Editorial: 2017 off to a big start

The new year has barely begun, but 2017 is already a big one for Benefits Canada.

Among the developments is new ownership of Benefits Canada under Transcontinental Media since the beginning of December. Business, of course, continues as usual as Benefits Canada will keep bringing readers the content they need in print, on our website, through our tablet edition and at our many conferences and events.

In the magazine itself, readers will notice continued changes, including the introduction of a new regular column this month, Lessons From Abroad. The aim is to highlight developments in pensions and benefits in other countries that Canadians can learn from or may just want to be aware of; the focus will be on issues, practices and approaches the Canadian audience may not have heard about before. In this issue, associate editor Sara Tatelman takes a look at Japan’s system of compensation to the families of those who die from overwork.

Read: A look at Japan’s unique death benefit

The other big event this year is Benefits Canada’s 40th anniversary. Benefits Canada will have an issue dedicated to the milestone in June, but readers will notice regular features marking the anniversary throughout the year. The By the Numbers page this month, for example, takes a look at some of the key developments over the years for both the magazine and the industry as a whole and touches on some of the changes in the sector since Benefits Canada’s launch in 1977.

Read: Benefits Canada turns 40 this year

Of course, what’s often interesting about looking back is the realization that in many cases, things haven’t necessarily changed that much. The debate over defined benefit versus defined contribution pension plans has been around for a long time, and questions around the costs of benefits plans and the adequacy and the sustainability of the retirement system are hardly new.

It’s in some ways comforting but it also can be sobering to realize society has yet to resolve some of the big issues it has been debating at length. Still, it’s important to note the progress that does happen despite the many barriers. Mental health is an area where there has been a significant amount of progress. There’s much more work to do, but many benefits plans have improved to provide better coverage for services such as psychological support and there’s a move by employers to focus on the programs and policies they can introduce to boost the mental well-being of their employees.

The issues may evolve, but Benefits Canada’s mission remains the same: to help the pension and benefits industry engage in conversations about the issues that matter. As always, readers can count on Benefits Canada to facilitate and lead those important discussions.

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