CEP Short Term Study

Engaging ELCIC Professional Leaders in life-long learning

Information for Accessing Short-Term Study Funds

updated and approved by NCC effective March 2015

Member Account

Rostered employees are required to become members of the plan as per their call document.  Non-rostered employees are encouraged to join the plan.  A separate account is maintained for each individual, where member contributions, employer/congregation contributions and education disbursements are recorded.

Financial administration is provided nationally by ELCIC Group Services Inc. and therefore the account continues if the member transfers to another ELCIC employer/congregation.  Interest, net of administrative costs, on accumulated funds is designated to the long-term study fund, i.e. no interest is added to the member account.

Contributions

The following table of contributions is recommended as a minimum guideline:

Member

Employer

Rostered

$25 per month

($300 annually)

$50 per month

($600 annually)

Non-rostered $12.50 per month($150 annually)

$25 per month

($300 annually)

Qualifying Education Disbursements

Continuing education should be planned to further the individual’s goals for ministry and to serve the employers’/congregations’ goals for mission.  The employer/congregation contributions are remitted on a tax free basis to the employees’ account and therefore all disbursements must qualify as eligible education expenses within the interpretation of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The education event must consist of formal classes, seminars or conferences for either:

  • subjects taken for maintenance or upgrading of skills related directly to the responsibilities of the member’s employment with the congregation; or
  • general matters relating to employment (for example:  time management, how to supervise employees or volunteers, crisis management etc).

The education event may also have the format of a lesson for a small group or individual including coaching, when it meets the qualifying criteria listed above.

If the event is not in any format described above (i.e. travel tour, individual exploration, independent learning)  the following factors should be considered to determine eligibility for this tax free program:

  • the employer / congregation recommended or requested the event be undertaken;
  • there is documentation of the expectations regarding the knowledge to be gained by the pastor from each daily excursion that in turn can be shared with the congregation to enrich it;
  • this is a new experience for the member.

For additional clarity, Canada Revenue Agency would not allow expenses to be paid from this fund that it considers to be for personal interest or wellness.

How to Access Funds

  1. Complete the Expense Reimbursement Request Form (use the link to navigate to the forms and worksheets page) and submit for signature to your employer/congregation and Synod Bishop.   Note:  if there is any concern regarding eligibility, it is recommended that authorization be obtained prior to the event to ensure that the expenses will qualify.
  2. Engage in the educational event.
  3. Submit the form together with your receipts to ELCIC Group Services.

Notes:

i.        eligible disbursements include:  tuition, course registration fees, relevant reading material, travel (mileage if traveling by personal vehicle,  rate as per CRA guidelines limited to the cost of available economy airfare), meals and accommodations

ii.        expenses can only be paid on a reimbursement basis i.e. advances cannot be provided

Time Off for Education Events

The time required to undertake an educational event should be provided with pay on a reasonable basis.  The following serves as guidance:

  • two weeks annually
  • accumulated to a maximum of six weeks over three years.

Termination / Account Closure

When a member retires or otherwise terminates service in the ELCIC, the member portion in the account will be refunded to the member.  The employer/congregation portion will be transferred to the long-term study fund.  The full account balance may be used for the purposes of retraining if this is completed within two months of termination.

In the event of a member’s death, the member portion in the account will be paid out to the designated beneficiary.  The employer/congregation portion will be transferred to the long-term fund.

Guidance for Rostered Members without a Call regarding their CEP Account

Continuing Education Plan (CEP) is a resource of funds for plan members to enhance their employment skills. This is the overriding criteria, which allows these funds to be used on a tax free basis to the member. When a plan member leaves employment with the ELCIC, one of following will occur depending on the circumstance.

Member StatusIntention for future employmentCEP Account Status
Rostered member on leave from callIs seeking a callAccount may remain open and funds used for education to maintain and enhance skills relating to future employment
Rostered member on a statutory leaveIntends to return to work or seek a new call at end of leaveAccount may remain open and funds used for education to maintain and enhance skills relating to future employment
Rostered member retiringIntends to continue working from time to time in interim positions and supplyAccount may remain open and funds used for education to maintain and enhance skills relating to employment
Rostered member retiringNo known intent to return to current employer or to be hired by another ELCIC employerMember portion of account returned to member and employer portion transferred to the long term study plan
Non-rostered employee or
formerly rostered employee now terminated on the roster or transferred to another non-ELCIC roster
No known intent to return to current employer or to be hired by another ELCIC employerMember portion of account returned to member and employer portion transferred to the long term study plan