Crucial issues, new technology, actuarial research, and governance: a look back at 2019

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

By Marc Tardif, FCIA
President, CIA

I hope that the holiday break has given you a welcome respite. The new year is always a great time to take stock of the previous year and to set new objectives. Canada’s actuarial community enjoyed a very successful 2019. In this blog entry I’ll be telling you about some of the highlights of the past year and the initiatives that will come to fruition in the coming months.

The profession weighs in on two crucial issues

Putting out two public statements – the product of our internal deliberations – enabled us to express our views in the public square. Under the leadership of my predecessor, John Dark, we published our public statement on retirement age in the spring. Our position was received very favourably. It paved the way for further discussion and media coverage of actuaries’ viewpoints in a number of major newspapers, exposing our position to nearly 13 million potential readers.

After John passed me the baton in June, we put out our public statement on climate change to help actuaries play a larger role in this area. Coming as it did right in the midst of the federal election campaign, the statement did not garner as much media attention as our previous statement on retirement age. It did, however, lead to discussions with such organizations as the governments of British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, the Bank of Canada, and financial/investment groups. The statement constitutes a solid foundation upon which our profession can base its contributions to the important discussions underway in our society. Mark Carney recently accepted the role of United Nations special envoy on climate, and I’ve learned that the former Bank of Canada Governor’s message on disclosing information on climate risks is in line with our own.

Your views

Preparing other public statements is controversial, I realize. But the members of the Board chose this path in 2017, and I feel that with the reception our first statements received, it behooves us to continue along this path. To that end, the Public Affairs Council will soon be providing the Board with suggestions on developing new public statements in the coming years. We also plan on placing part of our research budget at the Council’s disposal so that its statements can be founded on the most accurate research possible. I urge you to participate in the consultation process for the upcoming statements. Your views contribute to devise more credible public statements.

Technology, research, and governance

In 2019, the Institute made strides in the areas of technology, strategy, and governance. For more information, please refer to the article written by Michel Simard, Executive Director, in this issue. One thing I’d like to highlight is the staff’s hard work to launch the first modules of the client relations management system. Although certain changes are not that visible to members, others, such as the tool for tracking continuing professional development (CPD) activities, will allow you to save time.

Research was also front and centre in our activities. Some 18 research documents were published, and we stepped up our cooperation with other organizations like the National Institute on Ageing on the future of long-term care. As for governance, the Board worked on the new strategic plan (2020–2023), to be unveiled in the coming months. Two other major undertakings are scheduled for early in the year: the launch of the Actuarial Profession Oversight Board and the review of the disciplinary process. Stay tuned for more on these initiatives.

Volunteering in 2020

I invite you to start the year off on the right foot by checking out our new section on volunteering. Regardless of your interests or the number of hours you have available, you’re sure to find a stimulating volunteer opportunity that suits you. And don’t forget: some volunteer hours can be credited for CPD purposes. We are also soliciting candidates for our upcoming 2020 elections. So the time is right to get involved on the CIA Board. If you’re ready to take the leap, simply reach out to me or one of the Board members, or email elections2020@cia-ica.ca.

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