Time off at that time of the month?

A British professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Gedis Grudzinskas, has suggested employers should offer paid menstrual leave for female employees.

“Some women feel really grotty when menstruating,” Grudzinskas told the Daily Mail in the U.K. “Coming into work is a struggle, and they feel lousy. When you feel like that, it’s harder to […] perform […]. This is about employers being sensible and aware.” He says menstrual leave should be separate from sick leave, and it shouldn’t interfere with a woman’s career progression.

Menstrual leave already exists in some countries, such as Japan. When the CBC recently asked its readers whether paid menstrual leave should be available in Canada, a deluge of comments for and against the proposal followed.

Some say it’s a great idea that would make the work environment fairer for women who are expected to perform when they might be in debilitating pain. Others argue it would be a regressive move turning back the clock on women’s rights. And some readers express concern that women who don’t experience much pain Did you know? could abuse the system.

Market Watch

AON HEWITT has a new tool to help DB plans manage longevity risk. The Longevity Model uses location-based data to help sponsors understand the likely life expectancies of their plan members and the risks associated with those life expectancy assumptions.

INDUSTRIAL ALLIANCE INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES has launched a drug cost management tool. WebRx informs plan members if they are covered for a prescribed medication and estimates their reimbursement amount based on their benefits plan.

MEDAVIE BLUE CROSS and the CANADIAN LUNG ASSOCIATION have partnered to provide a new extended healthcare benefit in group and individual health plans. The partnership aims to help link people living with or at risk of chronic respiratory disease to a national network of lung health professionals, including respiratory therapists, nurses and pharmacists. medavie.bluecross.ca; lung.ca

THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA has released an implementation guide to help employers fully adopt the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. Launched in January 2013, the National Standard is a voluntary set of guidelines, tools and resources for promoting employees’ psychological health. mentalhealthcommission.ca

Our Readers Write…

“It doesn’t mean that the one-size-fits-all strategy of expanding the CPP is the answer [to inadequate pension savings], and the poor second cousin, […] a brand new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, is definitely not the answer. Our governments have screwed this up and now want taxpayers to fix it for everyone in the private sector before we force them to take away the pensions for the public sector.”

— Joe Nunes, in response to “What retirement savings crisis?” published on Dec. 3, 2014



Did you know? could abuse the system. Regular fibre consumption can encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, reducing the risk of colon cancer and other chronic diseases. That’s the conclusion of a recent study by the University of Illinois. So make it easy for your employees to load up on veggies, fruits and whole grains while encouraging them to cut back on packaged foods with a long shelf life. Ensure your cafeteria offers healthy choices and replace the sweet treats at meetings with fruit.


> Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal recently introduced the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act, 2014. If approved, the legislation would lay out a framework for creating the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) and commit the government to establishing the mandatory plan by Jan. 1, 2017. Offering a benefit on top of the Canada Pension Plan, the ORPP would require equal contributions from employers and employees amounting to no more than 1.9% each on annual earnings of up to $90,000. The ORPP aims to provide a replacement rate of 15% on a person’s earnings, up to a maximum yearly threshold of $90,000. Formal consultations begin in January 2015.

> Ontario recently filed amendments to the regulations under the Ontario Pension Benefits Act. Plan administrators will have to provide former and retired members with written pension statements every two years. For existing pension plans, the first statements are due by July 1, 2017. For plans registered after Jan. 1, 2015, they are due within 18 months after the plan’s year-end. Also, statements for active, former and retired members must contain information about whether environmental, social and governance factors are included in the plan’s statement of investment policies and procedures (SIP&P) and how the SIP&P is available for member inspection. These requirements take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. For existing plans, a SIP&P must be filed within 60 days after Jan. 1, 2016. For plans registered on or after this date, a SIP&P must be filed within 60 days after the plan is registered.

> Quebec has approved Bill 3, An Act to foster the financial health and sustainability of municipal defined benefit pension plans, to offset a $3.9-billion deficit in its municipal pensions. Employees will contribute between 45% and 50% of the deficit, while municipalities will pay 50% to 55%. Both sides will negotiate how much each will contribute. If they disagree, they’ll contribute equally.

Sources: Bennett Jones; National Assembly of Quebec


There’s nothing like a nice glass of vino to warm up your January! Here’s our take on pairing red wine with your pension plan design.

  • DB Plan & Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany, Italy)

With its full body and long finish, this wine suits your steady, reliable nature and love of the classics.

  • DC Plan & Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia)

This spicy, peppery wine is a great match for your adventurous spirit. And did we mention the attractive price tag?

  • Target Benefit Plan & Meritage (Niagara, Ontario)

A reasonably priced blend, this well-structured wine—including two or more of the red Bordeaux varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec or Merlot—is the perfect match for your desire to mix things up.

Meet an Advisory Board Member

Lori Landry, chief marketing officer and head of institutional business, Sun Life Global Investments

How does your journalism background help you in your current job?

Storytelling is a timeless skill. There are many parallels between finding success in marketing and in journalism. It’s about learning how to engage an audience, find the hook and tell a superb story. It’s so important to be naturally and endlessly curious. Most of all, it’s about how you make people feel rather than what you say or do when it comes to influencing a target audience.

How can the pension industry make retirement a sexy topic?

In my opinion, pensions and retirement are quite alluring subject matter! As an industry, we need to paint a picture that appeals to the hearts of plan members, not just their minds.

The raw facts alone may not be sexy, but we need to dress them in a way that gets their attention and gets them involved in painting their personal picture of life after work.

What advice would you give to women looking to take on leadership roles?

Be authentic to your own style, be passionate and always, always do your homework. It’s better to overprepare than to get caught off guard. Leading people well is an art and a science. It only works when you lead from a place within you that is real. Build and fiercely protect your own personal brand. And no matter how crazy busy you are, always find time to have that coffee chat with a young woman who is trying to break into the business or land her first career job. It feels amazing to pay it forward.

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