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February 2016

Consultation Underway on Proposed Changes Related to the Protection of the Public Interest

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By Lynn Blackburn

As part of the ongoing desire to ensure that CIA members are considered leading professionals in Canada, the Board regularly looks at the CIA’s infrastructure, including its Bylaws, Rules of Professional Conduct, and policies, to ensure that they are sufficiently rigorous and consistent with other professions in Canada.

In early February, the Board opened a consultation period on a set of proposed changes to the Bylaws, Rules of Professional Conduct, and several CIA policies related to

  1. Compliance with the Continuing Professional Development Requirements (CPD); and
  2. A requirement for the disclosure of a "criminal conviction". For the purposes of this material, "criminal conviction" refers to any criminal offence, penal offence punishable by incarceration, or offences of a similar nature for which the individual is convicted, found guilty of or pleads guilty to, and for which he or she has not been granted a record suspension (formerly a pardon), or a disciplinary determination of guilt. (Note that records of CIA Disciplinary Tribunal decisions are already on file and would therefore not require further disclosure).

Highlights of Proposed Changes

All of the relevant material, including an extensive Q&A can be found here. Highlights of the proposed changes appear below.

Compliance with Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

  • Members who are not practicing and/or not doing CPD would be allowed to maintain their designation, but it would be made clear to the public that they are not compliant with the CPD requirements (i.e., a "(non-practicing)" qualifier would be appended to the FCIA/ACIA designation).
  • No changes are being proposed to the CPD requirements themselves. The minimum requirements would remain as they are currently listed in section 2 of the CPD Qualification Standard (QS) (e.g., minimum of 100 hours, etc.).
  • The exemptions allowed from compliance with the CPD requirements would now be limited to the following:
    • Members who are not "Practicing Members" (as now defined in bylaw 1.01 (15.1));
    • Parental leave;
    • Still writing actuarial exams;
    • Special circumstances (e.g., disability); and
    • Compliance with another actuarial association’s CPD requirements.

Disclosure of Criminal Convictions

  • All new applicants to the Institute, as well as existing members who are not fully retired would be required to disclose a criminal conviction within 30 days of the date of the conviction. As a transitional measure, disclosures by existing members of all past criminal convictions would need to be made to the Institute within 30 days of the effective date of the proposed changes.
  • The Committee on Professionalism within the CIA (PROF) would initially assess all disclosures (from applicants and existing members) based on a clear set of assessment criteria and procedures, to determine whether or not the criminal conviction warrants further action on the part of the CIA. This process would be defined and described in a new policy. Note that the Head Office would keep the identity of the individuals who disclose a criminal conviction confidential, and transmit only pertinent information about the criminal conviction to the PROF for assessment.
  • For existing members, in cases where the PROF determines that the criminal conviction could impair the professional’s ability to provide professional services, the matter would be referred to the Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC). The CPC would then initiate the same disciplinary process as all other complaints or information received by the CPC. No new disciplinary measures are being proposed.

Why Should CIA Members Support These Changes?

1. The CIA is a self-regulating profession. When it comes to professionalism and professional responsibilities, CIA members must impose rules and standards on themselves that will serve to protect the public interest. It is a serious responsibility and one which we must not take lightly, when the need for change arises, in order to protect the status of the profession.

2. The current requirements with regard to CPD compliance, and also criminal convictions, are too passive in nature, and much less stringent than other professions:

  • In order for a member of the public to find out if a CIA member has confirmed that they meet the CPD requirements, the public must approach the CIA and check the member directory for a CIA member’s CPD compliance status (i.e., coloured dots next to the name). The proposed changes would require that non-CPD compliant members not promote themselves to the public as an FCIA/ACIA, or else be in potential breach of the Bylaws and Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • If a member has a criminal conviction on his or her record, the CIA currently has no mechanism for finding out in a timely manner, in order to conduct a further investigation pursuant to Rule of Professional Conduct #11. The proposed changes would require that a member disclose all criminal convictions, so that the CIA could take action in a timely manner, to protect the public, if necessary.

3. The proposed changes put the responsibility squarely on the member, for his or her own choices and actions.

  • If a member chooses not to meet the CPD requirements, he or she would remain a Fellow or Associate of the CIA, but would be choosing the option of qualifying their FCIA/ACIA designation (i.e., "(non-practicing)"). All other rights, privileges, and benefits would continue.
  • If a member has a criminal conviction on his or her record, the member would be obliged to disclose it to the CIA in a timely manner, which would in turn allow the CIA to make a timely and appropriate determination as to whether or not the criminal conviction affects the member’s ability to provide professional services, always with an eye on protecting the public interest.

4. Non-practicing/retired members would be able to retain the use of the new "qualified" designation (e.g., FCIA(non-practicing)), which will make it possible for these individuals to remain enrolled in the CIA once they discontinue their CPD. This is desirable for the Institute, from a cultural, historical, and reputational perspective.

Members are asked to review and consider the proposed changes and to submit any comments to Lynn Blackburn, director, professional practice and volunteer services at no later than March 21, 2016.

Lynn Blackburn is director, professional practice and volunteer services at the CIA Head Office.


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