Frequently asked CPD questions
The purpose of CPD
Continuing professional development (CPD) is the maintenance and enhancement of an actuary’s professional knowledge, skills, attitudes and professionalism throughout the individual’s career.
It is a positive tool that benefits actuaries and is an essential component of the commitment the profession makes to the public to provide actuarial services competently and ethically.
The CIA has an important role to play in supporting the efforts of actuaries to maintain and enhance that competence and commitment. It also has a duty to ensure that all persons who provide actuarial services in Canada meet standards of learning, professional competence and conduct that are appropriate for the actuarial services they provide. This will strengthen and promote the credibility, reputation and brand of the profession as a whole.
All members are required to do 80 hours of guided and/or self-study CPD over a rolling two-year period (including a minimum of 30 hours of guided CPD), as well as a mandatory core CIA professionalism module every two years.
You may also be deemed compliant if you wrote an actuarial exam or module in the last two years and are not yet an FCIA, or if you are not a Canadian resident, doing no Canadian work, and comply with the requirements of another actuarial association. In either situation, you are still required to complete the professionalism module.
In deciding whether to count an activity as CPD, ask the following:
- Did I learn something new?
- Did this activity provide me with a deeper understanding of the topic?
- Did this activity confirm that my knowledge of this topic is current?
If you can answer “yes” to any one of these questions, and you feel that the topic is relevant to your work in some way, then it is likely that you could count the activity towards fulfilling your CIA CPD requirements. Remember that you must be able to support your selection and your decision to count the activity if requested to do so. Some examples of CPD activities include:
- Live discussions (in-person, virtually, by phone or by email) with colleagues or mentors.
- Preparing a presentation or preparing to participate in a meeting on a work-related topic.
- Attending a presentation on work-related issues presented by an outside consultant in-person or virtually.
- Attending a course, session, webcast or seminar in-person or virtually on work-related issues.
- Listening to recordings or reading transcripts of meetings, seminars, webcasts or podcasts on actuarial topics.
- Volunteer activity for an actuarial organization that involves an exchange of ideas or opinions (e.g., the meetings themselves or live discussions with committee members) to the extent that they meet the objectives of CPD activities.
- Writing articles or academic work which is subject to peer review.
Appendix A of the Qualification Standard – Requirements for CPD provides additional examples of both guided and self-study CPD activities.
In deciding whether to count an activity for CPD, you should ask yourself the following:
- Did I learn something new?
- Did this activity provide me with a deeper understanding of the topic?
- Did this activity confirm that my knowledge of this topic is current?
If you can answer “yes” to any one of these questions, and you feel that the topic is relevant to your work in some way, then it is likely that you could count the activity towards fulfilling your CIA CPD requirements.
Remember that you must be able to support your selection and your decision to count the activity if requested to do so through the CPD audit process or through the CIA’s discipline process in the course of an investigation.
It is recommended that when recording your CPD activities, you also include a description of how that activity applies to your continuing professional development.
A member who is trained to practise in the life insurance area, for example, would likely not be qualified to do a pension valuation. And from a public-interest perspective, the current requirements do not address this issue. It is up to the member to respect and comply with Rule 2 and perform professional services only when they are qualified to do so.
As a professional organization, the CIA establishes policies, requirements, procedures and standards to reassure stakeholders and the public that its members are qualified to perform professional services.
Filing a CPD compliance statement is a commonly accepted method of monitoring for most professions, even though it is not a guarantee that all members who complete the minimum requirements are fully qualified to do the work that they undertake. It is a basic level of assurance that an association can provide to the public.
The CIA has a dual role:
- Qualifying its members (through initial education); and
- Licensing its members to practise (through continuing education requirements).
Many other professions distinguish between these two functions, offering a designation for having completed the initial requirements, and then a license to practise that is maintained through CPD. The CIA does not have that capacity and the FCIA/ACIA designations are therefore equivalent to other professions’ license to practise.
The bottom line is that although you earned the designation through the education process, the ACIA/FCIA designation is a professional designation that brings with it additional responsibilities and expectations beyond a strict educational qualification.
No, the Professionalism Workshop is a requirement for Associates to attain their FCIA. The professionalism module is a requirement for all non-exempt members of the CIA. These are not interchangeable.
The goal of the CIA’s CPD requirements is to help ensure that members are qualified to do their jobs as professionals, even if their specific responsibilities may not be strictly actuarial in nature. There is no longer a need for traditional technical CPD activities. This allows members practising in all fields, traditional or not, to do CPD activities that are relevant to them in whatever field they are working, which should make it easier to identify CPD opportunities. See Appendix A of the Qualification Standard – Requirements for CPD for some examples.
Guided CPD (formerly referred to as structured CPD) has often been erroneously interpreted as time spent at a meeting or seminar session that would involve significant travel and expense. That is not the case.
Meetings and seminars (including virtual meetings) are indeed a good source of guided CPD, but there are also many others, such as:
- Live discussions with colleagues or mentors (in person, virtual meetings, by phone or by email);
- Attending a presentation on work-related issues presented by an outside consultant;
- Attending webcasts, many of which are being offered free of charge;
- Listening to recordings or reading transcripts of meetings, seminars, webcasts or podcasts on actuarial topics (can contact presenter directly with questions, if needed);
- Volunteer activity for an actuarial organization that involves an exchange of ideas or opinions (e.g., the meetings themselves or live discussions with committee members) to the extent that they meet the objectives of CPD activities (see question 28); and
- Writing articles or academic work which is subject to peer review (the core research required would be self-study, but the peer review process could be considered guided).
Appendix A of the Qualification Standard – Requirements for CPD provides additional examples of both guided and self-study CPD.
It is clear that there are opportunities for members to undertake activities in the course of their daily work that would be considered appropriate CPD. Members are reminded that all CPD must produce:
- Relevant new learning;
- A deeper understanding of a topic; or
- Confirmation that the member’s knowledge is current.
Ultimately, it is the member’s decision as to the relevance of an activity and whether it has contributed to his or her development as a professional. When considering whether to include an activity in his or her CPD records, the member should consider whether the activity has truly met the spirit and objectives of the CIA’s CPD program and include a short description in their records as to the content being discussed.
The definition of guided CPD has been expanded in recent years to allow members more flexibility in their choice of CPD activities. Members must still, however, be conscientious in their choices, and be prepared to support their choices, if requested to do so through the CPD audit process.
If you are not compliant, you need to file a remedy plan before the filing deadline to outline how you plan make up the required hours to be compliant in a reasonable time frame. If you do not do so, you will be charged a fee of $100 and you may be subject to immediate suspension pursuant to Bylaw 8.02.1 and section 5.2 of the CPD Qualification Standard.
Note that as of January 1, 2023, you will only be able to remain suspended for a maximum period of one year, at which time your enrolment in the Institute would terminate, in accordance with Bylaw 4.4.2.v.
You will be charged a nonrefundable fee of $100 for not filing your annual CPD compliance statement by the deadline. You will also be deemed non-compliant with the CPD Qualification Standard and, after several reminders and communications, your membership would be suspended (see Qualification Standard – Requirements for CPD – Appendix C – Procedures: Monitoring Compliance with the CPD Requirements). Your name would remain in the CIA public member directory, but you will be shown as suspended.
If you are not exempt from the CPD requirements and are not compliant at the time of filing, you still have the option of filing a remedy plan outlining how you intend to complete your missing CPD hours. This step would allow you to avoid suspension of your membership.
The filing of a remedy plan does not deem you compliant with the CPD requirements until you have completed the activities outlined in the approved remedy plan.
The CIA’s public member directory provides an indication of all members who are not compliant with the CPD requirements but who are working to complete a CIA-approved remedy plan, in order to allow other members and the public to be aware of all member CPD compliance statuses.
It is very important, and also your responsibility, to ensure that your contact information is up to date in the CIA’s member directory, so that you receive the proper notices.
Although there is no longer a formal exemption for Associates who have recently written an exam/module, you will be deemed compliant with the CPD requirements under section 3.2 b) of the CPD Qualification Standard. The rationale behind this category is that such individuals are expected to have completed the equivalent of the CIA CPD requirements through their studies.
You must still complete the CIA’s core professionalism requirements as outlined in the Qualification Standard, which is now mandatory for all non-exempt members.
You are required to file a compliance statement every year starting with the filing period in the year immediately following the year you became enrolled as a new member. You should begin tracking your CPD hours as soon as you finish writing exams. Once you have completed your exams and have been enrolled in the Institute for two years, you are required to file a full CPD compliance statement attesting to the fact that you completed and tracked the required minimum number of hours.
Unless you qualify for an exemption, you must do CPD. You must file a compliance statement every year starting with the filing period in the year immediately following your membership approval. However, as a new member, you will submit a statement indicating that you are a new member for your first two years following enrolment in the CIA. You are not expected to have tracked the required CPD hours prior to becoming a member.
Since the CPD requirements are based on a two-year cycle, it will take a new member two years to be able to say that they are fully compliant, which is why the compliance statement is structured to allow that period of time before a member would be considered non-compliant if they did not do enough CPD.
Once you finish writing exams, you should immediately begin tracking your CPD activities. Two years following the completion of your last exam, assuming you have been enrolled in the Institute for that period, you would be required to file a CPD compliance statement attesting to the fact that you completed and tracked the required minimum number of hours, regardless of your membership category (i.e., Associate, Affiliate, or Fellow).
Yes. You can be deemed compliant with the CIA’s CPD requirements under category 3.2 c) of the Qualification Standard (i.e., you are complying with the requirements of another actuarial association in which you are a full member at the highest level (no exemptions permitted)). This is no longer considered an exemption from the CIA’s CPD requirements, but rather a category of compliance.
However, you must still complete the CIA’s core professionalism requirements as outlined in the Qualification Standard, which is now mandatory for all non-exempt members.
This is still the case if you are a member of the CIA and meet CIA’s CPD requirements.
Yes. If you want to maintain your CIA membership and designation, you must do CPD. If you are non-compliant at the time of filing your CPD compliance statement, you still have the option of filing a remedy plan outlining how you intend to complete your missing CPD hours. This step would allow you to avoid the suspension of your membership.
The CIA offers many low-cost and free CPD resources to facilitate access to CPD content.
As an FCIA, you are required to be compliant with the Qualification Standard and are not allowed to file the statement that you wrote an exam in the past two years. But you are permitted to submit a lump amount of 80 hours, which would be deemed equivalent to the hours you spent preparing for the exam you wrote. You can therefore choose to file as a compliant member under the reserved role (RR) or non-reserved role (NRR), as appropriate to your circumstances. You are also still required to complete the core CIA professionalism module.
A member who is on or returning from standard family leave (normally one year) may use CPD activities from a period prior to the normal two-year reporting period that is equivalent to the length of the family leave (to a maximum of one year). The completion of the core CIA professionalism module is also required, but may also have been completed during this extended period.
If your family leave will be longer than one year, you may request an exemption under category 4.2 b) – Special Circumstances.
If you are granted an exemption, it is advisable to continue doing CPD, whenever possible, so that you don’t fall too far behind.
If upon your return, even with the extended period allowance, you are not CPD compliant, you may file a remedy plan to make up any deficiencies.
Records and filing requirements
An employer may retain the records of a member’s CPD activities. However, each member is ultimately responsible for the retention of their own records for the minimum five-year period. If a member changes jobs, they are responsible for obtaining the records of their CPD activities for the last five years from his or her employer. Each member is responsible for the accuracy of their CPD records, regardless of any third parties who may facilitate their storage and maintenance.
The CIA’s online CPD Activity Tracking Tool outlines the kind of information a member should retain. We encourage all members to use the online tracking tool on the CIA website to record their CPD activities.
No, these documents do not need to be retained. You are required to keep accurate records as to what resource material was used. You should maintain enough detail and/or documentation to sufficiently explain your CPD selections if requested to do so for a CPD audit. This would include the topics of sessions attended at a seminar or meeting, for example. You can upload relevant supporting documentation into the CIA’s CPD tracking tool and it will be retained in the CIA’s database.
Yes. The CIA’s online web tool is a secure database where all your records will be stored for the minimum five years required by the CPD Qualification Standard. The tracking tool also includes a download feature that allows members to export all their records into a spreadsheet, which they can then save to a personal computer for future reference.
All CPD must provide relevant new learning, a deeper understanding of a topic or confirmation that the member’s knowledge is current. During the CPD audit in 2020, the members of the Professionalism and Credential Monitoring Board (PCMB) found it difficult, in some cases, to assess the nature of the CPD activity that had been recorded. With more detail regarding the topic and content of the activity, and its relevance to the member’s professional development, the PCMB’s ability to assess the member’s overall CPD will be improved. It will also provide an opportunity for the member to assess his or her own activities and ensure that the activity’s value is clear.
Here are a few examples of activities, along with a brief description that could be used to demonstrate its relevance:
|Relevance of the activity to my CPD
|Internal employee session on defined contribution (DC) plan decumulation
|Covered recent developments on DC decumulation. Confirmed my understanding of the legal requirements. Provided deeper understanding of how decumulation options can be implemented.
|CIA webcast on leadership skills
|Gave examples of best practices related to leading large team projects. Provided new learning/exposure to overseeing large projects with many team members.
|CIA webcast on what COVID-19 means for pension plans and retirement planning
|Reviewed COVID-19 data and experience from several companies. Provided a deeper understanding of the current and potential future impacts of COVID-19 on pension plans.
|Article from the Globe and Mail on pharmacare
|Contained an overview of the key issues related to pharmacare. Provided additional context to the CIA’s recent public statement on the topic, which gave me a deeper and broader understanding of the issues.
Members must submit an application for an exemption if they believe they qualify for one of the following exemptions:
- Retirement (see the Qualification Standard for definition)
- Special circumstances (e.g., family leave of longer than one year, disability)
The exemption will be effective only once the CIA has approved the application.
Note that a member who is on or returning from family leave may use CPD activities from a period prior to the normal two-year reporting period that is equivalent to the length of the family leave (to a maximum of one year). The completion of the core professionalism requirements during this extended period would also be permitted.
The family leave exemption category was removed in the most recent round of changes to the Qualification Standard, as it was not deemed necessary in most standard family leave circumstances. Instead, a member who is on or returning from family leave of up to one year may use CPD activities from a period prior to the normal two-year reporting period that is equivalent to the length of the family leave (to a maximum of one year). Essentially, the CPD clock stops while you’re on family leave. The completion of the core professionalism requirements during this extended period would also be permitted. If your family leave is longer than one year, you may still apply for an exemption under category 4.2 b) – Special Circumstances.
You must submit your application for exemption or remedy plan prior to the filing period deadline (normally February 28 each year). Once it has been reviewed, if your application for exemption is not approved and you do not have the required hours, you will need to complete a remedy plan in order to avoid possible suspension of membership. You may appeal the decision in writing within 10 days to the Professionalism and Credential Monitoring Board (PCMB). No action will be taken to modify your record until the appeal has been finalized or the appeal period has elapsed. If the remedy plan is not approved, you will be notified of the deficiencies and given the opportunity to submit a revised remedy plan within 10 business days.
You are required to submit a new application each year except if you have been approved for the retirement exemption, which is considered permanent unless your circumstances change. If approved for a retirement exemption, you are also not required to file a compliance statement after the first time following the approval. If your status changes and you are no longer eligible for the exemption, it is your responsibility to advise the CIA and initiate the procedure for updating your CPD compliance status, including the filing of a remedy plan, if necessary, if you did not complete enough CPD while exempt.
No. The purpose of the CPD requirements is to ensure that all members are CPD compliant unless they meet the exemption criteria. Even though you may not be doing work that is traditionally considered strictly actuarial, you are still considered a professional with the ability to use the FCIA/ACIA designation. It is likely that some clients would identify you as an actuary based on your designation. The CPD you do can relate to the work you are doing even if it is not actuarial in nature.
As a fully retired CIA member, you will be entitled to retain your membership and your designation. The online CIA member directory will show that you are a fully retired member and that you are not compliant with the CIA’s CPD requirements.
No. By definition, if you are semi-retired, you are still performing professional services and would therefore be required to do CPD.
A reserved role is a role that, under government legislation, requires an FCIA. This would include, for example, Appointed Actuaries for insurance companies, actuaries who prepare funding valuations for registered pension plans and actuaries who certify the calculation of a criminal rate of interest.
There are other situations where holding an FCIA may be a prerequisite. For example, auditors may require a group and healthcare actuary to sign an accounting valuation in respect of post-employment benefits. Because the involvement of an FCIA is not a legal requirement, this role is not considered to be a reserved role. Nevertheless, we encourage actuaries acting in a non-reserved role to consider using the online CIA CPD tracking tool to record their CPD activities.
The following is not meant to be an exhaustive list of reserved roles, but a sampling of the work performed by actuaries that constitutes a reserved role. It remains the member’s responsibility to be aware of the work they are performing and for what purpose their work is being used. Examples of reserved roles include:
- An Appointed Actuary for an insurance company.
- An actuary who signs a statutory pension plan valuation report for funding purposes or a cost certificate as required under provincial or federal pension legislation or the Income Tax Act.
- An actuary who signs a Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund Assessment Certificate as required under the Ontario Pension Benefits Act.
- An actuary who signs a report on termination of a pension plan pursuant to provincial or federal pension legislation or the Income Tax Act.
- Members who do calculations on criminal rate of interest.
If you are acting in a reserved role—even if only for a single assignment during the two-year filing period—you are considered to be acting in a reserved role for CPD purposes. This means that you must file a record with the CIA of your CPD activities completed during the last two calendar years.
“Professional services” is defined as follows in the CIA Rules of Professional Conduct:
The rendering of advice, recommendations or opinions based upon actuarial considerations, including other services provided from time to time by a member to a client or employer.
The reference to “services provided… to a client or employer” makes it very clear that a member is performing professional services when the member is being compensated for his or her work. Doing pro-bono work in a professional capacity is also considered performing professional services for a client.
A member who is retired and no longer doing CPD should not be acting in a capacity (paid or unpaid) that would be relied upon by other stakeholders to make financial decisions on behalf of themselves or others (e.g., pension committees and board of trustees, boards of financial businesses such as banks or insurance companies). This also includes service on boards, councils, committees or other volunteer groups of a professional actuarial organization since these groups influence the direction of the profession. Members who act in any of these capacities would normally not be granted a retirement exemption.
Casual employment or volunteer work outside of the actuarial or financial industries does not preclude a member from a retirement exemption, however. When a member is acting in a capacity where individuals could reasonably be expected to rely upon the member’s business skills and experience as an actuary, the member is obligated to:
- Determine whether they should meet the CPD requirements; and
- If they opt for the exemption, inform their client and other stakeholders of their non-CPD compliant status.
You would also have to ensure, once in the role, that if an issue arises that you do not consider yourself qualified to tackle, that you say so and avoid performing professional services in accordance with Rule of Professional Conduct #2.
It is important that anyone receiving information from you of an actuarial nature is aware that you are not CPD compliant. You need to disclose this through a disclaimer on published or written documents. You should avoid providing opinions in informal or social situations.
Yes. Unless you meet one of the exemption criteria in the Qualification Standard, you must do CPD to remain a member of the CIA and maintain the use of your FCIA/ACIA designation.
The CPD requirements allow you to do CPD activities that are relevant to you in your particular role. There is no longer a need for traditional technical CPD activities. As a senior manager, CPD that is related to enhancing your overall management skills or your ability to be a good professional, for example, would likely be relevant to you and would therefore count towards the fulfillment of your CIA CPD requirements.
Some examples include the following:
- Talking to an Appointed Actuary to gain insight into a company’s financial condition testing (FCT) report (guided CPD);
- Preparing a presentation or preparing to participate in a panel discussion at a meeting on a work-related topic (self-study CPD);
- Attending a presentation on work-related issues presented by an outside consultant (guided CPD);
- Attending a course, session or seminar on work-related issues (guided CPD);
- Teaching a course, training an employee or speaking on a relevant topic for a meeting, webcast, podcast or other structured activity (provides an opportunity for an exchange of ideas or opinions with employees, students or attendees and could produce new learning); and
- Being briefed on the company’s marketing plan, investment plan, etc. (guided CPD).
The CIA wants actuaries who have reached senior management positions to stay involved with the CIA. Their experience and professional accomplishments are a source of inspiration to many younger actuaries. We believe that the requirements recognize that senior managers obtain their CPD in many ways as part of their job and that their clients and shareholders expect them to do so.
In a case where a court is asking you to testify with respect to your original work/testimony performed while you were CPD compliant, there is nothing preventing you from doing so. You should, however, advise the court of your non-CPD compliant status with your professional association.
However, if the court is now asking you to provide your expert opinion with respect to current practices, you must advise the court that you cannot do so since you are not CPD compliant with your professional association and that it would be a breach of its Rules of Professional Conduct to do so.
Yes. As of January 1, 2023, the hours you obtain in 2023 as part of a remedy plan can now be counted towards fulfilling your missing hours from 2021-2022 and again for the 2022-2023 reporting period, since you obtained them in 2023. However, this does not mean that you can submit a remedy plan every year in order to reduce the overall number of hours you need to do. All remedy plans must be approved by the Professionalism and Credential Monitoring Board and any abuse of the remedy plan process in this manner will not be permitted.