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

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires

March 2018
Elliott Bauer
D.W. Simpson & Company
Elliott Bauer
President's Update

By Sharon Giffen, FCIA
CIA President

So far in 2018, there has been significant activity on several CIA fronts. I am happy to share with you a few examples of what we have been up to.

Public submissions: The Public Statements Committee has responded to several requests for input this year (level 1 public statements). Topics and respondents have varied significantly, requiring that the committee draw from a broad cross section of membership to assist in drafting and reviewing. Please have a look at the article in this (e)Bulletin on this topic, and read the submissions that are relevant to your area of practice.

Education matters: Enrolment for the Practice Education Course (PEC) 2.0 is underway and we are on track for record enrolment this year. The exam for the group track has been administered, and there are some candidates anxiously awaiting results to see if they too can join the PEC group. Thanks to the many volunteers who have made this happen and to Head Office for organizing the meeting and speakers for this first no-exam capstone event.

Annual Meeting: Planning is well underway for our Annual Meeting to be held in June in the beautiful city of Toronto. I will not steal any thunder from the organizing committee, but I have had a sneak peek at the agenda and am thrilled to say that they have covered a very broad range of topics—there will be something for everyone. We look forward to welcoming you.

Elections: The Elections Committee is busy searching for candidates for Board positions (President-elect and Directors). This is your chance! If you have thought about running, please do reach out to learn more. I think any member of the current Board would be happy to discuss their experiences to date. Certainly I can speak to the intrinsic reward of the presidential term. While it can be busy at times, there is a deep satisfaction in serving the profession.

Governance: Our consultation period on governance matters is now closed; the team is considering the input we received and will make some modifications to the proposal before exposing it again. You may recall that topics in this consultation included the size of the Board, the creation of a reserved role for a newer FCIA on the Board, allowing ACIAs to run for the Board, and voting procedures for CIA general business. We will present a final proposal to the Board in March, and if approved, this will go to the membership for voting in June.

Restructuring: You will note that we now refer to the restructuring or reorganization separately from the governance matters—restructuring refers primarily to the creation of the Actuarial Profession Oversight Council, an expansion of the current Actuarial Standards Oversight Council, to include public elements in oversight of the qualification and discipline processes, thus centralizing all the functions that are required to regulate the profession. Additionally, there is a proposal for reorganizing the councils and their committees to ensure the Board has good insight into key areas of strategic importance and those where we are spending significant funds to further the profession. This consultation period (you must log in) is still open (until March 12); free webcasts on the subject in English and French are scheduled for March 5. We have received a good number of comments, but I always look for more.

Head Office: Our Head Office team has been working to install a new customer relationship management system (simultaneously with all their normal deliverables). While we all look forward to an implementation date, like many large IT projects, there are some challenges. A special committee of the Board has been tasked to oversee our next steps.

Get engaged: I cannot close without my usual pitch to get involved. Volunteering is one way to be involved, but not the only one. Providing your input to one of our consultations is an easy way to be heard without a significant time commitment. And in the upcoming elections, please vote! Even if you don’t know the candidates personally, read their statements, ask questions, and consider who is best positioned to speak for our diverse profession.

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

In Focus

By Les Rehbeli, FCIA and Cynthia Potts, FCIA

IFRS 17 is coming soon, with an effective date of January 1, 2021, and will impact the valuation of insurance contracts significantly. The current valuation approaches used to value insurance contract liabilities in Canada will no longer be applicable. 

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) released the final IFRS 17 standard in May 2017 and the International Actuarial Association (IAA) is expected to release its related International Actuarial Standard of Practice (ISAP 4) within a few weeks. The IAA is planning to publish a series of International Actuarial Notes (IANs), which are similar in nature to our CIA educational notes, to assist practitioners with the application of IFRS 17. 

The CIA is very active in this area, with several committees involved in reviewing the IFRS 17 standard and related guidance. 

It is likely that the CIA will propose adoption of the IANs as educational notes. The CIA will provide additional guidance to its members as needed, in the form of educational notes and research papers.

The CIA is also engaged in educating members about IFRS 17, through webcasts, sessions at CIA meetings, and other forums. 

Watch for the IFRS 17 Corner on the website, which will provide up-to-date summaries of the various CIA activities and links to other relevant sources of information.

IFRS 17 Corner is expected to debut in late March 2018.

Les Rehbeli, FCIA and Cynthia Potts, FCIA are Co-chairs of the IFRS 17 Steering Committee.

Actuaries on the Move

Career developments

Jean-François Chalifoux and Yvon Charest are finalists in the insurers’ category for Finance et Investissement’s Top 25 most prominent people in Québec's financial services sector.

Willis Towers Watson appointed Dominique Lebel to lead its insurance consulting and technology life business for the Americas, effective March 1. His responsibilities will include the market strategy and development of the company’s consulting services and software solutions for life insurers in the Americas.

Phil Mullen joins Morneau Shepell as a partner and retirement solutions leader. A specialist in pension risk management, he previously worked at Mercer in Canada, Ireland, and the United States.

Ashley Witts is a partner and wealth leader for Mercer’s Vancouver office. Prior to joining the firm, he held senior level roles with another major HR consulting organization where he led business development and delivery teams across multiple lines of business. He brings more than 35 years of industry expertise to his new role.

Sun Life Financial appointed Heather Wolfe as managing director of liability-driven investment strategies in its defined benefit solutions team. She previously served as managing director of client relationships on the same team.

Actuaries in the media

Rob Brown wrote an article on the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) for the Times Colonist.

CIA President Sharon Giffen was quoted in a Benefits Canada article about our recent comments regarding proposed funding rules for defined benefit pension plans.

Malcolm Hamilton was quoted in a Globe and Mail article about retirees being richer than they think.

Georges Langis was mentioned in an article about a key actuarial review of Guyana’s National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

Our recent submission to the Ontario government was featured in a Benefits Canada article.


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

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.

Public Statements

Three public statements are currently in development with single topic task forces serving as drafting entities. These statements are on the topics of climate change, public pension plans, and risk classification and discrimination. Member feedback received on each topic included opposition/support for a public statement and suggestions for issues to be included in the statement. Members will have an opportunity to provide additional feedback when drafts of the public statements are released over the next few months.


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:



Second Half of 2017

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.

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On the Horizon

By Catherine Jacques-Brissette, ACIA

This article is excerpted with permission from one in the February 2018 IAA Newsletter which provides a more in-depth look at climate change and the actuarial-related activities around it in 2017.

In November 2017, I attended the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, representing CAP Développement durable. The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC, bringing together business leaders, government representatives at all levels, and civil society members from nearly 200 countries.

COP23 was hosted one year after the entry into force of the landmark Paris Agreement; an international agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a level likely to limit global warming below 2°C over pre-industrial levels. COP23 was all about the “Paris rule book”, a document outlining the nuts-and-bolts details on how to implement the Paris Agreement and achieve the 2°C target, which should be finalized in 2018.

Soaring Momentum in the Private Sector

Non-state actors from around the world are stepping up efforts to fight and adapt to climate change. A bustling atmosphere pervaded the COP23 non-party stakeholder zone, with numerous climate commitment announcements, and highlights of available solutions to decarbonize the economy.

I was proud to participate as an expert panelist in a high-level event on the enabling role of ICT solutions (information and communications technologies) in tackling climate change, organized by the UN-led Momentum for Change initiative. The role of the private sector in implementing the Paris Agreement is undeniable, as corporations emit nearly 70 percent of the world’s total GHGs. At the time of writing, more than 340 companies including Walmart, Dell, Sony, and Tesco, had committed to put forward science-based emissions reduction targets consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 2°C limit.

Responsible Investment Becoming Standard

Another key theme covered at COP23 was how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors have become mainstream decision-making considerations for institutional investors. Responsible investment allows better management of risks and fulfilment of investors’ fiduciary duty, and can even improve long-term returns. Indeed, a significant and growing body of research demonstrates that integrating sustainability factors into investment decision-making processes is beneficial from an economic perspective. There is little room left for hiding behind a narrow interpretation of fiduciary duties to justify a “business as usual” investment strategy.

Heightened Sense of Urgency

Although the Paris Agreement formalizes a 2°C target, current commitments taken by countries (called nationally determined contributions or NDCs) fall significantly short of achieving that target. According to the UN Emissions Gap Report 2017, “even if the current NDCs are fully implemented, the carbon budget for limiting global warming to below 2°C will be about 80 percent depleted by 2030”. Such sobering scientific warnings remind us that the window of opportunity is narrow and rapidly closing, particularly with evidence that 2017 was “a year of record-breaking climate events”.

What’s in it for Actuaries?

Climate change involves complex and pervasive risks that may impact all economic sectors, in terms of both assets and liabilities. As outlined in the CIA research paper on climate change and resource sustainability, traditional actuarial practice areas will not be spared, be it P&C or life insurance, investment, pension, or enterprise risk management (ERM).

Climate change is expected to increase both the frequency and intensity of floods, droughts, extreme temperatures, and hurricanes, while causing sea levels to rise (among other things). These impacts will necessarily pose higher risks to insured and non-insured property, infrastructures, as well as human life and health. On the asset side, investors cannot afford to ignore responsible investment trends and opportunities, especially investments with a long investment horizon, such as pension funds and life insurance assets. Thus, actuaries have a growing interest in understanding potential long-term impacts of climate change, as these may affect the assumptions used in assessing the value of assets and liabilities.

Actuaries Climate Index

In addition, actuarial expertise can have a complementary added value, in collaboration with other professionals, in managing risks related to climate change. The Actuaries Climate IndexTM (ACI) and Actuaries Climate Risk Index (ACRI) are great illustrations of how existing actuarial techniques can be expanded into the climate change field, in partnership with other stakeholders (i.e., climate scientists in this case). The ACI measures the frequency of extreme weather and the extent of sea level change. Following the latest data update in mid-January, the ACI received extensive media coverage in Canada and the US, showing a keen interest in this useful and objective monitoring tool.

I strongly believe that actuarial expertise in risk management, combined with stakeholder collaboration, can serve the public interest by providing tools to manage the financial contingencies associated with different climate risks, and contribute to the design of policy options for controlling them.

Now What?

The numerous and widespread efforts made in 2017 to tackle climate change are clear indicators of an accelerating momentum for climate action. Still, climate experts stress that a significant gap remains between commitments made so far under the Paris Agreement, and climate action required to achieve the agreed-upon 2°C target. Even though progress is being made, we need more ambitious commitments along with specific action plans to achieve them.

This heightened sense of urgency and calls for stronger efforts to fight climate change were among the key messages conveyed by delegations during the COP23 wrap-up. Governments at all levels have a role to play in the transition toward a lower-carbon economy, as does the private sector. As climate change issues are global systemic challenges spreading across all sectors of the economy, they will be addressed best through a multidisciplinary approach involving professionals from all economic sectors. I am confident that the actuarial profession, in collaboration with key stakeholders, can leverage its risk management expertise to play a meaningful role in addressing climate change challenges.

Catherine Jacques-Brissette, ACIA, is Chair of the CIA Climate Change and Sustainability Committee.

Institute News

Each quarter, the Actuaries Climate IndexTM (ACI) updates the seasonal data that drives the charts and graphs for the US and Canada. It also generates new index numbers for the individual components of the ACI and the ACI itself, and issues a press release.  

A reporter from the Canadian Press (CP) interviewed CIA member Caterina Lindman regarding the ACI and what the numbers for spring 2017 (the most recent seasonal update) mean. Numerous media outlets picked up the story, from CBC to the Weather Network to The Globe and Mail. It was also picked up by Le Devoir, La Presse, Le Droit, La Tribune, Le Soleil, and featured on Météo Média.

The CP story or the press release itself were published on media websites as follows: 317 in Canada, 246 in the US, two in Hong Kong, two in China, two in India, and one in the Netherlands.

Surprising Coverage

“We have put out several press releases supporting the release of the ACI seasonal updates, but none had the uptake by the media that this one did,” says Les Dandridge, director of communications and public affairs. “With this winter's cold weather in parts of Canada, timing may have been partly responsible, but it seems that the story by Canadian Press was a powerful influence in the surprising coverage.”

CIA members Catherine Jacques-Brissette and Caterina Lindman together did a total of six interviews: one print, one television, and four radio.

This most recent seasonal update reveals the five-year moving average of climate extremes across Canada and the US remains at the high recorded in winter 2016–2017, driven by sea level changes in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions. The ACI publishes its next seasonal update in April.


By Rob Stapleford, FCIA

The Elections Committee is actively seeking candidates for President-elect and Director (four positions) for the upcoming CIA elections. Each position involves a three-year commitment.

Why Should You Consider Running?

Members who have served as President or on the Board told the 2018 Elections Committee about their experience and the benefits they received from their involvement:

  • Personal growth. Grow leadership, communications, and delegation skills;
  • Honour to lead the Canadian actuarial profession which operates in the public interest;
  • Networking and meeting interesting people in Canada and internationally;
  • Personal satisfaction of serving the profession;
  • Enhanced reputation which can be particularly helpful in consulting; and
  • Opportunity for CPD credits.

Most past Directors did not consider the role onerous. The roles of President-elect and President require a greater time commitment, with a number of Past Presidents noting that they were successful in getting support from their employer and family to help them manage the workload. A common comment from everyone was that the benefits of serving are worth any extra effort.

How Do I Declare My Candidacy?

Running is easy. Election rules are available on the website. The Elections Committee and the CIA strive to make the effort to run convenient for candidates.

If you are interested in running or have any questions, please contact me ( or one of the members of the Elections Committee (you must be logged in to the members’ site to view the committee members) in the next 2–3 weeks.

Rob Stapleford, FCIA, is Chair of the Elections Committee.


In late March, Pascale Belleau, associate director, communications and public affairs, will leave the CIA to take on the director of communications role at the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA).

During her time at the CIA, Pascale worked with many volunteers and leaders on numerous public statements and submissions, helping the Institute to increase its emphasis on external communications, including more involvement in public policy issues where actuaries have something of value to contribute.   

Among her many contributions, Pascale was instrumental in helping implement the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Public Policy to produce the May 2016 public position on the expansion of public pension plans, the January 2017 submission on the consultation on the Québec Pension Plan, and the 2017–2019 strategic plan.

Her colleagues and volunteers are sad to see her go, but wish her the very best in her challenging new role.

Events News

By Joseph Gabriel, FCIA

February’s Pension and Investment Seminar—the first offered entirely in French—was a resounding success, with 100 members taking part. Audio from the seminar is available on the website (you must be logged in to the members’ site to access it).

Retirement Age Public Statement

The opening session saw Jacques Tremblay, a past president and Michel St-Germain, Chair of the CIA Pension Advisory Committee, provide an update from the Single Topic Task Force on Retirement Age. They discussed the popular perception that economic growth is one of the main factors that will support the retirement of future generations, while establishing that working longer will also help. They mentioned that increased working lifetime will not affect labour market opportunities for younger workers.

Proposed measures that would not only address the sustainability of the Canadian retirement system but would also assist public finances in covering soaring healthcare costs included increasing the normal retirement age from 65 to 67, and increasing the postponed retirement age for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) to 75. There is more to come from the CIA on the issue of retirement age.

Québec Funding Regulations: Actuarial and Investment Implications

The second session tackled actuarial and investment implications from changes in Québec regulations around the removal of solvency funding and the implementation of the required stabilization provision (SP), generally known as the provision for adverse deviations (PfAD). Michel St-Germain and Ramy Rayes explored many interesting perspectives on the increased use of fixed-income securities, controlling duration, consideration to alternative investments, and rethinking asset/liability matching, all potentially having an impact of the required level of SP. Interesting questions they raised included the reported (while not funded) solvency position and its possible influence on investment decisions, and the hope that the announced legislative measures will help stop the erosion of defined benefit pension plans.

Purchasing Annuities in the New Legislative Environment

The event continued with the repercussions of pension legislative changes on the strategies for purchasing annuities. Louis-Bernard Désilets and Alan Savoie illustrated the impact of the changes with case studies, bringing a more interactive approach to the presentation. Their conclusions attracted the audience’s attention, as they showed that risks are the same, that annuity purchases are a good option for managing maturity, and that the new legislative environment provides plan sponsors with increased flexibility with regards to annuity purchases.

All Models Are Wrong, but Some Are Useful

After an excellent luncheon, Ramy Rayes took the floor for a second time and spoke about qualitative considerations in asset liability modelling. He presented traditional models, qualitative assessments, and case studies pertaining to a correction to the Canadian housing market and climate change. Outlining the importance of a qualitative approach to the traditional quantitative models to avoid restricted comprehension of unfavourable results, he quoted British statistician George Box, who claimed “All models are wrong, but some are useful”.

More on Pension Plans

The last session, led by Tommy Ouellet, touched on investment opportunities for pension plans in a low interest rate environment—a very relevant topic over the last several years. He concluded by emphasizing that regardless of the interest rate environment, any optimal investment solution must be based on a complete asset/liability analysis within a well-defined risk management framework.

Question and Answer

Participant questions and comments raised issues such as the life expectancy of retirees, the flexibility of retirement options with cost neutrality, and delivery of public plan promises.

As an actuary myself, I was pleased to hear that Canada’s public pension plans are some of the most rigorously funded and monitored in the world; unfortunately, this may not be the case for healthcare funding. 

Thank You for a Great Seminar

I’ll take this opportunity to thank the organizing committee members, namely Alison Rose, June Smyth, Stephen Cheng, Alan Cooke, Gordon Ripley, and Tulio Walles Mora, for preparing such an outstanding event.

Keep an eye on our upcoming events, especially the June 21–22 Annual Meeting in the great city of Toronto (registration will be opening soon). I look forward to seeing you there!

Joseph Gabriel, FCIA, is CIA staff actuary, education.

Research Hub

Developing research materials is one of the CIA’s fundamental activities. Thought-provoking and leading-edge research helps expand the boundaries of the profession, advances knowledge on emerging issues, lines of business, and practice areas, and aligns with the Institute’s strategic priorities. Periodic experience studies gather industry data that provide benchmarks for comparison and help to establish market trends that assist actuaries in their work. CIA research provides a unique Canadian perspective, in both official languages.

Recent Research Publications

Over the last few months, the Research Executive Committee (REC) published four papers; the REC will finalize several more projects in the next few months.

Canadian Individual Annuitant Mortality Experience (Policy Years 2005–2006 to 2014–2015)

This experience study updates the prior study with three additional years of data and replaces the Individual Annuitant Mortality 1983 Basic tables with the more recent Canadian Insured Payout Mortality 2014 tables as the expected mortality basis in the actual/expected (A/E) analysis.

The main findings are as follows:

  • Joint survivor policies experience higher mortality rates than joint both alive policies;
  • A/E by number is generally higher than A/E by income;
  • As annualized income increases, A/E by income decreases;
  • Non-registered annuities have lower mortality than registered policies;
  • Non-refund mortality experience is lower than refund annuities when measured by annualized income;
  • Presumed back-to-backs have significantly lower mortality ratios (this trend is more apparent for single policies than for joint annuities);
  • Male joint survivors show significantly higher A/E ratios than joint both alive and single policies, regardless of tax status or annualized income; and
  • Female joint both alive policies show significantly lower A/E ratios than joint survivor and single policies, regardless of tax status or annualized income.

Actuarial Review of Insurer Insolvencies and Future Preventions Phase 1 – A Review of Root Causes of Insolvencies

This study is intended to educate insurance professionals on historical insurer impairments and insolvencies and possible future prevention indicators. It explores potential risk factors insurance professionals can leverage to mitigate future insolvent situations. Including an analysis of root causes of insurer impairment and insolvency across property and casualty, life and annuity, and health insurance in the United States and Canada, this study explores potential indicators which may facilitate earlier intervention for companies at risk of becoming impaired or insolvent.

Settlement Cost Compared to Going Concern Funding Targets: Analysis of Pension Plans Registered in Ontario

Canadian pension funding regulations require two distinct types of valuation: a going concern valuation that presumes the plan will continue to operate, and a solvency valuation that presumes the plan will wind up. This research paper compares the results of these two types of valuation, to provide insight into the differences. The analysis is based on data for defined benefit pension plans registered in Ontario.

For pensions in pay, differences are mostly explained by differences in the discount rate and mortality assumption and, for indexed plans, provision for future indexing. For active plan members, the variations in results are much broader, due to anticipation of future salary increases, and provisions for early retirement.

Executive Summary and Final Report on Population Aging, Implications for Asset Values, and Impact for Pension Plans: An International Study – Phase 2

This research project studies the impact of population aging on asset values and illustrates the implications for pension plans in Canada, the US, and the UK. It involves economic-demographic modelling, modelling the demographic influence on asset class returns, and models for pension plan risk assessment. The project is expected to be completed in 2019. Throughout the project various papers and technical reports will be produced. This report provides a literature review regarding the connection between demographic factors and asset class returns/prices and provides model specifications regarding the impact of changes in demographic structure on the long-term dynamics of house prices.

Information and Involvement

For more information on the research currently underway at the CIA, visit the Research Projects page on the website. If you would like to get involved with the REC, a subcommittee of the REC, or project oversight group (POG), please contact Shlomit Jacobson, manager, research, at You can also indicate your interest in participating in research work through the My Volunteer Profile (log in before accessing this link) section of the members’ website.

Volunteers on the Move

Member Services Council

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

  • Climate Change and Sustainability Committee: Marie-Pierre Ouedraogo, effective January 3, 2018, and Zahir Bhanji, effective February 8, 2018; and
  • Volunteer Management and Development Committee: Carolyn Yearwood and Harry Li, effective December 1, 2017.

Michel St-Germain has been appointed as the CIA liaison to the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities (CAPSA) Funding Review Committee Industry Working Group, effective December 15, 2017.

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

  • Climate Change and Sustainability Committee: Minnie Green, effective January 3, 2018;
  • Pension Advisory Committee: Clare Pitcher, effective January 1, 2018; and
  • Volunteer Management and Development Committee: Jean-François Lalonde and Raymond Liu, effective August 2017 and September 2017 respectively.

Practice Council

The International Insurance Accounting Committee designated Rob Hinrichs as their liaison to the Committee on Workers’ Compensation.