An Update from the International Relations Council

By Dave Pelletier, FCIA

Our last (e)Bulletin update on the IRC was back in September 2015, and a lot has gone on since then. However, articles by Chris Fievoli in the December issue on the October meetings of the International Actuarial Association (IAA) in Vancouver and by Robert Berendsen in the February issue on emerging international capital standards for internationally active insurance groups and associated IAA standards activity have helped keep readers abreast of international activity. Plus in this issue, Chris Fievoli provides an update on two key subjects discussed at the recent IAA meetings in St. Petersburg, Russia, while Les Rehbeli describes the current status of the proposed International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) on insurance contracts and the role our International Insurance Accounting Committee (IIAC) is playing in both providing input to the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the IAA and in helping ready Canadian actuaries for the outcome.

So this article of mine will not repeat what the reader will find there, and instead deal with other aspects of our international involvement. What else have we been doing?

Influencing Policy Setting

One objective of the CIA is to influence policy setting where we have expertise that bears on the subject matter involved. For the IRC, that translates into making input into, and participating in where feasible, the various international bodies (IAA, IASB, International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), International Organization of Pension Supervisors (IOPS), International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB), International Social Security Association (ISSA), and occasionally other "I’s") developing model standards, guidelines, regulations, or other material ultimately relevant for our work as actuaries in Canada and elsewhere.

Three of our committees (the IIAC, the International Insurance Regulation Committee, and the International Pension and Employee Benefits Standards Committee) play key roles in monitoring international developments and reacting accordingly. Over the last year, collectively we’ve made six submissions in response to international consultations. We also supported the Education and Eligibility Council’s submission to the IAA on a proposed international education syllabus. We stay very active as well within the IAA, with at least 15 CIA members participating on IAA committees and working groups, several in leadership positions; more on that below.

The 2026 International Congress of Actuaries (ICA)


While the International Olympic Committee will be determining the site of the 2026 Winter Olympics only in 2019, the IAA is well ahead of that schedule, intending to announce the site of the 2026 ICA later this year! Late last year, the CIA Board approved the IRC’s recommendation to make a bid for that congress, with Vancouver as host city. Bob McKay has very energetically chaired our effort, which involved an extensive feasibility study, a very impressive and colourful bid document, and a presentation to the IAA Executive Committee (EC) in St. Petersburg by our proposed Organizing Committee Chair Jason Vary and proposed Scientific Committee Chair Alexis Gerbeau, along with President Rob Stapleford and Executive Director Michel Simard. However, we’re facing tough competition.

Our Mandate

Given our start-up nature, it was not surprising that we saw the need during the year to modify the mandate of the IRC and some of our committees. Les Rehbeli’s article in this month’s (e)Bulletin describes the expanded role the IIAC will now be playing. In addition, the originally proposed mandate of the IRC did not really reflect what we were doing and what the Board wanted us to be doing; the Board approved at its March meeting a revised mandate for us.

Perhaps the most significant change was the addition of this task: "To actively develop and maintain an international strategy for the CIA, to be proposed for Board approval". To begin to fulfil this part of our mandate, the IRC has created a task force, chaired by Jacques Tremblay, to draft an international strategy for the CIA. It has begun its work, identifying initially what the CIA’s objectives should be in the international arena, and why.

We’re also taking steps to enhance our communication within the CIA about international developments. The expanded role for the IIAC is one aspect of that, but we’re also establishing formal liaison roles between the IRC and the Practice Council (PC) and between some of our committees and the PC’s.


Another part of the IRC’s role is to ensure that the CIA participates effectively within the IAA. This consists of both appointing strong CIA delegates to the various IAA committees where all associations have the right to appoint a delegate, and nominating CIA members to leadership positions within the IAA as well as positions on important "limited membership" committees. Our policy requires that we not only publicize such positions as they come open but also ensure timely rotation of incumbents so we have a continuous flow of new blood participating for the CIA.

This past year, we publicized 13 possible openings on IAA committees or working groups, including, in particular, the new working groups on banking and on big data and the new committee on general insurance. CIA members who have participated in the past have found the interaction with their international colleagues highly interesting and rewarding. Later this year we’ll be in a position to publicize some more, and we look forward to a healthy response.

Dave Pelletier, FCIA, is Chair of the International Relations Council.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires