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October 9, 2020


Demographic Focus Mitigates Perfect Storm

A demographic focused investing approach can mitigate the perfect storm facing institutional investors today. Michael Augustine, managing director of asset liability management at TD Asset Management, told the ‘Demographic Focused Investing’ at the ‘2020 Sharing of Knowledge Learning Series’ the lower for longer rates thesis is resulting in changes to regulatory environment for pension plans. However, demographic shifts are also impacting pension plans. Their research shows that 40 years ago rates were a lot higher and there were likely eight active plan members contributing to the pension plan for every retiree. “Pension plans were in full accumulation mode, were cash flow rich, and focused clearly on growth,” he said. Over the next 20 years something happened. The ratio of active member to retiree dropped to three to one and “we’ve reached an inflection point where the pensions being paid out are greater than the contributions and the investment income generated,” he said. With a need for cash flow and asset growth to close those funding deficits, the maturity of a plan comes into play and demographic focused investing (DFI) helps resolve these issues. It begins with an analysis of a plan’s purpose or objectives by demographic cohort. For retired members, the objective is to generate sufficient cash flows to ensure payments with a shorter time horizon are met. For active members, the objective is to grow the asset portfolio at a rate that meets or exceeds the growth of the underlying actuarial liabilities, but within an acceptable level of risk. Taking advantage of a longer time horizon and generally larger risk budgets, DFI emphasizes variable assets that are expected to outperform over the long term. “What is critical,” he said, “is to make sure that the correlation between the various asset classes, and those underlying liabilities is proper. This is what makes the strategy liability aware. Success is then measured in terms of volatility or downside risk.” Essentially, DFI is different investment approaches to meet different investment objectives, said Augustine.

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Everyone Has Role In Benefits Fraud

Everyone has a role to play in benefits fraud prevention, says Shelley Frolich, of Sun Life Financial. In the ‘Insight & Investigations from the Field’ session at the ‘2020 CPBI Atlantic Regional Virtual Conference,’ she said the overarching goal for the insurance industry is to reduce the financial and reputational risk to an organization from fraud. This is done by deterring fraud and fighting it as quickly as possible. However, effective anti-fraud strategy should never become dormant as schemes do evolve. It’s also important for all insurance carriers to have a team dedicated to the detection and prevention of fraud and have appropriate controls in place. Collaboration across stakeholders is equally important and something “we need to get better at,” she said. Plan sponsors need to be informed when a potential fraud is identified as soon as possible to help mitigate the damage to their plans. One of the issue is that many believe this is a victimless crime with the only consequences a slight increase in a plan sponsor’s premium, said Hugh Wright, of McInnes Cooper. He cited a 2013 survey from the U.S. where 25 per cent of people said it was perfectly acceptable to commit insurance fraud. The other rationalization is that it’s not a lot of money ‒ “a few hundred dollars here or there.” And while people start small, they need to continue and that can add up as they become more ambitious. Benefits fraud usually starts with people not acting on information that really should have been acted on, he said. In fact, generally speaking, benefits frauds are generally accomplished by complicity between service providers, medical professionals, and employees.

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ESG And Securities Lending Can Co-Exist

Institutional investors believe that securities lending activities can co-exist with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, says research from the Risk Management Association (RMA). This was the view of 95 per cent of respondents to its survey. However, ‘Complementary, Not Conflicting: Securities Lending and ESG Investing Coexist’ also found that securities lending needs to evolve in order to integrate investors’ ESG principles with their securities lending programs and highlighted the opportunity for the industry to help asset owners better understand their options for managing ESG factors in securities lending. While 95 per cent of survey respondents said ESG investing and securities lending can co-exist, only 18 per cent always apply ESG principles to their securities lending programs. Another 25 per cent do so on a case-by-case basis, 18 per cent don’t but are planning to, and 39 per cent simply don’t. It also found a lack of timely information about proxy record dates and voting questions complicates the process of recalling stock that is on loan. When survey participants were asked to name “measures that might facilitate the application of ESG principles to their securities lending program,” 43 per cent said that they want more transparency around proxy record dates and questions. Just 20 per cent of respondents said that there is “regular” interaction in their institution between those who manage securities lending and those who manage ESG issues. Another 44 per cent responded that interaction occurs “from time to time.”

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Best-In-Class Needed For Real Estate

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that best in class real estate managers need to have best in class qualitative and quantitative analysis governed by a modern portfolio management approach, says Colin Lynch, vice-president and director, head of global real estate investments, TD Asset Management. He told the ‘Futureproofing with Global Real Estate’ session in its ‘2020 Sharing of Knowledge Learning Series’ that global real estate provides access to a world of opportunity. This is created in large part by income and is amplified by having exposure to a variety of sectors and geographies. And domestic real estate is no longer enough to enhance diversification. The net result of the pandemic has been an economic shock. More importantly is the economic shocks since the 1990s all have had an impact on real estate, but that impact has been different region by region. In some instances, the impact was greatest in the U.S. In others, it was Asia Pacific. “We will see future economic shocks and they will impact the regions of the world in different ways. So there is merit to broadening and diversifying real estate geographic exposure,” he said. This is done by investing in cities worldwide. Investors should have access to the world of opportunity and their managers should take advantage of opportunities by achieving exposure to the spectrum of returns to enhance diversification and reduce portfolio volatility. And he disputed the common myth that exceptional real estate returns are driven solely by great deals completed by people who have great hunches or good relationships. “We are in the fourth industrial revolution where data is water and can nourish an investment portfolio by creating insights around the world on real estate metrics such as vacancy and absorption or ESG metrics such as climate risks or tenant metrics such as space usage. Best-in-class managers should have a number tools to drive exceptional outcomes,” he said.

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Quebec Tables Target Date Legislation

Quebec has tabled legislation which would allow employers to introduce target benefit pension plans. The bill is based on a report by the expert panel on the future of the Quebec retirement system published in 2013. Currently in Quebec, only certain companies in the pulp and paper sector are permitted to offer target benefit plans to their employees. In 2016, Ottawa introduced Bill C-27 to allow the plan for employers under federal jurisdiction, but the bill was suspended.

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Personalized Benefits Expected

While offering competitive benefits is a way to attract and maintain an engaged workforce, Katherine Burgess, vice-president, health and benefits, Atlantic Canada, at Aon, says a high degree of personalization in benefits is a growing expectation in the workplace where there are as many as five generations. Speaking at the ‘2020 CPBI Atlantic Regional Virtual Conference’ on ‘Change Management for Benefit & Pensions Plans,’ she said in the future, adaptability in the design and management of these plans will be a critical attribute. As well, in the current environment, there are some benefits that have moved to the forefront. Virtual healthcare is one and many plan sponsors and insurers offered it for free during the pandemic. Granted, not all organizations can afford it, but, “having said that, this is something that employees are going to expect” their employers to provide. There also continues to be a growing trend for voluntary benefits to fill gaps that may not necessarily be in their group insurance programs. Insurers are “picking up that thread” and making voluntary benefits available by dealing directly with the employees.

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Alberta Blue Cross Offers Depression Screening

As ‘Depression and Mental Health Screening Month’ kicks off, Alberta Blue Cross is partnering with the Calgary Counselling Centre to help Albertans navigate increasing mental health concerns resulting from COVID-19 through the use of a free online depression screening test. The ‘Test4Depression’ tool is a free online tool that helps people check in with their mental health, while simultaneously encouraging those with depressive symptoms to seek help. The online test is completely anonymous and can be accessed through any computer or mobile device.

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Appetite For Alternatives Sharpens

The COVID-19 crisis is sharpening the appetite among investors in Europe for alternative investments as it has become clear that traditional assets cannot always be relied on for effective diversification, says Cerulli Associates. The markets’ sell-off in March, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, saw expected correlation patterns disrupted, it says, with global equities, corporate and government bonds, currencies, and oil all tumbling and their positive correlations threatening the diversification strategies put in place by asset managers. To mitigate the impact, many managers of multi-asset funds have widened their exposure to alternative assets in order to maintain diversification. It expects that the appeal of alternatives that provide low correlations with mainstream assets ‒ such as real estate, private equity, venture capital, hedge strategies, precious metals, infrastructure debt, and currencies ‒ will continue to grow,” says Justina Deveikyte, associate director, European institutional research, at Cerulli.

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OPTrust Acquires Railroads

A Canadian pension fund is teaming with Jaguar Transportation to acquire five short-line railroads totaling more than 450 miles. The railroads are the 245-mile Cimarron Valley Railroad, which operates in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado; the 53-mile Southwestern Railroad, which operates in New Mexico; the 30-mile Texas & Eastern Railroad, which operates the Texas State Railroad tourist train; the 108-mile Washington Eastern Railroad in Washington State; and the 27-mile Oregon Eastern Railroad in Oregon. The Ontario Pension Plan Trust Fund (OPTrust) indirectly controls Jaguar Transportation Holdings. The railroads are being acquired from Snowy Range Cattle Co. and David Durbano.

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Dialogue Acquires Optima

Dialogue has acquired Canadian workplace health and wellness service provider Optima Global Health. Founded in 1993, Optima is a provider of employee assistance programs (EAP), vocational rehabilitation, and disability management services.

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Vemuri Handles Canada

Sri Vemuri is national sales manager for Capital Group’s Canadian business. With more than 20 years of industry experience, he has, for the past 13 years, held senior sales roles with its U.S. affiliate.

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October 8, 2020


Insurance Eases Mental Health

While the pandemic continues to affect Canadian businesses, it’s clear that employee mental health and overall wellbeing are suffering as they face fears about the transmission of COVID-19, financial uncertainty, and deal with the impacts of long-term social isolation. A poll by RBC Insurance reveals that 62 per cent of Canadians who are employed, or have recently been laid off, rank their mental health as excellent or good – down from 66 per cent in 2019. What’s more, less than half (45 per cent) rank their financial health excellent or good since the pandemic. However, it also found Canadians with insurance coverage of any kind (private, group, or a combination of both) are more likely to rank their mental health as excellent or good (65 per cent with insurance versus 55 per cent without insurance) and their financial health as excellent or good (48 per cent with insurance versus 36 per cent without insurance). “As the pandemic increasingly impacts working Canadians’ mental health, the survey results point to a greater need for insurers to be there for their clients,” says Julie Gaudry, senior director of group insurance at RBC Insurance. “The negative impacts on mental health is worrisome, but workplace benefits and resources such as employee assistance programs (EAP), wellness programs, and virtual care or telemedicine can help support working Canadians wellbeing, including their mental and financial health.”

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Movement Towards ESG Continues

Institutional investors continue to incorporate ESG (environment, social, and governance) factors into investment decisions and many not yet doing so are considering it, says Callan’s eighth annual ESG survey. It found that 42 per cent of institutional investors incorporate ESG factors into investment decisions, up from the 22 per cent result from the first survey in 2013. The 2020 survey also registered the highest rate of respondents, 30 per cent, who are not yet incorporating ESG factors but are considering it, triple the rate from 2019. Endowments are still the top ESG incorporators, increasing their adoption rate to 63 per cent from 58 per cent in 2019, followed by public plans at 36 per cent, and corporate defined benefit and defined contribution plans at 32 per cent.

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LifeWorks Add Digital Services

Morneau Shepell has expanded into the rapidly growing telemedicine market to provide the employees of its Canadian clients and their families with easier, more convenient access to digital healthcare services. Through its LifeWorks’ business, it will provide quick access to medical practitioners such as doctors, nurse practitioners, and other clinical professionals across the wellbeing spectrum. “Telemedicine will shape the future of healthcare through consumer-grade platforms that unify and simplify the end-to-end patient experience, marrying digital scale with human personalization,” says Neil King, president of LifeWorks and executive vice-president of Morneau Shepell.

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CDPQ Provides Funding

Onapsis, a provider of mission-critical application cybersecurity and compliance, has received Series D financing led by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and NightDragon with participation from existing investors .406 Ventures, LLR Partners, and Arsenal Venture Partners. The investment will be used to significantly scale the company through rapid expansion into the mission-critical SaaS applications market, starting with protection and compliance for its Salesforce and SuccessFactors applications. This support enables the company to execute its vision of protecting the intelligent enterprise and accelerating digital transformation initiatives by delivering cybersecurity and compliance solutions for all mission-critical applications running on-premises and hosted on cloud infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), as well as the API-based integrations between them.

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Milette Joins TCC

Jean-François Milette is global head of client solutions at Trans-Canada Capital (TCC), an asset management firm specializing in non-traditional strategies. With over 30 years of experience in strategic business development and customer relations, he has held several senior positions with major insurance companies, financial institutions, consulting firms, and asset management firms.

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October 7, 2020


Institutional Investors Looking At Bitcoin

Research from Evertas shows 80 per cent of institutional investors believe the recent coronavirus led quantitative easing policies adopted by central banks and governments could lead to a rise in inflation. The report from the global crypto-asset insurance company says this will prompt institutional investors to increasingly look to invest in Bitcoin to hedge against this and currency devaluation over the next five years. The findings also reveal that between now and 2025, 90 per cent expect institutional investors to invest more in crypto-assets like Bitcoin and 80 per cent expect retail investors to do the same. However, one of the biggest obstacles to the crypto-asset investment market growing is the poor level of adequate insurance to cover these assets. Over half of institutional investors ‘strongly’ agree with the view that a lack of adequate insurance to cover crypto-assets is dramatically holding back the level of investment from institutional investors, hedge funds, and retail investors in crypto-assets.

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ESG Being Factored Into Investment Process

Russell Investment’s sixth annual ‘ESG Manager Survey’ has found nearly 80 per cent of firms incorporate ESG (environment, social, and governance) factor assessments in their investment process. The survey found 78 per cent of managers reported that they explicitly incorporate qualitative or quantitative ESG factor assessments into their investment processes, compared to 73 per cent in last year’s survey. The most growth was reported in the U.S. at 11 per cent, Canada at 15 per cent, and the UK at 11 per cent. As well, 49 per cent of asset managers claimed to offer ESG-specific reporting to clients. Asset owners also want to see more linkage between portfolios and climate risk and firms in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand were better prepared to address those climate risk measures.

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California Joins CCRI

Recognizing that climate change poses not only a clear and immediate environmental risk but also a financial risk to long-term investment stability, the state of California has joined the public-private Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment (CCRI). A coalition of institutional investors, banks, insurers, rating agencies, and governments, representing over US$10 trillion in assets, CCRI was launched at the UN Climate Action Summit last year to form a cohesive fiscal understanding of climate risk for use by investors. The coalition was created to produce solutions to facilitate the integration of climate risk into investment policy and will enable California to advance the inclusion of climate risk standards into investment decisions that can mitigate the impacts of climate change. The wildfires across California and other Western states have illustrated the threat of asset damage, operational disruption, and human suffering from physical climate risks and disasters that continue to escalate in 2020. In response to the rising frequency of such cascading events, the integration of physical climate resilience into mainstream infrastructure investment is the CCRI’s core goal.

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Hub Acquires Clearpoint

Hub International Limited has acquired Clearpoint Advisory Group Inc., Clearpoint Retirement Solutions Inc., and Canwest Group Benefits Inc. Located in Edmonton, AB, with additional locations in Grande Prairie and Fairview, Clearpoint is a benefits and retirement consulting firm that provides strategic group benefit advisory services and retirement solutions to employers.

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PSP In AirTrunk Consortium

AirTrunk, a hyperscale data centre specialist, will enter into the biggest data centre market in Asia (excluding China) with a plan to construct a 300+ megawatt (MW) hyperscale data centre campus in Inzai, Tokyo. The initial phase of the campus is targeted to open in late 2021 to support anchor customer demand. AirTrunk TOK1 will be scalable to over 300 MW, allowing public cloud customers the ability to scale rapidly to support their growing capacity requirements in Japan. Earlier this year, a consortium led by Macquarie Asia Infrastructure Fund 2 which includes Public Sector Pension Investment Board, acquired an 88 per cent stake in AirTrunk.

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Rabovsky Joins Fairwater

Janet Rabovsky is chief investment officer at Fairwater Capital. Prior to her most recent position in client consulting, manager research, and business development at Ellement Consulting Group, she spent 15 years at Willis Towers Watson in a similar role.

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October 6, 2020


Companies Urged To Deepen Investment in Mental Health

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Sun Life is urging Canadian companies to join them in creating mentally healthy workplaces by deepening investments in workplace mental health support and elevating mental health as a priority for the c-suite. As part of Canada’s holistic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Sun Life and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) are urging companies to take action now. “Canada was already facing a mental health crisis prior to COVID-19. The pandemic has amplified the crisis, and poses potential mental health impacts for years to come,” says Jacques Goulet, president, Sun Life Canada and Lumino Health. “To restart Canada’s economy successfully, we need to do everything we can – as leaders – to empower our workforces in managing their wellbeing and creating healthier work environments. Sun Life’s mental health strategy includes mental health benefits for employees, a focus on data, and mandatory mental health training for leaders. To further support the wellness of its employees during the pandemic, it has doubled personal emergency days from five to 10, offered three wellness days, enabled flexible work schedules, mandated lunch hours and Fridays as ‘meeting free,’ and providing employees access to its team of in-house psychologists through regular webinars.

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Pension Plan Funded Position Continues To Recover

Driven by equities, Canadian pension plans’ funded position continued to recover in the third quarter, says the Mercer Pension Health Index (MPHI). But major risks lie ahead: a second wave of COVID-19, as well as the possibility of a disputed election in the United States, it says. The index increased from 101 per cent at the end of June to 107 per cent at the end of September, but was still down from the 112 per cent mark at the start of 2020. During the third quarter, funded positions of DB plans continued to claw back some of the losses incurred in the first quarter. The improvement was driven by equities, which delivered solid returns across most markets. Despite a mid-quarter rise, bond yields fell in September to end the quarter roughly unchanged from the end of June. “Most defined benefit plans have proved resilient to the tremendous challenges that the first nine months of 2020 have delivered” says Manuel Monteiro, partner and leader of Mercer Canada’s financial strategy group. Unlike prior crises, pension plan sponsors are not facing a looming increase in pension contributions, thanks to recent changes to funding rules. However, sponsors in industries most affected by the pandemic may be facing challenges to meet their ongoing obligations, including pension contributions.

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BBD Partners On Digital Pharmacy

PocketPills, a Canadian digital pharmacy, is partnering with Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., to provide cost-effective benefit plans to its members by leveraging PocketPills digital pharmacy platform. Through the partnership, members filling their prescriptions at PocketPills will get higher coverage and their co-pay will be lower than going to a traditional pharmacy. Through digital collaboration between both partners, members are able to share their medication and insurance information with PocketPills for a seamless experience. BBD members can then instantly connect with pharmacists and manage their medications online. In addition to free medication delivery Canada wide, PocketPills sorts members’ medications by dose into easy-to-open packs. Each pack includes the date and time, making it easier to take medications as prescribed. Automation technology improves the pharmacy workflow, making pharmacists more accessible to patients via phone or live chat, seven days a week.

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DCIO Managers To Increase ESG Efforts

Despite the perceived barriers to adoption created by recently proposed regulation, most defined contribution investment-only (DCIO) asset managers in the U.S. expect to increase their defined contribution focused environmental, social, and governance (ESG) marketing and distribution efforts during the next 12 months, says Cerulli Associates. In June, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed new regulations requiring ERISA fiduciaries to complete more stringent evaluations of ESG investments and prohibiting the use of ESG-themed funds as a plan’s qualified default investment alternative (QDIA), or a component of a plan’s QDIA. Industry stakeholders suggest the DOL’s proposal will place undue barriers to adoption of ESG products. Nearly half (48 per cent) of DCIO asset managers surveyed consider the DOL’s proposal one of the most significant barriers to adoption of ESG products in DC plans. However, the regulation is not slowing down marketing and distribution efforts promoting DC-focused ESG products. Its research shows 56 per cent of DCIO asset managers expect to increase these efforts during the next 12 months.

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Participation Automated For Benefits

Northern Trust Canada has launched a multifaceted online portal, Benefit Payment Participant Passport, enabling advanced automation for participants of Canadian benefit plans. The capability allows pension and benefit plan participants to access their program information in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in French or in English. The self-service option supplements mailings, call centres, and other means of requesting statements and related information. Pensioners are able to enroll themselves via a secure internet connection and review their balance and payment information online. Participants can also update personal information, review payment history, and modify payment and deposit instructions as well as review and print tax documents.

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CDPQ Invests In Sollio

Rabobank Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ,) and Fondaction will invest in Sollio Cooperative Group, a Canadian agricultural coop with roots in Quebec. The amounts invested will be paid into Sollio Cooperative Group’s share capital as preferred shares. The proceeds of this subscription will go toward optimizing and modernizing production and supporting product offerings from Québec and Canada.

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Marnoch Joins Shoppers’

Scott Marnoch is director, digital health strategic partnerships and business development, at Shoppers’ Drug Mart. Previously, he was assistant vice-president, digital innovation and strategic market growth, at Canada Life.

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October 5, 2020


Desire For Pensions Remains Strong

As Canadians feel the financial impact of COVID-19, their desire for pensions – and their willingness to pay for them – remains strong, says research from the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and Abacus Data. A comparable survey in 2019 found Canadians are thinking of the future, want to be prepared for it, and know a pension is the solution. “This year’s findings reaffirm Canadians’ personal and societal concerns around retirement security,” says Steven McCormick, senior vice-president, plan operations, at HOOPP. “Immediate public health and financial considerations stemming from COVID-19 have not changed Canadians’ commitment to pensions and their willingness to pay for them to ensure a better future for themselves and for everyone.” Besides a continued willingness to do their part and forgo money today in exchange for a better future with the help of a pension, it also found 57 per cent report their own financial situation has been harmed since March and 62 per cent are concerned about the value of their investments/savings as a result of COVID-19 and more Canadians are concerned about their retirement security (55 per cent) than their job security (44 per cent). As well, 72 per cent agree there is an emerging retirement income crisis; 84 per cent believe it is in everyone’s best interest for more people to have better retirement savings; and 77 per cent believe that without good pensions, the economy will suffer. They say a reasonable pay cheque deductions are an effective way of helping Canadians pay for retirement and all workers should have a pension that guarantees a percentage of their working income in retirement.

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Younger Employee Mental Health Needs Attention

Greater attention must be paid to younger employees’ mental well-being as they report higher levels of stress which puts them more at risk for mental health illnesses, says a TELUS Health report. It notes a significant increase in the number of mental health related claims and an increased use of drugs for mental health conditions in younger employees in 2019. Although this trend is concerning, it also means that younger employees might be more open to confronting their mental health problems and getting the help they need sooner. As employees’ mental health is garnering more attention, employers and insurers are ramping up initiatives focusing on work-life balance and wellness as well as offering a more holistic approach to mental health treatments and prevention. Jason Kennedy, director, health business consulting at TELUS Health, says, “Employers and insurers understand it’s ‘Okay to not be okay’ and want to support their employees’ well-being. This can have a positive effect on workplace productivity, absence, and team member morale.

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Pandemic Hinders Progress On SDGs

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly hindered progress toward achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs), says M&G Investments. The 17 SDGs ‒ launched five years ago ‒ aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure peace and prosperity by 2030. Using an impact investing approach to the UN’s latest assessment of the SDGs, 12 of the 17 goals are materially behind schedule to meet the deadline with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting progress for 10 of the goals. Socioeconomic aims are the most affected as more than 71 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty this year. The U.N.’s report said the world had already been off course to end global poverty by 2030, with forecasts showing poverty would be at six per cent by that year. Gender equality was also set back by COVID-19 as women were taking on additional household burdens during the pandemic. Goals positively impacted by COVID-19 include those focusing on affordable and clean energy, industry innovation and infrastructure, and sustainable cities and communities.

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Foresters And Canada Protection Plan Join Forces

Fraternal life insurer Foresters Financial and Canada Protection Plan, a distributor of no medical and simplified issue life insurance are joining forces in an amalgamation that will benefit their customers, advisors, and employees. The union will amplify the strengths of each organization and create a customer-, member-, and advisor-centric life insurer in Canada. The organizations will benefit from the sharing of best practices and leveraging their mobile and technology-enabled operations that are more important now as customers and advisors move to contactless solutions.

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Sagitec Opens Toronto Delivery Centre

Sagitec is planning to open a delivery centre in the Greater Toronto, ON, Area to serve a growing roster of U.S. and Canadian clients and the Canadian subsidiaries of global clients that seek resource flexibility and time zone advantages of nearshoring. It already has a presence in Winnipeg, MB, so the Toronto centre will help it expand its presence in Canada. Factors behind the decision to open in Toronto include its rich pool of talent; the fact that Toronto is one of America’s fastest-growing technology market; a multi-cultural ecosystem that values inclusion; the geographic proximity with the U.S., and a common language and legal system. Sagitec is a benefits administration software provider for pension, labour, and employment, disability insurance, paid family leave, managed care providers, and other benefit providers that want a robust and scalable solution.

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Vestcor Endorses Stewardship Principles

Vestcor’s board of directors has endorsed the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG) stewardship principles.  Originally developed in 2005, the updated principles are designed for institutional investors in fulfilling their responsibilities toward their clients and beneficiaries, while enhancing the value of their investments. It believes that these principles provide an excellent complement to its corporate responsible investment guidelines. The principles are specifically meant to guide “institutions who invest in Canadian public equities be active and effective stewards of their investments and are directed to both asset owners and asset managers.” They make it clear that its role as an investment manager is not to manage public companies in which it invests. Instead, the principles provide focus on ensuring that it fulfills its roles as a fiduciary on behalf its clients and beneficiaries through its responsibilities, for example, to exercise voting right and monitor board oversight.

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