Benefits, pension and leave
The information contained within this section is provided as an overview of benefits, pension and leaves available to you as an employee based on eligibility consistent with the relevant collective agreement or employment policy. Any questions you may have with regards to your benefit coverage can be directed to your Pension and Benefits Coordinator.
Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP)
Enrolment with the Medical Services Plan (MSP) is mandatory for all eligible BC residents and their dependents.
More information about MSP and the province's Fair Pharmacare program can be obtained from the Health Insurance BC website, the administrative home of these programs.
Please note: The Medical Services Plan is separate and distinct from the Okanagan College Group Health Benefits Plan (often referred to as the "Health Supplement" or "Extended Health").
Your group benefits plan supplements the coverage provided by your provincial plan (Medical Services Plan). Okanagan College provides comprehensive group benefits to eligible employees, which may include coverage for Life Insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), Long Term Disability (LTD), Extended Health Care (EHC), Dental, and Emergency Travel Assistance (ETA).
Okanagan College pays 100% of premiums for group benefit coverage with a few exceptions such as LTD for exempt employees (Senior Managers, Administrators & Excluded Staff) which is employee paid.
As a bargaining unit employee, your health and welfare benefit coverage is determined through collective bargaining between your respective union and Okanagan College. Specific benefit coverage is outlined in your respective collective agreement. As a non-bargaining unit employee, your health and welfare benefit coverage is determined by the policy governing the terms and conditions of your employment.
Enrolment in Medical Services Plan (MSP) is mandatory for all residents of British Columbia and is required for coverage under Okanagan College’s group benefit plan. Eligibility for participation in the Group Health and Dental Benefit Plan is as follows:
- Administrators who have a continuing appointment with 50% or greater workload or a temporary appointment who will be employed for 6 months or more at 50% or greater workload will be eligible for coverage the first day employment commences.
- Faculty members who have a continuing appointment with 50% or greater workload or a tem appointment who will be employed for 5 months or more work at full-time equivalent will be eligible for coverage the first day employment commences. Term faculty are not eligible for long term disability (LTD).
- Vocational members who have a regular appointment with 50% or greater workload or a non-regular with 6 months or more employment and working 20 or more hours per week are eligible for Extended Health and Life Insurance benefits. You must be working 30 or more hours per week for Long Term Disability and Dental benefits and will be eligible for coverage the first day employment commences.
- Support staff employees who have a regular appointment with 50% or greater workload, an employee who shared appointments with 17.5 hours or more per week, or an auxiliary employee after 2,520 accumulated hours and a workload of 50% or greater will be eligible the first day employment commences for Extended Health and Emergency Travel Assistance.
Life Insurance provides financial protection to an employee's beneficiaries in the event of an employee's death while insured. Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) provides financial protection to an eligible employee in case of accident resulting in injury to, or loss of, limb(s) or financial protection to an employee's beneficiaries in the event of the employee's accidental death while insured.
Long Term Disability (LTD) provides an eligible employee with financial assistance in the form of income replacement in the event the employee becomes disabled under the terms of the plan and unable to work.
Extended Health Care (EHC) provides coverage for eligible employees and their dependents for certain health related services not covered by the provincial Medical Services Plan (MSP) including reimbursement for prescription drugs, medical travel expenses, professional services such as chiropractor, registered massage therapist, ambulance, etc., eyeglasses and/or lenses, and other supplies and services as outlined in the benefit booklets.
Dental provides eligible employees and their dependents with coverage for specific preventative and restorative dental services.
Emergency Travel Assistance provides coverage for eligible employees and their families in the event emergency medical expenses occur when traveling out of province or country.
At Okanagan College, there are two pension plans – the College Pension Plan and the Municipal Pension Plan – which are public sector plans administered by the BC Pension Corporation.
Eligible employees are enrolled in either the College Pension Plan (for administrators, faculty, and vocational instructors) or the Municipal Pension Plan (for excluded staff and support staff) which are both administered by the BC Pension Corporation. The Pension Matrix will assist you with determining pension eligibility and enrolment.
Once you are enrolled in a pension plan, the Pension Corporation website provides online resources and comprehensive pension plan information such as:
- On-line access to your personal information, pensionable service and your annual Member's Benefit Statement
- Information, publications, forms, resources and FAQ’s
- Updates on changes affecting pension plans
- Personalized pension estimator to explore your various pension options
- On-line purchase of service estimator
- Information about retiring and medical/dental benefits upon retirement
College Pension Plan
Eligible employees are enrolled in the College Pension Plan (for senior managers, administrators, faculty, and vocational instructors) which is administered by the BC Pension Corporation.
Log-on to Pension BC to access the Nomination of Beneficiary tool available through My Account.
College Pension Plan forms
Municipal Pension Plan
Eligible employees are enrolled in the Municipal Pension Plan (for excluded staff and support staff) which is administered by the BC Pension Corporation.
Log-on to Pension BC to access the Nomination of Beneficiary tool available through My Account.
Municipal Pension Plan forms
Enrolment rules are specific to each pension plan. As an administrator or faculty member in a permanent position at OC, enrolment in the College Pension Plan is mandatory. As an administrator or faculty member in a non-permanent position at OC, enrolment in the College Pension Plan is optional; however, enrolment becomes mandatory once you have reached the minimum earnings threshold of 50% of the Year's Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE). The YMPE is established by the Canada Pension Plan as the maximum amount upon which you pay CPP premiums.
The pension plan provides a regular lifetime income for plan members who retire from work. To fund the plan, both you as a plan member and OC as your employer make regular contributions based on eligible earnings. Your pension plan is a "defined benefit plan" meaning that your pension benefit is based on how many years you make contributions to the plan and the average of your highest five years of salary (not necessarily your last five years).
To fund the plan, both you as a plan member and Okanagan College as your employer make regular contributions based on eligible earnings.
As a member of the College Pension Plan, you contribute to the pension plan through payroll deductions; effective April 1, 2018, the deductions are based on 10.15% of your eligible earnings. Okanagan College also contributes to the pension plan on your behalf at 10.25%.
As a member of the Municipal Pension Plan, you contribute to the pension plan through payroll deductions; effective January 1, 2019, the deductions are based on 8.50% of your eligible earnings up to the annual YMPE (Years Maximum Pensionable Earnings), and then 10.0% of your salary above the YMPE. Okanagan College also contributes to the Municipal Pension Plan on your behalf at 9.69% which is determined annually by the Pension Corporation based on the number of employees, their salaries, ages and occupations.
The YMPE is the “Years Maximum Pensionable Earnings” as set by the Federal Government and is the annual maximum you can contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) through your payroll deductions.
If you have contributed to a pension plan in the past and have left your contributions on deposit, you may be able to transfer service to the pension plan if there is a transfer agreement between the two plans. For more information on transferring service, contact your current plan – College Pension Plan or Municipal Pension Plan.
The policy or collective agreement governing your terms and conditions of employment provides information with respect to your eligibility for specific types of leave and whether the leave is paid or unpaid. You can access your respective policy or collective agreement electronically under the Polices / Agreements link on the Human Resources website at: Policies and Collective Agreements
To apply for leave, you can submit your request electronically for approval through the Electronic Leave Management System (ELMS) by logging in to myOkanagan and selecting “My Leave Requests” under “OC Express – Administrative Functions” under the “Employees” tab. A link is provided to a User Guide to assist you when using the electronic leave system.
Bill 66, Public Sector Employers Amendment Act, 2002
Statutory provisions of the Public Sector Employers Act apply to excluded and executive compensation practices in British Columbia's Public Sector. In particular, the Public Sector Employers Act addresses:
- Compensation plans
- Severance standards including accrual of vacation and sick leave.
The Public Sector Employers Act applies to all employees in the public sector who are excluded from membership in a bargaining unit (exempt employees). At Okanagan College, exempt (excluded and executive) employees include all Senior Management, Administrators and Excluded Support Staff.
What is Bill 66?
On October 21, 2002, the provincial government introduced Bill 66,
Public Sector Employers Amendment Act 2002, which included amendments to both the Public Sector Employers’ Act and the Employment Termination Standards Regulation (ETS).
Bill 66 introduced a new set of rules for public sector exempt compensation practices and reduced severance and accumulated benefit payments and ensured that all contracts must be fully disclosed.
You may access Bill 66.
What areas of the Public Sector Employers Act did Bill 66 change?
The Public Sector Employers Act changed in five (5) major areas:
1. Exempt Compensation Plans
Effective March 31, 2003, all public sector employers must provide Public Sector Employer’s Council (PSEC) with copies of contracts of employment and other information for its exempt employees for the purpose of monitoring compliance with employment compensation standards and employment termination standards.
2. Vacation and Sick Leave Benefits
Vacation: effective January 1, 2003 the Public Sector Employers Act prohibits the banking, accumulation, carry forward, or payout of any unused vacation leave, beyond the year in which it is entitled to be taken. The new rules specify that unused vacation leave may be carried over to the year following when it was accumulated however it must be used before the end of that year.
However, employees who have previously accumulated banked vacation time prior to January 1,2003, will not lose that time; it will be paid out under the previous rules under which it was accumulated prior to December 31, 2002.
Carry forward provisions for unused vacation entitlement will remain the same as outlined in the provisions of the Board policy governing your employment at Okanagan College.
Sick Leave: effective January 1, 2003, the Public Sector Employers Act prohibits employees being paid out for any unused sick leave. Employees who are entitled to sick leave under their employment contract may accumulate or carry forward unused sick days, but can only use them in future years if they are sick; i.e., sick leave can only be used for the purpose of illness. It cannot be used for any other purpose, nor can employees be paid out their banked sick days upon termination, resignation, or retirement.
However, employees who have accumulated sick leave time, prior to January 1, 2003, will not lose that time; it may still be paid out based on the previous rules under which it was accumulated prior to December 31, 2002.
3. Employment Termination Standards
The maximum amount of severance payable has been reduced from 24 to 18 months for all exempt employees.
4. Filing and Disclosure of Contract Information
Employers must provide all compensation-related contract information for senior employees earning a base salary of $125,000 or more a year to Public Sector Employer’s Council (PSEC).
After the October 21, 2002 effective date, if a person accepts money or receives a benefit from a public sector employer that exceeds the amount or benefit permitted, the excess money or cost to the employer of the benefit is a debt that is payable to the government by the person who received the amount or benefit.
You may access additional information and frequently asked questions in "A Guide to Excluded and Executive Compensation in the British Columbia Public Sector".
Additional employee benefits
Employee and Family Assistance program (EFAP)
As part of your benefits package, eligible employees of Okanagan College along with their dependents, can access employee assistance through LifeWorks . To arrange counselling with a LifeWorks professional call toll-free 1-888-307-0590 or TTY: 1-877-371-9978. A professional consultant can provide advice and resources to assist you with a wide range of issues, such as:
- Life: Stress/Overload, Anxiety, Depression, Grief/Loss, Community
- Family: Parenting, Separation/Divorce, Blended Families, Caring for Older Adults, Education
- Money: Saving/Investing, Debt Management, Estate Planning/Wills, Home Buying/Renting
- Work: Work Relationships, Job Stress/Burnout, Managing People
- Health: Fitness/Nutrition, Sleep, Addiction/Recovery, Smoking Cessation
In addition, employees can access hundreds of articles, eBooks, infographics, audio recordings, toolkits and more. You can also chat with a live consultant. To access the online resources, a username and password are required. Please use the link below to access the username and password.
LifeWorks also has a mobile app available at the App Store and at Google Play. Once you have downloaded the app, follow the instructions to log in with Okanagan College's shared/group username and password. After the initial log-in, just tap the icon on your phone's screen to launch the LifeWorks app.
The Okanagan College Family Award is available to assist immediate family members of eligible Okanagan College employees who are enrolled in an Okanagan College program with a minimum course load of 60%. The award amount may be up to 25% of the recipient's tuition, to a maximum of $1,000 in any 12-month period. For more information please visit Okanagan College Family Award.
The Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery is open to all employees, including auxiliaries and students. If you wish to sign up for the staff lottery or learn more about the staff lottery, visit the staff lottery page.
The College appreciates and recognizes the value of professional and personal development. The College shall waive application and tuition fees for all continuing or regular College employees (Faculty, Vocational, Support and Administrative) under the Tuition Waiver for Employee policy guidelines. The Tuition Waiver form is included in the policy. See the final page.