2021 Federal Budget

Published By: BPM | April 21, 2021

The 2021 federal budget offers a little something for everyone. In ‘2021 Federal Budget,’ consultants from Willis Towers Watson highlight some of the proposals of interest. These range from giving defined contribution pension plan administrators the power to to correct contribution errors made in the preceding five years to a reaffirmation of the intent to proceed with national pharmacare, including proceeding with the previously announced plan to fund a program for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.


Directors Need Tools And Knowledge

Published By: BPM | March 24, 2021

Company directors who sit on investment committees say they lack the knowledge and tools they need to meet their fiduciary responsibilities, says a survey by Global Manager Research, an investment manager and performance measurement database. Since investment governance is often not a priority, directors tend to rely heavily on investment managers rather than seek broader input via discussion and third-party reports. The issue is partly a lack of best practices they can use, writes Craig Harrison, president of Global Manager Research, in the article ‘Directors Concerned About Ability To Meet Duty.’


Voluntary Benefits Attractive To Employees

Published By: BPM | March 8, 2021

Voluntary benefits are gaining in popularity as a way to make employee benefits packages more attractive without adding any costs. In ‘Voluntary Benefits Attractive To Employees,’ Karley Middleton, an association member benefits consultant with HUB International, explains how the needs for a broad demographic of employees for everything from travel discounts to pet insurance can be offered.


Commodities Underappreciated

Published By: BPM | March 1, 2021

The return potential and portfolio diversification benefits of commodities are underappreciated, say Tim Pickering, CIO and founder, and Brennan Basnicki, director of Auspice Capital Advisors. In the article ‘Positioning For The 2020s Commodity Bull Market,’ they say this is due in part to the outperformance of the equity market over much of the last decade. It has resulted in the asset class being underutilized. As well, however, few investors appreciate that until the last decade, commodities have outperformed equities.



Strategy Needed For High Cost Drugs

Published By: BPM | February 25, 2021

Drug plan managers have long struggled to address the management of high cost drugs which, on one hand, vastly improve claimants’ health outcomes and provide better quality of life, but, on the other hand, have an ever-expanding place in group health benefits’ budgets. In ‘Specialty Drug Strategy: How To Look Beyond The (High) Cost With A Five-Pillar Approach,’ Christine Than, a pharmacist and drug solution specialist at Aon, says while the use of specialty drugs, account for only for about one per cent of all drug claims, they represent approximately 35 per cent on average of total drug plan spend. When addressing specialty drug coverage, an employer’s drug cost containment strategy should be coherent with their total rewards strategy, she says.



Assessing The Environment Cost Of eCommerce

Published By: Candriam | February 4, 2021

How can the environmental cost of the eCommerce boom be fairly assessed? David Czupryna, head of ESG client portfolio management at Candriam, says in 2017, they wrote that, depending on the situation, eCommerce could “represent the tip of the green IT iceberg” and “demonstrate the relevance of new technologies to the energy transition.” And while this growth is well underway, he says in the article ‘One Small Click, One Major Problem,’ the transition to new modes of social experiences (remote-working, social distancing, etc.) is not without effect from an environmental point of view, especially because of the link between consumer behavior and the different means of transport used.


Changing Workplaces Require New Benefit Approaches

Published By: ROB TAYLOR & JP GIRARD | January 28, 2021

Even before COVID-19 hit, Canadian workplaces were changing prompting employers to seek benefits plan to satisfy the needs of their employees. So the work-from-home model has introduced a variety of changes both in the workplace and in the culture at large, new approaches to employee benefits were evolving. In ‘Employee Benefits 2021: Seven Trends To Watch,’ Robert Taylor and J.P. Girard, executive vice-presidents at Hub International, examine some of the trends that are developing.


CAP To The Future: Decumulation In CAP Plans

Published By: Morneau Shepell | January 18, 2021

Private sector companies in Canada have shown increasing interest in capital accumulation plans (CAPs) for a number of years and CAP assets under management continue to grow. However, the transition of these savings into decumulation products has not been entirely beneficial for retirees. In ‘CAP To The Future: Decumulation In CAP Plans,’ Michelle Loder and Christie Lambie, vice-presidents, DC solutions, at Morneau Shepell, look at the evolution of the decumulation landscape in Canada as a fundamental step forward in the direction of improved wellbeing for CAP participants at all stages of the journey to retirement.


Corporate Wellness Turns To Virtual Progamming

Published By: TAMMY BRAZIER | December 22, 2020

With the way Canadians work changing dramatically during the pandemic, the lines have blurred between home and work life, says Tammy Brazier, senior director of corporate and business development with GoodLife Fitness. Nearly five million more Canadians started working from home, and while many employees enjoy the flexibility, there can be drawbacks when it comes to mental and physical health. In the article ‘Corporate Wellness Turns To Virtual Progamming,’ she says the unintended effects of remote work during the pandemic quantifies the mental and physical challenges with 85 per cent saying mental health issues at work affect their home life in terms of sleep deprivation (40 per cent), poor physical health (35 per cent), reduced happiness at home (33 per cent), challenges with family relationships (30 per cent), and isolation from friends (28 per cent). However, some employers are providing more supports and information to help their workforce navigate the crisis. Corporate wellness programs have changed to offer more virtual programming, online classes, and employee events with COVID safety protocols.


Vaccines And The Workplace ‒ Let The Battles Begin

Published By: CHRIS PRYCE | December 11, 2020

The news that the Pfizer vaccine has already been administered to UK citizens and is weeks away from our Canadian shores is encouraging, says Chris Pryce, founder and president of Human Capital Benefits. However, employers and employees may have to tackle the legal requirement that workplace health and safety polices be put in place to protect workers from bodily harm and the right to choose whether to be vaccinated, he says in the article ‘Vaccines And The Workplace ‒ Let The Battles Begin.’