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Our profession has so much to be proud of

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By Micheline Dionne, FCIA

CIA President

It has been five months since I was given the honour and privilege of becoming President of the CIA, and this hectic—but enjoyable—period has already given me a whole new perspective of our profession. As the holiday season is fast approaching, let me share with you some of my thoughts on how great our profession is.

During our day-to-day work, it is understandable that we are focused on our individual practice areas and the complex projects that call on all of our education and expertise. The exacting role of an actuary always demands discipline, attention to detail and a rigorous nature. There is rarely sufficient time to take a step back and think of the profession as a whole, especially in a country as large and diverse as Canada. The working life of a pension practitioner in Halifax will be quite different from that of an actuarial evidence specialist in downtown Vancouver, and both might expect wholly different things from the CIA.

But gaining that fresh, broad perspective of Canada’s actuaries is just one of the invaluable benefits, I have found, of becoming President. My new role has allowed me to fully appreciate the importance of the CIA’s cadre of volunteers and their work on a national and international scale. I was amazed when I met with Indian actuaries to find that they have created their standards from what they perceived to be the best from around the world and, guess what, they are amazingly similar to the Canadian standards. I have discovered how highly regarded we are in the Caribbean islands and how important our presence is there. It is with great pride that I will be making a presentation on IFRS at the Caribbean Actuarial Association Annual Conference in early December with other Canadian actuaries. Not only are they counting on us but they are also working hard to be ready on their own.

I have also been given a deeper insight into the inestimable value of our volunteers, and the great efforts they make to ensure our profession evolves to meet ever-changing demands. We have thousands of members in communities of all kinds, in widely different provinces and territories, united in their desire to see our profession develop and prosper. Whether I have been putting my name to CIA submissions to governments or public positions, or representing the Institute abroad, it is obvious that I represent many people working diligently to produce actuarial products of high quality. We have been real leaders and I hope that we will continue to be leaders for many years to come and not rest on our laurels. Our business is becoming more and more complex every year so we need to keep up with the best work. The competition out there is looking at what has been done and is building on it, and we too need to build on the best to stay relevant.

Each day I feel honoured to be President, and slightly awed by the responsibility placed upon me. But my role to date has shown me that the profession has much to be proud of, and I am sure we can meet all the challenges 2011 will undoubtedly bring.

Best wishes to all and thank you so much for your extraordinary dedication and support.

If you have any questions or comments that you would like to share, please contact me at

e Dionne, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

360 Albert Street, Suite 1740, Ottawa, ON K1R 7X7
Tel.: 613.236.8196 Fax: 613.233.4552