Message from the President: the table is set for this fall

This article originally appeared in the CIA (e)Bulletin.

By Marc Tardif, FCIA

For most of us, the end of summer marks a return to routine. For my part, I am already into my third month at the helm of the CIA, and let me tell you, we’re in for a particularly stimulating year. I am pleased that our Board reflects the demographic makeup of our membership. While it is impossible to achieve perfect representation, we’re getting close – thanks to the appointment of members representing our young Fellows and Associates. We’re also working on a new three-year strategic plan that I’ll be speaking to you about in the coming months.

During a mid-July interview (available in French) I did with François Cloutier as part of our Seeing Beyond Risk podcast series, I spoke to you about my priorities for the coming year, namely:

  • make students more aware of the support they receive from their Institute
  • promote and facilitate volunteer involvement
  • boost job opportunities for our members in Canada and abroad

I sense that we’re on the right track. I’ll let you be the judge.

Opportunity to chat with future actuaries

The evening of August 20, I headed to the Steam Whistle Gallery, a pub in Toronto’s distillery district, for a chance to network with members of the Actuarial Students’ National Association (ASNA). The friendly atmosphere afforded a perfect opportunity to chat with future actuaries. I particularly enjoyed my discussions with three young people interested in different areas of practice and wondering how best to build a career. I can assure you that the dynamic spirit that animates ASNA and its members is as contagious as ever. 

Volunteerism: promoting financial literacy and culture to grade-school children

In terms of volunteer commitment, we’re currently working to develop shorter mandates centred on very specific projects, with the aim being to take full advantage of our volunteers’ abilities. In conjunction with Volunteer Services Manager Sue Alcott, we are trying to make volunteering more attractive and rewarding. For example, the Actuarial Foundation of Canada is looking for volunteers to promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship to grade-school children across the country. This is a rewarding chance to volunteer your time and help raise the profile of the profession.

Voice of Canadian actuaries at home and abroad

We are a few weeks away from releasing our position statement on the financial risks associated with climate change. Since this is a level 2 public statement, it requires an exhaustive consultation process with our membership, as well as ratification by the Board during its September meeting.

Many of you have provided us with thoughtful feedback on this important issue, and I’d like to thank you. I’d also like to thank the members of the task force working on this file, who carefully reviewed your analyses. In my opinion, these statements have positive effects on a number of levels. In addition to the fact that they allow the profession to voice its stance on issues of public interest, they are a great way to promote the profession to a wider audience and show that actuaries can apply their knowledge and skills to less traditional fields. Actuaries have a role to play in this debate, and we hope that the public will see this.

International Actuarial Association membership changes

On the international stage, the American Academy of Actuaries recently withdrew from the International Actuarial Association (IAA), as many of you may be aware. While the CIA respects this decision, we feel that our support for the IAA has positive benefits for our members and that it fits in with our international strategy. In fact, one of our members, Dave Pelletier, sits on the task force charged with reviewing the IAA restructuring project. This is a sign that they value our perspective.

To conclude this update, I’d like to reiterate my message to you: it is crucial to me that Canadian actuaries feel at home in the Institute. The Head Office team, which I met with during my visit in June, is on the same wavelength. We want you to feel connected to the Institute and to find challenges and opportunities here that engage you. If you would like to share your views, the CIA staff and I would be pleased to hear what you have to say. And if you haven’t already, please join me on LinkedIn.

Marc Tardif, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

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