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

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires

June 2017
Elliott Bauer
D.W. Simpson & Company
Eckler Ltd.
President's Update

By Dave Dickson, FCIA
CIA President

1. What two/three accomplishments are you most proud of?

The accomplishment I am most proud of is the signing of the memorandum of understanding regarding education with the Society of Actuaries (SOA). We started talking to the SOA about this a number of years ago and I worked closely with the SOA President to negotiate the agreement. Many people within the CIA and the SOA worked hard to help make this happen. This agreement will enhance our partnership with the SOA and increase our involvement with developing and administering the exams.

The other one that comes to mind is the initiation of our project to increase member engagement and communications. We are off to a good start and now measuring engagement at a number of levels, and have developed a strategy to improve it.

2. What did you find the most challenging thing about being President?

When I first started it was understanding the role and how to work with our Executive Director Michel Simard and the Board. I learned to work with the Board on making major decisions and then to work with Michel on implementation. There was a fair bit of travel, and juggling that with things at home was a challenge sometimes.

3. Is there a skill or ability you acquired/developed during your time as President? Something that surprised you about yourself?

My tendency is to try to get things done. I had to learn that the Head Office staff is involved with almost everything we do and I learned to work more through Michel and his staff to accomplish initiatives. As President I received a lot of comments about many topics and practised my listening skills to make sure I understood people’s views. Probably what surprised me most was how much I enjoyed being President and being able to represent the CIA to members, staff, regulators, other actuarial associations, etc.

4. Did serving as President change your perspective on being an actuary/contributing to the profession?

Yes—it was probably the most professionally satisfying year I have had. Also, it gave me a deeper understanding of the profession, how it works worldwide, and how the CIA contributes to international initiatives.

5. What was the most unexpected thing about being President?

I attended numerous international events, such as the International Actuarial Association meetings and the North American Actuarial Council meetings. I also attended various actuarial meetings of other organizations. Two things came from that. One is that most actuarial associations are dealing with some of the same issues we are, such as what to do with education, emerging areas of practice, member engagement, and volunteer management. A benefit of these meetings was sharing ideas on these initiatives. The other thing was that I built good relationships with leaders from other organizations.

6. Where do you see the CIA in the next five years?

I see a restructured CIA that is more effective. Also, progress on member engagement, volunteer management, and other initiatives. Regarding volunteers, I see younger members more involved with the CIA. I expect we will make progress in being more involved in emerging areas such as big data and banking. On the continuing education side, there will be more and more webcasts and live streaming of sessions from meetings. We have a great profession and it will only become greater.

7. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the actuarial profession (in Canada and internationally)? How is the CIA positioned to address this issue?

The profession is facing challenges from other practitioners, such as people working in big data. We will always have our core jobs in insurance and pensions but even there we may see more people doing actuarial-type work who are not actuaries. The advantage we have is that we are well respected by regulators and other stakeholders; that should help. The CIA is making progress in getting more involved with big data and maybe areas like banking, and, again, actuaries are well respected within Canada. Our designation is also recognized internationally and we have many members working outside Canada.

8. At the start of your term, one of your goals was better communication and increased member engagement. Describe some of the initiatives undertaken to improve these things and what needs to continue.

On the engagement side, we are measuring engagement at the member level, employer level, and by practice area. We also ran a series of focus groups to get direct input from our members. We have developed a strategy to improve engagement. For example, we recently hosted an event in Toronto (Live Mic with Dave and Sharon) for members to field questions and get their opinions. As a result, we plan to have more of these events. On the communication side, we are implementing a new client management system that will allow us to tailor communications. We also plan to step back and review our communications, website, etc.

9. Do you feel you had a successful year as President and, assuming you did, what led to that success?

Yes, I do. Much was accomplished and groundwork has been established for more success. As mentioned, everything being done involves Head Office staff and they are very dedicated and worked hard to help with our objectives. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of the CIA and also provided excellent support. Our Board did a great job setting direction and making important decisions. It helped a great deal that in early 2015 the Board revised our strategy to provide a blueprint for our direction. I also received good advice and support from our leadership team. The amount of dedication from all levels within the CIA is truly amazing, making it a great organization.

10. Any advice for the new President?

Yes, have fun. It’s a great ride.

Dave Dickson, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

In Focus

By Dave Pelletier, FCIA

As I mentioned in our last (e)Bulletin IRC update in January, in accordance with our expanded mandate the IRC developed an international strategy document, which received Board approval. Objectives identified included promoting a strong actuarial profession worldwide, developing mutually beneficial relationships for the CIA with our sister organizations, strengthening the FCIA brand, and supporting FCIAs involved in work internationally.

Developing a strategy is one thing; implementing it, however, is another, and Jacques Tremblay and Alicia Rollo recently led an IRC task force that developed a detailed action plan to achieve our objectives in this area over the coming months and years.

Committee Work and International Submissions

Both of our insurance-related committees have been particularly busy over the last few months.

The International Accounting Standards Board has finally released the long-awaited revised accounting standard on insurance contracts, International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 17, which replaces IFRS 4. While the standard won’t take effect until 2021, implementation will require a huge effort by insurers around the world. Our International Insurance Accounting Committee (IIAC) has been hard at work planning and preparing webcasts and guidance material for our members, to be built in part around the model International Standard of Actuarial Practice (ISAP 4) and the associated International Actuarial Notes (IANs) to come from the International Actuarial Association (IAA). The IAA is also in the process of developing a monograph on risk adjustments in the context of IFRS 17 (roughly but not precisely analogous to our “provision for adverse deviations”). On behalf of the CIA, the IIAC prepared detailed comments on the draft monograph for the IAA.

Meanwhile, on the regulatory front, in March the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) launched a “Major Consultation Package”, dealing with several of its Insurance Core Principles (ICPs) for insurer regulation, particularly in the context of its ComFrame initiative dealing with the supervision of Internationally Active Insurance Groups (IAIGs). Our International Insurance Regulation Committee drafted the CIA’s input for that consultation process.

Another international consultation process over the last few months was carried out by the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

In this case it was the Member Services Council’s Climate Change and Sustainability Committee that drafted the comments for IRC approval prior to submission by the CIA.

IAA Involvement

The IAA is dealing with a number of interesting strategic issues this year as it looks to better define and clarify its role, and the CIA is actively involved in the discussions. We were glad to host the IAA’s President, Tom Terry, and new Executive Director Mathieu Langelier at a dinner in Toronto in March, where we had an interesting dialogue on the direction of the IAA.

Questions around the proposed new IAA education syllabus and its standing have generated further comments about the association’s governance, role, effectiveness, and strategic objectives. As well as communicating our thoughts directly to its leadership, we prepared and submitted written comments in response to two formal IAA consultations—one on education and one on its strategic direction—as well as oral comments to a task force looking at the role of IAA sections.

The semi-annual IAA council and committee meetings took place in April in Budapest, Hungary. As well as the aforementioned governance, education, and strategy issues, other matters on the various committee, task force, and working group agendas included (among many others):

  • The model ISAP, the IANs, and the monograph on risk adjustments, all supporting IFRS 17, and the challenges of achieving reasonable global consistency in applying IFRS 17;
  • The strategic direction for the CERA designation, and how to increase its visibility in the area of risk management;
  • Current developments in aging and mortality, including the recently observed levelling off of mortality improvement in some parts of the world;
  • Expanding the actuarial profession’s penetration into the fields of banking and big data;
  • Providing additional support for the IAIS, including its upcoming proposed Insurance Capital Standard for IAIGs;
  • The mentorship program of Actuaries Without Borders (which some Canadian actuaries might find of interest, as mentors for young actuaries in the developing world; more information is available for those with an account on the IAA website); and
  • The meaning of “substantially consistent”, as standard-setters around the world decide if and how to reflect the ISAPs in local standards.

International Congress of Actuaries

Just a reminder that the quadrennial International Congress of Actuaries takes place in June 2018 in Berlin. The Deutsche Aktuarvereinigung (DAV) [German Actuarial Society] has a very active organizing committee, and looks forward to welcoming actuaries from all over the world to this five-day event. I’d encourage Canadian actuaries with an interest in interacting with professionals from around the world to consider attending (more information is available here).

Signing Off

This is my last report as IRC Chair, as my term ends on June 30. It’s been great to see the increasing interest and activity level by CIA members and staff in the international matters affecting our profession and its stakeholders, and I’m sure my capable successor Jacques Tremblay will enjoy it as much as I have.

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

Actuaries on the Move

Career developments

Simon Deschênes, Danny Martin, and Simon Nelson, were appointed as principals at Eckler.

Mike Greschner has joined George & Bell Consulting as a senior consultant.

Aon Hewitt has appointed Paul Hebert as an associate partner in the retirement practice.

Richard Letarte is the new president and CEO of Munich Re’s New Ventures, a division of North America (Life and Health).

Other appointments within Munich Re North America’s executive team include Marc-André Giguère as senior vice-president and Lloyd Milani as chief risk officer.

Bernard Naumann has been appointed president and CEO of Munich Re, Canada.

Actuaries in the media

Robert L. Brown’s article, Actuaries in Banking, appeared in the April/May 2017 Issue of The Actuary.

The Globe and Mail featured an article by Frederick Vettese on working past 65.

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
Acutarial Design
RGA Canada
On the Horizon

In a data-driven world, businesses that employ actuaries as predictive modelling and big data subject matter experts will be rewarded. That was the key message delivered in the CIA’s annual advertising campaign which wrapped up at the end of March.

“The goal of this campaign was to showcase the skill set of actuaries in big data and predictive modelling to potential employers,” says Kelly Fry, CIA manager of marketing and public affairs. “We want to highlight how actuaries are the professionals companies need to help transform their business.” The campaign’s theme was “actuaries point the way”.

Marketing and communications agency, Banfield, delivered the integrated marketing campaign that included video, print ads, advertorials, digital advertising, social media, and a landing page on the CIA website. The campaign ran nationally for six weeks and featured print and digital articles in a variety of media, including The Globe and Mail, La Presse, Report on Business Magazine, and the National Post.

Two major media stories in the Globe and Mail featured CIA Fellows. One was an interview with Rémi Villeneuve about the work he does with big data as the chief actuary at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The second article will be published June 12. In it, Allen Hornung, manager of talent analytics and strategic workforce planning at Enbridge, writes about organizational network analysis. Report on Business magazine also featured an interview with Charles Cossette, director of risk quantification at EDC, on the role of actuaries in big data.  

The National Post’s website featured a series of articles with interviews from FCIAs in traditional and non-traditional areas.  An overview of big data with industry experts also featured Chris Fievoli, speaking to the actuarial skill set. Étienne Plante-Dubé, director of modelling and research at Desjardins General Insurance Group, gave an example of his work in insurance. Claude Ferguson, Chair of the Emerging Practices Committee, discussed the portability of actuaries’ skills and the increasing roles actuaries are filling in non-traditional areas. Finally, Erik von Shilling, vice-president of pensions and treasury investment management at CIBC, gave an interview about the work he is doing in banking and the opportunities for actuaries in this arena.

The landing page on the CIA website displayed a 30-second video, demonstrating how big data has the power to transform a business and how actuarial expertise can help bring clarity to complex data and shape the future of an organization. CIA members Mark Struck (vice-president, enterprise risk management, at Wawanesa Mutual Insurance), Sonya Tomin (manager, demographic and workforce analysis, BC Stats), and Allen Hornung (manager, talent analytics and strategic workforce planning at Enbridge), were featured on the landing page as actuaries currently working in big data and predictive modelling. There were almost 9,000 unique views of the landing page.

On social media, the topic of actuaries and big data proved to be very popular. The campaign used Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote the videos and facts from the campaign, with Twitter delivering more than 10,000 clicks to the campaign landing page. “The campaign achieved more than 700,000 impressions [views] on social media over a six-week period,” adds Ms. Fry. “This is a clear indication of the level of interest in big data and predictive analytics, and helps elevate the profession and position actuaries as the subject matter experts in this area.”

The CIA would like to thank all members who participated in this advertising campaign. “We are trying to expand on opportunities for members by showcasing how an actuary’s skill set can be used in many different industries,” Ms. Fry says. “Telling the stories of real actuaries and the work they are doing helps highlight this great profession and what an organization can gain by hiring an actuary. We truly appreciate the time our members gave to this project.”                        

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Committee Profile

By Claire Bilodeau, ACIA

Until about two years ago, the CIA had a Committee on Volunteer Initiatives (CVI). However, as its mandate was revised and expanded, it was felt that its name had to better reflect its new scope. Thus was born the Volunteer Management and Development Committee (VMDC)!

The VMDC mandate (must be logged in to the members’ site to view) may seem long-winded, but the ultimate goal is to ensure that the CIA has all the volunteers it needs both in terms of quantity and quality, now and in the future. To meet that goal, recognition is essential, not only for what the volunteers have done, but also for what they can become. In other words, as an organization, we must express our gratitude to those who make it thrive. And we must also identify tomorrow’s leaders, those who have the potential to chair committees and . . . eventually . . . be President!

Volunteer Recognition

The VMDC supports volunteer recognition through volunteer awards and participation in National Volunteer Week (NVW).

Since 2001, the CIA has formally recognized members who have made a significant volunteer contribution to the Institute at the Volunteer Awards. Held each year at the Annual Meeting, many volunteers receive a gold, silver, or bronze pin to recognize their many terms of service with the Institute. The VMDC plays a part in this, but a lot of the work is done by the Head Office, more specifically within the professional practice and volunteer services department. Will you be receiving a new pin in Québec City later this month?

Maybe you have not reached a new milestone and thus not qualified for a new pin this year. Nevertheless, if you are volunteering, I hope you felt appreciated at the end of April, during NVW. Congratulations to Debbie Chiu who won the NVW crossword puzzle contest prize of a $500 credit towards an upcoming CIA meeting or seminar OR six free individual CIA webcast registrations. 

New Initiatives

Whereas these two initiatives were within the purview of the CVI and have remained within the VMDC’s mandate, new initiatives are taking shape.

In its first year, the VMDC held many interviews with chairs of councils and committees to assess and identify the CIA’s volunteer needs. Based on the results of that broad consultation, Sharon Giffen, then Chair, prepared an ambitious action plan to encourage new volunteers and support existing ones, bound to keep us busy until at least the end of 2018!

Communicating Volunteer Opportunities

We have launched a pilot recruitment project working with committee chairs to enhance recruiting support. Our goal is to supplement the CIA Volunteer Applicant Registry (VAR) (you must be logged in to the members’ site to access the VAR) as a source of volunteers with official appeals to members similar to job postings.

So far, we have tried our new approach with four committees that have pressing needs for additional members. Members who have indicated an interest in volunteering for those committees received an e-mail giving them advance notice of the openings. A few days later, via the weekly communications, all members were informed of the recruitment needs of those committees. Members have responded to the call and volunteer positions are being filled. We will learn from these first attempts and refine our approach. Eventually, the CIA website may have a volunteer centre where we could find, among other things, all the volunteer positions available.

New Volunteer Position Pilot Project

Our New Volunteer Position pilot project involves eight committees (including the VMDC), each of which will engage at least one volunteer who has never served on a CIA council or committee before. The main goal of this project is to renew the volunteer pool and encourage members who are early in their career to volunteer for the CIA and gain experience and expertise that will allow them to progress into future volunteer roles.

We have contacted potential candidates for the new volunteer positions; hopefully, the pilot project soon will be in full swing. In a few months, we will solicit feedback and make any necessary adjustments before asking most CIA committees to implement the new role. Indeed, provided the initiative is successful, we will roll it out to most volunteer groups and formally include it in the Volunteer Management Policy.

Improved Volunteer Resources

Next on our plate is looking at the resources available to volunteers. A subcommittee has already been formed to check currently available resources, determine which ones need to be revised, and identify what is missing and hence needs to be created. Even current resources seem largely unknown; instead, we want all resources needed by volunteer groups to be available in a format and location that make it easy for groups to find and use them. In all likelihood, in due time, that location would be the volunteer centre, on the CIA website.

Ultimately, the VMDC will carry out its action plan entirely, culminating in a fully revised policy on volunteering, to be formally adopted in late 2018 (along, quite likely, with a new name). Until then, as I indicated earlier, we have a lot to keep ourselves busy and other initiatives to launch. I encourage you to keep your eyes open and hope you will all help us to ensure the CIA has all the volunteers it needs to fulfil its mission.

Claire Bilodeau, ACIA, is Chair of the Volunteer Management and Development Committee.

Institute News

Congratulations to the CIA members who have been elected to the Board in the 2017 Elections:



John Dark (elected by acclamation)


Minaz Lalani

New Directors

Michael Correa

Renée Couture

Angelita Graham

André L’Espérance

Rahim Hirji
(Mr. Hirji will serve the balance of Minaz Lalani's term on the Board as a Director—until 2018)

The President-elect will serve a one-year term in that position, followed by a year as President and a further year as Past President. Directors are elected for a three-year term, unless otherwise indicated above.

These elected members will commence their terms following the close of the Annual Meeting on June 22, 2017.

The elections are a chance for each individual member to play a part in setting the future direction of the Institute, and this year more than 1,100 of you seized that opportunity, pushing the voter turnout to 27.6%, an increase over last year. Thank you for taking the time to vote, and please remember to do so again next year. If you want to have an even greater role in the development of the actuarial profession in Canada, why not consider running for a position on the Board in 2018?

Thank you to all who stood for election.



By Sharon Giffen, FCIA

One of the most pleasant duties of the CIA President-elect is to visit with actuarial clubs across the country. The purpose is two-fold: first, to talk about CIA priorities and help members to understand what we are up to and why; and second, to hear from members—what they think about our priorities, and what else we should be doing.

Most of my visits were done in April and May. I had the opportunity to speak to the Independent Actuaries Network in Milton, Ontario, and clubs in Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver, and Waterloo.  My June visit to Regina is upcoming. Add to those the Live Mic event that the CIA conducted in Toronto, and I think I have spoken to and/or heard from more than 300 actuaries, associates, and students. Dave Dickson covered the questions that we had from the Live Mic in Toronto in last month’s (e)Bulletin; many of the same comments arose across the country, so I will not cover those again.

Mission, Vision, and Values of the CIA

I started my remarks by reviewing these important statements. They are on the CIA’s website, and I encourage every member to read them once in a while. I find them inspiring, and they underlie the purpose behind our strategic priorities.

I next provided a brief update on each of the CIA’s four main strategic priorities.


It was mid-tour when the CIA and Society of Actuaries (SOA) signed a memorandum of understanding defining our engagement with the society’s examination system. This was the culmination of a long negotiation process and forms a solid basis to ensure our relationship with the SOA will continue to fulfil the needs of the CIA.

Work continues on Practice Education Course (PEC) 2.0, as we move towards eliminating duplicative examinations on Canadian practice and adding more business acumen skills, especially communication and presentation abilities.

Emerging Practices

It is still in the early stages, but the CIA is developing practices for actuaries in non-traditional areas such as predictive modelling and banking. This is not to replace what is already competently being done by others, but is rather about how to apply our special skills to these issues—for example, how will the results of predictive modelling change life, pension, and P&C practices? How can actuaries’ skills enhance the work of bankers to lift their results? And how do we get more actuaries interested and involved in these areas? Stay tuned . . . There is bound to be more on this.

Public Statements

You will have seen the proposed bylaw changes that will be before the membership for a vote in June. These changes will clarify the situations in which the CIA should formally express an opinion, along with the requirements to ensure we are listening to the views of members. This is open for proxy voting, and I encourage everyone who cannot attend the Annual Meeting in Québec City to consider the proposal and to vote.

Governance and Engagement

Governance is not solely about hierarchy and bureaucracy—in fact, good governance will assist an organization to have clarity about decision-making, enabling efficiency and effectiveness in operations. At the CIA, we are undergoing a review of governance, including the structure of committees. This is critical to our volunteers, whose efforts drive results for the CIA. At the same time, the Board must have appropriate oversight, to ensure volunteer work drives forward the Institute’s strategic agenda. I am deeply involved in this project. Consultation with our volunteer leaders has begun, and will undoubtedly shape the next generation of thinking about what changes will benefit the CIA.

Linked with the opportunities we have in governance is a significant opportunity to broaden the CIA’s appeal to engage with members. Engagement and volunteerism are cornerstones of our profession. The CIA is working on measuring engagement, including “points” for voting, attending a CIA event, volunteering, signing in to the website, and other activities. This work has yielded some interesting, although preliminary, results and we are considering how to further develop our measures and what to do with the results.

We are also looking at the experience of volunteering with the CIA. Today, most volunteer positions require a three-year commitment. If we focused more of the work in task forces, we could perhaps engage with more members on a short-term basis. We also have opportunities on task forces; the commitment required for them may be more intense, but is time-bound by the delivery of the product. Volunteering should fit within your idea of work-life-volunteering balance.

My Priorities

Although neither particularly glamorous, nor very actuarial, my priority has been in the governance review, and this project will definitely continue into the next year. I believe that improvements in governance will allow the great efforts of our many volunteers to truly achieve our goal of advancing actuarial practice in Canada. And that will attract and engage an ever-increasing number of members who are interested in the work of the CIA; they will be willing to serve on committees and councils, and will ultimately want to run for election to the Board of Directors or an officer position.

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


By Dave Dickson, FCIA
CIA President

For the CIA’s 50-year history, we have mostly depended on the exam systems of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) to educate our actuaries. Our university accreditation program was a more recent enhancement, where students can earn exam credits by achieving certain grades from accredited universities.

A few years ago, the CIA Board initiated a study of our education systems to see if there were better ways to educate actuaries in Canada. One option studied was to set up our own exam system rather than relying on the SOA and CAS. At that time, the CIA had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the CAS as to how our partnership would work on education, but we did not have one with the SOA. The Board explored both having our own system and also negotiating an MOU with the SOA to better define and enhance our partnership with them.

Under my leadership, the Board set up a task force to determine if an MOU could be negotiated with the SOA. Its members were Alicia Rollo, Michel Simard, Sharon Giffen, Ron Stapleford, Rémi Villeneuve, Jason Vary, and Thomas Hinton. Negotiations occurred over a few months and an MOU was signed on May 10, 2017.

The MOU focuses on three areas to better define our relationship and to better allow the CIA to partner on the SOA exams:

  • Strategy. We will be more involved strategically with SOA exams. We will have periodic meetings with SOA education leadership to discuss strategic direction and any issues. As an example, if the CIA identifies additional learning objectives needed in its education syllabus or qualification requirements, the CIA and SOA will work closely together to address those needs.
  • Branding. We will work with the SOA on a communication and branding strategy to ensure that the partnership is appropriately represented and communicated to candidates.
  • Involvement. For SOA curriculum and exam committees that have Canadian content, the CIA will appoint a vice-chair. For those without Canadian content, we will appoint a member to the committee. This presence will increase our involvement in developing education material and exams. It will also create new volunteer positions for CIA members.

A lot of work went into this agreement and now a lot more work with be needed to implement it. It will result in a true partnership with the SOA on education and will benefit both the CIA and the SOA. I was honored to sign this MOU.

This project would not have been successful without the dedication of our task force and support from our Board. It also relied on support and leadership from SOA president Jeremy Brown and his team. Thanks to all for a job well done.

Dave Dickson, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.



By John Dark, FCIA

This year’s Canada-Wide Science Fair took place at the University of Regina. Over 440 grade 8–12 high school students from coast to coast to coast took part in over a week’s activities centred at the university’s athletic complex.

The Actuarial Foundation of Canada (AFC) sponsors a special interdisciplinary award in each of the classes—junior, intermediate, and senior—given to outstanding projects that demonstrate effective use of mathematics, database manipulation, and statistical analysis in investigating or solving complex problems.

Judging Science Fair Projects

This year I was asked to represent the AFC as the coordinator of the junior award and the chair of the judging panel. It was easy to say yes to such a request; my employer encourages us to make use of our volunteer days in educational pursuits and the university is 10 minutes from the office—how hard can judging a high school science fair be?

Well, I was in for a big surprise!  My judging assignment covered a day and a half, including a four-hour orientation. There were over 440 individual exhibits. The organization of the event itself was extraordinarily professional and went off without a hitch. One problem for me, of course, was that most of the projects turned out to be way over my head! Any concerns about the future of our country and the role of science in it were quickly dispelled when I entered the auditorium for the judges-only tour.

Diverse and Sophisticated Projects

Robotics, medicine, psychology, economics, physiotherapy, chemistry, biology, physics, medicine, computing—you name it—were all there in spades.  As well, there were many projects dealing with various aspects of the student’s heritage—one young man from Saskatchewan’s north conducted a very thorough experiment on the role of traditional healing; specifically, powdered beaver genitals in reducing warts and healing skin lesions. Others took lessons from their daily lives—two young girls lost a grandmother to cancer so they launched an experiment to link fingerprint patterns to a predisposition for the disease. They found about a 35 percent correlation in their community of 235 people.  Another young girl studied the psychology of horses’ willingness to take medication as influenced by the colour, size, and shape of the bucket in which their feed was placed. There was no limit on the imagination of these young scientists.

Each of the projects was meticulously documented with a five-page abstract including extensive bibliographies. A standard booth with tri-fold display panels allowed students to present their hypothesis, methodology, theory, and conclusions. It was impossible not to be extraordinarily impressed with their efforts.

The Winners Are . . .

A group of 340 judges volunteered their time to review these projects. The special awards section took place in the afternoon of May 16 and involved 10-minute interviews with each of our assigned projects by up to four judges.

In the case of the Junior AFC award, it took three rounds of judging to determine the winners. Our panel included me, four university professors, two retired physics teachers, and a newly qualified helicopter pilot from CFB Moose Jaw. Fortunately, he was French-speaking as our Junior Gold award (see below) went to a francophone student.

The senior award went to a Windsor, Ontario student for a project called “A Novel Computational Tool to Advance Ferromagnetic NanoTherapy to Cure Cancer” which used an interactive mathematical model and computational fluid dynamics simulations.

The intermediate award winner hailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia with an “automotive collision detection network” project. This centralized system would detect automotive vehicle accidents in real time and speed-up 911 response times.

Our junior winner, a student from Québec City, created software for generating realistic three-dimensional columns in the Spanish Gaudí architectural style.

All in all, this was a very satisfactory assignment and very inspiring. The Canada-Wide Science Fair travels to different cities every year. If you have a chance to become a judge, take the opportunity. It is a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

John Dark, FCIA, is the CIA Secretary-Treasurer.


The 2016–2017 CIA Annual Report will be available on June 21, 2017. The contents of the redesigned report include the Secretary-Treasurer’s report and financial statements, reports from all of the councils, the President and Executive Director’s reports, volunteer award winners, and a report on professional conduct. Stay tuned!



The latest issue of Seeing Beyond Risk, the quarterly electronic publication, is now available on the CIA website.

In this issue, André Lacroix, professor of applied, social, and economic ethics and the philosophy of law at the Université de Sherbrooke, examines the importance of ethics and professionalism in the actuarial profession.

Seeing Beyond Risk is the CIA’s quarterly electronic publication, featuring contributions from well-known names in actuarial science and experts in the field, writing about topics suggested and honed by the CIA Editorial Panel, readers, and Institute members.

We are sure you will find this article informative and thought-provoking, and we encourage you to distribute it among your friends and colleagues.


Once again the CIA Head Office is following the practice of summer hours, meaning that the offices are closed on Friday afternoons, following the Annual Meeting, during July and August. We are also closed on Canada Day.

Please note that the (e)Bulletin is not published during the summer; the next issue will be release in early September.

The Head Office wishes all CIA members a great summer.

Events News

A Diverse Program of Innovative Actuarial Topics

Featuring 43 sessions focused on all practice areas, notably property and casualty, enterprise risk management, pension, individual and corporate life, reinsurance, and group insurance, the 2017 CIA Annual Meeting program offers members valuable continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities.

Keynote Presentations on the Future of Your Profession

From the millennial generation to Canada’s financial future, Dr. David Coletto and the Honourable Joe Oliver will headline the 2017 CIA Annual Meeting keynote presentations.

Mr. Coletto is leader of Abacus Data’s Canadian millennial research practice, developed to help organizations, such as the former Credit Union Central of Canada (now the Canadian Credit Union Association), connect and engage with Canadian millennials.

Joe Oliver, former minister of finance, represented Canada at the G7, G20, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank meetings of finance ministers and governors of central banks. As a co-chair for the G20 committee, Oliver was partly responsible for generating country plans to increase global growth by $2 trillion.

Discover the Future in a Beautiful Historic Canadian City

Join us at the Québec City Convention Centre as we explore the future of your profession, and while there, be sure to discover what the city has to offer. Known for its European charm and fantastic French cuisine, as well as a remarkable mix of architecture, heritage, art, and culture, Québec City is the perfect spot to host the 2017 CIA Annual Meeting.

Don’t delay—register today before it’s too late! After June 9, registrations will be accepted only on-site (June 21–22).

Due to high demand, the CIA block of rooms at the Hilton Québec and the Delta Québec are sold out. For alternative hotel options, visit Québec City Tourism’s website

Spotlight on New Fellows

Natalia Iwinski

1. Who inspired you to pursue an actuarial career?

The person who pushed me into this career was my undergraduate professor in my applied math program. I had only taken a couple of actuarial courses, but due to my professor’s passion for actuarial studies my interests were piqued and I decided to further explore this path. I applied to the graduate program in actuarial science and quickly realized that I made the right choice. 

2. What was your experience of the actuarial exams? Did you experience any particular challenges?

When I started my master’s program in actuarial science, I was just starting to learn how challenging and time-intensive the actuarial path really is. With no experience in actuarial exams, I had to quickly catch up to my colleagues in the program who had already passed a few exams.

Studying for my first exam was not only a challenge but also filled with doubts. However, approaching the challenge in a systematic way, with lots of perseverance, determination, and patience, paid off. From the perspective of time, I still feel it was not an easy path, but by setting small goals and moving step by step you can really achieve big results.    

3. How did you find the transition from being a student to becoming a young professional?

In my first traditional actuarial role I quickly learned that the theories that I had studied in my program and for the exams are actually used in practice. How exciting it was to know that your knowledge, still very theoretical at that time, could be applied to very complex projects. Obviously the transition from being a student to becoming an analyst was a challenge, but knowing that your knowledge is valuable and applicable is so rewarding that any challenges become more like opportunities and motivation to learn and grow.

4. What is your current professional role? Can you describe the type of work you’re doing?

Currently, I work as a pricing actuary, managing in-force life insurance products that are no longer available for sale. They include adjustable life insurance products, for which I perform regular reviews to determine whether any change to the policies’ adjustable features (e.g., premium or cash value) is needed. In this role I am able to see and compare a variety of life insurance products that have been sold over decades by different insurance providers.

5. What do you enjoy most about your job?

It is fascinating how the life insurance products, their design and pricing, have changed over the past few decades. In this job I am able to appreciate how the customers’ needs and the economic environment have evolved and how they have shaped the products that have been sold. It is a unique role with lots of opportunities and interesting projects. Every single day brings new learning opportunities, allowing me to further develop my problem-solving, communication, and analytical skills. I also really enjoy working with my non-actuarial partners, who always bring refreshing new perspectives to the work that I do.

6. Where do you see yourself professionally in 15 years?

In this career you never stop learning and growing. The number of opportunities for your career development is vast. I hope to continue to progressively pursue more responsible roles. What is equally important for me is to become a source of knowledge to others and be able to share my experiences and mentor new professionals.

7. What career would you follow if you weren’t an actuary?

I have a passion for healthy food and I can imagine myself having a healthy food store or being involved in an agribusiness co-op.

8. What are your hobbies?

I enjoy cooking and baking, discovering new tastes and recipes. I value quality and healthy ingredients that look back to the past, when slow food was the standard.

9. Where is your dream vacation destination?

For me it is about experiencing local food, culture, and customs but in a fairly laid-back and rustic-type atmosphere, typically what one might find in a European small town or countryside. 

10. What is your motto?

Just try and be passionate about doing it.

Natalia Iwinski is director, legacy life insurance pricing at Sun Life Financial.

Volunteers on the Move

Practice Council

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

  • Committee on Pension Plan Financial Reporting: Mark Mervyn, effective July 1, 2017;
  • Enterprise Risk Management Practice Committee: Claude Désilets, Maja Dos Santos, Phil Rivard, and Anandhi Sarvananthan, effective April 21, 2017; and
  • Committee on Workers’ Compensation: Michael Williams, effective July 1, 2017.

The following people have completed their term with the committee named below, and have left with thanks:

  • Committee on Pension Plan Financial Reporting: Simon Nelson, effective June 30, 2017; and
  • Committee on Workers’ Compensation: Betty Ma.

Eligibility and Education Council

The following person has been appointed to the committee named below:

  • Committee on Continuing Education: Alison Rose (Vice-chair), effective immediately.

The motion appointing Stephanie Russell as the CIA liaison to the CAS Education Policy Committee, on April 12, 2017, has been rescinded. (The CAS has changed its liaison structure.)

Member Services Council 

The following person has been appointed to the committee named below:

  • Health Committee: Didier Serre, effective June 8, 2017.