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

More columnists

Benefits Canada Experts

Katharine Coons

Expert panel: How employers can support employee mental health in 2023

The coronavirus pandemic put mental health squarely on employers’ agendas and this focus on employee well-being is even more important as some organizations return to…

  • January 3, 2023 January 3, 2023
  • 09:00

Expert panel: The future of work is flexible, prioritizes employee mental health

Employees everywhere are redefining what work means to them and redrawing their expectations of employers. Mental-health supports and flexible working options are now imperative if…

  • May 31, 2022 May 30, 2022
  • 09:00

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

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
Canadian Investment Review Experts

George Athanassakos

Expert panel: Defining risk depends on investing horizon

What’s the right definition of risk in financial markets? Finding the answer to this question has become even more important because the number of retail…

  • March 7, 2023 March 7, 2023
  • 10:15

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
Benefits Canada Experts

Susan G. Seller

Expert panel: Air Canada decision illustrates danger of relying on pension plan terms in wrongful dismissal actions

A recent court decision in Ontario illustrates the potential danger for employers that attempt to rely on pension plan terms to refute claims for pension-related…

  • February 28, 2023 February 27, 2023
  • 09:00

Expert panel: An update on regulatory oversight of pension risk management

In January, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities established a new committee with a mandate to develop a risk management guidance. In the CAPSA’s…

  • December 13, 2022 December 12, 2022
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Is risk management the new frontier in pension governance?

The importance of risk management isn’t new for the majority of defined benefit pension plan sponsors and administrators. The impact of long-term interest rates, market…

  • June 7, 2022 June 6, 2022
  • 09:00

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
Benefits Canada Experts

Gavin Benjamin

Expert panel: DB pension plan sponsors facing challenges, opportunities in 2023

Similar to 2022, the coming year will present both challenges and opportunities for defined benefit pension plan sponsors, with the rewards going to plan sponsors…

  • January 5, 2023 January 4, 2023
  • 09:00

Expert panel: Does Canada need a pension champion?

In the Expert Commission on Pensions’ 2008 review of Ontario’s pension system, it recommended an agency or unit of the provincial government serve as a…

  • December 20, 2022 January 18, 2023
  • 09:00

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
Benefits Canada Experts

Wendy Cukier

Expert panel: Employers embracing DEI to overcome labour shortages in 2023

Amid an ongoing labour shortage, employers of all sizes and sectors are increasingly embracing diversity, equity and inclusion. A recent Statistics Canada report found, as…

  • January 4, 2023 January 3, 2023
  • 09:00

Expert panel: How employers, employees can mitigate workplace microaggressions

Microaggressions — everyone has heard them or may have even used them. Defined as everyday verbal and behavioural slights against a person or group that…

  • October 4, 2022 October 3, 2022
  • 09:00

Expert panel: DEI shaping employers’ innovation, profitability, but more work to be done

Diversity in leadership matters. It signals who belongs and shapes the aspirations of employees, as well as communities more broadly. In recent years, the convergence…

  • July 21, 2022 July 20, 2022
  • 09:00

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
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Shidan Gouran

Expert panel: The investment case for carbon credits

As concerns about climate change and the need for sustainable development grows, carbon credits are becoming increasingly attractive to institutional investors. Carbon credits are a…

  • December 20, 2022 December 20, 2022
  • 12:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Sara Tatelman

Expert panel: What does it mean for pension plan members to live separate and apart?

While pension plan administrators know about their plan members’ employment history and salaries, they may not expect to learn much about their personal lives, including how…

  • December 6, 2022 December 5, 2022
  • 09:00

Expert panel: How employers can design health benefits, retirement plans for gig workers

Whether they’re delivering takeout, chauffeuring passengers, or fixing leaky sinks, most gig workers in Canada don’t get benefits. Classified as independent contractors rather than employees,…

  • May 24, 2022 May 26, 2022
  • 09:00
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Sam Goodman

Expert panel: China’s ESG mask slips

Reports that a leading asset manager is delaying the launch of a Chinese bond fund indefinitely are a clear sign that the facade around Chinese…

  • November 24, 2022 November 24, 2022
  • 12:30

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

Mary Picard

Expert panel: Can pension administrators deny benefits to plan members who don’t submit proof-of-life forms?

In August, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported that the U.K. Department for Works and Pensions cut off state pension payments to several expatriate pensioners living…

  • November 22, 2022 November 22, 2022
  • 09:00

Expert panel: How ESG-focused TDFs could impact workplace CAPs

With the increased focus on integrating environmental, social and governance factors into pension plans, a new approach by BlackRock Inc. could have a significant impact on…

  • July 12, 2022 July 11, 2022
  • 09:00

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

Kim Siddall

Expert panel: How employers can support employee wellness ahead of a looming recession

Every day, it seems the news includes a story or two about the economy and whether or not a recession is coming. At the same…

  • November 16, 2022 November 15, 2022
  • 09:00

Expert panel: How employers can support working parents this summer

Heading into the summer months, parents of young or school-aged children are likely juggling work with gaps in their childcare needs. While many working parents…

  • June 21, 2022 June 20, 2022
  • 09:00

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
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Colin Ripsman

Expert panel: Tips for DB plan sponsors as interest rates continue to rise

From an economic perspective, the last year has been quite tumultuous. As central banks began raising rates to tame inflation, the loose monetary environment with…

  • November 1, 2022 November 1, 2022
  • 12:00

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
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Catherine Heath

Expert panel: Weighing the benefits, pitfalls of investing in Canadian equity

Why should defined benefit pension plans invest in Canadian equity markets at all? It’s a question many DB plan sponsors began asking themselves in the…

  • September 22, 2022 September 22, 2022
  • 12:00

How should investors interpret the recent rise in interest rates?

United States 10-year bond yields have risen substantially from their lows of 0.50 per cent last summer, hitting 1.6 per cent by late February. Canadian…

  • March 18, 2021 April 24, 2021
  • 09:00

The green shoots of Canada’s green bond market

Canada’s green bond market has been growing, but investors would benefit from digging a little deeper to ensure what they’re buying is in fact green…

  • August 19, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 09:08

Managing fixed income liquidity issues caused by the coronavirus crash

When the coronavirus prompted a collapse in both economic activity and equity markets in March, it put an end to the longest bull market in…

  • April 16, 2020 December 13, 2020
  • 07:25
Benefits Canada Experts

Jaqui Parchment

Expert panel: How employers can support workers amid rising inflation

The modern economy is highly uncertain, with inflation and rising interest rates cutting into bottom lines everywhere. Employers are nervous as the cost of capital…

  • September 13, 2022 September 12, 2022
  • 09:00

Investing in low-carbon economy will pay off for pension plans

We are now in Month 14 of the coronavirus pandemic. For institutional investors like pension plans, this pandemic and its consequences highlight the reality of…

  • April 27, 2021 April 30, 2021
  • 09:00
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Laura McGrath

Expert panel: A checklist for a credible climate plan

Pension plan sponsors can’t ignore the financial risks of climate change or respond to them with half-baked approaches that allow companies to continue pumping out pollution.…

  • June 9, 2022 June 10, 2022
  • 12:00
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
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