Teachers are the backbone of society. Without their hard work and dedication, it's hard to imagine where we'd be, so it's only right that businesses give something back to Canadian educators.
The thing is, relatively few teachers are aware of just how many discounts are available to them. When you start digging, you'll discover a huge amount of offers for teachers, from tourist attractions to apparel stores.
We couldn't accept this situation any longer, so we've put together a quick guide to how to find stores that offer teacher discounts and many other ways for classroom servants to save cash. You'll be amazed by some of the discounts you can claim, so let's find out more about what's available in your area.
Where to find teacher discounts in Canada's provinces
In Canada, teacher discounts vary depending on where you are, so some stores offering Ontario teacher discounts won't run deals in Quebec or BC. So it pays to know a little bit about the local situation, as you don't want to miss out on the biggest reductions.
Your OCT used to be a passport to some pretty incredible deals, but the College's discount program has now been wound up. However, that doesn't mean teachers in Toronto or York don't have ways to save. The best way to find local deals is to sign up for an Edvantage card. With one of these in your wallet, you can save money at attractions like Canada's Wonderland, opticians like Hakim Optical and even the spa facilities covered by WaySpa. Edvantage is sponsored by OTIP – the state teachers insurance plan – so it should cover the kind of things teachers need. Some major attractions also cater for teacher discounts. For instance, the Royal Ontario Museum offers 20% off admission for OCT members. The Art Gallery of Ontario also runs a Teacher Access Program, which allows teachers to visit for free at any time.
BCTF is keen to hook BC teachers up with a wide range of discounts on everything from mortgages to gyms like Anytime Fitness. BC teacher discounts also come from a roster of local Marketplace Partners, all of which offer generous savings for the province's teachers. There are also some great offers for BC attractions. Teachers on Vancouver Island can apply for free "preview" screenings at the IMAX Victoria, and there are 2-for-1 tickets at Shadbolt Centre for the Arts with the BCTF Marketplace.
Quebec's teaching federation doesn't offer any specific member discounts, but you can use services like Chalkboard Plus to access health and wellness, entertainment, travel, automotive, insurance and retail perks It's free to join, but expect a few emails about the company's classroom tools, along with updates on teacher discounts.
Teachers in the east can use their NSTU card to access plenty of generous deals. There are reduced rates from hotels in Halifax and Sydney, cut-price rental car packages and even bargain weekend vacations at the region's elite spas. So it's well worth signing up for the union if you haven't done so already.
The ATA aren't tardy when it comes to discounts for members. Flash your ATA card, and you'll be able to make savings of 15% to 30% at boutiques in Calgary and Edmonton. Deals change all the time though, so check their website for the latest promotions.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Teachers in Newfoundland and Labrador can use their NLTA card to save money on car rentals and hotels anywhere in the world, along with a host of regional businesses. Whether you need a new computer, dry cleaning, picture framing, jewellery or services for pets, there are generous educator deals all over the province.
The MTS is also keen to provide their members with discounts. Snap up women's apparel from Reitmans, reduce the cost of preparing for lessons with stationery deals at Staples or chill out and forget the stresses of the classroom at specialist physiotherapy companies in Winnipeg. The range is impressively wide, including flights and hotels – so don't leave home without your MTS card.
If you belong to the STF, teacher discounts can be especially handy for saving money on accommodations. Hotels across Regina and Saskatoon have signed up to the federation's discounts program, so be sure to take advantage of them if you need to travel.
Up in the far north, Yukon's public school teachers haven't been missed out. Actually, the local selection of discounts is impressively broad, featuring specialists like chiropractors, a raft of appetizing restaurants and essential services like plumbers or home security companies.
Some of 2018's best online Canadian teacher discounts
Hopefully that gives a pretty good idea of how different regional teachers associations and unions deliver perks for their members. But that's not the end of the story when it comes to discounts for teachers. You can also make huge savings by ordering online with a host of major eCommerce retailers. Here are a few great money-saving possibilities for teachers in 2018.
Stationery giant Staples runs a Teacher Appreciation scheme, which all Canadian teachers should know about. It's a great way to save on essentials like pens, paper and printer cartridges.
Look your best in class with the apparel discounts from Banana Republic. The clothing retailer offers savings of up to 15% if you can supply valid teacher ID (and it also applies to students, so why not tell your pupils?).
At the popular art and creativity retailer Michaels, teacher discounts can be massive, with a standard 15% off almost all in-store purchases in Canada. If you need quirky materials for classes or just to enjoy at home, it's a great place to shop.
Photography specialists Henry's have teamed up with Fujifilm to offer big savings on film and cameras for Canadian post-secondary teachers (and students). The only condition is that they can't be combined with other deals.
The Seattle-based tech giant is committed to helping out teachers (and students) in Canada, offering the online version of Microsoft Office for FREE, as we all 1 TB of online storage. They also offer discounts for schools looking to use their products in the classroom.
Take advantage of your profession and make huge savings
As you can see, Canada isn't a bad place to be a teacher. Across the nation, there are hundreds of companies large and small that make a point of attracting educators with price reductions. Wherever you live, it's a good idea to check your local teaching body, because they often make a point of partnering with businesses to serve their membership, and trade unions can also provide useful discounts.
However, many of the best deals are just run privately by companies via their online stores. When you add them all together, almost anything can be purchased for less if you are an educator, so don't miss out on a single offer. And certainly stop paying more than you have to. You've earned a break, so enjoy it.