Government of Canada
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Office of the
Chief Actuary

Staff image Jean-Claude Ménard
Chief Actuary

The Office of the Chief Actuary (OCA) contributes to a financially sound and sustainable Canadian public retirement income system through the provision of expert actuarial valuation and advice to the Government of Canada and to provincial governments that are Canada Pension Plan (CPP) stakeholders.

The OCA provides statutory actuarial valuation and advisory services for the CPP, Old Age Security program, the Canada Student Loans Program, Employment Insurance program, and pension and benefits plans covering the federal Public Service, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), federally appointed judges, and Members of Parliament.

The OCA was established within OSFI as an independent unit. The Chief Actuary reports to the Superintendent; however, the accountability framework of the OCA makes it clear that the Chief Actuary is solely responsible for content and actuarial opinions in reports prepared by the OCA.

Canada Pension Plan

At their meeting on December 21, 2015, the Federal and Provincial Ministers of Finance concluded the 2013-2015 review of the CPP. The Ministers have announced that, based on the estimates presented in the 26th Actuarial Report on the Canada Pension Plan as of December 31, 2012, prepared by the OCA, the current legislated contribution rate of 9.9% is expected to be sufficient to sustain the Plan over the foreseeable future. As a result, no changes to either benefits or contributions rates were recommended.

The statutory 2016-2018 CPP review started in January 2016. Since the triennial statutory actuarial report on the CPP is one of the key inputs to this review, the OCA commenced its work on the 27th Actuarial Report on the Canada Pension Plan as at December 31, 2015.

Public Sector Insurance and Pension Plans

In 2015-2016, the OCA completed two actuarial reports with respect to public sector insurance and pension plans, which were submitted to the President of the Treasury Board for tabling before Parliament. The Actuarial Report on the Pension Plan for the Public Service of Canada as at March 31, 2014, and the Actuarial Report on the Public Service Death Benefit Account as at March 31, 2014, were both tabled on January 25, 2016. These reports provide actuarial information to decision makers, Parliamentarians, and the public, thereby increasing transparency and confidence in Canada’s retirement income system.

Actuarial Report on the Employment Insurance Premium Rate

In 2015-2016, the OCA presented to the Canada Employment Insurance Commission the 2016 Actuarial Report on the Employment Insurance Premium Rate that was tabled before Parliament on December 10, 2015. This report provides the forecast break-even premium rate for the upcoming year and a detailed analysis in support of this forecast.

Actuarial Report on Canada Student Loans Program

In 2015-2016, the OCA submitted to the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada the Actuarial Report on the Canada Student Loans Program as at July 31, 2014, that was tabled before Parliament on January 20, 2016. The report presents an evaluation of the Program's overall financial costs and increases the level of information available to decision makers, Parliamentarians and the public.

Special Events, Presentations and Special Studies

The impacts of increasing longevity on the sustainability of pension plans attract attention both in Canada and across the globe. The magnitude of impacts from ongoing financial turmoil, coupled with high uncertainty with respect to the evolution of future mortality rates, makes the development of appropriate mortality assumptions of paramount importance. In 2015-2016, the OCA published two mortality studies that address mortality assumptions. Actuarial study No. 15 Pension Plan for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Mortality Study found that regular members of the Pension Plan for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are living longer than the general Canadian population, mainly because of lower mortality rates before age 80. Actuarial study No. 16 Canada Pension Plan Retirement, Survivor and Disability Beneficiaries Mortality Study highlighted that mortality rates for all three types of the Canada Pension Plan beneficiaries have fallen over the past two decades, leading to gains in life expectancy. Further gains are expected in the future.

In 2015-2016, the OCA continued to share its expertise internationally. In particular, the OCA played a key role in developing the joint International Social Security Association (ISSA) and International Labour Organization (ILO) Guidelines for Actuarial Work for Social Security. This document includes 51 guidelines that cover all areas of actuarial involvement in the work of social security institutions from performing valuation of social security programs to providing input to risk management. The draft of these Guidelines was presented at the 18th International Conference of Social Security Actuaries and Statisticians in September 2015, in Hungary, and the final Guidelines will be formally launched at the ISSA World Social Security Forum that will take place in Panama in November 2016.

In the current environment of uncertain economic growth, the question of properly reflecting the impacts of social security programs on the sustainability of public finances is closely examined by governments and major international organizations. Drawing on its involvement in determining assets and liabilities of the CPP for the purpose of the Public Accounts of Canada, the OCA contributed extensively to this discussion. It was accomplished by assisting the International Actuarial Association in providing comments in respect to the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board consultation paper “Recognition and Measurement of Social Benefits”, and by participating in the events on national accounts reporting organized by the Eurostat, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The position of the OCA is that in order to provide a comprehensive and objective picture, future developments (including evolution of future contributors and beneficiaries of a social security program) should be taken into account in both assessing the long-term sustainability and in compiling a balance sheet. Such information enables an intelligent analysis, and allows a meaningful comparison between countries.

ISSA Good Practice Competition for the Americas

In 2015-2016, the ISSA held its regional good practice competition for the Americas. The competition attracted 53 entries from 17 organizations in nine countries. The OCA submission “Actuarial Assumptions Development – deepening the expertise and enhancing the independence of the Chief Actuary” has been awarded by the international jury the Certificate of Merit. This submission stated that considering a wide range of opinions, being open and transparent, and maintaining internal and external controls allow the Chief Actuary to fulfil his or her mandate in a professional and independent manner.

For a complete list of studies, meetings, presentations and speeches, see the Office of the Chief Actuary section of OSFI’s website.

Staff image Christine Dunnigan
Public Pensions,
Office of the Chief Actuary