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

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires

September 2015
Elliott Bauer
D.W. Simpson & Company
Eckler Ltd.
President's 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.

In Focus


By Angelita Graham, FCIA

In my last article, we were looking ahead to the CIA 50th anniversary celebration in Ottawa. Well, the verdict is in! The celebration was a huge success, thanks to the hard work of the Committee on Continuing Education (CCE), its subcommittees, the 50th Anniversary Task Force and the Head Office staff, who put in many hours planning this event. We had 600 in attendance.

The CCE committee was able to find the right balance between content and entertainment. There were many firsts, and memorable moments, including the signature "I am a Canadian Actuary" speech from our President, Jacques Tremblay, and of course, the top hat. The recognition that we had left the era of the slide ruler was evident when we found ourselves inundated with numerous selfie requests from our new Fellows as they crossed the stage to accept their certificates from our President.

On a more serious note, it was a proud moment for the Eligibility and Education Council (EEC) to see the first recipient of the CIA Graduate Scholarship Program cross the June 2015 Annual Meeting stage to collect his cheque for $10,000. Thanks to the hard work of the Academic Relations Committee, which was the driving force behind the creation of the program, as they too recognized that "whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future".

What’s on the Horizon for the EEC?

"There are no guarantees or crystal balls for the future, and there's no absolute way to know if you are or aren't making the right decision. Give tomorrow the best possible chance that you can." Kennedth Dino, The 12 Commandments: A Guide for Entrepreneurs

There are a number of initiatives underway by the EEC and its committees. Below is a brief update on two of the activities which we expect to complete over the next few months.

1. CIA Education Syllabus

We are excited to announce that the CIA is expected to publish its first education syllabus for both the associateship and fellowship level over the next few months. The CIA education syllabus will be the document against which all of our education partners will be evaluated. Similar to the International Actuarial Association's (IAA) education syllabus outline, the goal of the CIA syllabus is to present high-level learning objectives and the associated Bloom taxonomy. Detailed information such as reading material will be left to our education partners. This step continues to support our goal of having "greater accountability and responsibility for the education of actuaries in Canada, including having the appropriate level of control over syllabus content in outsourced situations".

2. University Accreditation Program

Bob Taft once said, "we must ensure our system of higher education offers world-class quality for a world-class economy". We at the EEC believe this too. Hence, we continue to examine, review, and enhance our existing education system and processes where necessary, as we strive to produce actuaries of the highest calibre.

The University Accreditation Program (UAP) first principles review, which started in 2014, has been completed. The Accreditation Committee’s report and recommendations will be presented to the Board for approval in November 2015, and shared with the membership over the coming months. We are pleased that the preliminary results of the review show that the UAP has been very successful since its inception three years ago. The recommendations coming from the Accreditation Committee, when implemented, will continue to build awareness and enhance what has been a successful CIA initiative to date.

In addition, one of the outcomes of the first principle review process was the formation of the Task Force to Review the Merits of Program Accreditation for UAP, with a mandate to review the advantages and disadvantages of program-based accreditation. As we explore this avenue, we note that other major actuarial associations, such as the UK’s Institute of Actuaries, currently use a program-based accreditation system. The task force is being chaired by Bruce Jones. The EEC eagerly awaits the work of this task force as we continue to strive to build and improve upon what has been a successful three years of offering UAP.

Angelita Graham, FCIA, is Chair of the Eligibility and Education Council.

Actuaries on the Move

CIA member Michel Bédard, former chief actuary of the Employment Insurance (EI) program, co-wrote a paper that says the current EI system is failing to meet the needs of working Canadians.

Several changes have been made to iA Financial Group: René Chabot, executive vice-president, CFO, and chief actuary, is taking on additional responsibilities as head of information technology and legal services. As executive vice-president, Denis Ricard assumes responsibility for individual insurance and annuities, as well as retaining his position as head of group insurance dealer services of IA Trust.

Mercer Canada has appointed Louis Gagnon as its new market leader and CEO. It has also named Jean-Philippe Provost as the new market business leader for its Canadian retirement business.

Two CIA members have been elected to the SOA board of directors. Gaetano Geretto, president of Pelecanus Advisory, was elected as one of three new vice-presidents, and Marcus Robertson, actuary at Marcus Robertson Consulting, as one of five new board members.

Neville Henderson has been appointed assistant superintendent of the insurance supervision sector of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

Medavie Blue Cross has promoted Eric Laberge to the role of president. He most recently served as senior vice-president of the company’s group business.

Sylvie Paquette, president and chief operating officer of Desjardins General Insurance Group, has been elected chair of the board of directors at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Randal Phillips, executive vice-president at Morneau Shepell, is quoted in a CBC article discussing the management of an income stream coming from pension savings.

Manulife Asset Management has promoted Michael Reid to the newly-created role of senior strategist, pension solutions, within the firm’s investment solutions team. He is responsible for working directly with Canadian plan sponsors to develop custom investment and risk management strategies.

Networking is a key part of any successful professional's career, and the CIA is offering you a fresh opportunity to inform your peers about your achievements and progress.

Our (e)Bulletin section, Actuaries on the Move, is a chance for you to publicize your new job, title, credentials, or other information. This is an opportunity to tell thousands of fellow actuarial professionals—whether they are ex-colleagues, former college friends, potential employers, future clients, etc.—about, for example:

  • Your new job;
  • A change of title or area of responsibility;
  • Your new qualifications;
  • A change of contact details;
  • Awards or other recognition; or
  • Publication of academic papers or articles.

Simply send an e-mail—one line of information can be enough, but feel free to add more if you so wish—to the CIA's English editor at and we will aim to include it in the next issue of the (e)Bulletin.

For more news of CIA members and their activities, follow the CIA on Twitter.

Insight Decision Solutions
RGA Canada
Committee Profile


By Catherine Jacques-Brissette, ACIA

1. During the past 12 months, what projects has the committee completed?

  • In February, we launched a resources page on the CIA website to help Canadian actuaries stay informed about climate change and sustainability issues, and learn about what the actuarial profession and other organisations worldwide are doing in relation to these global challenges.
  • In March, we provided a submission to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in response to their climate change discussion paper.
  • In April, our public position on climate change and sustainability was approved by the Public Positions Committee, in preparation for potential interview requests from the media. We also held a one-day educational forum on climate change and sustainability in Toronto, featuring experts from various backgrounds including the Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.
  • In June, Karen Lockridge and I presented a session at the CIA Annual Meeting providing an update on the committee’s first year activities and plans for the future. As well, Caterina Lindman updated the audience about the Actuaries Climate Index and the Actuaries Climate Risk Index.
  • In August, we published our research paper that aims to inform Canadian actuaries about the potential impacts of climate change and resource sustainability issues on society and our profession.

2. What is the result of that work, i.e., what impact has it had (or will it have)?

Hopefully, our initiatives are contributing to raised awareness of the social and financial risks involved with climate change and sustainability issues among the actuarial profession. Our projects aim to articulate the actuarial expertise in forecasting and managing environment-related contingencies inherent to investments practices, pension plans, health, risk management, pricing, etc. Although we don’t claim specific expertise with respect to climate and environmental science, we wish to combine our actuarial skills with the work of other stakeholders outside of our profession (e.g., climate and environmental scientists, engineers, accountants, economists, and governments) so that we can address these global systemic challenges via a multi-disciplinary approach.

3. What has been the highlight of the committee’s work so far, and why?

In my opinion, the educational forum we held in April 2015 is certainly a highlight of our committee so far. We attracted more than 50 attendees, which is quite significant for an inaugural event. Most speakers even attended the whole day, which apparently is exceptional. The attendees also included a few professionals outside of the actuarial profession. This gave rise to many interactive and thought-provoking discussions during both the sessions and the Q&A periods, and we received very positive feedback in the post-event survey as well.

I would also include our recently-published research paper, which required tremendous effort by many people over a span of almost one year. It was finally released in August 2015, and we are hoping that it will become a reference paper for actuaries interested in climate change and sustainability issues.

4. What projects are still underway or due to begin in the coming months?

Given the success of our inaugural forum, we have decided to make it an annual event, and we are hoping that it will spur inclusion of professional development opportunities at other CIA events regarding environment-related financial risks in actuarial work. We are currently helping to organize a session about climate change at the 2015 Investment Seminar and we would be glad to collaborate with other organizing committees as well. We are also considering potential joint undertakings with other committees, either within the CIA or other actuarial organizations. In addition, we are planning some webcasts on sustainability-related topics of interest to actuaries.

5. How has serving on this committee benefited you? What is the most appealing aspect?

What drives me the most in serving on this committee is to feel that I am contributing to the development of a non-traditional field of actuarial expertise that aims to address some of the key global challenges of our times (e.g., climate change, pollution, resource scarcity, and sustainability issues). It allows me to explore how actuaries can capitalize on our risk management skills to deal with environment-related financial contingencies. The involvement of actuaries with climate change and sustainability issues is relatively recent but rapidly developing worldwide, so there is plenty of room for creativity, innovation, and continuing development. 

Furthermore, serving on this committee is perfectly aligned with my new position as a corporate responsibility and environment specialist at Bell.

Catherine Jacques-Brissette, ACIA, is Vice-chair of the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee.

Institute News

By Dave Pelletier, FCIA

International Actuarial Association (IAA)

The IAA is the organization of the various actuarial associations worldwide (including the CIA). It operates primarily through a series of committees, some with "open" membership where each member association can appoint a delegate, and others of limited membership (some important examples being the Executive Committee, the Nominations Committee, and the Actuarial Standards Committee) where the members are appointed by the IAA Council. The IAA’s committees and Council gather together twice per year for meetings, and the CIA is delighted to be hosting the autumn sessions this year in Vancouver in October.

The IAA holds the International Congress of Actuaries every four years. It is now entertaining expressions of interest from member associations to hold the 2026 congress, and the CIA Board has agreed to submit a letter of intent for this purpose, proposing Vancouver as the host city. Bob McKay is leading the International Relations Council (IRC) working group to develop the full bid, due to the IAA in February.

The CIA has played a prominent role within the IAA over the years, recently most notably with Rob Brown serving as IAA President during 2014. Effective January 1, 2016, several more CIA members, subject to final IAA Council approval in October, will be holding IAA leadership and limited membership committee positions:

  • Réjean Besner, chair, Enterprise and Financial Risk Committee
  • Jacques Tremblay, vice-chair, Insurance Accounting Committee
  • Jason Malone, vice-chair, Pension and Employee Benefits Committee
  • Assia Billig, vice-chair, Social Security Committee
  • Luc Farmer, member, Actuarial Standards Committee
  • Dave Pelletier, member, Nominations Committee
  • Rob Brown, member, Scientific Committee

These individuals do not serve in these positions as CIA delegates, but rather to represent the interests of the IAA and the international profession as a whole.

As reported in the past, the IAA, through its Actuarial Standards Committee, is developing International Standards of Actuarial Practice (ISAPs) as models for local actuarial standard setters to consider adopting or adapting. Our IRC committees have commented on both the statements of intent (SOIs) from the IAA to develop such standards and the exposure drafts of the ISAPs themselves. Recent work by our Committee on International Insurance Regulation (CIIR—chaired by Robert Berendsen) has included providing comment to the IAA on SOIs for ISAPs 5 and 6 relating to ERM models and programs, and an SOI for ISAP 7 relating to current estimates in the context of the capital standards being developed by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). In coming months, we expect the CIIR will be providing feedback on the exposure drafts.

International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)

The IAIS is the worldwide association of insurance regulators. Canadian entities that are members include OSFI, Quebec’s AMF, and BC’s FICOM. Lately it’s been carrying out consultations on three documents of particular interest:

  • Issues paper on conduct of business risk and its management;
  • Revision of Insurance Core Principles; and
  • Higher Loss Absorbency (HLA) requirements for Global Systemically Important Insurers (G-SIIs).

Committees of the IAA have provided comment in all three consultations. We agreed that IAA comment would be sufficient with respect to the first two consultations, but that the CIA through the CIIR should comment separately on the third.

As Robert explained in his May (e)Bulletin article, the IAIS is in the midst of its three-step plan to develop new insurance capital standards, with the intention that these new standards be adopted by member insurance supervisors, including Canadian regulators. The CIIR previously provided feedback on the IAIS proposals for Basic Capital Requirement (BCR) and the broader Insurance Capital Standard (ICS). This summer, the CIIR developed feedback on the IAIS consultation document on HLA capital requirements for G-SIIs. While the feedback was supportive in several respects, we expressed concern in some key areas, particularly concerning which insurer businesses were targeted for HLA capital requirements, and the potential for the HLA requirement to be difficult to forecast and manage by the affected insurers.

We expect the IAIS will publish an updated consultation paper on HLA before year-end, and the CIIR will once again provide comment. We also expect to comment on the next round of proposals for the ICS, sometime in 2016.

International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)

In June, the IASB issued an exposure draft on proposed changes to IAS19—Employee Benefits and IFRIC 14—The Limit on a Defined Benefit Asset, Minimum Funding Requirements and their Interaction. Our International Pension and Employee Benefits Standards Committee (chaired by Catherine Robertson) is in the process of drafting a CIA response in advance of the October 19, 2015 deadline.

IFRIC 14 limits the surplus, or net defined benefit asset, that can be recognized in financial statements to the lower of the surplus and the asset ceiling (i.e., the economic benefit available in the form of refunds and/or reductions in future contributions). The proposed change will require an entity to limit the amount of surplus recognized if another party can use the surplus for another purpose without the entity’s consent in a manner which affects plan members’ benefits (e.g., using surplus to enhance the benefits). The availability of a refund of surplus is not impacted in the situation where another party has the power to purchase annuities without the entity’s consent, provided the purchase does not affect the benefits of the plan members.

The amendment also proposes that an entity will not be considered to have an unconditional right to a refund when assuming the gradual settlement of plan liabilities over time if other parties can wind up the plan without the entity’s consent.

These two proposals are unlikely to impact many Canadian defined benefit plans reporting under IAS 19, since most entities sponsoring registered plans do not have an unconditional right to surplus at present, and most unregistered plans are unlikely to provide other parties with powers to enhance benefits or wind up the plan without the entity’s consent.

The proposed change to IAS19 is that, where the net defined benefit asset (liability) is required to be remeasured due to a plan amendment, curtailment, or settlement during a period, the current service cost and net interest for the period after the remeasurement is to be determined using the assumptions used for the remeasurement. Presently, the current service cost and net interest are ordinarily determined using assumptions at the start of the period.

The IASB has identified the expected benefits from this amendment to include providing more relevant information, enhancing understandability, and eliminating diversity. It also concluded that the expected benefits outweigh any additional costs.

This proposal represents a departure from existing practice in Canada. We intend to question the IASB on whether the additional cost in complying actually does add any net benefit to the users of the statements, as the proposal reduces transparency and comparability of financial reporting, since only the affected plan will be remeasured.

On the insurance front, the IASB continues its lengthy development process of a revised IFRS on insurance contracts. Covering these deliberations in detail would require an article in itself, and one is planned in the next few months once some of the final decisions (particularly those relating to "contracts with participating features", which are more than just traditional Canadian participating products) are more clear. But quoting from an IASB agenda paper this month:

"The IASB has now substantially completed its deliberations on most of the proposals in the 2013 ED and is currently finalising its deliberations on the most difficult of the issues on which it originally sought input, i.e., those relating to the accounting for contracts with participating features. The IASB expects to complete its deliberations on insurance contracts in 2015, with a view to issuing the new Standard in 2016."

The effective date of the revised standard then would probably not be before 2020.

The IAA has been an active commenter on past IASB consultations and is also hard at work producing an ISAP to support the final IFRS; the IAA’s task force chair is Micheline Dionne. Our own Committee on International Insurance Accounting (chaired by Denise Lang) continues to monitor both the IASB’s progress and the IAA’s progress with their respective standards, and will provide feedback during any consultation processes.

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


By Craig A. Allen, FCIA

Actuaries are well-known as experts in financial evaluations involving future contingent events, like mortality, retirement, disability, and economic discounting. A fascinating and influential application of this expertise is Actuarial Evidence (AE)—where actuaries assist the parties and the court in resolving financial disputes. Approximately 85 actuaries across Canada engage in this area of practice.

AE actuaries have an entrepreneurial streak—usually operating as sole practitioners, or in small firms—and often enter the practice area after several years in one of the larger practice areas. AE is one of the few practice areas to deal directly with consumers, offering immediate feedback on the relevance and value of actuarial practice. AE practitioners occupy a resilient and adaptable segment of the profession, one that has shown the capacity to innovate and reach out to new markets for their expertise.

AE actuaries are usually retained by lawyers, and in every case provide an expert, independent opinion. The actuary’s opinion is delivered in the form of a report used by the parties to attempt a pre-trial settlement of their dispute. Where the dispute does not reach settlement before trial, the AE actuary may also present his or her findings as oral testimony at trial.

The Major Areas of Activity

Civil Litigation

Actuaries provide expert opinions on economic damages in personal injuries and fatalities, including motor vehicle accidents and medical malpractice. In this area, Actuarial Evidence has an interest in common with the property/casualty area of practice, which uses estimates of the costs of resolving such proceedings. This is a relationship that the September 2015 Actuarial Evidence Seminar explored in some depth, in the context of Ontario’s recent auto insurance reforms.

A second high-profile area of involvement in litigation arises from the prohibition in Canada’s Criminal Code on loans with an effective interest rate exceeding 60 percent. In evaluating a given transaction, the Criminal Code considers a certificate from an FCIA to be proof of the effective rate of annual interest. The expertise of actuaries in these proceedings was recognized in May 2015 when Actuarial Evidence practitioners were called to appear before the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce to assist the senators in weighing a proposal to reduce the criminal interest rate.

Other areas of civil litigation practice include wrongful dismissal litigation, estate issues, and commercial litigation.

Family Law Proceedings

Actuarial Evidence practitioners are actively involved in family law matters—most frequently in valuing pension entitlements in marital breakdown proceedings. Other valuation functions in the family law context include the valuation of life interests, stock options, and lump-sum support arrangements.

Pension and Insurance Litigation

Disputes that involve pension issues, such as plan wind-ups, entitlements to plan surplus, and the rights of plan members, call upon the subject-matter expertise of actuaries with experience in the pension area of practice. Similarly, insurance disputes such as those involving policyholder rights are aided by the knowledge of actuaries in the various insurance areas of practice. In these matters, actuaries are subject matter experts, as well as financial experts.

Role in the Civil Justice System

At a time when the costs and objectivity of expert witnesses are under increasing scrutiny, the rigorous skill base and conceptual perspective of actuaries, along with the CIA standards of practice and disciplinary processes, have earned the confidence of the justice system.

The Committee on Actuarial Evidence

Established in 1979, the AE Committee has eight members and represents and supports the AE practice area within the CIA. Stay tuned for future articles, which will expand on the activities of the AE Committee.

Craig A. Allen, FCIA, is Chair of the Committee on Actuarial Evidence.


By Andrew Melvin

In June’s (e)Bulletin, we offered suggestions on how actuaries could make their contributions to the media stand out. Here are a few reasons why CIA members should consider offering their opinions, and how they can avoid the reject pile.

Why You Should Write

The CIA has various ways of promoting and publicizing the views of its members and of the actuarial profession as a whole. It sends submissions to governments, regulators, and others. Its members speak to Parliamentary committees and working groups. Its Editorial Panel and Communications Committee, among others, work on publications designed for both the general public and more defined interest groups. It issues public positions. It sends press releases to hundreds of media organizations. It does all this and much more.

However, the views of individual, identifiable actuaries are not often heard in newspapers or on websites. For some CIA members, this unwillingness to speak out might be due to a desire to stay out of the public eye or to comply with rules set by their employer. For others, it could be due to a lack of confidence in their writing ability.

Notwithstanding this reticence, actuaries could discover that a certain newspaper or website becomes a valuable way of raising the profile of the actuarial profession and the members who make it what it is. Remember the following:

1. Pages must always be filled with readable content. Few editors are willing to discard contributed material as a matter of routine: their readers have a voracious diet that must be satisfied on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis. An opinion piece from you might be the right thing at the right time for an editor seeking to attract more readers or gain more hits on their site.

2. A personal opinion can have more impact than a press release. For those organizations that use them, a first-person comment—especially from somebody similar to, or known by, a reasonable number of their readers—can carry enormous weight. Readers like material with a name attached to it.

3. You are an expert. The importance and meaning of some developments in the financial world can confound those who do not work within it. As recognized experts in risk management, mathematics, statistics, and similar fields, and as people used to presenting reports and data to non-actuaries, CIA members can break down esoteric concepts into a few easily-understood paragraphs.

4. Your profession will benefit. It is an unfortunate truth that for many people, their response to the word "actuary" could involve some variation of, "Who?", "Something to do with insurance?", or "A kind of accountant?" The more frequently actuaries appear in the media, offering informed opinions about issues that matter, the more the public will come to understand the profession’s impact upon their lives. And actuaries can become trusted advisors on a variety of issues.

What You Should Write

Once you have decided to put pen to paper or, more likely, fingers to keyboard:

1. Be brief. Unless you have been commissioned to write to a certain length, a few hundred words should be more than enough.

2. Be clear. Depending on your audience, too many technical terms or initialisms and acronyms could be enough to see your contribution rejected.

3. Be memorable. A powerful message, like a powerful presentation, can be structured using the rule of three. Have an introduction, middle (which includes no more than three points), and conclusion.

Andrew Melvin, a former news editor, was the English editor at the CIA from 2010 until recently, when he moved back to the UK.


by Marie-Eve Bourgault

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries takes its Bilingualism Policy very seriously. At the Head Office, the golden rule is that every document must be published simultaneously in both languages. And so, once a document is approved by the CIA governing entity, it is subjected to a rigorous process of editing and translation in order to deliver a document of the highest quality.

When the staff receives a document, be it an article penned by a member or a long document that is the product of weeks, months or even years of research on the part of a task force, Josée Gonthier, the communications manager sees to it that the translation process runs smoothly. Most of the time, the document was written in English, in which case it moves under the watchful eye of Bonnie Robinson, the CIA’s English editor. She makes any necessary changes to spelling, punctuation, grammar, formatting, and so forth.

Next, the document is sent either to a translation firm or a freelance translator. There are exceptions, such as when the document was written by the Actuarial Foundation of Canada, in which case it must be translated in-house by Head Office staff. Many short texts, most of which are of a non-technical nature, are also translated internally, either by the communications manager or myself, the French editor. Texts of a more technical nature are sent to a firm for handling by specialized translators. Less technical texts are sent to a freelance translator. We can expect them to translate 2,000 words a day, so if a document is 10,000 words long, at least five business days are needed for them to do their job well.

Our receipt of the translated document does not, however, mark the end of the translation process. The communications manager and the French editor team up on a side-by-side bilingual review to ensure that all of the elements are there, that there has been no subtle shift in meaning, and that there are no spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. For a technical document, the translated and revised text is then sent to a Francophone actuary specializing in the field in question, who performs a technical revision of the French text. In most cases, these actuaries perform this work on a voluntary basis. Typically, they have two to three weeks to complete their revision, but this can vary according to the length of the document, the urgency of its publication, and the actuary’s schedule.

When the actuary sends the revised document to the communications manager, she incorporates the changes, and then rereads this final version. If the original version was already approved, both versions are now ready to be posted at the same time on the CIA website. Otherwise, this will have to wait until all approvals have been finalized. Special permission to post the original version before the translation has been finalized may be granted by the CIA Executive Director or President if the document is very large or required quickly by the members. In that case, an executive summary of the document in English and French is still required, to be published concurrently with the original version of the document. Otherwise, both English and French versions are published simultaneously.

Translating and publishing standards of practice, educational notes and any other guidance material, bylaws and rules of professional conduct, are the responsibility of Josée Racette, the editor and project manager, professional practice. She translates and revises these documents, although the process remains the same.

As you can see, the translation process can require a lot of time and effort. A number of people have a hand in producing a bilingual document and publishing it simultaneously in both languages. It requires a great deal of coordination, attention to detail and teamwork, but the quality of the writing and compliance with the Bilingualism Policy are worth the trouble. Indeed, the CIA is known internationally for the quality of its written materials, both in English and in French.

Marie-Eve Bourgault, CIA Head Office.



The CIA is pleased to welcome Bonnie Robinson to the team as she takes on the role of English editor from Andrew Melvin, who is returning to the UK after five years with the Institute.

During his time with the CIA, Andrew worked to ensure that all CIA documents had a consistent, modern style. He managed Seeing Beyond Risk, a successor to our former Beyond Risk magazine. An exceptional editor and wordsmith, Andrew also used his considerable design skills to help create the new-look CIA website. His last major project with the CIA is the forthcoming commemorative book Canadian Institute of Actuaries: An Oral History 1965-2015. We are sorry to see Andrew go, but wish him the best of luck for the future.

Bonnie will be responsible for editing most of the CIA’s English-language communications materials, including the (e)Bulletin, Annual Report, the Annual Meeting proceedings, Seeing Beyond Risk, weekly announcements, seminar programs, and social media posts.

In the past, Bonnie worked as a senior technical writer and editor for a number of high tech companies, including Signiant and Nortel. She is also an experienced film and television producer. At Signiant, Bonnie oversaw the production of all of the company’s technical communications, including software documentation, online help, white papers, and training materials. She enjoys the challenge of communicating complex ideas as clearly and concisely as possible.

Bonnie’s eye for detail and dedication to effective communications will help the Institute maintain its high standards for publications.


Kenneth (Ken) Hampson, ACIA(2012), ASA(1989)

Ken Hampson, who died in July at the age of 62, joined the CIA in 1990 while working at Sun Life Assurance in Toronto. The holder of a BA (Hons) from the University of Western Ontario, whose positions included senior group research analyst at Sun Life, he retired in 2010.

Bradley Matchett, FCIA(1971), FSA(1971)
Queen’s University graduate Bradley (Brad) Matchett, who passed away in July at the age of 73, was a long-time employee of Canada Life, where his work included serving as associate actuary.

Events News

AE Seminar 2015

Participants at the 2015 Actuarial Evidence Seminar (l) and Seminar for the Appointed Actuary (r).

September featured two CIA seminars: the Actuarial Evidence Seminar and the Seminar for the Appointed Actuary.

This year, over 50 people attended the Actuarial Evidence Seminar in Québec City. The seminar featured a variety of sessions covering a wide-range of topics, from an overview of Canada’s auto insurance system to an assessment of employability in a litigation context.

One interesting session examined pension double-dipping upon marriage breakdown—that is, a situation where a pension, once equalized as property, is also treated as income from which the pension-holding spouse must make spousal support payments.

A week later, over 300 people attended the Seminar for the Appointed Actuary in Montréal. Participants heard speakers discuss numerous issues, including the ways public transparency requirements affect the actuarial methods that can be used and still understood, changes to modelling and practice, disruptive technologies, and hazards maps and flood modelling.

Dan Roam, keynote speaker and best-selling author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, gave an entertaining and informative talk on solving strategic problems with pictures. Roam stressed that "pictures have a miraculous power of communication" and "whoever best describes the problem is the one most likely to solve it." Certainly, many actuaries in the room might have been skeptical of Roam’s claim that "it is impossible to process 1,447 pages of text and material", since that is approximately the amount of material covering one actuarial exam. Nevertheless, participants were very receptive to Roam’s creative approach to communication through pictures.

The Committee on Continuing Education, chaired by Deborah McMillan, continues to plan top-notch programming for CIA members each year through the AE and AA Seminar, the Pension and Investment Seminars, the Annual Meeting (which is in St. John’s next June), and monthly webcasts. The committee and CIA staff greatly appreciate members’ support and attendance at CIA events.

In 2016, both the Actuarial Evidence Seminar and the Seminar for the Appointed Actuary will take place in Toronto.

Volunteers on the Move


The membership of the following councils, panel, and committees for 2015–2016 has been approved, effective July 1, 2015:

  • Eligibility and Education (EEC): Angelita Graham (Chair), Rémi Villeneuve (Vice-chair), Mathieu Boudreault, Maxime-Frédéric Brochu-Leclair, Joel Cohen, Alana Farrell, Bruno Gagnon, Thomas Hinton, and Deborah McMillan.
  • International Relations (IRC): Dave Pelletier (Chair), Geoffrey Melbourne (Vice-chair), Robert Berendsen, Jim Christie, Denise Lang, Jason Malone, Robert McKay, Catherine Robertson, Chris Townsend, Jacques Tremblay (observer), and Board liaison(s). The new members being approved are Jim Christie, effective immediately, and Mike Hafeman, effective January 1, 2016. The terms of Mike Hale and Micheline Dionne (observer) ended on June 30; they left with thanks. The term of Chris Townsend will end on December 31, 2015.
  • Member Services (MSC): Marie-Hélène Malenfant (Chair), Jason Alleyne, Marc-André Belzil, Claire Bilodeau, Frank Grossman, Nari Persad, and Martin Roy. Marc Tardif and Dave Dickson completed their terms of office on June 30 and left with thanks. The revised mandate of the council, as recommended by the Governance Committee, has been approved.
  • Practice (PC): Pierre Dionne (Chair), Faisal Siddiqi (Vice-chair), Jacques Boudreau, Rachel Dutil, Kathryn Hyland, Donald Tettmar, Michael Williams, and Ty Faulds (Chair of ASB). Bruce Langstroth completed his term of office on June 30 and left with thanks.
  • Tribunal Panel: David Short (Chair),Simon Curtis, Gilles Dufresne, Brian FitzGerald, Normand Gendron, Neville Henderson, Guy Martel, Jean-Louis Massé, Daniel Murphy, Philip Pothier, Allan Shapira, William Solomon, Michel St-Germain, Bill Weiland, and Nancy Yake. The new member being approved is Jean-Louis Massé; the term of Ted Nixon ended on June 30 and he left with thanks.
  • Committee on Professional Conduct: Douglas Brooks (Chair), Stephen Eadie (Vice-chair), Richard Béliveau, François Boulanger, Stephen Butterfield, Luc Dionne, Sym Gill (not enrolled in the CIA), Don Ireland, Maryse Larouche, Pierre Laurin, Claude Lockhead, Bonnie Lysyk (not enrolled in the CIA), Louis Martin, and Jean-Claude Primeau. Jacques Tremblay replaces Jacques Lafrance as an ex officio member of the committee. Liam McFarlane and Dave Dickson left the committee on June 30, with thanks.

The Board members for 2015–2016 are: Jacques Tremblay (Immediate Past President), Rob Stapleford (President), Dave Dickson (President-elect), John Dark (Secretary-Treasurer), David Congram, Alan Cooke, Dan Doyle, Steve Easson, Claude Ferguson, Richard Gauthier, Minaz Lalani, Denise Lang, Karen Lockridge, Jean-Yves Rioux, Marc Tardif, and Mercy Yan. Jacques Lafrance, Michel Giguère, Sharon Giffen, Kim Young, and Joe Nunes have left the Board, with thanks from the Institute.

The following people have been appointed to the committees named below, effective July 1, 2015:

  • 2016 Elections: Jim Christie (Chair), Stephen Bonnar, Christiane Bourassa, Simon Curtis, Marc-André Melançon, Dennis Schettler, Michel Giguère, and Jacques Lafrance.
  • Governance: Dave Dickson (Chair), Alan Cooke, David Congram, Claude Ferguson, Minaz Lalani, and Denise Lang.
  • Human Resources, Finance, and Audit: John Dark (Chair), Richard Gauthier, Karen Lockridge, Marc Tardif, and Jacques Tremblay.
  • Risk: Mercy Yan (Chair), John Dark, Dan Doyle, Steve Easson, and Jean-Yves Rioux.

The following people have been appointed as Board liaisons for the councils named below:

  • EEC: Richard Gauthier;
  • IRC: David Congram;
  • MSC: Marc Tardif; and
  • PC: Minaz Lalani.

Eligibility and Education Council

The following people have been appointed to the (sub)committees named below, effective July 1, 2015, unless otherwise stated:

  • Accreditation:Jim Doherty (Vice-chair); John Dark (re-appointed as member);
  • Continuing Education (CEC): June Smyth, re-appointed; Daniel Klein, and Craig Allen;
  • CEC subcommittees:
    • Pension: June Smyth (Chair);
    • Investments: Daniel Klein (Chair), Martin Bélanger, François Bourdon, Ashley Goorachurn, and Benny Wan;
    • Actuarial Evidence: Craig Allen (Chair), Daniel Gagné, and Louis Martin, all retroactive to March 1, 2015;
  • Academic Relations: Sheldon Lin (Chair), Claudia Gagné, and José Garrido;
  • CIA Education Syllabus Committee: Claudia Gagné;
  • CIA Exam 6C Syllabus Committee: Brian Choi;
  • Professionalism within the CIA: Robert McKay, effective July 16, 2015; Mike Hale has been appointed as the Public Positions Committee liaison to the committee; and
  • Task Force to Review the Merits of Program Accreditation: Bruce Jones (Chair), Patrick Kavanagh, Peter Muirhead, Claude Pichet, and Amy Waldhauer (Casualty Actuarial Society observer). Their mandate is to review the advantages and disadvantages of program-based accreditation as well as the potential for a standardized national knowledge exam, and make a recommendation to the EEC.

The following people have completed their terms with, or resigned from, the groups named below, and have left with thanks:

  • Academic Relations: Mathieu Boudreault (Chair);
  • Retirement Benefits Exam Committee for the 2015 Practice Education Course: Nelsha Nanji;
  • Exam 6-Canada Syllabus Committee: Alena Kharkavets; and
  • Investments Subcommittee of the Committee on Continuing Education: Christopher Brisebois, Patrick Chamberland, Stanley Kwok, Ivy Lee, Martin Leroux, Sheldon Liu, and Harry Satanove.

The Task Force to Define Professionalism within the CIA and the Task Force on the 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting Celebration have been disbanded, with thanks.

Practice Council

The following people have been appointed to the positions named below:

  • Vice-chair of the Committee on Risk Management and Capital Requirements: Marco Fillion, effective May 25, 2015.
  • Members of the Committee on Property and Casualty Insurance Financial Reporting: Edward Lam and Philip Traicus, effective June 9, 2015. Yves Boissonnault-Francoeur has resigned from the committee, effective immediately.
  • PC liaisons:
    • Committee on Climate Change and Sustainability (reporting to the MSC): Rachel Dutil;
    • Committee on the Appointed/Valuation Actuary: Pierre Dionne;
    • Modelling Task Force: Pierre Dionne; and
    • Task Force on Pension and Post-Retirement Benefit Accounting Discount Rates: Faisal Siddiqi.
Head Office Update

Head Office Update

By Michel Simard, Executive Director, CIA

The year 2015 has been a particularly exciting one for the Institute, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. Our Annual Meeting, held in Ottawa in June, was a huge success. Over 600 participants not only attended sessions on a variety of actuarial topics, but also heard from keynote speakers Rex Murphy, Jeff Rubin, and David Suzuki. The highlight for many was the 50th anniversary gala reception and dinner. The gala’s visual commemoration of our first 50 years was a stirring reminder of where we have been and an inspiration for moving forward.

Fall means many of us are busier after a sometimes leisurely summer pace: back to school, resuming favourite activities, and increased demands at work.

In September, the CIA presented the Actuarial Evidence Seminar in Québec and the Seminar for the Appointed Actuary in Montréal. Both events were well-attended with sessions that covered a wide-range of topics.

Of note, AE seminar participants heard opposing views on auto insurance, as one speaker examined and praised the unique features of the pioneering no-fault system in Québec, mentioning that recent pricing will provide actual decreases in premiums starting in 2016, while another speaker suggested that a total rethink of the Ontario tort system should be undertaken.

At the Seminar for the Appointed Actuary, Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, provided an informative and entertaining keynote address about using simple pictures (even on napkins) to describe complex concepts.

The CIA has a full slate of programs lined up for this fall, including the following, which will take place in Toronto:

Upcoming webcasts include one on economic capital modeling for Canadian P&C insurers on October 13 from noon to 1:30 p.m. ET.

Fall also means that the long-awaited and much discussed federal election is finally upon us. In pre-election meetings with each of the federal parties, the CIA put forward two public positions—one on pensions and one on healthcare. These meetings offered the CIA a chance to speak with a key stakeholder group and demonstrate the organization’s commitment to fulfilling part of the Board’s long-term strategic plan. Needless to say, the CIA’s perspective was well-received and appreciated.

For more insight into the federal election, make sure you check out next month’s (e)Bulletin for analysis of the final result and what it means to the CIA and its members.

We are also putting the finishing touches on a commemorative book, Canadian Institute of Actuaries: An Oral History 1965-2015, scheduled for publication later this fall. We hope to make it available to members starting with our November seminars.

And finally, while the last 50 years have seen many changes at the CIA, one thing remains constant: the contribution of our members, who sit on the Institute’s numerous and diverse councils, committees, subcommittees, and task forces. We are grateful for the significant volunteer contribution of our members. We always welcome new volunteers, and encourage you to explore the Institute’s volunteer opportunities. Visit the Volunteer Centre by first logging in and then going to Organization > Volunteer Centre to participate and to contribute your expertise, as the CIA looks towards its next 50 years.

Michel Simard is the CIA’s Executive Director.