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

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires

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

By Sharon Giffen, FCIA
CIA President

Taking my place as CIA President is an honour; at the same time, I reflect on those who occupied this position before me, and realize that it will be a busy year continuing to implement the many initiatives that will benefit our members. At the Annual Meeting in Québec City in June, I outlined the priorities for my tenure as President:

  • Actuarial education and qualifications;
  • Increase volunteerism; and
  • Governance.

Actuarial Education and Qualifications

  1. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Education with the Society of Actuaries (SOA)
    The CIA signed an MOU with the SOA regarding our commitment to use the SOA exams as a pathway to Associateship and Fellowship in the CIA. In return, the CIA will participate in SOA development of both curriculum and examinations, with greater influence where content is developed specifically for the Canadian syllabus.

    Without a doubt, this was a major achievement. Bringing the agreement to life over the next year will be important to both organizations. Our early experience has been excellent; Canadian students will see better CIA branding in the exam system and the CIA will have an avenue to ensure that the SOA’s system continues to fulfil our needs. 
  1. Review and Update Learning Objectives
    New work with big data, modelling, and predictive analytics, will, in my opinion, become ever more critical in the actuarial toolkit. We must ensure we stay in touch with what will be needed in these and other areas in the future.

  2. Practice Education Course 2018 (PEC 2.0)
    The PEC fulfils a critical role as the capstone learning event for our prospective Fellows. We have removed the examination aspect of the course; we now need to ensure that candidates and their employers continue to value it, with a shift to include business acumen skills along with professionalism.

Increase Volunteerism

  1. Research Committee
    The Head Office has hired an additional staff member, Shlomit Jacobson (see article in this (e)Bulletin), to support research through improved project management capabilities. As we expand our capacity to undertake research projects, there will be an increasing need for members who are interested in particular projects to get involved in overseeing them.

  2. Public Statements Committee
    CIA volunteers are currently working on three topics, each of which will elevate the profile of actuaries contributing to benefit the public. I look forward to great progress on all three topics. If you are interested in getting involved and having your voice heard, do ensure that you indicate your interest through the Volunteer Applicant Registry (must be logged in to the website to access), and respond to notices of intent (NOIs) on these public statements.

  3. International Matters
    The CIA and Canadian actuaries are well recognized on the international stage for our contribution to developments that impact actuaries around the world. We recently had a call for volunteers who have international experience to get involved with the International Relations Council or one of its committees to continue this valuable work.

Watch for more CIA volunteer opportunities on the website and in the announcements.


  1. Independent Oversight of Regulatory Functions
    The CIA has an oversight role of a self-regulating profession. To ensure these functions are independent and are seen to be so by the public, we need to balance independence in action with Board oversight. External oversight may be beneficial in both our qualification and discipline processes.

  2. Strategic Thinking
    The CIA would benefit from broader and more r egular input into strategic thinking about the future of the profession. While a three- or five-year strategic plan is a good start, we need to review it annually, and identify and plan initiatives to implement considering the capacity we have in our working groups.

  3. Accountability
    We need to provide clarity regarding accountability, authority, and responsibility. Who would ultimately be called to task if things go badly? That is who is accountable. Who will make decisions? That is who has authority. Who will do the work? That is who has responsibility. We can supplement these with other questions. Who needs to be consulted before the decision? Who are the stakeholders? Who is needed to support the decision? Who needs to know about the decision? Clarity in these matters will reduce bureaucracy and the delays that come with the need to refer all decisions upwards.

Please Get Involved

Volunteers help the CIA complete a huge amount of work each year, and yet we can do so much more. I invite you to get involved. We value every contribution.

Additionally, we will be reaching out for your input and opinion on several matters over the year. If you cannot volunteer at this time, take the opportunity to ask questions and provide input. Whether you agree or disagree, it helps us to understand the balance of views.

Thank you for getting involved.

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

In Focus


By Rémi Villeneuve, FCIA and Alicia Rollo, CHRL

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”             

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher, 1895–1986

There is so much truth in Jiddu Krishnamurti’s statement. No matter your career stage, learning continues through post-secondary education to examinations, on-the-job training, and continuing professional development. Similarly, there is no end to the learning and work of the Eligibility and Education Council (EEC). We scan the environment, brainstorm, build, review what we’ve built, revise, and review again, in a constant cycle of activity to continually advance actuarial education in Canada.

CIA Education Syllabus

Although the Institute relies heavily on the education systems of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA), the CIA does have its own education syllabus, approved by the CIA Board in November 2015. This syllabus must be maintained and must evolve to meet the needs of emerging practice while remaining compliant with International Actuarial Association education requirements, and aligning with CAS and SOA curriculum. We have been conducting our biannual review of the CIA syllabus and anticipate taking it to the CIA Board meeting in November for approval.

The CIA syllabus is delivered and executed in a number of ways, including through our education partners (the CAS, SOA, and our 11 accredited universities), as well as through our own programs.

Under our 2013 memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the CAS, the CIA Exam 6 Canada Syllabus Subcommittee continues to work closely with both organizations to ensure the Canadian-specific components of property and casualty (P&C) education are robust. The MOU also documents the CAS’ acceptance of CIA University Accreditation Program (UAP) credits towards achievement of the ACAS and FCAS designations and CIA recognition of the CAS Course on Professionalism, among other items. The MOU is due for review and updating, so we’ll be working with the CAS over the next year to reconfirm our partnership commitment.

MOU on Education with the SOA

In May, the CIA and SOA signed an MOU on education. This was the result of many years of discussion and negotiation. The MOU creates a mutually-beneficial partnership which gives the CIA a formal role in the development of curriculum and examinations which has never existed before. Through annual strategy meetings, we will continue to ensure that we remain aligned as closely as possible on a longer-term education vision. We are currently working on putting official CIA representatives in place on SOA curriculum and examination committees to ensure that the CIA syllabus requirements are covered and that SOA exams continue to be recognized for CIA qualification.

University Accreditation Program

On the university front, we have communicated with the appointed accreditation actuaries in all 11 universities regarding the UAP and how to enhance it, including a look at moving from the current course-by-course model of university accreditation to a model of program accreditation. We will also consult with our education partners, employers, members, and students to ensure all stakeholders have adequate and accurate information about the current UAP, and to identify further areas for improvement.

CIA Educational Offerings

The CIA runs its Professionalism Workshop six to eight times per year, in English and French. We recently expanded the workshop to a full day with a revised curriculum that includes professional communications training and exercises to complement the professionalism discussions.

The Practice Education Course (PEC) has undergone significant change as well. The exciting news is that the PEC will have no on-site exam for any track and is being shortened to a two-day course. It still focusses on the practical application of technical skills through workshops and discussions which employers and candidates have valued since 2000, but will now include business, communications, and professionalism content to enhance the development of Fellows of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. A P&C track also returns to PEC after a hiatus of more than 17 years. The new PEC will ensure that all candidates for FCIA have common experience.

Consider Volunteering

The EEC is a busy council with new projects constantly on the horizon. We’re always looking for new members who are passionate about enhancing and advancing the Institute’s education and qualification systems. If you are interested, we encourage you to get in touch!

Rémi Villeneuve, FCIA, is Chair of the Eligibility and Education Council. Alicia Rollo, CHRL, is director, education and professional development at the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Actuaries on the Move

Career developments

Jeremy Bell has been appointed to the board of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

François Carrier is relationship director at Aviva Investors Canada. He spent the last 12 years as a portfolio manager at SEI.

iA Financial Group announced that René Chabot, executive vice-president, CFO, and chief actuary will retire on February 15, 2018, after almost 35 years of service. Jacques Potvin, currently iA Financial Group’s vice-president and chief risk officer, will succeed Mr. Chabot as chief actuary.

Congratulations to CIA Past President James Christie, who was elected President-elect of the Casualty Actuarial Society.

Eugene Connell was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Erie Indemnity Company, serving on the strategy, investment, and audit committees.

Mercer Canada has appointed Julie Duchesne as Canadian health business leader. She joined Mercer in 1997 and was most recently the company’s health business leader in Québec.

Cindy Forbes has been appointed chair of the University of Waterloo’s Board of Governors.

Munich Re promoted Marc-André Giguère to executive vice-president, reinsurance and Michael Taht to executive vice-president of research, analytics, and underwriting. Mr. Giguère joined Munich Re in 2015. Mr. Taht has been with Munich Re since 2008.

Russell Investments appointed Andrew Kitchen as managing director, institutional Canada.

Jonathan Lapointe is vice-president, business development, and a partner at AlphaFixe Capital. He has 11 years of experience in the industry and most recently was business development manager at iA Financial Group.

Jean-Phillippe Lemay has been appointed president and COO of Fiera Capital’s Canada division. He has 14 years of industry experience and has been with the firm since 2010.

Brenda Prysko has become a partner in the retirement practice at Aon Hewitt Canada. She has more than 30 years of experience as a retirement consultant and actuary, with extensive experience within the public sector pension arena. She will be based in Calgary, AB.

Bruno Valdevit is a senior consulting actuary at Actuaires WAI—the Québec office of Westcoast Actuaries. He returns to the firm after leaving to become senior advisor, pensions and benefits, at Rio Tinto. He joined Actuaires WAI originally in January of 2012 from Willis Towers Watson.

Actuaries in the media

Gavin Benjamin’s article on the pros and cons of offering pension portability at retirement appeared in Benefits Canada.

Robert Brown had an op-ed piece in The Globe and Mail on why few workers will benefit from an expanded CPP.

Erika Schurr is quoted in an article on data analytics in Canadian Underwriter.

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.

Public Affairs Corner


By Les Dandridge, Chris Fievoli, and Kelly Fry

Policy makers and governments are making decisions and creating policy that affects the financial security of Canadians. The CIA wants to ensure the actuarial voice is heard on matters where your expertise adds great value.

Bylaw Changes

In the fall of 2016, the Board sought member input on proposed Bylaw amendments and a related Board policy on the development of CIA public statements (formerly referred to as public opinions or public positions), prior to their formal adoption.

The Board considered the comments received and adopted a final version of the proposed amendments and related policy. The amendments were confirmed by the members via proxy vote and in person at the General Business Session of the CIA Annual Meeting on June 21, 2017 in Québec City.

Members can read about the changes, the rationale behind them, and the subsequent process at the following links:

Public Statements

The Board approved three topics in 2016 to be considered for the development of level-two public statements. These three public statements are currently in development with single topic task forces serving as drafting entities.

Climate Change

The intent of this public statement is to identify areas where the CIA has a unique opportunity to contribute towards helping to assess and adapt to climate change risk, and initiatives whereby the actuarial profession can bring added value and uniquely contribute to the well-being of society as a whole by increasing the probability of meeting the agreed-upon global 2-degree Celsius target.

Members may recall seeing the notice of intent (NOI) that was issued in May 2017 for this public statement on Climate Change Risks for Life, Health, and Property and Casualty Insurance, Investments, and Pensions. Several CIA members contributed feedback, which is currently being reviewed by the drafting entity. A first draft of the statement is being developed and members will be given the opportunity to offer comments when it is released.

Retirement Age

This public statement will look at retirement age and consider the following:

  • Should Canadians plan to work longer, and what measures should be employed to encourage this behaviour?
  • Should the pensionable ages (early, normal, late) for old age security (OAS) and the Canada/Québec Pension Plan (C/QPP) be raised from their current levels?

A notice of intent will be issued soon, with an opportunity for members to share feedback on the proposed statement.

Risk Classification

In recent genetic testing legislation, personal privacy and perceived discrimination have been the central motivators for government action. Increasing amounts of information are becoming available to both the property and casualty (P&C) and life insurance industries as indicators of different risk levels.

This public statement will focus on the evolution of risk classification and how the profession sees the future path for life and P&C underwriters. Aspects of behavioural economics and determination of what is appropriate for insurers to justifiably include in risk classification will be at the core of this position.

The drafting entity has just been confirmed and work has begun on the public statement. Members can expect to see a notice of intent with further details this fall.


The CIA regularly responds to consultations from governments and various associations, including some that are international. These are opportunities for the profession to express itself on a variety of topics where it has experience and knowledge. The following are some of the Institute’s most recent submissions:

Don’t forget that reading submissions is a great source of continuing professional development (CPD) credits.


We would like to thank all of the CIA volunteers who are working so hard on these public affairs projects. Your time and expertise are greatly appreciated.

Chris Fievoli is CIA staff actuary, communications and public affairs.
Kelly Fry is CIA manager, marketing and public affairs.
Les Dandridge is CIA director, communications and public affairs.

Insight Decision Solutions
Acutarial Design
RGA Canada
Institute News

By Bonnie Robinson

The actuarial profession is firmly established in developed countries as an essential component of their economies, particularly in the areas of insurance, pensions, finance, and risk management. For emerging economies, building and sustaining the profession is a huge challenge. International partners can help, but they need to be prepared for a multi-decade commitment.

The Actuarial Profession in Indonesia

Indonesia, a member of the G20, is the largest economy in Southeast Asia. With industrialization and rapid growth, the country's financial infrastructure has struggled to keep pace, and the actuarial profession was often overlooked in the beginning.

While the Persatuan Aktuaris Indonesia (PAI), Indonesia's actuarial society, was founded in 1964, one year earlier than the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), the PAI initially struggled to attract members and people to work in the industry.

“In Indonesia, children are encouraged to be engineers or doctors,” says Jean Lowry, project director for READI (Risk Management, Economic Sustainability and Actuarial Science Development in Indonesia). “Those are high profile careers, being an actuary is not.”

READI Partnership

For the past two years, Ms. Lowry, Stefan Steiner (principal investigator), and Bill Duggan (field director) have led the READI team in working with Indonesia's financial services authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan) to help with the challenges that the actuarial profession and actuarial education in Indonesia face. Financial support for the $17M project comes primarily from the Government of Canada via Global Affairs Canada ($15.3M), with additional funding from Manulife Indonesia ($1M), and Sun Life Financial ($500K).

READI's programs include short courses by University of Waterloo (UWaterloo) professors who travel to Indonesia to teach, mentorship opportunities, undergraduate and master’s scholarships, applied research grants, math outreach, and co-op education opportunities. As well, the program offers an accelerated 12-month master's degree at UWaterloo for Indonesian lecturers interested in obtaining actuarial expertise.

Over 30 Years in Indonesia

The READI program follows a decades-long partnership between Canada and the Indonesian actuarial profession. In 1985, CIA member Yves Guérard travelled to Jakarta to meet with the Indonesian minister of finance as the country started writing pension law. “The minister of finance wanted to promote private pension programs and make sure they would be properly funded to deliver the promised benefits,” says Mr. Guérard.

Yves Guérard

“Since Indonesia inherited civil law from its former Dutch colonial government, an actuary familiar with that code was a natural fit,” he says. “As they were looking to North America as a model, that would need to be someone from Louisiana or Québec.” From 1985–1995, Mr. Guérard made regular visits to Indonesia, applying his extensive actuarial skills and expertise to social security, insurance, pension, and benefits.

From 1996 to 2001, Mr. Guérard—then a consulting partner at Ernst Young—was project director for a financial sector reform project (known as FISEK from its Indonesian acronym), a technical assistance project intended to strengthen the non-banking financial sector in Indonesia. Global Affairs Canada's predecessor, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), provided the funding. The CIA also provided additional financial support earmarked for actuaries.

Developing Home-Grown Actuaries

As Indonesia's regulatory and financial infrastructure developed, Mr. Guérard turned his attention to the lack of home-grown actuaries needed to support it. “There was increasing demand, but not enough people to meet the huge potential pension and insurance market,” he says. “Actuaries had no real professional status in Indonesia, because Indonesian universities had no actuarial science courses. With courses, actuarial science would be recognized as a profession and universities would be able to attract students who would now see actuarial science as a viable career.” Thus in 1997, with the support of Dr. Dorojatun Kunjoro-Jakti, dean of the faculty of economics, FISEK launched an actuarial master’s degree program at the University of Indonesia, the top state university in Jakarta.

After a long actuarial career, including a 13-year stint as secretary-general of the International Actuarial Association (IAA), Mr. Guérard retired in 1999, but continues his work in Indonesia. “In Canada, I am a has-been,” he laughs. “In Indonesia, I am an ‘international expert’.” He can speak some Indonesian and has international connections, including at the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. “Every year there is something to do,” he adds.

Great Progress, but More to Do

Mr. Guérard is proud of the progress Indonesia has made and of Canada's involvement in the country. The pay gap for actuaries is closing (while accountants still earn higher salaries, the disparity is much smaller than it once was). More Indonesian students are turning to actuarial science as a field of study. From only 130 Fellows in 2007, the PAI has seen its ranks grow to 256 Fellows and 256 Associates. According to a recent article in the Jakarta Post, Indonesian insurance companies alone will need 800 actuaries over the next few years. In 2007, after years of improving and aligning its training to international actuarial standards, the PAI qualified as a full member of the IAA.

Indonesian math students at a Think about Mathematics event by
READI's Math Outreach Team.

To sustain its economic growth, Indonesia will need to develop ever more sophisticated and durable insurance, financial, and complementary infrastructure; that won't be possible without a robust home-grown actuarial community. The efforts of Mr. Guérard and others and of programs like READI demonstrate how a long-term, sustained commitment can help an emerging economy realize its full potential.

Bonnie Robinson is the manager of communications at the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.


The CIA is pleased to welcome Shlomit Jacobson, PhD, MBA, as manager of research. Shlomit will work with the Research Executive Committee (REC), the Experience Study Research Subcommittee, and the Academic Research Subcommittee, providing project management support, facilitating strategic plan development and implementation, and representing the REC to other research organizations, researchers, and vendors.

Shlomit has worked as a research facilitator at the University of Ottawa’s Brain and Mind Research Institute and as a senior research project manager at Carleton University’s Institute of Neuroscience. She earned her MBA from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa and her PhD in neurobiology and ethology at Haifa University.

Shlomit’s skills and expertise will make her a valuable member of the CIA’s operations department. Welcome, Shlomit!


From left to right: Principal Brad Stokes, winner Aidan Fisk,
actuary Patrick Landry, and teacher Sean Easton.

Aidan Fisk, a student at Horton High School in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, was the winner of the CIA’s Tone My Phone contest, part of the Back to School project. Actuary Patrick Landry, owner of LPL Consulting, made the presentation on behalf of the CIA.

“I entered the contest after a visiting actuary came to my high school and gave a presentation on careers in mathematics,” said Aidan. “The problem was interesting and challenging. After coming up with my solution, I actually programmed a simple simulation to check my answer.”

Reaching Out to Young Math Students

Back to School is a CIA initiative (part of the work of the New Members Committee) where actuaries visit high school math classes to talk about what actuaries do, how to qualify as an actuary, and to share their rich experiences in the profession. Blake MacDonald, assistant actuary, individual life par pricing at Sun Life Financial, in Toronto, presented to Aidan’s grade 12 mathematics class in spring 2017.

A graduate of Horton High School himself, Mr. MacDonald was very interested in taking part in the Back to School program. “Because of the connection I have, and its location [N.S.], I knew there wouldn't be much exposure to what an actuary is and the type of work we do,” he said. “I was visiting my home town for a wedding during the school year. Speaking at my old high school was something I wanted to do for a while, but my visits home never overlapped with school semesters.”

Teacher Sean Easton welcomed Mr. MacDonald’s presentation, and many of the students were an enthusiastic audience. “Blake is a Horton grad, and he sent an e-mail to one of his former math teachers, who passed the information on to me,” he said. “[The students] were pleased to hear about Blake's journey in becoming an actuary and some of the other career paths involving mathematics.”

 “Of course, interest was mixed,” Mr. MacDonald acknowledged. “But there was a group of students who were quite receptive and had some good questions and expressed significant interest in what I talked about.”

“Thinking back to my high school and university days, I would have appreciated having someone to tell me about some of the options that exist in careers in math,” Mr. Easton added.  “I teach a lot of strong math students who don't know what they can do for work that involves math. I would like to make the presentation an annual event if there is someone available.” 

Mr. MacDonald concurs and encourages other actuaries to present to high schools. “I found it to be a good experience,” he said. “As someone who was interested in math graduating high school, I would have benefited from the exposure to some less common practice areas when I was considering what to pursue.”

Looking to the Future

Before the presentation, Aidan knew that actuaries dealt with risk management and insurance rates, but didn’t know exactly what they did. Now a career as an actuary is a definite option.

Aidan starts Acadia University this September, enrolled in computer science. “I am interested in actuarial science,” he says. “I will definitely keep it on my radar and consider taking the actuarial exams as I progress through university.”

Would you like to help inspire the next generation of Canadian actuaries? Consider volunteering for the CIA’s Back to School project. Contact Eric Mastropietro, co-ordinator, volunteer services, at


The University of Waterloo (UWaterloo) celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of its Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science with a two-day conference, July 26–27, 2017. Over 200 people attended the event, which featured plenary talks by graduates and others associated with the university, a session on the history of statistics and actuarial science at UWaterloo and in the rest of Canada, and a special dinner.

CIA President Sharon Giffen, herself a graduate of the program, spoke at the event and presented a plaque recognizing this milestone on behalf of the CIA. During her presentation, Ms. Giffen provided some interesting statistics about the university and the Institute:

  • Of just over 5000 CIA members, about 1 in 5 are UWaterloo grads;
  • UWaterloo grads represent approximately 1 in 5 of our long-serving volunteers; and
  • Currently, 6 of 16 CIA Board members, including Past President Dave Dickson, Ms. Giffen, and our President-Elect, John Dark, are all UWaterloo grads.

CIA President Sharon Giffen presents a plaque
from the CIA to Stefan Steiner, department chair
and Mary Hardy, director, master of actuarial
science program.

“That is an impressive concentration,” Ms. Giffen continued. “The education received at Waterloo and the work ethic and ethos that are established [t]here have carried through the careers of actuarial professionals and have undoubtedly influenced professional practice in Canada.”

Congratulations to the University of Waterloo and its Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science on this milestone.


John English, FCIA (1968), FSA (1966)

John English passed away April 1, 2017. He was 88. A graduate of McMaster University where he studied to be an actuary, Mr. English spent several years working as an actuary in Boston and Louisville, before returning to Canada where he became president of Toronto Mutual Life.

John English obituary

Ian Ingham, FCIA (2003), FSA (2002)

Ian Ingham passed away on July 3, 2017 from cancer. A graduate of the University of Guelph, Mr. Ingham worked for 12 years as an actuarial analyst/consultant with Cowan Insurance Group, and seven years as a principal at Morneau Shepell. His most recent position was as a consulting actuary at Modelis Actuarial Services. He volunteered on the CIA’s Committee on Post-employment Benefit plans from 2005–2016.

Harold Oscar Noyd, FCIA (1965), FSA (1962)

Harold Oscar Noyd passed away May 23, 2017. He was 92 years old. A member of the CIA since 1965, he began his studies in commerce at the University of Alberta after serving in the Second World War. In 1951, Mr. Noyd completed his BCom, with a major in actuarial science. He spent 32 years working at Great-West Life.

Harold Noyd obituary

Spotlight on New Fellows

New Fellow Benoit Saucier with
CIA Past 
President Dave Dickson.

1. When and why did you become an actuary?

By the time I had finished CEGEP I was hesitating between actuarial studies and astrophysics. I ended up choosing actuarial studies, since career opportunities in astrophysics were more limited and would have required several years of postgraduate studies. By the way, back then I didn’t know about the actuarial professional exams.

When I asked my professors and the people around me what an actuary does, only a few could answer me. But one thing they all agreed on was that the university program was among the most difficult out there. So I decided to take up the challenge.

2. Who inspired you to pursue an actuarial career?

There were two times when I wanted to throw in the towel, and two individuals stepped in in a huge way: Professor Michel Jacques, when I was going to university, and my friend Jacques Gagné, my mentor early in my career. Without them, there is no doubt I’d have switched to another field.

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

My experience was a mixture of humility, sacrifices, and pride. I think that to make it through the lengthy exam process, you have to be either brilliant or perseverant. I’m the latter. I’m very perseverant.

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

One of the things about a career in the actuarial field is that it can take several years to fully transition from student to professional. But that makes the transition easier.

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

I work for Retraite Québec, the agency that supervises supplemental pension plans. My responsibilities working for this government body are fairly diverse, but can basically be summed up in two categories:

  • Monitoring the actuarial aspects of supplemental pension plans (analyzing actuarial valuation reports, writing documents that explain the various statutes and regulations in clear language, training, and so forth); and
  • Making improvements to the applicable acts and regulations (identifying problems, designing solutions, assisting in the drafting and presentation process, etc.).

6. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy problem-solving, especially when the solution isn’t readily apparent. In such instances I have to tap into all the knowledge I’ve gained over the years in order to come up with the best possible solution, which often involves striking a fair balance between the interests of all the concerned parties.

7. What are your short-term career ambitions?

I want to keep getting better and to make my team and my organization better in every respect. To date that approach has made me proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, and good things have always come my way. I think that this will continue to be the case.

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

I see myself in a job that I love, on a strong, dynamic and well-functioning team. As for the rest, I don’t have any specific plans. I don’t like making too many plans, as that would leave me less open to the opportunities that will lead me to the objective I mentioned earlier.

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

I have a fairly wide range of interests, but if I had to choose a different career, it would probably be in the financial sector. Fortunately, my actuarial career affords me opportunities to dabble in this sector from time to time.

10. What are your hobbies?

My work is very cerebral, so in my spare time I like engaging in physical activities. I downhill ski during the winter and do road and mountain biking in the summer.

11. Where is your dream vacation destination?

I don’t have any set destination. Each place has its attractions; it’s just a matter of discovering and enjoying them. As far as I’m concerned, what makes travel rewarding is the people you share it with and the experiences you engage in.

Benoit Saucier, FCIA, is an actuary for the supplemental pension plans division at Retraite Québec.

If you would like to be featured in Spotlight on New Fellows, please contact CIA English editor Bonnie Robinson at

Volunteers on the Move


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

  • Special Board Committee on the Setting of Actuarial Guidance: Pierre-Yves Julien (Chair), David Dickson, Sharon Giffen, and A. David Pelletier, effective May 8, 2017;
  • Governance Committee: Sharon Giffen (Chair), Patrick Chamberland, Michael Correa, Pierre-Yves Julien, and André L’Espérance, effective July 1, 2017;
  • Human Resources Finance and Audit Committee: Minaz Lalani (Chair), Renée Couture, Angelita Graham, Denise Lang, and Jason Vary, effective July 1, 2017;
  • Risk Committee: John Dark (Chair), Barb Addie, Rahim Hirji, and Minaz Lalani, effective July 1, 2017;
  • Committee on Professional Conduct: Stephen Eadie (Chair), Louis Martin (Vice-chair), Richard Béliveau, Stephen Butterfield, Dave Dickson (ex officio), J. Helmut Engels, Sym Gill, Pierre Laurin, Hudson Lopez, and Jean-Claude Primeau, effective July 1, 2017;
  • CRM Steering Committee: Dave Dickson (Chair), Claude Ferguson, and Patrick Chamberland;
  • Elections Committee: Jacques Tremblay (Chair), François Boulanger, Simon Curtis, Pierre Lepage, Marc-André Melançon, Joseph Nunes, Robert Stapleford, and Mercy Yan, effective immediately;
  • Task Force on the Implementation of the Proposed Changes to the CPD Requirements: Rob Stapleford (chair), Maxime-Frédéric Brochu-Leclair, Marc Tardif, Terry Narine and Carol Moellers; and
  • Tribunal Panel for 2017–2018: David Short, (Chair), Simon Curtis (Vice-chair), Normand Gendron, Neville Henderson, Eileen Luxton, Robert McKay, Guy Martel, Philip Pothier, Allan Shapira, William Solomon, Michel St-Germain, William Weiland, and Nancy Yake.

The membership of the following councils for 2017–2018 has been approved, effective July 1, 2017:

  • Practice Council: Faisal Siddiqi (Chair), Steve Easson (Vice-chair), Rachel Dutil, Eric Lemay, Marie-Hélène Malenfant, and Dean Newell;
  • Eligibility and Education Council: Rémi Villeneuve (Chair), Terry Narine (Vice-chair), Bruno Gagnon, Bruce Jones, Alison Rose, and Stephanie Russell;
  • Member Services Council: Benoit Miclette (Chair), Stephen Cheng, Neil Duffy, Ralph Ovsec, Nari Persad, Martin Roy, Yeh Ching Seto, and Anne St-Martin; and 
  • International Relations Council: Jacques Tremblay (Chair), Thomas Ault, Réjean Besner, Micheline Dionne, Alana Farrell, Mike Hafeman, Jason Malone, Les Rehbeli, Guillaume Turcotte, and Bill Weiland.

The following people have completed their term with the councils and committees named below, and leave with thanks:

  • Practice Council: Pierre Dionne, Jacques Boudreau, Kathryn Hyland, and Michael Williams;
  • Eligibility and Education Council: Thomas Hinton and Alana Farrell;
  • Member Services Council: Marie-Hélène Malenfant and Peter Douglas;
  • Committee on Professional Conduct: Doug Brooks, Maryse Larouche, and Luc Dionne;
  • Elections Committee: Christiane Bourassa and Michel Giguère; and
  • Tribunal Panel for 2016–2017: Gilles Dufresne, Jean-Louis Massé, and Daniel Murphy.

Practice Council

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

  • Enterprise Risk Management Practice Committee: Gaurav Upadhya, effective May 17, 2017;
  • Committee on Workers’ Compensation: Peter Douglas, effective May 29, 2017; 
  • Committee on the Appointed/Valuation Actuary: Mike Palmer, effective June 8, 2017;
  • Designated group on IFRS 17: Chris Townsend, effective July 27, 2017; and
  • Designated Group on the Integration of DCAT/ORSA: Marco Fillion (Chair), Hélène Baril, Pierre Bernard, Wally Bridel, Kevin Gray, Pierre Lepage, Edward Swerhone, Tim Watson, Diane Gosselin (observer), Sylvain St-Georges (observer), Tony Williams (observer), and Alexis Gerbeau (ASB liaison).

The mandate of the Designated Group on the Integration of DCAT/ORSA was approved as follows:

The purpose of the Designated Group on the Integration of DCAT and ORSA is to propose revisions to SOP, section 2500 Dynamic Capital Adequacy Testing that will

  • Provide a more robust approach to satisfy the federal and provincial insurance acts requirement to report on the expected future financial condition of an insurance entity; and
  • Allow for a better alignment with ORSA regulatory requirements as it relates to work needed to report on the expected future financial condition of an insurance entity.

Eligibility and Education Council

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

  • Committee on Continuing Education: Ngoc Thi Bich (Vy) Le, Peter Muirhead, effective July 1, 2017;
    • Group Life and Health Subcommittee: Peter Muirhead (Chair), effective July 1, 2017;
    • Enterprise Risk Management Subcomittee: Ngoc Thi Bich (Vy) Le (Chair), and Alex Ngo, effective July 1, 2017; and
    • Corporate Life and Health Subcommittee of the Committee: Carol Murphy (Vice-chair), effective July 1, 2017.

Rémi Villeneuve was reappointed as the CIA liaison to the Society of Actuaries (SOA) general officers, effective July 1, 2017.

The following people have completed their term with the committees named below, and leave with thanks:

  • Committee on Continuing Education: Jeremy Bell (Chair), Pierre-Paul Renaud;
    • Enterprise Risk Management Subcommittee: Pierre-Paul Renaud;
    • Group Life and Health Subcommittee: Jeremy Bell (Chair); and
    • Webcast Champions Subcommittee: Jeremy Bell.

International Relations Council

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

  • International Actuarial Association (IAA) Health Committee: Terry Narine (delegate), effective July 1, 2017;
  • International Insurance Accounting Committee: Anna‑Marie Beaton, Étienne Morin, and Amal Rajwani, effective immediately; and
  • International Insurance Regulation Committee: Graham Mackay (Chair), Anne Hancock, effective July 1, 2017; Robert Berendsen, James Malin, and Helmut Engels had their terms extended for one year to June 30, 2018.

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

  • International Insurance Regulation Committee: Robert Berendsen (Chair), Ralph Ovsec, Cindy Lau, and Jacques Boudreau, effective June 30, 2017.

Member Services Council

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

  • Health Committee: Didier Serre, effective June 8, 2017;
  • Research Executive Committee: Keith Walter (Chair), effective September 30, 2017, François Cloutier, effective May 9, 2017, Rebecca Rycroft (ASB liaison), and Alan Wong, effective August 16, 2017;
    • Experience Studies Research Subcommittee: Carrie Lam, effective July 1, 2017; and
    • Academic Research Subcommittee: José Garrido (Vice-chair), effective August 23, 2017 and O-Yeat Chan, effective July 1, 2017; 
  • Predictive Modelling Committee: Jeffrey Baer and Ying (Suzanna) Zhan, effective June 8, 2017; and
  • Editorial Panel: Jean-François Poitras (Chair), effective July 27, 2017.

The following people have completed their term with the committees named below, and leave with thanks:

  • Predictive Modelling Committee: Carl Lussier and Bashir Moallim, effective June 8, 2017;
  • Editorial Panel: Nimmie Veerappen (Chair), effective July 27, 2017;
  • Genetic Testing Committee: Bernard Naumann, effective August 23, 2017;
  • Public Statements Committee: Jim Christie, effective August 23, 2017;
  • Research Executive Committee: Faizel Alladina, effective September 30, 2017; and
  • New Members Committee: Jeffrey Baer, Troy Henry, and Mandy Seto, effective August 23, 2017.

The Communications Committee has been disbanded with thanks, effective immediately.