CPBI Workshop: Plan Sponsor View on the Future of Employee Benefits

The following notes were taken at Forum 2017, the annual convention of CPBI (Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute) held June 5-7 at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg with the theme: “Thriving In a Climate of Change”.

Panel: Glen Anderson (Staff Officer Benefits, Manitoba Teachers’ Society) / Blair Richards (CEO, Halifax Port), Kim Siddall (Associate VP, Aon Hewitt), Tyler Smith (Senior Consultant, Coughlin & Associates) / Moderator: Glenn Kauth (Editor, Benefits Canada)

Key Points

DC plans are not meeting the needs of people. DB is the only way to go. Members are simply not qualified to make investment decisions, and the result is that taxpayers will pick up the tab when DC retirees run out of money and end up on social assistance.

DB plans preserve the accrued value. Solvency ratios are generally healthy these days. Target benefit plans are very ad hoc in comparison and will quite possibly not meet the retirement goals of their members.

From a survey of the expectations of C-Suite executives: “Government will take over the job of retirement savings and eventually create a national drug plan.”

Regarding group benefits, it is essential to give employees more say in how to use their benefit accounts. A worker without children should, for example, have the option to spend benefits on elder care. Technology can make this possible.

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CPBI Workshop: Pension Governance

The following notes were taken at Forum 2017, the annual convention of CPBI (Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute) held June 5-7 at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg with the theme: “Thriving In a Climate of Change”.

Presenter: Zaheed Jiwani, Senior Consultant, Eckler

Key Points

What are the key success factors of an organization?

  1. Attract good people.
  2. Manage their careers.
  3. Keep them productive.

A pension plan is obviously important to helping attract and retain good people. But even with a pension plan, a problem arises if the pension is insufficient for retirement or if the members don’t full understand how much pension they need to retire.

In both scenarios, workers typically stay around longer than they need to, which blocks the career growth of younger workers. Or they waste time and productivity worrying about money.

Everyone assumes that 70-percent of your final income is needed for retirement. In fact, academic studies show this is not correct, as many factors affect retirement living standards.

The LSRR (Living Standard Replacement Rate) is an individualized metric. Every worker needs counseling to help them make the best choices for their unique situation.

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CPBI Workshop: Pension Regulator Panel Discussion

The following notes were taken at Forum 2017, the annual convention of CPBI (Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute) held June 5-7 at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg with the theme: “Thriving In a Climate of Change”.

Panel: Paul Owens (Deputy Superintendent of Pensions, Alberta) / Lester Wong (Deputy Superintendent of Pensions, Ontario) / Jennifer Sutherland Green (Superintendent of Pensions, New Brunswick) / Moderator: Tyler Smith (Senior Consultant, Coughlin & Associates)

Key Points

In Ontario,

  • All new plans in past few years are DC.
  • Currently, plans are split 50/50 DB/DC.
  • 85-percent of members are covered by DB.
  • 95-percent of money is in DB.

As a result, regulators are paying attention to make sure DC is better managed so that members are better served and employers have a better handle on liability and risk. Sometimes people have too much choice and not enough direction.

In Alberta,

  • There are 750 pension plans, of which 500 are DC.
  • 95-percent of money is in DB plans.
  • DB plans are popular with Alberta workers. Half the DB plans are still fully open and a few brand-new DB plans have been launched in the past few years.

The regulators are concerned that average plan members do not have the tools or knowledge or experience to make good investment choices.

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CPBI Workshop: How and Why to Take Care of Your Employees’ Sleep

The following notes were taken at Forum 2017, the annual convention of CPBI (Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute) held June 5-7 at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg with the theme: “Thriving In a Climate of Change”.

Presenters: Josee Dixon, Desjardins / Bradley Smith, HALEO Preventive Health Solutions Inc.

Key Points
Sleep disorders such as insomnia cost employers an average of $5,000 / year in lost productivity for each employee who has such a disorder, and yet treatment only costs an average of $500 / year, which points to a huge untapped ROI for employers.

An employee with sleep apnea, for example, can wake up over one hundred times in a single hour, making restful sleep impossible.

Sleep problems lead to higher rates of absenteeism and presenteeism (when an employee is present but not actually contributing or doing their job). People who suffer from sleep problems also have higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, mental health problems, and stress.

The medical community is not equipped to address sleep issues. GPs are not trained to treat sleep issues, and Canada has one sleep specialist for every 25,000 people with sleep problems.

Some employers encourage employees to take short power naps. For example, a 3-5 minute power nap before 3:00 pm has been demonstrated to reduce stress, reduce errors, and increase productivity. It also has as much benefit as a 20-minute nap. But it is obviously better to help people get a better night’s sleep if possible, making napping unnecessary.

Millions of people use medications to address sleep problems, but there are drug-free therapies that do the job just as well.

HALEO is a Canadian start-up that helps employers support better employee sleep. Their approach is:

  • Evidence-based: they work with professionals and a major clinic to deliver cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Supportive: they ensure clients have support throughout the care pathway.
  • Accessible: they have developed a mobile app to support clients directly.
  • Simple: ERs can seamlessly roll this solution out to their entire workforce.

The HALEO solution begins with an app-based survey to identify employees with sleep problems. This sub-group then receives telephone support and diagnostic treatment plans via the Sleep Health Institute. Diagnosis and treatment then follow via secure video conferencing with a therapist and secure private sleep coaching.

Early results are very promising with an ROI as great as $20 for every dollar spent.

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