CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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March 2016
 
 

March Update

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By Rob Stapleford, FCIA
CIA President

In an effort to provide current information and transparency on issues facing your Board, I want to share the results of the Board’s discussions on several important issues examined at its meeting on March 23 with members in a timely manner.

Protect the Public: Continuing Professional Development and Disclosure of Criminal Convictions

There was substantial feedback from members regarding the proposed bylaw changes related to continuing professional development (CPD) and disclosure of criminal convictions. The Board thanks the many members who took the time to provide thoughtful comments on the proposed bylaw changes. The Board gave careful consideration to the comments, which included suggestions on different approaches to these issues. Thank you.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The Board has decided not to proceed with the proposed changes on CPD. There was substantial member resistance to the use of the "non-practicing" (NP) designation and many good points were made. Concerns included potential negative implications for those using the NP designation, whether this measure would truly enhance the public’s protection, creation of confusion for the public, and resistance from many members who indicated they would not use a designation with a qualifier. Your comments advised the Board to focus its efforts on improving CPD compliance through education and enforcement rather than by forcing the use of a qualifier with the designation.

The comments also indicated concerns with the current CPD structure and reporting. It is clear that more education is required around what qualifies as acceptable CPD in non-traditional areas.

The Board continues to believe that the CIA must enhance its efforts to ensure that CIA members remain current in their chosen area of practice. As a result, we will establish a special task force to work with the Eligibility and Education Council (EEC) to focus on CPD compliance by looking at the following areas of our CPD requirements:

  • Continuation and potential enhancement of the annual auditing of members’ CPD compliance statements, as well as activities (where applicable), in order to ensure that accurate and appropriate filings are being submitted;
  • Fostering greater awareness of what qualifies as acceptable CPD. Our current requirements enable members to decide what acceptable CPD is for them. Members who are working in non-traditional areas of practice are able to use CPD in their practice area. CPD requirements are not intended only for those members practicing in reserved roles;
  • Potential simplification of CPD requirements and CPD reporting requirements; and
  • Availability of CPD programs through easy-to-use options such as webcasts.

Disclosure of Criminal Convictions

The Board carefully considered the comments on disclosing criminal convictions and decided to proceed with the proposed bylaw changes.

Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) #11 states that, "A member shall be subject to the Institute’s disciplinary procedures if the member is convicted or found guilty of or pleads guilty to any criminal or similar offence". Without a requirement to disclose, the CIA has little ability to enforce RPC #11 and could mislead the public that RPC #11 is truly effective.

Some members expressed a desire for greater time before the new measures take effect. The Board agreed that the disclosure requirements would become effective on September 1, 2016, with the exception of the requirement to disclose all past criminal convictions, which would be extended to July 1, 2017, in order to allow members time to initiate the process of seeking a record suspension, if they choose to do so. The time needed to obtain the record suspension may go beyond that date, but it allows members the time to apply for it, and to indicate, as part of their disclosure to the CIA, that the process is underway.

All new applicants to the Institute would be required to disclose past criminal convictions as of September 1, 2016 and existing members who are convicted of a criminal offence after September 1, 2016, would be required to disclose it within 30 days of the conviction.

Several members expressed concern that more information was not provided on what offences would be referred to the Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC). Under the current proposal, a new committee will be created to develop the criteria to be used to determine which convictions would be referred to the CPC. These criteria would need to be the same as those that would be used by the CPC in addressing convictions under RPC #11. Consultation with the CPC will be an important part of developing reasonable and consistent criteria.

The implementation team did not think that it would be possible to develop a list of criminal convictions prior to the committee looking at each unique situation. The Board will review what criteria are established and communicate with the membership before they are implemented.

Several members commented that the CIA should not be taking further action when a member has already been convicted and presumably punished. The proposed bylaw changes only require the disclosure of convictions. It will be up to the new committee and then the CPC to decide whether any action is needed and if so, what action is required under the terms of the CPC’s disciplinary process. The intent is to deal with convictions for matters which could put the character of the member in question, tainting his or her ability to provide professional services, or undermine (perhaps irreparably) the trust of the public. It is not meant to add unreasonably to prior penalties.

The Board shares the concern which surfaced about confidentiality and privacy. Every effort will be made to administer this requirement with the utmost attention to protecting the privacy of those who disclose convictions. The CIA will seek to learn from the experiences of other actuarial organizations which have faced this issue.

There were comments on the wording of the proposed bylaw changes and this aspect will be reviewed and any changes will be submitted to the Board for final approval at a special meeting in April. The final proposed bylaw changes will be released to the members in accordance with CIA Bylaws. We will schedule webcasts to explain the proposals and respond to member inquiries. The final vote will occur at the General Business Session at the CIA Annual Meeting, June 28–29 in St. John’s.

Proxy voting will be permitted so that all members will be able to take part in the decision.

Strategic Plan Update

The Board conducted a special meeting in Toronto in January to further its work on strategic initiatives that the CIA should address. Working groups were asked to report back to the Board on specific actions in each of the four identified areas.

  • Influencing public policy: Jacques Tremblay has agreed to chair a Blue Ribbon Task Force to review the CIA’s strategy and execution of influencing public policy. A task force of 14 members has been recruited. This group will meet two or three times over the next three months and report its findings and recommendations to the Board in June.
  • Support for the development of emerging areas of practice: Claude Ferguson reported on behalf of the working group which had prepared a report that included a mandate for a future Emerging Practice Committee (EPC). The work of this committee will fall under the Member Services Council which will consider recruiting at its meeting in April. The Board recognized that the work of the EPC will take time and will require contact both with other actuarial organizations that are facing similar challenges and employers of actuaries in non-traditional roles.
  • Education: Angelita Graham reported on behalf of the EEC, which has overall responsibility for education initiatives. Working groups have been created to address the future of the Practice Education Course, further evolution of the CIA syllabus to prepare future actuaries for what is likely to be a different employment market, and the long-term direction of the CIA in education. This work will require coordination with the proposed EPC and the International Relations Council (IRC) on actions proposed by the International Actuarial Association (IAA) and our education partners including the Society of Actuaries, the Casualty Actuarial Society, and universities.
  • Overall governance assessment: The meeting in January identified the need for the CIA to review the effectiveness of its operating structure. The CIA has done this before and the Board agreed that such a review is once again needed. Dave Dickson and Michel Simard discussed how we will proceed with this review. The working group has engaged Don McCreesh, who facilitated the January session, to assist in this work and provide an external perspective.

The Board had concluded in January that excellence in branding and international activity should be part of all the CIA does and did not require a specific activity. The Board discussed some of the actions that must stay on the CIA’s radar in these areas.

Bylaw 19.01 and 19.02 – Public Pronouncements of Opinion

The Governance Committee (GC) reviewed bylaws 19.01 and 19.02, which cover the Institute’s ability to issue public opinions under conditions identified by the Board. Dave Dickson, Chair of the GC, brought forward draft proposals for discussion.

The Board recognized that these bylaws could be impacted by the work of the Blue Ribbon Task Force chaired by Jacques Tremblay. The discussion was general and will provide the task force with a guide to the Board’s thinking. If the task force proposes changes to the bylaws and the Policy on the Approval of Public Positions, the required consultation and voting procedures will be undertaken this fall.

Budget for 2016–17

Secretary-Treasurer John Dark presented the proposed 2016–17 budget. Highlights of the proposed budget included the following:

  • Overall deficit of $181,000 (deficit of $498,600 expected in 2015–16) after an allocation of $459,000 to meet future research commitments. One of the factors contributing to a deficit position in 2015–16 and 2016–17 is the funding of the new customer relationship management (CRM) system. The outlay is not expected to continue at current levels beyond 2017;
  • Research funding to remain at 9.5 percent of CIA revenues;
  • Acquisition of additional Head Office space at favourable terms;
  • A 2 percent increase in dues across all membership categories; and
  • A revised annual dues structure that introduces the following:
    1. A reduction in annual dues, rather than a full waiver of dues. Members who meet certain requirements (i.e., retirement, disability, family leave, full-time student, unemployment) will now be charged a reduced annual dues amount of $65 to cover administrative expenses. This replaces all categories of dues waivers previously covered under the Policy on Waiving Membership Dues, which has now been replaced with the Policy on Reducing Membership Dues.
    2. Category 5 – "Has reached the age of 70 years" has been eliminated. So, if a member is over age 70 and retired, the member qualifies for reduced dues of $65. If a member is over age 70 and working and does not meet the requirements of any of the reduced dues categories noted above, the member is required to pay full dues for the membership category they are in.

Additional Items

The IRC presented a revised mandate for its work. The new mandate better reflects what the IRC is doing and how it interacts with the CIA officers and other councils and committees. The IRC indicated that a presentation on the CIA’s bid to host the 2026 International Congress of Actuaries in Vancouver is being prepared for the IAA executive committee at its meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in late May.

Thank you to Board members, council chairs, and committee/council members for all their work on behalf of the CIA. If you have questions on this update, please reach out to me at rstapleford2@cogeco.ca.

Rob Stapleford, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

 

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