hiring job ahead. The northeast tops the list with a total of 3,759 teachers - public, Catholic, English and French - retiring by 2010.

Elementary schools in the northeast lose the greatest number of teachers. English public school boards in the region face the stiffest recruitment challenge with a loss of 1,456 Primary-Junior teachers, fully 50 per cent of their current teaching staff with this qualification.

Although smaller in numbers, their English Catholic counterparts are hit with a slightly higher rate of retirement of 53 per cent - 695 Primary-Junior teachers.

The northeast is also the region with the highest turnover in French Catholic elementary teachers with 657 Primary-Junior qualified teachers to retire by 2010.

Recruiters in the northwest region of the province are also looking at a busy decade replacing 50 per cent of their retiring English public and 47 per cent of their English Catholic Primary-Junior teachers. 

The picture for northern secondary school recruiting is similarly daunting. In the northwest, 41 per cent of Intermediate-Senior qualified teachers retire by 2010, as do 44 per cent of those in the northeast.


Toronto's turnover rates are second only to the north. With 42 per cent of their teachers who carried on through the first year of the early retirement program now headed for departure by 2010, they are looking at 12,084 retiree replacements. Toronto loses 46 per cent of Primary-Junior qualified teachers and 44 per cent of Intermediate-Senior teachers.

The southwest and eastern regions of the province can also expect more than four in ten to be gone by 2010. Southwestern Ontario retirements reach 12,475, or 41 per cent, by the decade's conclusion. For the east, boards will seek to replace 9,924 retiring teachers, 40 per cent. Eastern Ontario's French Catholic school boards should anticipate a loss of 44 per cent of their Primary-Junior teachers to retirement.

Central Ontario boards may expect somewhat lower rates of loss to retirement. However, despite the region's 36 per cent forecast retirement rate, these boards are dealing with the highest volume of retirements at 16,415 for the decade.

The relatively low rate reflects recent enrolment growth and teacher expansion associated with general population growth in the municipalities around Toronto. The lower retirement rate is small comfort for Central Ontario board recruiters working flat out for the past few years to deal with the explosion of retirements in 1998 and the steady increases in numbers of teachers required each year to open new classrooms as enrolment grows.


Teachers employed in Catholic and French-language school boards generally have lower age and years of experience than those employed in English-language public school boards.

For the group of 1999 teachers examined in this study, rates of retirement range from 31 per cent over the decade for teachers employed in French public school boards to 42 per cent for those in English public boards. English Catholic school boards at 35 per cent and French Catholic boards at 37 per cent fall in between.| Chart 2 |

Almost one in two of the 1999 continuing Primary-Junior teachers in English public schools - 47 per cent - retire by the end of the decade. At the other extreme, French public schools lose only 31 per cent to retirement. English Catholic at 42 per cent and French Catholic boards at 43 per cent experience substantial losses over the period as well.


At the Intermediate-Senior level, English public school boards again top the retirement list - 24 per cent by 2005 and 43 per cent in total by 2010.

English Catholic school boards present a markedly different demographic pattern. Only 14 per cent of secondary teachers employed by English Catholic school boards in 1999 will retire by 2005, with a total of just 30 per cent by 2010.

French Catholic school boards are similar, with 32 per cent to retire by 2010. The extension of secondary school public funding in Catholic school boards in the mid-1980s resulted in extraordinary hiring in the years that followed. The impact today is a much smaller retirement bulge for Catholic secondary schools in this decade.

French public school board secondary teachers are nearer the pattern of the English public boards, with 39 per cent retirement by 2010.


Losses are greatest among teachers with English as a teaching subject qualification, with 5,627 of them to retire by 2010. English is followed by those with qualifications in Physical Education (4,264), History (4,008), Mathematics (3,133), French (2,818) and Geography (2,354). In proportional terms, these subjects each lose from 37 per cent to 41 per cent of their qualified teachers by 2010.

The study also reveals significant losses to retirement in secondary science teaching subjects - 416 Physics teachers (37 per cent), 508 Chemistry teachers (28 per cent) and 715 Biology teachers (21 per cent). The loss rates to retirement for physics and chemistry are especially worrisome given the critical shortage that persists in these subjects across the province.| Chart 3 |

Some regional numbers are sure to be posted on bulletin boards in the province's faculties of education. English public school boards in Northern Ontario lose 55 per cent of English teachers, 51 per cent of their History, their Math and their French teachers, 48 per cent in Geography and 46 per cent in Physical Education.

Toronto's public school board also presents many opportunities for teachers looking for jobs at the secondary level. Toronto will lose 1,211 of their English-qualified teachers (49 per cent), 821 in History (51 per cent), 598 in Mathematics (51 per cent), 454 in French (50 per cent), 454 in Geography (48 per cent) and 736 in Physical Education (46 per cent).

Although English Catholic school boards generally present a much lower retirement rate at the secondary level, their northeastern Ontario rates are much closer to the high rates of the English public boards.

For example, northeastern Ontario English Catholic school boards lose 36 per cent of their English teachers, 42 per cent of History teachers, and 44 per cent of math teachers. French public school boards in Northern and eastern Ontario, as well as in Toronto, have appreciably higher retirement rates than the lowest, the French Catholic school boards.


This analysis confirms that teachers employed by Ontario's school boards in 1999 have retirement patterns that approach the high rates found in earlier College analyses of the whole population of Ontario-qualified teachers.

Withdrawals from teaching for reasons other than retirement, especially in the early years of teaching careers, are a further substantial source of teacher turnover. The rates for these losses are reported as high in other jurisdictions. These losses are not measured and reported for Ontario.

Vigorous recruitment in a highly competitive environment is the order of the day for Ontario's school boards. School board recruiters in Ontario may see some slowing of the pace after 2005. But not until 2010, when the generation hired to teach the baby boom are mainly retired from the profession, will this exceptional turnover end.

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