Update from the November Meeting of Your Board

By Sharon Giffen, FCIA
CIA President

Your Board met in late November to consider the business of the Institute. Overall, I am quite satisfied with the progress made by the 500+ volunteers and our Head Office staff towards achieving our strategic goals.

Governance Matters

Since our September meeting, work continued to develop recommendations for some changes regarding the Board’s activities. Some recommendations require a membership vote to change the relevant bylaws. Consultation on these matters will start soon, after the closure of the consultation period on the changes to our CPD requirements.

On the CPD review, the Board heard a summary of the input received from members during the consultation period. The team will further consider such input; the final plan, along with its implementation requirements, will be presented for final approval to go to the membership for voting in June 2018.

Additionally, a further iteration of a revised CIA structure was presented to address issues raised during our initial targeted consultation. While no structure will be perfect, I believe that the iterative process we have been following is giving us a path to some significant improvements. Member consultation on this will commence in the new year.

Education Matters

The Board approved updates to the education syllabus. These will align the CIA with the International Actuarial Association’s newly approved syllabus, and, importantly, bring knowledge of predictive analytics onto the education path for Canadian actuaries. Education and examinations offered by our partners are also updated to bring new skills to actuaries globally.

Implementation of the new Practice Education Course (PEC 2.0) continues. Implications of the changes are far-reaching, impacting our partners under mutual recognition agreements. The Head Office staff and the volunteer group responsible are working through all such impacts, so we can be sure that we are treating all candidates for membership equitably.


As research is a foundational purpose of the CIA, the Board has asked for greater insight into the work being done by our Research Executive Committee. With the hiring of Shlomit Jacobson as manager, research projects, increased rigour is being brought to the 18 projects currently underway. We received a first cut of reporting that includes status towards completion and the funding spent and committed. The Board asked for even more summary information—importantly, how these research projects support the CIA’s strategic objectives and the value that is generated. More to come on this.

Actuarial Evidence – the Featured Practice Corner for November

The Board also heard a presentation from Jamie Jocsak about the actuarial evidence practice area.  This area is not broadly understood; it currently has about 100 practitioners. Their clients are lawyers, but the actuary does not advocate for either side in a dispute. They act as experts and thus may opine upon certain matters in court. Jamie also described the current challenges to the practice area which include the following:

Despite these challenges, the practice area shows great promise for expansion. Actuaries have an excellent reputation in the Canadian court system, with our Standards of Practice and Rules of Conduct giving comfort to judges that an actuary can act with objectivity. The area also gives practitioners the ability to be their own boss, running an independent business, with freedom to manage work/life balance.

I think Jamie was recruiting!

Other Board Matters

The Board also received several reports and approved several items to keep the business of the Institute moving. These included quarterly financial statements, appointments, renewal of the graduate scholarship program, activities of the Global Risk Institute, and a report from the Practice Council on their strategic thinking for the future.

We also considered the operations report from the Executive Director, including a detailed report on the progress of the customer relationship management (CRM) system, which will significantly improve efficiency in the Head Office; like many large IT projects, it is behind schedule and a special committee of the Board is working with the staff to seek ways to facilitate delivery.

Finally, and importantly, we celebrated the retirement of our executive assistant, Shirley Ann Mahon, with a beautiful cake. We wish her every happiness in her new life . . . which she will start by spending several weeks in the Caribbean, out of the snow and cold of Ottawa.

Seasons Greetings!

I wish all the very best of the holiday season to each and every member of the CIA. Whether you celebrate with family or friends or by escaping to a faraway place (in the warmth), I hope everyone has the opportunity to recharge and come back to face the new year refreshed and rested. All the best of the season.

Sharon Giffen, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.


Last month’s (e)Bulletin had two errors in my update. First, Henri Boudreau of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is not an actuary. Second, the other actuary at the breakfast was Ben Marshall, SOA’s staff Fellow, Canadian membership; I omitted to mention that he was moderating the session. My apologies to both gentlemen.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires