Frequently Asked Questions - Occasional Teachers

1. What is an Occasional Teacher?  

The Education Actís definition is as follows:

" For the purposes of this Act, a teacher is an occasional teacher if he or she is employed by a board to teach as a substitute for a teacher or temporary teacher who is or was employed by the board in a position that is part of its regular teaching staff including continuing education teachers but,

a) if the teacher substitutes for a teacher who has died during a school year, the teacherís employment as a substitute for him or for her shall not extend past the end of the school year in which the death occurred, and;

b) if the teacher substitutes for a teacher who is absent from his or her duties for a temporary period, the teacherís employment as a substitute for him or for her shall not extend past the end of the school year after his or her absence begins."

Occasional and Contract teachers share many common traits: both should be certificated by the College of Teachers, both should pay dues to OSSTF, both should pay into the Teachersí Pension Plan, both are responsible for the new curriculum, both are subject to the bizarre exigencies of teacher testing and re-certification...the list goes on. 


2.  Are there different types of Occasional Teachers?  

Yes.  Occasional teachers fall into two categories, casual and long-term.

  • Casuals occasional teachers are hired on a day-by-day basis and are paid a daily rate.

  • Long-term occasional teachers sign a contract with a board for a determined period of time (12 or more school days in the same assignment) within the school year replacing a specific teacher and assuming his or her duties.


3.  Who would be an Occasional teacher?

a) new graduates seeking full-time positions;

b) members who are satisfied to work "casually" for a number of reasons and

c) retired teachers who work casually or for the periods permitted by the Teacher Pension Plan Board.


4.  Do Occasional Teachers have rights?

Yes.  Occasional teachers who pay union dues, are members like other teachers and have the rights and responsibilities as spelled out in their own collective agreement.


<click here> to view the current Occasional Teacher collective agreement


5. What should my workload be?

A casual occasional teacher shall not be assigned a workload in excess of 1.0 FTE. The normal workload for a casual occasional hired for a full-time assignment is 3.0 periods plus 0.5 period for other assigned duties (4.0 periods plus 0.5 period of other assigned duties in an MSIP school). In cases of urgency as determined by the school administrator, the casual occasional teacher may be assigned a 0.5 additional period. At the request of the President of the Bargaining Unit, an Employer representative(s) shall discuss the cases of urgency which led to the additional assignment. (Article 9.07)

A Long-term Occasional teacher shall only assume the assigned duties of the absent teacher being replaced, and shall be bound by all the workload provisions of the absent teacher. (Article 9.08)


6. Am I entitled to a an uninterrupted lunch period?

Yes, at least 40 minutes, consecutive, uninterrupted. (Article 9.09)


7. What is my daily rate of pay if I am a qualified Casual occasional teacher?

September 1, 2010         $218.23 

September 1, 2011         $224.78


8. How am I paid as a Long-term Occasional teacher (LTO)?

  • A Long-term Occasional Teacher shall be paid in accordance with the salary grid effective the first day of the assignment. (Article 8.05)

  • The LTO grid (Article 8.05a) is identical (+/- $2) to the contract teacher grid

  • An LTO is placed on the grid after 12 days of work in the same assignment, retroactive to the first day worked.  For the first 12 days, the LTO will be paid at the Casual daily rate.


9. When should I expect to be paid & how do I read my pay stub?

  • Occasional teachers shall be paid every two (2) weeks, two (2) weeks in arrears, based on confirmed time sheets

  • All Occasional Teachers must sign a time sheet for the time period in which they worked. If not, ask for one and, also, ask for a copy for your records.

<click here> for more details on time sheets

  • For payroll purposes only, your compensation is reflected as an hourly rate. Here is an example [NB - the "daily casual rate" used below is a random value to illustrate how the employer pays teachers.  Substitute your current "daily casual rate" into the example below to determine if you have been paid correctly] :

rate: $20 (Daily casual rate of $140 divided by 7 hours in the workday = $20.);

hours: 10.50 (this means that this teacher worked 1.5 days (10.5 hours);

earnings: $210 ($20 X 10.5 hours = $210);


10.  Who determines in my category ("group") rating classification?

The OSSTF Certification Department. (Article 8.05.01)

<click here> on how to apply for a Group Rating classification (new or updated) and what to do


11. Do I receive credit for my professional experience, for pay purposes?

If you are a Casual Occasional Teacher - NO.

If you are an LTO - Perhaps.  For the purpose of determining your salary as a Long-term Occasional Teacher, recognition of experience falls into three categories:

a) Credit shall be given for the following: full-time or part-time teaching experience in elementary or secondary schools in Canada. For details, please refer to Articles 8.07(a -g) in the collective agreement.

b) Other teaching experience DEEMED relevant by the Employer to the teacherís assignment shall be recognized ...on the basis of one grid step for every year of such experience. (Article 8.07 d)

c) Other related experience in a profession, industry or trade DEEMED relevant by the Employer to the teacherís assignment on the basis of one grid step for every two years of such experience. (Article 8.07e)

<click here> on more detailed information on related experience and how to submit related experience


12. Could you give me an example of a potential grievance affecting occasional teachers?

There are many. Example: You have been called in to replace a teacher who is absent and find that, in one of your properly assigned periods, two classes have been lumped together. This is contrary to Article 9.06. Such a case should be reported.

The Occasional Teacher does not file the grievance.  You simply have to report it even it is a suspicion. It is the Occasional Teachers Bargaining Unit Grievance Officer who will examine the alleged infraction, make a determination and discuss the matter with the appropriate Board personnel. If unsuccessful, only then would a grievance be filed. Even then, the Grievance procedure (Article 14) ensures that there are numerous steps to be taken in the hope of resolving the situation and averting a full grievance.


13. Are Occasional Teachers eligible for benefits, such as LTD, Life Insurance, Health & Dental benefits?

No. Occasional teachers do not have access to an employer-sponsored benefits program.   At this time, Casual Occasional Teachers in Upper Canada receive an allowance in lieu of benefits (i.e. it is part of the total daily casual rate).


You should be aware that OTIP (The Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan) does provide insurance plans for educational educators for health, travel, dental, life and disability coverage.  Brochures are available upon request from the District Office (877-826-7783) or from OTIP ( 800-267-6847) or <click here> for more information.  The position of the Occasional Teachersí Bargaining Unit is entirely neutral on third party insurance providers and this information is offered for information purposes only.


14. Are Long-term Occasional Teachers eligible for Leaves?

Yes.  Read Articles 11, 12, 13 and 19 in the Collective Agreement for various leaves of absence, Union Business Leave, Pregnancy and Parental Leave and Paid Sick Leave.


15. Do I have the right to refuse unhealthy, unsafe work?

Yes, those situations are covered under the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario. Employees cannot under the law be disciplined for refusing unsafe work under Section 43.

Steps to be taken:

1. Report the problem to your supervisor.

2. Ensure the safety of the students in your care.

3. Remain in a safe place.

4. If you still feel there are "reasonable grounds" to refuse, you, your representative (the worksite Health and Safety Officer) or the employer can call a government inspector.

5. It is highly recommended that you contact District Office at 1-877-826-7783.


16. Can I attend a Professional Development Day?

Yes. A Long-term Occasional Teacher must attend in order to be paid for such day.  An Occasional Teacher may wish to attend, without pay, a scheduled P.D. Day upon a request to the Administrator of Human Resources or designate.


17. Can the Board evaluate me?

Yes, this is an issue of management rights. However, occasional teachers are not subject to the terms in the Education Act regarding Teacher Performance Appraisal.

Yet, some Occasional Teachers may request an evaluation. As part of the new collective agreement, the Board and the Occasional Teachers Bargaining Unit, in a Letter of Understanding, agreed to form a committee to examine such an evaluation process given the particular situation of Occasional Teachers. That step has been initiated.


18.  Do I require a Criminal Background Check or TB test to work as an OT in this Board?

Regulation 521 mandates that teachers new to the profession or the Board are subject to the provision of a "criminal background check" and a TB test at their expense prior to being placed on the Board's OT list.


19. What is the "window" for retired teachers who occasionally teach?

Please be aware of the new rules in effect after Aug. 31, 2006:

  • Maximum 95-days of re-employment in each of the first three years in which you return to teaching. These donít need to be consecutive years. Note that as of September 2012 all teachers receiving an Ontario Teacher's Pension may work 50 days without affecting their pension.

  • Maximum 20 days of teaching each school year after the first three years you return to teach.

  • Years you taught before the temporary rules went into effect Sept. 1, 2001, count. Years taught during the window Ė Sept. 1, 2001, to Aug. 31, 2006 -- donít count.

Notify the Pension Plan and your employer when you reach the teaching limit. Your employer will begin deducting pension contributions from your pay on your 96th day of re-employment. If you continue to teach the month after you exceed the limit, your pension will be suspended.  Any pension payments you were not entitled to receive after reaching the limit, must be returned with interest. Your pension will be reinstated the month following your last day of re-employment.

Contact the Pension Board at     


20. If I have a problem, whom should I contact?

  • The Branch Steward in the school,

  • the District Office (1-877-826-7783),

  • the Occasional Teacher Bargaining Unit President