Benefits Canada Experts

Bob Carter

Bob Carter is an independent multi-lines consultant representing leading technologies in the fields of life, health, wellness and wealth. These are the views of the author and not necessarily those of Benefits Canada.

As many employees struggle with mental-health issues during these tumultuous times, internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy is one tool that may help them bounce back. Employers can play a pivotal role in supporting staff amid the coronavirus pandemic by investing in these offerings. The pandemic is having a significant impact on working Canadians’ mental health, with […]

  • June 15, 2021 June 23, 2021
  • 09:00

On average, one in three Canadians will be disabled for 90 days or more at least once before they reach age 65, according to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. Therefore, income protection is important, but it’s not always fully understood and cost is sometimes perceived as too high. As a result, some groups […]

  • October 13, 2020 February 4, 2021
  • 08:45

Plan sponsors are faced with competing offers by insurance carriers, group managing general agents and third-party administrators, as each group promotes their own unique, yet similar sounding, selling and value propositions. Group MGAs are firms that specialize in advising group benefits brokers and act as administrative back office, similar to life MGAs , which advise […]

  • February 26, 2019 September 13, 2019
  • 09:00

While the move to more defined contribution-style health benefits plans provides greater clarity and flexibility to plan sponsors, it would be natural to wonder whether or not the available options are limited to the two extremes alone. The continuum of benefits plan design includes fully insured plans, fully self-insured (administration services-only or ASO) plans and hybrid […]

  • September 4, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 08:30

Health-care costs are projected to increase a whopping 130 per cent over the next eight years after a period of relatively flat growth, according to a study published by Mercer in 2017. One of the key drivers is rising drug costs, with expensive specialty medications and gene therapies making up the majority of new products in development. So […]

  • April 30, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 14:22

As the ways that Canadians use smartphones and apps continue to evolve, what are the implications for those technologies in health-care and wellness services? According to recent studies by digital marketing company Catalyst Canada, the number of apps per smartphone is declining, but the actual use of them is becoming more specialized. The studies note that, despite the […]

  • January 15, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 15:48

Today’s plan sponsors need to look at every cost and line item on their benefits billing statements in order to make every dollar stretch as far as possible. That means looking at seemingly minor elements of the plan design, such as out-of-country travel protection. Even though the costs associated with out-of-country benefits are relatively minor […]

  • August 1, 2017 September 13, 2019
  • 16:00

Today, some 2.8 million Canadians live in countries around the world. This represents nearly eight per cent of our population waking up and heading to work in lands and time zones not their own. Many other nations bid temporary farewell to many of their own citizens to take positions in foreign countries, including Canada. It […]

  • January 23, 2017 September 13, 2019
  • 09:07

Today’s health benefits plans are under pressure. Our labour force is changing. Based on data compiled in 2015 by Statistics Canada, 46 per cent of today’s active workforce are millennials, 30 per cent are Generation X and the baby boomers count for a shrinking 24 per cent of workers today. Plan sponsors are facing new […]

  • November 9, 2016 September 13, 2019
  • 09:10

Stop-loss pools are under continued pressure to accommodate the ever-increasing number of claims for high-cost drugs. The explosion of claims for drugs to treat the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), for instance, has hit all drug plans and carriers alike – and hard. While the debate rages on as to whether these drugs constitute recurring claims, […]

  • January 4, 2016 September 13, 2019
  • 10:04

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Thomas Agnew

Constructive dismissal and the corresponding duty to mitigate damages

In a recent case, the Ontario Superior Court found an employee failed to mitigate damages when he refused a return-to-work offer from his employer, with whom he…

  • June 4, 2019 September 13, 2019
  • 08:30

A summary of Ontario’s changing employment and labour legislation

Many of the changes that were introduced to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act in January 2018 were short-lived, as the province’s new government elected in June…

  • February 19, 2019 September 13, 2019
  • 08:00

Employer obligations around medical pot, benefits plans

With the legalization of recreational cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018, employers have been preparing to answer questions about whether their current benefits plans should provide…

  • December 4, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 09:00

Court confirms employer’s right to change job conditions

In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found an employer didn’t constructively dismiss a long-service employee when it provided her with 18 months…

  • May 15, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 07:45
Benefits Canada Experts

Louis Gagnon

Consider health benefits, workplace policies as legal cannabis approaches

On Oct. 17, 2018, it will be legal to purchase and consume recreational cannabis in Canada. In a recent survey of Mercer’s employer clients and Canadian employees, we found…

  • August 21, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 08:30

Creating a thriving workplace with data, personalized employee benefits

Some organizations are unique. Their employees are genuinely excited to be at work and an undercurrent of energy and vitality permeates the air. They’ve transformed the…

  • May 29, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 10:00

Time to get to work on measuring absenteeism due to mental health

While many Canadian organizations continue to search for solutions to rising health-care costs, most are falling short. That’s why they must investigate any opportunity to find…

  • February 6, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 08:00

Four ideas to mitigate challenges of Canada’s retirement savings gap

Macroeconomic trends such as longer lives, a lack of access to pensions and retirement supports, a low-growth environment, and persistent lack of financial literacy and…

  • November 1, 2017 September 13, 2019
  • 08:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Gavin Benjamin

Expert panel: Are private sector employers heading toward a pension renaissance?

Pension coverage in the public sector is high, with the vast majority of public sector employees covered by a defined benefit pension plan. However, the…

  • May 10, 2022 May 11, 2022
  • 09:05

Expert panel: DB, DC pension predictions for 2022

As a new year dawns, our attention turns to what’s ahead, the following are a few of my predictions for trends in the world of…

  • January 4, 2022 January 4, 2022
  • 09:00

Expert panel: How could inflation impact DB pension plans?

After being off of Canadians’ radar screens for years, the re-emergence of inflation in recent months is receiving significant attention for many, including pension plan…

  • October 26, 2021 October 25, 2021
  • 09:00

Could pandemic-related mortality rates impact DB pension plans?

Over the past several months, much attention has been paid to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on financial markets and, subsequently, defined benefit pension plans’ financial conditions…

  • June 8, 2021 June 23, 2021
  • 09:00
Canadian Investment Review Experts

George Athanassakos

Do cryptocurrencies have a place for value-oriented investors?

What’s the value of Bitcoin? Or better, what makes it valuable? Is it because many people think it’s valuable? Is it valuable because it’s cool…

  • April 7, 2022 April 6, 2022
  • 11:00

Rising interest rates, value investing, war in Europe: key questions answered

It’s a chaotic time for institutional investors. Between rising inflation and interest rates, war in Europe and an ongoing global pandemic, stock market volatility is…

  • April 5, 2022 April 6, 2022
  • 11:00

Expert panel: A look at commodity price behaviour over the business cycles

With gas and oil prices reaching new heights last week, panicking both politicians and consumers, we must ask ourselves if this behaviour is typical of…

  • November 2, 2021 November 2, 2021
  • 12:35

What Bitcoin investors can learn from the rise and fall of gold, dot-com companies

I have been watching Bitcoin’s price advance with trepidation. In just six months its value has quintupled and it has risen more than tenfold since…

  • December 19, 2017 September 13, 2019
  • 16:29
Benefits Canada Experts

Kim Siddall

Expert panel: Considerations for disability management in a hybrid work environment

As this wave of the coronavirus pandemic abates and more organizations settle into their respective futures of work, leadership teams are considering how the many…

  • March 1, 2022 March 1, 2022
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Designing a benefits plan for the new world of work in 2022 and beyond

As companies adapt their people strategies for return to the office or for a new remote or hybrid work arrangement, employee retention will be a…

  • December 30, 2021 December 16, 2021
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Six ways to incorporate green initiatives into benefits offerings

The Council of Parties to the United Nations’ climate convention, known as COP26, which is currently underway in Glasgow has put climate change on the…

  • November 2, 2021 November 4, 2021
  • 09:00

How employers can help staff dive back into in-person work

As Canadians watch the U.S. reopen with life returning to normal in various stages, in addition to thoughts of attending sporting events, concerts and gathering…

  • June 1, 2021 June 9, 2021
  • 09:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Katharine Coons

Expert panel: How employers can help employees struggling with burnout

Workplace burnout isn’t always easy to talk about, but after living through nearly two years of the coronavirus pandemic, employers really can’t avoid it —…

  • February 22, 2022 February 18, 2022
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Preparing a psychologically safe return-to-workplace plan

Any return to the workplace, whether it’s after a medical or parental leave  — or say, following a global pandemic — requires consideration and care…

  • October 12, 2021 October 7, 2021
  • 09:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Mary Picard

Expert panel: Why employers should offer group TFSAs in 2022

At the start of every new year, many employees resolve to improve their fitness — emotionally, financially and/or physically. One pretty easy way that employers…

  • January 18, 2022 January 18, 2022
  • 09:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Rayaz Khan

Expert panel: Publicity placing employees in false light could lead to legal issues

The possible legal ramifications of publicity placing a current or past employee in a false light is an issue employers should keep in mind in…

  • January 11, 2022 January 21, 2022
  • 09:00

The ins and outs of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy one year on

On the heels of the World Health Organization declaring the novel coronavirus a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, Canada’s federal government rolled out several…

  • March 30, 2021 April 6, 2021
  • 09:00

Uber case about arbitration clause, not classification of employees

In June, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Uber Technologies Inc. v Heller, dismissing an appeal of a decision by the Ontario…

  • September 8, 2020 November 30, 2020
  • 08:45

A legal update on the government’s CEWS and CERB programs

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many complicated issues for employers. Prudent employers should ensure they’re aware of the resources that may be available during this…

  • April 14, 2020 November 11, 2020
  • 08:30
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Colin Ripsman

Expert panel: An investment roadmap for 2022

Last year was a tumultuous one, with economies ravaged by successive waves of coronavirus pandemic-related stresses and closures. Despite the negative impact these forces had…

  • January 4, 2022 January 4, 2022
  • 09:00

Institutional investing in 2021: looking towards the future

Last year offered up one of most tempestuous investment environments in recent memory, and this year looks to be equally dynamic. It will be increasingly…

  • January 4, 2021 April 14, 2021
  • 09:23

Institutional investing in 2020: a year in review

We won’t soon forget 2020. This tumultuous year was characterized by a global pandemic, lockdowns around the world, spiking unemployment levels and business failures. Increasing…

  • December 16, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 09:33

Investment strategies for frozen DB plans

\Over the course of the last 15 years we have seen an increase in the number of frozen corporate defined benefit plans in Canada. Frozen…

  • April 1, 2019 January 10, 2021
  • 08:32
Benefits Canada Experts

Janet Rabovsky

Expert panel: Unclear road ahead for institutional investors in 2022

As has been the case for the past couple of years, we’re ending 2021 with as many questions as answers. On the surface, economic conditions…

  • December 27, 2021 December 14, 2021
  • 09:00

Institutional investors taking closer look at Bitcoin, gold amid inflation fears

Almost 16 months since the global coronavirus pandemic was first declared, there’s now yet another thing for institutional investors to worry about — the possibility…

  • June 29, 2021 July 8, 2021
  • 09:00

Is value investing still relevant in a volatile market?

Back in December 2018, I wrote an article asking whether it was a good time for pension plan sponsors to revisit value investing. At that time, public…

  • October 6, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:45

What are the implications for pension funds coming out of coronavirus crisis?

Last August, I wrote about whether central banks were creating a financial bubble with their coordinated easing programs intended to spur economic growth and/or lift inflation.…

  • May 5, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 08:30
Benefits Canada Experts

Tom Milne

Expert panel: HR trends to keep an eye on in 2022

As 2021 winds down, I have a few predictions of the human resources trends for employers to keep top of mind in 2022. Employers finding…

  • December 23, 2021 December 9, 2021
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Use words, imagery for inclusive employee communications

Words and imagery have the power to connect, evoke emotion and elicit a reaction. They also have the power to be inclusive, or exclusive, and…

  • June 22, 2021 October 25, 2021
  • 09:00

How to communicate the value of a benefits plan to employees

It’s often said perception is reality and that’s definitely true when it comes to benefits plans. If employees can’t easily perceive the value in their…

  • March 9, 2021 March 22, 2021
  • 09:00

Connect to employees through the clutter with short, digital communications

How long is your attention span? Be honest and think back to the last time you received an email about your employee benefits and didn’t…

  • September 1, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 08:45
Benefits Canada Experts

Jaqui Parchment

Expert panel: How to get, keep top talent amid labour crunch

For months, Canadian employers have been creaking under the strain of a labour crunch. Finding top talent has always been one of leaders’ most pressing…

  • November 30, 2021 November 29, 2021
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Equal access to benefits, digital transformation among keys to return to work

COVID-19 cases are dropping and vaccine counts are rising. The economy is reopening and we can expect to be back at the office soon. But…

  • July 27, 2021 July 26, 2021
  • 09:00

How employers can rethink benefits, rewards amid the coronavirus crisis

Employee benefits and total rewards planning have always been a critical element of business planning, but never more so than during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.…

  • December 8, 2020 April 28, 2021
  • 09:00

How plan sponsors can make the new normal better than ever

Over the past few months, we’ve all had to deal with the challenges of social distancing and self-isolation. Some people have faced the extra pressure…

  • July 21, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 08:45
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Brent Simmons

Expert panel: Inflation risk — to hedge or not to hedge?

With October inflation hitting an 18-year high, inflation risk is back on the radar of plan sponsors providing inflation-linked defined benefit pensions. In the past,…

  • November 25, 2021 November 26, 2021
  • 12:30

Looking under the hood of jumbo transactions

The recent announcement that General Motors of Canada Co. purchased $1.8 billion of annuities for its salaried pension plan is creating a lot of excitement.…

  • May 11, 2021 May 12, 2021
  • 09:53

Expert panel: How DB plan sponsors can get back into the driver’s seat

Much has been written about how 2020 was unprecedented, challenging and exhausting — take your pick of adjectives. It was also a white-knuckle ride for…

  • March 11, 2021 April 13, 2021
  • 12:00

Plan hibernation: a sleeping bear can still bite

Defined benefit pension plan sponsors who are interested in better pension risk management for their retirees have two main strategies to consider: They can either…

  • November 11, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 10:54
Benefits Canada Experts

Serafina Morgia

Expert panel: How to connect with employees in a remote world

In Canada, the coronavirus pandemic is entering a new phase — vaccines are widely available, travel restrictions are gradually lifting and people are returning to…

  • November 23, 2021 November 23, 2021
  • 09:00

Planning for the new post-pandemic normal

For most Canadians, it’s been well over a year since most of the country went into its first lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. I…

  • May 18, 2021 June 1, 2021
  • 09:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Wendy Cukier

Expert panel: Less talk, more action needed to move needle on DEI at top

While talk about the importance of improving diversity on corporate boards and in the C-suite has been ongoing for decades, actual action has been too…

  • November 9, 2021 November 10, 2021
  • 09:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Susan G. Seller

Expert panel: Climate change putting spotlight on ESG issues for pension plans

The images of floods, forest fires and heat waves over the past few years is putting climate change front of mind for many, including pension…

  • October 19, 2021 October 19, 2021
  • 09:00

The evolution of pension governance policies

Pension governance policies have been common for many years, at least since the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities published its initial guidelines on pension…

  • March 23, 2021 March 30, 2021
  • 09:00

Navigating pension fiduciary duties during coronavirus pandemic

Employers that act as pension plan administrators have statutory fiduciary duties that are defined by the plan documents and by governing pension legislation. While those duties…

  • June 9, 2020 November 26, 2020
  • 08:30

Legal case highlights thorny issue of consent benefits under DB pension plans

An important case around an employer’s ability to change its practice in granting consent benefits under a pension plan is winding its way through the courts. The…

  • December 10, 2019 November 30, 2020
  • 08:30
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Sam Goodman

Sounding board: Institutional investors making Canada’s approach to China unsustainable

With the repatriation of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor following their three-year incarceration in China, relations between Ottawa and Beijing are to be reset.…

  • October 12, 2021 October 25, 2021
  • 09:00

ESG investing and human rights: “Ignorance is no longer an excuse”

It’s a welcome development that so many pension fund managers are increasingly preoccupied with the ethical implications of their investments and incorporating data to ensure…

  • July 6, 2021 July 21, 2021
  • 09:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Kenneth MacDonald

Expert panel: Digital health solutions take a holistic approach to patient care

Various forms of digital health care have been available in Canada for several years, but I’d argue nothing has accelerated the awareness, need and adoption…

  • October 5, 2021 October 5, 2021
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Supporting employees’ mental health a marathon, not a sprint

Anyone who’s ever run a marathon or completed an endurance race or trek knows the last few miles are the hardest, both physically and mentally.…

  • July 6, 2021 July 23, 2021
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Think of health-care spending accounts as the duct tape of benefits plans

Any do-it-yourself handyman’s toolbox isn’t complete without a roll a flexible multi-purpose cloth adhesive that has unlimited uses — a.k.a. duct tape. It’s been used…

  • February 16, 2021 October 20, 2021
  • 09:00

Pandemic blurring work-life lines a recipe for employee burnout

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, technology was blurring the lines between work and home life. An unhealthy attachment to our mobile phones made it easy…

  • September 15, 2020 May 31, 2021
  • 08:45
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Robert Sharps

Expert panel: How is cryptocurrency impacting institutional investors’ portfolios?

Whether institutional investors welcome it — or even realize it — cryptocurrency is having an impact on their portfolios. The immense size of the crypto…

  • July 22, 2021 July 22, 2021
  • 02:30
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Sébastien Page

Expert panel: How is cryptocurrency impacting institutional investors’ portfolios?

Whether institutional investors welcome it — or even realize it — cryptocurrency is having an impact on their portfolios. The immense size of the crypto…

  • July 22, 2021 July 22, 2021
  • 02:30