Benefits Canada Experts

Louis Gagnon

Louis Gagnon is chief executive officer of Mercer Canada.

These are the views of the author and not necessarily those of Benefits Canada.

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 78 per cent of respondents believe the legalization of recreational cannabis is a concern for human resources leaders. In addition, nearly half (45 per cent) of respondents believe it’s a concern for […]

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

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 workplace into a compelling experience and built a thriving workforce. This kind of environment doesn’t come easily; it must be deliberately designed, intentionally built and carefully managed. In an age of […]

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

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 substantial savings and then take action. One health-related cost that hasn’t gained much attention is absenteeism. As issue often linked to mental-health issues, it’s costing Canadian organizations billions of dollars in payroll costs, […]

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

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 trust in financial markets are creating a significant retirement savings gap between what people require in retirement and what they’ve actually saved. This is a global issue. But in Canada alone, […]

  • November 1, 2017 September 13, 2019
  • 08:00

More columnists

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
Benefits Canada Experts

Kenneth MacDonald

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 February 18, 2021
  • 09:00

5 benefits predictions for the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic

In the midst of the most significant socio-economic and health crisis since WWII — and maybe even longer — virtually every aspect of modern society has been…

  • April 28, 2020 November 11, 2020
  • 08:30

Is it time to reconsider drug dispensing fee maximums?

In employee benefits plans, maximums and caps on prescription drug dispensing fees are common cost management features. These features are designed to nudge plan members to…

  • February 11, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 08:30

Time for more hands-on management of massage therapy benefits?

Most people agree massage offers some therapeutic benefits, such as reduction of muscle tension and pain related to soft tissue strains and injuries. Studies have…

  • May 14, 2019 November 30, 2020
  • 08:45
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Catherine Heath

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

Are negative rates coming to Canada?

There has been a lot of buzz about negative interest rates lately, as the idea that you would have to pay governments to borrow your…

  • January 23, 2020 December 13, 2020
  • 08:51
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Chris Horwood

It’s time to revolutionize how investment firms are paid

Investment management is an unusual business in that it doesn’t typically offer customers their money back if they’re unsatisfied with the product or service. This…

  • January 6, 2021 February 5, 2021
  • 10:12

Looking beyond the U.S. for quality fundamentals at the right price

US equities have dominated their global peers over the past decade. As of 30 June, the S&P 500 had returned 14.5 per cent per annum…

  • August 10, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 07:52

Extreme uncertainty produces extreme opportunities

The novel coronavirus pandemic has been an enormous human tragedy and its ultimate impact on the global economy remains impossible to predict. For many companies,…

  • May 13, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 09:26

Sounding Board: Low volatility doesn’t mean low risk

Bonds have traditionally been a reliable source of low-risk returns. For the moment, central banks have changed that relationship, yet many investors still need predictable,…

  • December 12, 2016 September 13, 2019
  • 09:25
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Colin Ripsman

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 February 5, 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

Setting a prudent asset mix policy for an aboriginal trust

Over the last few years we have seen numerous First Nations’ settlements with the government. The amounts of these settlements are typically large and can,…

  • February 13, 2019 January 12, 2021
  • 13:14
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Andy Rothman

Biden and China: Building back better?

Putting U.S.–China relations back on a constructive path will be one of the top foreign policy challenges facing the Biden administration in 2021. I expect…

  • December 31, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 11:21

Four trends to watch in China through the recovery

In China, keeping the novel coronavirus under control is key to maintaining the economic recovery, and there are reasons to be optimistic, despite a breakdown…

  • September 8, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:37

Is China’s economic recovery sustainable?

China’s V-shaped economic recovery continued for a fourth consecutive month in June, led by strong domestic demand. And if the novel coronavirus remains under control,…

  • August 12, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:31

China is on the road to recovery

China’s economy was the first to suffer the consequences of fighting the novel coronavirus and is the first on the road to recovery. If it…

  • May 6, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:55
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Tracey McVicar

Coronavirus to reshape mid-market private equity dynamics in year ahead

The year 2020 tested the mettle of entrepreneurs and small business owners like none other in recent history. And private equity firms operating in the…

  • December 31, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 11:21

Coronavirus: a true test of partnership for private equity firms

As the novel coronavirus pandemic upended the way businesses operate, investors around the world have been able follow daily market gyrations in real time to…

  • June 29, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 07:37
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Edward Truant

Why capital deployment is key in commercial litigation finance investing

In many private equity asset classes, managers typically deploy most of their capital in a particular investment on day one. While they may increase or…

  • December 22, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 09:02

Is the time right for pension funds to consider litigation finance?

In the early days of litigation finance, most fund managers sold a concept and their own capabilities, but not much else. And risky strategies attracted…

  • June 19, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 09:01

Commercial litigation finance demand fuelled by coronavirus

In legal circles, it has always been thought that crises breed litigation. And while that appears to be the case in the current crisis, it…

  • May 28, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 07:16

Exploring the impact of coronavirus on commercial litigation finance investments

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” The above quote from Charles Dickens aptly describes the current environment for the…

  • April 14, 2020 December 13, 2020
  • 07:44
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Emerson Savage

Three lessons 2020 taught institutional investors

After years of relatively stable appreciation in global fixed-income and equity markets, investors were thrust into dramatic turbulence in the first quarter of 2020, as…

  • December 17, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 10:04

What does a rise in Robinhood traders mean for institutional investors?

During and after the market crash of this year’s first quarter, retail traders flocked to the various commission-free online brokerages in droves. These traders began…

  • August 31, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:40

Value investing’s crisis of confidence

A value approach to investing has yielded great benefits in the past. Though there are often semantics around what constitutes value investing, it can be…

  • May 11, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:25

Laying the foundation for real estate investing

As alternative asset classes continue to be a major area of interest for institutional investors, considering the benefits and drawbacks of real estate as an…

  • February 26, 2020 December 13, 2020
  • 06:17
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Mark S. Yamada

Is dynamic risk management the key to decumulation?

Many defined contribution pension plans contain a built-in contradiction. During accumulation, they offer an array of investment choices — sometimes too many. In decumulation, by…

  • December 15, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 09:07
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Jeff Pentland

A private markets perspective on the pandemic in 2020 and beyond

What a difference a year makes. At this time in 2019, initial reports of a novel virus to be called COVID-19 were just beginning to…

  • December 9, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 14:29
Benefits Canada Experts

Jaqui Parchment

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 February 4, 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

Supporting employees’ workplace health, financial wellness during coronavirus

It’s the only story around these days. COVID-19 — the coronavirus — has broken out all over the world, leading to strain on health-care resources,…

  • March 31, 2020 November 23, 2020
  • 08:30

Improving employee mental-health benefits is good for everyone

Whether it direct or indirect, mental illness affects everyone. Beyond an individual’s personal suffering, which can range from mild to severe, the effects are also felt by…

  • December 3, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 08:30
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Catherine Ann Marshall

RESTing the case on climate change

A lawsuit settlement on the other side of the world is reverberating around the globe as it increases the environmental, social and governance standards for…

  • December 2, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 08:24

The slow burn of climate change in heat of pandemic

Meeting a deadline in the midst of a pandemic seems like a good test of corporate resiliency and, according to a recent survey of Canadian…

  • June 24, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 07:41

PRI reporting deadline: A race to the finish line in 2020

There is nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. Asset owners and managers who are signatories of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investments…

  • February 27, 2020 December 13, 2020
  • 07:54
Benefits Canada Experts

Karley Middleton

An employer’s guide to curating a suite of voluntary benefits

In an art gallery, people often recognize and appreciate the arrangement of the pieces as much as the works of art themselves. When employers offer voluntary…

  • November 24, 2020 February 4, 2021
  • 08:45

Is it time for employers to take a look at voluntary benefits?

Voluntary benefits are the ‘choose your own adventure’ of the insurance world. For readers who remember and enjoyed those novels, they felt empowered by their…

  • August 18, 2020 November 24, 2020
  • 08:45

The benefits of routine in an unpredictable world

When it comes to living through any stressful and uncertain time, routine is one of the unsung heroes. In a situation like the current coronavirus…

  • May 26, 2020 November 26, 2020
  • 08:30

Paying attention to employees’ holistic well-being as they approach retirement

Retirement is a time in every employee’s life that evokes a number of emotions: anticipation, excitement, fear, stress, anxiety and relief, among others. The positive…

  • April 23, 2019 November 30, 2020
  • 08:30
Benefits Canada Experts

Linda Lewis-Daly

Five ways managers can build personal resilience amid the pandemic

The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is currently slamming into regions across Canada, once again testing employers’ resilience in the face of mounting challenges.…

  • November 17, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 08:45

How to energize employees using virtual wellness

There’s no question that COVID-19 has disrupted usual work-life routines. The need to work from home, self-isolate and quarantine can have significant impacts on the…

  • June 2, 2020 November 12, 2020
  • 08:30

Tips for a healthy workforce in 2020

Looking ahead to 2020, all indicators point to technology playing a greater role in human resources practices given the rapid advances in artificial intelligence and emerging virtual…

  • December 27, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 06:30

How workplace fitness can improve employee productivity

No matter the size of a business, nothing affects the bottom line more than declining employee productivity. Employees can be the best and brightest parts of an organization, but…

  • September 10, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 08:00
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Graeme Forster

The value of stock selection in a low-return world

Despite this year’s extreme volatility, the past ten years have been an extraordinary time to be an equity investor. This can be seen by looking…

  • November 13, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 08:08

Finding opportunity in hidden bear markets

Global shares, represented by the MSCI world index, ended 2019 at an all-time high. Their robust 9.5 per cent per annum return during the 2010s…

  • January 22, 2020 December 13, 2020
  • 08:44
Canadian Investment Review Experts

Brent Simmons

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

Is it time for an asset-strategy check-up?

At the time of my last column in May, many pension plan sponsors were catching their breath after watching funding levels take a roller coaster…

  • August 27, 2020 December 5, 2020
  • 08:14

Pension de-risking and the coronavirus – what now?

It’s hard to believe that just recently, people weren’t cutting their own hair or binge-watching Tiger King. At the beginning of the year, defined benefit…

  • May 26, 2020 December 6, 2020
  • 08:37

Enjoy the ride

Pension plans are protecting themselves from market ups and downs by matching assets to liabilities

  • October 1, 2013 September 13, 2019
  • 07:00
Benefits Canada Experts

Claude Marchessault

Is B.C.’s pension governance structure a ticking time bomb?

For years, a major public sector pension governance time bomb has been hidden in plain sight. But it may be too late to alert the bomb squad;…

  • November 10, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 08:45

Reports highlight social implications of workplace pensions

A report published by the Canadian Public Pension Leadership Council in February 2019 offers compelling evidence about the broad benefits of workplace pension plans. The report,…

  • April 16, 2019 September 13, 2019
  • 08:30

Governance lessons from B.C.’s public sector pension plans

While retirement income security is top of mind for many Canadians, British Columbia’s public sector pension plans are noteworthy models that can be emulated by sponsors…

  • August 15, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 08:00

Time to extend public sector pension expertise to other plans

For more than 30 years, Canada’s public sector pension organizations have distinguished themselves by delivering secure, sustainable defined benefit pensions and, in the process, have earned…

  • April 24, 2018 September 13, 2019
  • 08:30
Benefits Canada Experts

Kim Siddall

Five lessons for employers to apply to the pandemic’s second wave

As coronavirus cases rise across the country and some return-to-work plans become return-to-home plans, many employers are wondering how to help their employees adapt once again…

  • November 3, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 08:45

Five workplace changes that should stay post-coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has been disruptive for all and sadly, devastating and difficult for many. In the pandemic’s early days, we saw a great deal…

  • June 16, 2020 February 5, 2021
  • 08:45

Four ways to start the benefits year off on a good foot

The beginning of a new year is a great time for employers to reflect on their benefits plans and take steps to get in ahead of potential challenges.…

  • December 17, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 08:30

How to tie workplace philanthropy into employee engagement, wellness

Most organizations support charities in their communities through a variety of means — donations supporting specific initiatives, sponsorships, by purchasing tables for events or donating…

  • July 23, 2019 November 12, 2020
  • 08:00