Water Real Climate Change Issue


A lot of people think the issue is climate change and carbon, says Toby Messier, CEO of Aquantix. It is a technology company that leverages AI and satellite and geographic data to predict water, climate change, and other material corporate risks and their financial impacts to institutional investors. He told the Reuters ‘Breakingviews Predictions 2020’ session that the real issue is water ‒ melting ice caps, flooding, drought, dryness, and water quality. And the focus has to shift to this repercussion of rising global temperatures. Canada is not ready for it, he said, because no-one is looking at it. Barb Zvan, chief risk and strategy officer for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, said the transition to a low carbon society is hampered by a lack of data. While there are loads of people to talk to about it and a lot of creativity around solutions, the scale is lacking to make these mainstream. Another impediment is that climate change seems far away so people have difficulty assessing the risk. Compounded with confusion around fiduciary duty and how to incorporate climate change risk into this, she said a strong signal is needed that this is something that needs attention. However, managers can cope with a lack of data and information, said Margaret Eve Childe, director of ESG research and integration at Manulife Investment Management. While she would prefer more data, the lack of data or quality of data should not hold the industry back. Struggling with data doesn’t mean managers can’t look at the physical and transition risks and identify the opportunities. And while a lot of work is needed to improve data, it “doesn’t mean we should stop looking at this,” she said.

Orphan And Cancer Medicines Account For Sizeable Share Of Landscape


Coupled with high treatment costs, specialty orphan and cancer medicines now account for a sizeable share of the new drug landscape, says PMPRB’s ‘Meds Entry Watch’ report. It shows a continued rise in the number of new specialized treatments entering international markets. The number of new medicines that were approved annually in recent years is higher than the longer term average. Although fewer new medicines were authorized for market in Canada than in the U.S. and Europe in 2017, those that were approved for sale here accounted for close to 90 per cent of all new medicine sales across the OECD by the end of 2018, which suggests that the higher-impact new medicines are available to Canadian patients. The increasingly high cost of new medicines poses access and affordability challenges and is the driving force behind a host of recent and pending reforms in pricing and reimbursement policy, both domestically and internationally. In Canada, the PMPRB protects consumers by regulating the ceiling prices of patented medicines sold here and keeps them informed on trends in the pharmaceutical market through its reporting function.

Infrastructure Spending Starts Too Late To End Recessions


Infrastructure spending is not an effective policy for stimulating the economy during a recession, says the Fraser Institute. “Infrastructure projects have very long timelines and by the time shovels hit the ground on a new bridge, highway, or subway tunnel, the recession is usually over and the economic recovery has already begun,” says Finn Poschmann, resident scholar at the Fraser Institute and author of ‘Fiscal Policy and Recessions: The Role of Public Infrastructure Spending.’ When the next recession hits, it’s likely that both the federal and provincial governments will consider infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy as successive governments have done in the past. It’s important, however, to recognize the practical limitations of such spending to combat recessions. First, the government must write and pass stimulus legislation. Then it must work with the provinces and municipalities to identify projects which require permit and zoning approvals. And, depending on the size of the infrastructure project, it may also require an environmental assessment before contractors are selected and materials sourced. Crucially, by the time actual construction starts, the recession will be over and the economic recovery will likely be underway. This means the infrastructure meant to stimulate the economy will now compete with private sector investment and potentially slow the recovery.

Supremex Purchases Buy-In Annuity


Supremex Inc., a North American manufacturer and marketer of envelopes and paper-based packaging solutions, has purchased a C$46 million group annuity buy-in with RBC Life Insurance Company to transfer longevity and investment risks related to the pensioners and deferred vested members of its largest defined benefit plan. The transaction covers 361 pensioners, beneficiaries, and deferred vested members. A similar transaction of nearly C$7 million was performed in June 2018 for a smaller group of pensioners in another defined benefit pension plan of the company. As a group annuity buy-in it does not require additional company funding nor does it have any impact on its 2019 financial results.

Partnerships Combines Traditional Benefits With PPN


ClaimSecure has formed a strategic partnership with Rexall Drugstores and Sobeys Inc. to develop a comprehensive national health program that combines traditional health benefits with a pharmacy closed preferred provider network (PPN) solution. This offering pools the expertise of claims management, mail, retail pharmacy, specialty drug delivery, and patient counselling capabilities under a single program, managed through a single point of contact. The program is available in both administrative services only (ASO) and fully insured funding models and is accessible through ClaimSecure’s network of insurer, third-party administrator, and broker partners.

Fixed Income ESG Indexes Launched


MSCI has launched fixed income ESG (environment, social, and governance) and factor indexes. The fixed income factor indexes leverage research backed by four decades of factor data such as carry, quality, value, size, and low risk. The fixed income ESG universal and ESG leaders indexes are designed to help benchmark ESG investment performance, as well as manage, measure, and report on ESG mandates.

Ramirez Joins Mitchell Sandham


Cristina Ramirez is a partner and vice-president, group retirement services, at Mitchell Sandham Inc. Most recently, she was a group consultant for RBC Group Advantage, a position she assumed in 2018 after leaving Penmore Benefits where she was director of business development, retirement.

‘All Stars’ Showcased In Saskatchewan


‘All-Stars 2020: Showcasing the Best’ is the theme of the ‘10th Annual CPBI Saskatchewan Regional Conference.’ The conference sessions include keynote presentations that will explore leadership and retirement, along with breakout sessions for pension and benefits topics. Featured speakers include Bruce Sellery, a financial journalist and author of ‘Moolala,’ and Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod, healthy living experts and hosts of ‘BodyBreak.’ It takes place April 21 to 23 in Regina, SK. For information, visit Saskatchewan 10th