Canadian teachers and their fat-cat pensions
Teachers living high off the hog: The latest story on pensions/pensioners in Canada concerns teachers in Ontario or, rather, retired teachers. Ontario officials made it clear this week the province won't ban so-called double-dipping teachers who retire and go on to work as supply teachers, adding $16.7 million annually to the province's education budget, according to media reports. There's an undertone to news stories suggesting pensioners are getting quite enough public money already, and shouldn't be receiving more to go back to the classroom when younger teachers aren't available. A recent Globe story used words like "squandered" to describe money paid to pensioned teachers who fill in when full-time staffers are away.
Decoder doesn't want to debate the issue of hiring retired teachers or suggest the province shouldn't watch its spending. It goes without saying there should be jobs for new teachers. An official for the Ottawa-Carlton District School Board was quoted as saying the majority of positions in their region do go to new graduates.
But - have you noticed how pensioners have become an easy target lately? How we're being massaged into thinking benefits in society don't count? In some cases, the public has gotten so used to accepting the view that pensions for working Canadians are a deluxe item, that there's not a big public outcry when bankrupt companies like Nortel try to sweep away benefits for long-time employees.
The average pension for an Ontario teacher is $40,000. That's hardly living the high life, after years of preparing the children and youth of this country to face the future.
Consider that an MP earns $27,000 after only six years in the House of Commons, and the average for long-serving MPs is $100,000. That's indexed for life, while Senators are way up over those amounts.
We won't even get into the pensions and bonuses for bankers and financiers, including hedge fund managers.
Why would anyone want to live in a world in which teaching is consider the most honoured - and lucrative - profession? After all, they're just dealing with our children.