September's Video Update

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

Hello, I am Rob Stapleford, and I am President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Jacques Tremblay, the previous CIA President, launched a popular series of video updates for members, and while I may not be doing them each month, it is a great communications vehicle for the Institute, and I am committed to giving them my best.

First of all, I want to remind all members that our 50th anniversary year continues, and we still have some surprises left to deliver. Stay tuned!

I also want to highlight the work that has been recently performed on your behalf by the CIA in public policy.

We have been increasingly engaged in submissions to governments and other organizations. For example, in 2005, the CIA made five submissions. For the last three years, that number has been more than 20, and we are well on our way to eclipsing that this year. Here are two great examples of the impact of this work.

Last year, Finance Canada had a consultation on target benefit plans. We participated in the process with in-person meetings and a submission, based on the work that was being done by our Task Force on Target Benefit Plans led by Barbara Sanders. Now the Ontario government has a consultation on target benefit multi-employer pension plans we are working on, and it wants to meet with Barbara to profit from her deep knowledge of the topic.

The second example is the Ontario government’s work on the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. Recognizing that actuaries are the experts in retirement and pension issues, government officials asked to meet with us to discuss various matters.

Keeping up with the increasing number of consultations that governments were conducting, the CIA created the Committee on Public Positions, or PPC, and we revamped our Policy on the Approval of Public Positions to accommodate the PPC. The PPC has 18 members, with representation from all practice areas, several past presidents, and leaders of the profession. It reports to the Member Services Council, and is very capably led by CIA past president Mike Hale. The PPC has had a very busy portfolio since late last year.

Another step the CIA took in the last year was hiring Elliot Hughes as manager, government relations and communications. Aside from the increasing workload in government relations, Elliot is responsible for an impression audit that is currently in the field. Business leaders, elected representatives, and government officials are being interviewed about their knowledge and opinions of the CIA and the work we are doing in the policy field. This foundational work will guide us in designing a plan for government relations that will take the profession into the future.

Late last year, the CIA met with MP Ted Hsu, who had a private member’s bill in play to reinstate the long-form census questionnaire. At the end of our meeting, he strongly suggested that with an election on the horizon, parties were working on their platforms, and if actuaries wanted to present some ideas, the parties would be open to hearing them.

Several committees went to work to come up with some straightforward positions. We drafted one for health and another for pensions, both of which were presented to the main political parties. One that fits today’s theme was the suggestion that the federal government name a national pensions champion to help move pension reform forward in conjunction with the provinces. That position still has merit, and whichever party or parties form the next government, this idea could help foster a new collaborative environment for all governments, in the public interest.

At this moment, as mentioned earlier, we have a submission being worked on that deals with the federal government’s interest in a voluntary supplement to the CPP. The Pension Advisory Committee was the drafting entity for the document and if the PPC approves it, you will be seeing it on the website in the coming weeks.

The second document in play is a new CIA position on pensions. The key questions are one, should public pension plans be expanded, and how; and two, how can the efficiency of the private-sector pension system be improved. I am sure you will agree these are two core issues that actuaries are fully qualified to examine and discuss. That said, it has to be done right and I know the PPC will be reviewing draft documents and comments from pension experts who volunteered for the Institute’s Member Listening Group, who were asked to share their views.

So, tons of progress being made in working more closely with governments on policy issues, driven by the public interest and the CIA’s strategic plan.

If you want to express your opinion on the items I covered, please send me an e-mail at

Until next time!

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

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires