CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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September 2017

Continually Advancing the CIA’s Education and Qualification System

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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.


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