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Making strides towards supporting and celebrating our diverse actuarial community

By Jacqueline Friedland, FCIA, President-Elect of the CIA and Chair of the CIA Task Force on Diversity

In June the CIA’s presidential officers shared a statement on diversity, reinforcing the CIA’s values of integrity, objectivity, and improving the lives of all Canadians – values that are important to us as actuaries, professionals, and individuals. In the face of the racial discrimination and unrest we see in Canada, the US, and around the world, upholding these values is more important than ever.

The presidential message also included an announcement that a CIA Task Force on Diversity had been established, which I am honoured to chair. The task force, comprised of a passionate group of your colleagues and Head Office staff, began working in early July. Our first task was to propose our mandate and objectives for the Board to review at their September meeting, which we present as follows:

Mandate

  • To promote diversity and inclusion within the CIA community and the Canadian actuarial profession.
  • To enable education of Canadian actuaries with respect to diversity and inclusion.

Objectives

  • Undertake a voluntary survey of CIA members and leadership to assess the composition of our membership and leadership with regards to minority groups and their representation.
  • Examine and evaluate CIA policies and standards of practice with regards to diversity and inclusion.
  • Investigate and subsequently recommend approaches to increase interest in the Canadian actuarial profession from diverse population groups (e.g., targeted scholarships, presentations to targeted student groups).
  • Invest in diversity-focused educational resources for professional development, such as:
    • speakers at events (e.g., Professionalism Workshop, Practice Education Course, act Annual Conference)
    • books, articles, podcasts, and videos
    • development sessions for CIA leaders.

As noted above, the first critical task is to collect data on the diversity of our current membership and leadership. We engaged Diversio, a Canadian data and analytics company that focuses on supporting organizations in becoming more inclusive, to run a survey to evaluate diversity and inclusion in the CIA. The survey is currently open and accepting responses until September 15.

Our profession is one of the best placed to understand the importance of robust data as the basis for decision-making. Thus, the participation of every member in this survey is essential. Only with your input can we better understand the composition, needs, and experiences of our membership and establish the best next steps for our Institute with regard to diversity and inclusion. I strongly encourage you to complete the survey today (if you haven’t already).

While awaiting the survey results, we have begun to engage with other organizations such as the International Association of Black Actuaries, the Actuarial Foundation of Canada, and the SOA/CAS Joint Committee on Inclusion, Equity & Diversity. We have also begun to explore tools and resources that we could offer to current and potential future members and we intend to reflect on any possible changes to our activities and structures in matters of diversity and inclusion.

The results of the survey and learnings from discussions with others will be presented at the next CIA Board meeting on September 22. At this meeting, we will discuss the survey results and next steps. This will be the first of what I expect to be many discussions as we move to ensure that the CIA and the actuarial profession in Canada is both diverse and inclusive.

Over the past few months I have been heartened to speak with many of you and receive your email comments, both congratulating the CIA on this important undertaking and sharing your concerns and critiques on different aspects of the organization and profession. Let me assure you that you are being heard! Please continue to reach out via the survey or our confidential email feedback@cia-ica.ca to share your thoughts.

On behalf of the CIA Board and the CIA Task Force on Diversity, I want to thank you for your collaboration in these important initiatives and I look forward to sharing more results and outcomes with you soon.

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

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