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

Public Statements: the CIA Is Making a Difference and Looks to Enhance Member Involvement

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By Rob Stapleford, FCIA
CIA Immediate Past President

The 2015–16 CIA year is fast approaching its conclusion. It has been my honour to serve the profession, members, and our public as President over the past year. Thank you for that opportunity.

The Annual Report summarizes my comments on major accomplishments over the past year. In this article, I will concentrate on the review of our strategic plan with emphasis on public statements.

Our strategic plan identified four key priorities as follows:

  • The Board, members, and external stakeholders identified influencing public policy in areas of actuarial expertise as a key priority. As I will discuss below, we have been active in this area in 2015–16 and are actively considering enhancements to our process.
  • Greater support for emerging areas of practice will be an initiative for the Institute for several years. The CIA needs to be active in positioning the profession for a different work environment in the years ahead.
  • Educating actuaries of the future remains a focus. The CIA needs to work proactively with our education partners to prepare future actuaries.
  • We have initiated a review of operations and governance to ensure that the CIA functions effectively and makes good use of volunteer resources.

Public Policy 

Pensions have been the major focus of activity in the public policy objective in 2015–16. Many thanks go to the Pension Advisory Committee (PAC), chaired by Michel St-Germain, for its dedication in preparing several positions. In addition to work on new funding approaches, the PAC developed three public positions.

The most recent position on the Expansion of Public Pension Plans was released prior to the June finance ministers’ meeting to discuss Canada Pension Plan (CPP) expansion. Various CIA teams met with regulators and government officials from Québec, Ontario, and Ottawa, and with the C.D. Howe Institute. Our comments were well-received. Ultimately, the finance ministers agreed upon an expanded CPP (and potentially Québec Pension Plan (QPP)). I believe the CIA contributed to that process and met our objective of being an active participant in an area of public policy that could benefit from actuarial input.

Blue Ribbon Task Force

Notwithstanding this result, many members are unhappy with the process to develop public positions. The major concern was the lack of member involvement in a process that produces a CIA position. The Board decided to move quickly to address this concern. A Blue Ribbon Task Force on Public Policy (BRTF), chaired by Jacques Tremblay, was created with a mandate to bring forward recommendations to the Board in June. This BRTF operated with a tight deadline that required a disciplined approach. It has produced a comprehensive report for discussion and will be a model for future special projects.

The BRTF report contains a number of recommendations to enhance the CIA’s approach to making public statements. The Board will consider the following enhancements:

  • Create a more systematic process to identify areas of public policy where the CIA wants to be involved on a proactive basis. Board approval will be required for these positions at the outset and Board ratification of the Public Positions Committee’s approval when a final position is produced.
  • The CIA will continue to actively respond to consultation opportunities that are more technical in nature.
  • Public statements requiring Board approval will have a mandated member input process that includes a notice of intent, formal input, opportunity for discussion through events like webcasts and town halls, and open communication.
  • Greater involvement of research to support development of public statements where appropriate.
  • Proposed changes to the Policy on the Approval of Public Positions and to the Bylaws.

The Board approved the BRTF documents at its June 27 meeting and referred them to the Governance Committee for final refinement. Thanks to the BRTF for its thoughtful and complete work.

Thanks to Volunteers, Board, and Staff 

There have been many other accomplishments that have required the dedicated effort of many volunteers. Thanks to the Board and to the many volunteers for your continued commitment to our profession. Staff at CIA Head Office provide continuity and a longer-term perspective on many activities. Thank you for your support and commitment.

Congratulations to Sharon Giffen, our new President-elect and the newly elected Board members. I have every confidence that the 2016–17 Board under the direction of our new President, Dave Dickson, will lead the profession effectively over the next year.

Thanks for the opportunity to serve our profession as President for the past year. It has been a rewarding experience for me, and I hope that our work continues to position the actuarial profession in Canada for an exciting future.

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

 

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