February's Video Update

To view the video, click on the image above, or click here. Below is a transcript: 

Hello everyone, and welcome to a very special video update. My name is Jacques Tremblay and I am President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, or CIA.

What makes this update so special? In the midst of our 50th Anniversary year, March 18 is a singular day. On that date in 1965, federal Senate Bill S-45 was given Royal Assent, thus creating the CIA. It launched the Institute down its present path and continues to act as our North Star.

Don’t forget that we are holding a free webcast on March 18 to mark this special day and to provide an opportunity for members to understand where the CIA has come from, where we are, and where we are going.

You will be hearing more about our history in the coming months, but for this video, I would like to focus on elements of our long-term strategic plan and some activities we’ve undertaken in support of it.

October 18 is the scheduled date of the next federal election. Some claim it is the most important election in a generation. For the CIA, a federal election is an opportunity for our voice to be heard on issues that matter to Canadians.

In December, the Institute met with Liberal MP Ted Hsu, who had introduced a private member’s bill calling for the reinstatement of the long-form census questionnaire. During that meeting, Mr. Tsu encouraged the CIA to feed into the Liberal Party’s election platform.

Based on that encouragement and our long-term strategic plan we decided to develop public positions to present to all federal political parties as they work to finalize their platforms.

We presented the concept to several committees, including the Health and Pension Advisory committees, who were keen to get involved. Following our new policy on the approval of public positions, I conferred with Michel Simard, our Executive Director, and confirmed the need for these documents. Mike Hale, Chair of the Committee on Public Positions, was informed that work for his new committee would be coming their way.

After much discussion the Health Committee felt that calling out the unsustainable overall cost of healthcare in Canada would make for an attention-grabber. Backed by some incredible work done by Stéphane Levert and John Have, it recommended that the Government of Canada encourage Canadians to dedicate 30 minutes a day to physical activity as a key step in addressing the country’s rocketing healthcare costs. A simple idea, backed up by formidable actuarial rigour, which could have a real and lasting effect on the cost of healthcare nationwide.

Following a similar path, the second public position came in the field of pensions and retirement saving. Saving levels are not high enough, and two-thirds of workers do not have workplace pension plans. Combine these items with the fact that year by year Canadians are living longer, and one can easily see the unsustainable situation that must be addressed immediately.

Pension reform has long been discussed, with several false starts. Simply put, more must be done. Which is why the CIA is calling on the Government of Canada to appoint a national pensions champion charged with working with the provinces to develop a country-wide strategy to secure better pensions for all Canadians, within a system that is simple, flexible, and transparent.

Failure to develop a national strategy leaves the door open to provincial solutions that represent a patchwork of legislation and regulations that may not be transportable, and will be complicated and unwieldy. And of course, the CIA would be pleased to work with the national pensions champion in areas where our expertise and experience can help.

Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement have changes which are underway, and the Institute supports these. The CIA could also support a modest increase to the Canada Pension Plan and provincial plans, as long as the change benefits those with the greatest need. Private plans and private savings could focus on modernizing funding regimes, enabling target benefit plans to grow and harmonizing regulations across the country. We also support expanding financial literacy efforts.

Both of these positions are now being finalized and are moving through the appropriate stages of sign-off and approval. The next step will be to meet with each of three federal political parties and encourage them to include these positions in their election platforms. While this work is certainly no easy feat, a lasting benefit of it will be the imprint we leave with each party, making them aware of our thinking and ability to contribute to public policy discussions.

On behalf of the Elections Committee, I encourage you to bring your voice to the CIA’s leadership table and stand as a candidate in the upcoming Board elections. This is a great opportunity to impact the future of the actuarial profession in Canada and play a role in CIA governance. You will grow personally and professionally, while gaining increased business acumen and contributing to your profession. And like me, you will enjoy a sense of satisfaction that comes from volunteering for a great cause!

So, that’s the big news for this month: our anniversary day and a free webcast for all members on March 18, growing involvement with the federal election, and our own 2015 Elections. Of course the Board, its councils, and their committees will all be moving their agendas forward, on behalf of all members and in the public interest.

Finally, program and registration information is now available for the 50th CIA Annual Meeting and Gala Celebration. You don’t want to wait 50 more years for the next event that’s this big!

See you next month!

Jacques Tremblay, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.


Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires