Our founders planted a seed with the vision of a better future for members. Over the years, our reach and impact have grown, but a better future together remains our focus. Today, we’re an influential and caring national organization.
Our roots go back to October 1966, when the Ontario Teachers’ Federation set up an interim committee of 10 superannuated teachers. Their mandate – look into the possibility of forming an organization for all superannuated teachers and to seek improvements in their pensions and allowances.
In December 1966, the interim STO/ERO committee presented a brief to Ontario Minister of Education William Davis, requesting a recalculation of teacher pensions. Two days later, Davis announced that minimum pensions would be raised to $1,200.
The Teaching Profession Act was amended, and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation had the privilege of granting associate membership to superannuated teachers. This enabled those teachers to join OTF that way and, thereby, become members of STO/ERO.
The Superannuated Teachers of Ontario (STO) formed an organization to safeguard and promote the professional welfare of the 7,000 Superannuated Teachers of Ontario.
The Superannuated Teachers of Ontario/Les enseignantes et enseignants retraités de l’Ontario officially began on March 14-15, 1968, when its governing senate met for the first time in the second-floor boardroom of the Ontario Public School Men Teachers’ Federation in Toronto. The voting delegates were representatives of the five affiliates of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.
In 1968 the first secretary-treasurer, Marion Tyrrell, was awarded $500 for past services and an honorarium of $150 a month. The title of executive director replaced that of secretary-treasurer in 1985.
The first newsletter was distributed in November 1968. It was a doubled-sided sheet.
In December 1968, a committee was established to organize STO/ERO into geographic areas across Ontario, based on the provincial county board system. That resulted in 10 areas, which grew to 12 in 1970. In 1972, the province was reorganized into 21 subdivisions, which would be known as districts. The senate created the districts, which would each have at least three executive members.
Between 1968 and 1969, STO/ERO met with Minister of Education William Davis seven times to discuss increasing the teachers’ pensions.
In the early 1960s, the Teachers’ Superannuation Commission (TSC) introduced a health plan for the use of retired teachers. With the introduction of OHIP, Health Services began in 1969 with an agreement between STO/ERO, the Superannuation Commission and the Co-Operative Health Services with deductions made by the Commission. With deductions made by the commission, pensioners paid $2 per month. Those with a spouse paid $4 per month, and a family paid $6.50 per month.
A Travel Committee forms to act as an agent for the purchase of tours directed primarily at the market represented by STO teachers.
Associate Membership was introduced.
More than 12,000 persons (including dependents) received pensions from the Teachers’ Superannuation Commission. Of those, approximately 8,000 were members of STO/ERO.
The 90 factor was introduced, enabling teachers to retire when their age plus years of credit equaled ninety.
Previously, Senators were appointed according to their former affiliate membership, with the introduction of districts, Senators are elected or appointed by each district.
Grants to the districts were $200 per district.
STO/ERO, the Teachers’ Superannuation Commission and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation cooperated on a pre-retirement workshop program to counsel teachers who planned to retire in the next few years. The retirement counselling committee became a standing committee in 1978.
STO/ERO served more than 15,000 members and operated with voluntary help, except for a part-time secretary-treasurer and an office assistant.
Bill 148, an amendment to the Teachers Superannuation Act, had pensions for those who retire after May 31, 1982 based on the ‘best five years’ but not for those who had retired before 1982.
The Project Overseas Committee was formed. From 1984 to 1998, it was a standing committee. Project Overseas was a joint endeavor between the Canadian Teachers’ Federation and its members to give professional assistance to fellow teachers in developing countries.
1986 STO was incorporated. The organization became known as the Superannuated Teachers of Ontario/Les enseignants retraités de l’Ontrario, (STO/ERO). Johnson Insurance Limited was appointed as broker/consultant to represent STO/ERO in negotiations concerning the Group Health Insurance plans – Semi-Private Hospital, Extended Health Care and Dental. Confederation Life was the carrier.
The STO/ERO Health Services Committee assumed responsibility for all STO/ERO insurance programs (previously held by the Superannuation Commission).
The average pension paid to members was slightly over $15,000 a year
STO/ERO embarked upon a plan to expand its bilingual services. More francophone members were able to communicate with the office in French.
STO/ERO’s newsletter was published in French for the first time.
Membership reached 30,000.
STO/ERO established its first e-mail and website addresses. The Ontario College of Teachers was formed.
Membership increased by over 50 per cent, partially due to the reduction of the retirement factor from 90 to 85.
Senate endorsed a proactive approach regarding teachers’ pensions and Canada Pension Plan reform, as well as changes in the Ontario Drug Benefit program. The ad hoc Political Action Committee became a standing committee.
The STO/ERO Office created a new publication, District Updater, to provide concise, up-to-date information to key individuals at the organizational and district levels.
Revenue from membership fees exceeded $1 million.
The Ontario Teachers Superannuation Commission was renamed the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.
STO/ERO became Retired Teachers of Ontario/Les enseignantes et enseignants retraités de l’Ontario (RTOERO)
RTOERO’s head office was located at Federation House, 1260 Bay St. in Toronto, until the organization purchased and moved into 18 Spadina Rd. in 1999. Elizabeth Witmer, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, presided at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
A new funding formula replaced the annual district grant program. Twenty-five per cent of the membership fees received by RTOERO from fees were remitted to the districts.
The RTOERO long-term care plan was developed and introduced to members.
After many years of lobbying by RTOERO, the Teachers’ Superannuation Act is amended allowing those who retired prior to 1982 to have their pensions calculated on the ‘best of five.’
The 85 factor became permanent.
The newsletter gained a new name – Renaissance.
A new slogan was adopted: Here for you now … Here for your future.
New Associate Membership categories were added.
The Members’ Centre section of the RTOERO website was launched.
The first francophone district was formed – District 44, Région du ciel bleu.
Membership topped 50,000 for the first time.
OTF discontinued its retirement planning workshops. RTOERO, through a subcommittee of the Member Services Committee, took over conducting the workshops.
A scholarship program was established to provide financial assistance to applicants who were pursuing a career in education in Canada.
RTOERO joined Facebook.
The RTOERO Foundation was established to increase the number of professional and support staff qualified and trained in geriatric care and support research and programs that improve the quality of life of seniors in Canada. That included an endowment fund to establish a chair of geriatrics at the University of Toronto.
RTOERO formed its 48th district.
RTOERO membership reached 70,000.
RTOERO partnered with other organizations to launch a political advocacy website site: vibrantvoices.ca.
More than 30 members of Ontario’s provincial parliament attended the first Vibrant Voices – Awesome Years Advocacy luncheon and networking event in recognition of National Seniors Day and International Day of Older Persons. Advocacy packages were mailed to MPPs who couldn’t attend.
RTOERO was incorporated under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, as a result of a two-year review of the organization’s governance structure.
RTOERO celebrates its 50th anniversary
We added three new districts – The Prairies, Echo (province of Quebec) and Atlantic.
Now a Canada-wide organization with members from various education sector roles, The Retired Teachers of Ontario/Les enseignantes et enseignants retraités de l’Ontario becomes simply RTOERO and adopted the current branding.