OTTAWA, May 3 /CNW/ - In the wake of an election that has changed the
shape of the country's political landscape, Canada's actuaries are
urging the new government to make Canadians' long-term interest their
priority. We hope the sea change in Parliament's appearance will extend
to its feel, especially with so many critical issues facing the country
and its population.
Micheline Dionne, President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries,
reminded members of the next Parliament that there are many critical
issues facing the health and well-being of Canadians. "Canadians have
sent a message that the status quo is not acceptable. Now is the time
to turn your energies to the long-term public interest."
Canada's actuaries detailed three areas requiring immediate attention:
Pension and retirement savings reform. "Serial studies on the pension system, and endless consultations and
inter-governmental task forces, have led the country nowhere," said Mme
Dionne. "We have not seen any game-changing reforms to the system, and
no long-term fixes aimed at mitigating the impact of the coming
demographic shift. As a result, we see no increase in Canadians'
retirement savings, and fewer of us are enrolled in defined benefit
pension plans, especially in the private sector. We have seen no
effective effort to simplify pension legislation and eliminate
regulation disparities between provinces and between them and the
federal government. We are confident that Canada can be a world leader
in retirement plans, balancing retirement plan affordability with the
benefits of broader coverage and security through a progressive
legislative and tax environment, but now is the time for concrete
action to be taken."
Healthcare. By 2030 almost a quarter of Canadians will be over 65. Canadians are
living longer and more healthily. However, the aging of this large
segment of the Canadian population will cause a significant increase in
the use of our healthcare system. "While all parties supported
increasing the federal funding of healthcare by 6 percent per year,
important issues need to be addressed," said Mme Dionne. "Where will
the necessary financial resources come from, both now and in the
future? How will responsibilities and risks be shared among
governments, business and individuals? What consistent measurement
systems are being planned to make sure taxpayers get the best value?
The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is offering to be a resource to
government to help sort out some of these fundamental questions."
Employment Insurance. The government has created a crown corporation that is nominally
responsible for financing the Employment Insurance system.
"Unfortunately, the country was caught up in the global economic
crisis, and the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board has not
been given a clear arms-length mandate, nor the tools and funding to
properly manage EI premium rates," said Mme Dionne. "It's now time to
implement long-term sustainable financing of this important program,
and let the CEIFB do the job it was set up to do."
Canada's actuaries believe that government needs to have experts
considering such long-term issues and the risks involved. A country
risk officer, for example, could focus on economic, financial,
demographic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological
risks over 20, 30 and 50 years. The World Economic Forum suggests such
an individual could supervise the nation's risk portfolio, collecting
information from across the breadth and depth of government, analyzing
risks and developing strategies to minimize, eliminate and otherwise
prepare for the risks our country faces. Such work could transform
Mme Dionne added, "The decisions made by the next Parliament will need
to have long-term focus if they are to have an impact on our future
success as a country. Canadians want Members of Parliament to get back
to work securing our financial and social future."
The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is the national organization of the
actuarial profession. The Institute is dedicated to serving the public
through the provision, by the profession, of actuarial services and
advice of the highest quality. In fact, the Institute holds the duty of
the profession to the public above the needs of the profession and its
members. Actuaries employ their specialized knowledge of the
mathematics of finance, statistics and risk theory on problems faced by
pension plans, government regulators, insurance companies (both life
and property/casualty), financial institutions, social programs and
SOURCE Canadian Institute of Actuaries
For further information:
Josée Racette, the CIA's project manager, communications and public affairs: (613) 236-8196 ext. 107, cell: (613) 219-1280 or e-mail email@example.com