Life Events

The following information contains general information applicable to all employees at the University of Toronto. For specific information pertaining to your Union Group, please consult the link to your right. 

Please note: This site is for information purposes only. For complete details, refer to your employment policy, the Green Shield benefits booklet and the University of Toronto Pension Booklet. In the event of a discrepancy, benefits will be paid according to the official documents and all applicable legislation.


Accommodation

University of Toronto provides a variety of supports for employees who are absent from work due to illness or injury or who require accommodation in order to remain at work or return to work following an absence.

Health & Well-being Programs & Services (HWB) provides a single centralized resource for managers and employees (both faculty and staff) who require information and assistance associated with illness, injury or accommodation.

Birth / Adoption of a Child

If you have recently had or adopted a child, you should review your beneficiary information for your Pension, Life Insurance and Green Shield benefits plans, and make changes as required. Most changes can be initiated through your HR Office.

What you need to consider:

  • Review Green Shield benefit plans and add your child onto your benefits plan using the Green Shield enrolment form;
  • Review your Life Insurance coverage within 60 days of the birth or adoption of your child and decide whether to change your level of coverage without having to provide proof of insurability you should also review the beneficiary information for your Life Insurance, and update if necessary;
  • Review your Pension Plan beneficiary. If you don't have a spouse, consider whether you want to change the designated beneficiary for your pension.

Buying a Home / Moving

If you are currently working at the University of Toronto, then you should update your address with your Business Officer. You may also have direct access to update your address using the Employee Self-Service (ESS) website. If you are an active member of the Pension Plan, address changes made through ESS or your department's Business Officer are recorded on the Human Resources Information System and will be transferred to Pension Services. If you are a member of the Green Shield Health and Dental Plans you should ensure that you indicate your new address on your next claim submitted to Green Shield. For guidance, please contact the Benefits - HELP line.

If you are a deferred member of the Pension Plan please contact the University of Toronto Pension Services directly with your new address and they will update your records accordingly.

If you are a qualified member of faculty and staff requiring assistance to finance the purchase of a family home, please see the Housing Loan Program.

Changes to Benefits for Dependants

Under our Green Shield benefit plans, the definition of dependant includes the natural, legally adopted, step or foster child of you and/or your spouse,, who is unmarried, not engaged in active employment and dependent upon you for financial support, and who is less than 21 years of age. Coverage for your child can be continued up to age 25 if he/she is continuously enrolled and in full-time attendance at an accredited educational institution that provides a recognized certificate of accreditation on completion. Each fall the Benefits section of Human Resources sends you a letter asking you to confirm that your overage dependant is still enrolled full-time in qualifying studies. For those dependants who are not continuing their studies, coverage ends October 31st. For dependants who turn 25, coverage under our plans ends in the month they turn 25.

Coverage may also be extended for your unmarried dependent child who is incapable of self support due to mental or physical disability commencing prior to attaining the limiting age, and must be given as often as Green Shield may reasonably require thereafter.

What you need to consider:

  • If you have a dependant(s) between age 21 - 25 please complete the Over-Age Dependant Form
  • Contact your HR Office for assistance with the Benefits enrolment form and the Green Shield form.

Flexible Work Arrangements

You may have the ability to modify your work arrangements to reduce your percentage of appointment. Consult your employment policies or collective agreement for details. If you do arrange to reduce your percentage appointment with your supervisor, this will impact some of your benefits and pension provisions.

If you are nearing retirement, you may be eligible for phased retirement provisions in place for your employee group. Details can be found in your Pension Plan brochure.

What you need to consider:

  • Your Pension Plan.
    • If you are enrolled in the Pension Plan, and you work reduced time, your service will be pro-rated to your percentage appointment. This will have an impact on your final pension earned from the University. You can model the impact a temporary change in your percentage appointment will have on your pension online. Since your pension is based on your annualized salary, a reduced time appointment does not impact the calculation of your highest average earnings under the Plan.
  • Your benefit plans.
    • The employer subsidy for your Green Shield plans will be reduced by the percentage of your appointment, which means that you will pay more towards the cost of your Green Shield plans. You will still receive full coverage under these plans as the benefits provided are not affected by your percentage appointment. Your life insurance and long term disability coverage are based on your actual salary, so that a reduced percentage of appointment will result in a reduced level of coverage.

Leave of Absence

Depending on the type of leave of absence, as outlined in your collective agreement or employment policy (medical, maternity, parental, unpaid, layoff, etc), you may have the option to continue coverage for your pension and benefit plans. Some leaves such as maternity and parental leave provide for continuation of the employer subsidy. If it is an unpaid leave of more than one month duration, you will have the option to maintain most benefits and your participation in the pension plan by paying both the employer and employee portion of the contributions for any plans you want to maintain during your approved unpaid leave. Once we have been notified that you are commencing an unpaid leave, the Benefits section of Human Resources will send a letter to your home address requesting that you indicate the benefits you want to maintain, and request the payments of the premiums through post-dated cheques.

For the Pension Plan, you will also have the option, within 6 months of returning to work, of making, a one-time lump sum payment to cover the missed pension contributions plus interest. You can initiate this by contacting the Central Human Resources Pension Office within 6 months of returning to work.

What you need to consider:

  • Contact your Divisional HR Office prior to your leave if you want further information about maintaining your benefits and pension while on leave.

Marriage & Partnership

If you get married, or enter into a common-law relationship, including domestic partner, you should let your Divisional HR Office know, and discuss with them any changes you want to make to your benefit and pension information, including your designated beneficiary under the Life and Pension Plans. You can add your new spouse/ partner and any eligible children he/she may have to your health and dental plan coverage. You also have 60 days in which to change the level of coverage under your Life Insurance without evidence of insurability.

Note that the definition for common-law/domestic partner is different for your health and dental benefits than it is for your Pension Plan.

For your Pension Plan:

"Spouse" means, in relation to a Member, at the time a determination of marital status is required, a person who:

  1. is legally married to the Member, and is not living separate and apart from the Member;
  2. is not legally married to the Member but who has been living with the Member in a
    conjugal relationship continuously for a period of at least three (3) years; or
  3. is not legally married to the Member but who is living with the Member in a conjugal
    relationship of some permanence and who, together with the Member, are the natural or
    adoptive parents of a child, both as defined in the Family Law Act (Ontario),
    provided, however that a person described in (b) or (c) above shall not be considered the
    Spouse of the Member for purposes of the Plan if the Member and Spouse are living separate and apart on the date spousal status is determined, or if there is also a person described in (a) above, unless the Member has submitted a written election to the contrary to the University, subject to the Pension Benefits Act.

The law requires that your spouse be the designated beneficiary of your pension benefit unless your spouse waives this entitlement. To learn about the spousal waiver, please contact the Central Human Resources Pension Office.

If your marital status changes, let your Divisional HR Office know and complete the Benefits Form to update your marital status and pension and life insurance beneficiary.

What you need to consider:

  • Review your beneficiary designation and contact your Divisional HR Office to make any required changes;
  • Review health plans to change benefits coverage and add your new spouse or partner to the plans.

Retirement

Making the decision to leave your job is never an easy one. You are probably trying to figure out the steps to make sure your retirement goes smoothly. Retirement is a big step, and we have excellent services to help you with your retirement decision and planning.

University of Toronto Retirement Information Sessions

U of T presents retirement information sessions in April of each year.

University of Toronto Pension Services

U of T online pension estimates - a great planning tool for active members.
1.888.852.2559, calls outside Canada & US 416.226.8278
1.847.554.1499 (fax)
http://resources.hewitt.com/utps

As long as you have provided sufficient notice of your retirement, you will receive a retirement package from the University of Toronto Pension Services outlining the various pension and benefit options available to you. You should review the options available, make your selection, and return the completed documents to the U of T Pension Services no later than 1 month prior to your retirement date. If you have any questions, you can contact the U of T Pension Services directly at 1-888-852-2559.

What you need to consider:

  • Obtain a current pension estimate on-line for your anticipated retirement date, and review your employee group provisions regarding early retirement provisions;
  • Provide notice of your intent to retire - in writing - to your supervisor or department head;
  • Once you receive your pension package, ensure completion of documents from your retirement package by selecting your pension option and if you want benefits coverage;
  • The most common missing documentation that results in delays to the pension being put into pay is proof of age for pensioner and spouse - make sure you include.

For more information about retirement, visit the Faculty & Librarians Retirement page.

Separation & Divorce

Your former spouse is no longer the required beneficiary for your pension. Contact your Divisional HR Office to update your beneficiary on file, by filling out a Benefits Form. Under Ontario's Family Law Act, pension benefits accumulated during your marriage must be included in the equalization calculation of family property to be shared when you separate. As of January 1, 2012 new provisions to the Pension Benefits Act (Ontario) change the manner in which pensions can be divided on marriage breakdown or separation. Some of the key changes are:

  1. Upon request, a plan administrator is required to calculate the value of pension benefits available for division and provide the member and spouse with a detailed "Statement of Family Law Value". The formulae for the calculations are prescribed by the regulation. A fee can be charged for each application for Family Law Value made by member/spouse up to $600.  The forms are under the pension section here;
  2. For a member whose pension has not started, the non-member spouse can receive his or her entitlement as an immediate lump-sum transfer from the plan;
  3. Specific forms must be used by members, spouses and plan administrators and can be received from FSCO, your lawyer or U of T Pension Services.

A Declaration of Spousal Status must be filled out prior to retirement, in the following situations;

  1. If you have a former spouse who is entitled to receive a portion of your pension under the terms of a domestic contract, separation agreement, divorce decree or other court order. A certified copy of legal documentation must be attached to the declaration;
  2. If you have a former spouse who is NOT entitled to receive a portion of your pension. A certified copy of the domestic contract, separation agreement, divorce decree or other court order must be attached to the declaration;
  3. In the absence of a the domestic contract, separation agreement, divorce decree or other court order, you and your former spouse would complete the certification of former spouse section of the declaration.

If you were married while employed at the University and haven't already filled out the following Spousal Declaration, then please complete the linked Spousal Declaration form and mail to;

University of Toronto Pension Services
P.O. Box 7650, Station "B"
Toronto ON M2K 3B5

For more information and to request a marriage breakdown calculation, please contact University of Toronto Pension Services at 416.226.8278. You can be assured of the strictest confidentiality in dealing with matters regarding your pension benefit and your marriage breakdown. Please have the following information available:

  • Your Date of Birth:
  • Spouse Name:
  • Spouse Date of Birth:
  • Date of Marriage:
  • Date of Marriage Separation:

University of Toronto Pension Services can pay an annuity or lump sum to your former spouse once they receive an official written request in a court order or domestic agreement filed in Ontario Court. If an equalization payment is made outside the pension, you can sign a statement as such without providing the court order or domestic agreement.

Remember to let your Divisional HR Office know if your marital status changes. For example, getting married/common-law relationship, separation, and divorce.

What you need to consider:

  • Review your beneficiary designation to ensure beneficiary is correct by contacting your Divisional HR Office;
  • Review health plans and/or to change benefits coverage.

Sick Leave

Upon completion of 60 days of employment, you are eligible for paid sick leave up to 15 weeks when the absence is due to unavoidable illness or injury not compensable under Workplace Safety and Insurance Act provisions.

If you are in the Pension Plan and on a Paid Sick Leave, or you are approved for Long Term Disability (LTD) you can continue to accrue pensionable service for as long as you are on LTD. Your Medical benefit contributions continue however, your pension, Life Insurance and LTD contributions are waived for as long as you are on LTD.

Leaving U of T

If you leave the University, you will want to know what happens to your benefits and pension coverage, and also ensure that you have taken necessary steps to arrange alternate medical and dental coverage for you and your family.

When you terminate your employment and are not going to be commencing an immediate pension, your group health and dental plans under Green Shield continue to provide you and your enrolled family members coverage for 31 days. You can convert to a private plan with Green Shield without having to provide evidence of insurability within 30 days of losing your coverage. Please contact Green Shield directly for information regarding options available.

Your life insurance is also in effect for 31 days from your termination date. During this period, you may convert all or part of your Life insurance coverage to a regular whole life or endowment policy offered by Great-West Life Assurance Company.

Coverage under the sick pay provisions and your Long Term Disability plan cease at your termination date.

Within 60 days of your termination date, you should receive a pension options package from the University of Toronto Pension Services, outlining the various pension options available to you depending upon your age and length of pension service. If your termination date is within 10 years of your Normal Retirement Date (June 30th coincident with or next following your 65th birthday) you may be eligible for an immediate pension. For more detail please refer to your Pension Brochure. You should review the options available and return the completed documents to the U of T Pension Services within 60 days of receiving the documents. If you have any questions, you can contact the U of T Pension Services directly at 1-888-852-2559.

What you need to consider:

  • Contact U of T Pension Services directly at 1.888.852.2559 if pension termination documentation not received within 60 days of termination date
  • Return pension package within 6 months if wanting immediate pension or to transfer funds out of pension plan. If the completed package is not returned within 6 months a deferred pension is created and a certificate is mailed. Keep this deferred certificate safe as it is the last record of your entitlement to a future pension.

Death & Bereavement

Death of an employee:

In the event of your death, the University will pay your full salary to the end of the month of your death, and any vacation pay accrued to the end of the month, to your estate.

If you are a member of the Pension Plan, your spouse (or designated beneficiary, if you don't have a spouse) is eligible to receive the value of your pension earned to the month prior to your death, determined by a calculation of the present value (lump sum).Your spouse will have the option of transferring the lump sum value to an RRSP, or to commence a monthly pension benefit. If he/she elects a monthly pension, it is paid for his/her lifetime, regardless of any future remarriage, and he/she can continue his/her coverage under any health and dental plans available to you at the time of your death. If you don't have a qualifying spouse at the time of death, then the lump sum value is paid to your estate or named beneficiary of your Pension.

If you have coverage under the Life Insurance Plan, including optional life and/or survivor income benefit, your designated beneficiary will be contacted to settle the death benefit payable.

Finally, at this difficult time, your spouse/partner and/or children may need help and support. They will have access to confidential counselling services provided by our Employee and Family Assistance Program.

Death of a family member:

In the event of the death of a family member, you will be provided with paid time off in accordance with the provisions of your employment contract or collective agreement.

It's important to understand some of the changes you may need to make to your benefits coverage, and also to access support services that may assist you and your family during this difficult time.

The Employee and Family Assistance Program is available to appointed staff and their spouse and/or children to assist with the grieving process.

If the death is your spouse or one of your children, you should review your level of coverage under your benefits, and also review your designated beneficiaries for life insurance and pension. You can make any necessary changes with the assistance of your local Human Resources office.

If you had health and dental coverage under your deceased spouse's employer, you should also review coverage available to you under your employee plans, and enroll as soon as possible to ensure continuing coverage.

What you need to consider:

  • Review your beneficiary information to ensure beneficiary is correct
    • For Life Insurance you can designate anybody as the beneficiary
    • If you have an eligible spouse they are automatically the beneficiary for your pension. If your spouse is deceased, you will need to name a beneficiary or the default will become your estate.
  • Review your Life Insurance coverage amount - you want to increase or decrease your coverage amount as a result of the death of your family member.
  • Review your health and dental plan coverage, particularly if you and your children were previously covered under your deceased spouse's employer plan
  • Contact your HR Office for assistance with your benefits election and making changes to your beneficiary information

Death of a Pensioner:

If you die after you have started receiving your monthly pension and you had an eligible spouse /partner when you started your pension, that surviving spouse/partner or eligible dependent children will receive a survivor pension, the amount of which depends upon your election at the time you started your pension. The normal form of survivor pension for a spouse/partner is 60% of your monthly pension, payable for his/her lifetime. Your surviving spouse/partner will also be able to continue coverage under any health and dental benefits you had available to you as a pensioner.

If you did not have an spouse/partner at the time you commenced your pension, and there are no eligible dependent children, there may be a lump sum benefit payable to your estate or named beneficiary depending on how many monthly pension payments you have received at the time of death and what guarantee option you elected at the time you commenced your pension. The standard option is 60 months, which means that if you die prior to receiving 60 months of pension payments, the balance is paid as a lump sum to your beneficiary or estate. You may have elected a 120 month guarantee, meaning that if you die before 120 months of pension payments, the balance is paid to your beneficiary or estate.

In the event of the death of a pensioner, the surviving spouse/partner or family member should notify the U of T Pension Services at 1.888.852.2559 as early as possible to reduce the possibility of overpayment of pension, and to ensure that there is smooth transition to a survivor pension or settlement for the beneficiary/estate.

Additional information regarding the definition of spouse/partner and eligible dependent children can be found at [insert link]

Government Survivor Benefit

Surviving dependants may be eligible for Government Survivor Benefit. To confirm eligibility you can contact the Income Security Program Information Line for details (toll-free 1.800 277.9914 English, 1.800.277.9915 French).

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