Reflecting on the AGM, the annual report, and my year as CIA President

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

By Marc Tardif
President of the CIA

In this June article – my last as President – I’m pleased to share with you the latest news on the Institute. We recently held our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Board meeting. In addition, our annual report has just been posted online. Below I will be sharing some details and thoughts about these events. And since I’ll be passing the torch to Michel St-Germain on July 1, I’ll also take the opportunity to look back on my experiences during the past year.

The Board held a virtual meeting on June 16, at which time we welcomed our new President-Elect, Jacqueline Friedland, and the four new Directors chosen during the 2020 elections: Bruno Gagnon, Fanny Guertin, Lyne Francoeur, and Joe Nunes. I thank all the candidates who put themselves forward for these elections. I also want to thank the Directors who have fulfilled their mandates and Immediate Past President John Dark for his hard work over the last three years.

Our AGM was held the day after the Board meeting, on June 17. In addition to the financial statements for the year and the activity reports from the six councils, we discussed the 2020 elections and the member participation rate of 27.3%, down a bit from the previous year. We attribute this to the COVID-19 situation.

President-Elect Jacqueline Friedland delivered her first address to CIA members during the AGM. Her message was deeply rooted in today’s social context. She underscored our need for connecting with people from different backgrounds and the meaning that these connections bring to our lives. She also spoke about the importance of planning for the next generation of actuaries given the emergence of artificial intelligence and big data. Michel Benoit, Chair of the new Actuarial Profession Oversight Board (APOB), also addressed the members. As you will recall, this board was established on January 1, 2020, as part of the CIA governance restructuring. A recording of the AGM is available on this page (login required).

We have just published Forward Together, our 2019–2020 annual report. It’s impressive to see how much we’ve achieved over the past several months. At the very start of my term last July, I had the chance to talk with François Cloutier as part of our podcast series. We discussed three issues I cared deeply about and that I wanted to focus on during my term as President: volunteering at the CIA, raising public awareness of the contributions actuaries can make in less traditional areas, and the CIA’s influence on the international scene. And as I peruse the annual report, I note that we’ve made excellent strides on all three fronts.

When I look back over my year in the President’s office, I am especially proud of our public policy presence. The Institute released its public statement on climate change just as I was taking up my duties, and I had the chance to represent our actuaries during talks with leaders of various government and private-sector organizations. These leaders are concerned about climate change, and I was impressed with how keen they were to learn how actuaries view the situation. I am convinced, therefore, that we must forge ahead with our public policy work and continue to showcase what actuaries can offer in less traditional areas of practice. Our work in these areas will help safeguard the public interest and open up opportunities for our members.

One thing is for sure: when I took up my post, I didn’t expect to be finishing in the midst of a pandemic. Despite the challenges posed by the crisis, the Institute has shown its agility and continued to provide its members and Canadians with quality services. Examples include the series of virtual town halls in which we spoke about the pandemic’s impact on areas of practice, and our COVID-19 Hub. Another example is our seamless transition to online seminars and educational content. In fact, Alison Rose discusses our virtual continuing professional development offerings in this newsletter.

As for the public interest, in May the Institute called on governments and public institutions to expand the quality and depth of the available data collected on COVID-19. We added our voice to that of other experts and professionals who require accurate, detailed data to analyze pandemic-related questions and to support and inform policy-makers in their decision making. Despite the complexity of this undertaking, concrete steps have been taken in this regard by various provinces. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this is no time for actuaries to be invisible. We have the expertise to develop – or at the very least, to help develop – models that can give Canada’s public health authorities a leg up on managing any future waves of the current pandemic or any future pandemics (because there will be others, unfortunately).

In closing, I’d like to thank you for the trust you placed in me these past 12 months. My efforts were aimed at making Canadian actuaries feel more at home in the Institute. My hope was that you would feel engaged and find suitable volunteer opportunities that would help you grow professionally. I feel strongly that the CIA is a valuable partner that can support you on your educational and career path.

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

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