POG Orientation

Project Oversight Group Handbook

Thank you for volunteering to serve on a project oversight group (POG) at the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA). Volunteers are the heart of the CIA. They founded the Institute, and they continue to drive our efforts in research, standards development, and education. CIA volunteers strengthen the profession by applying knowledge and objectivity to help ensure financial security for Canadians.

POGs are a very important part of the CIA’s research program. The Research Council oversees all CIA research, but relies on POGs to guide and oversee each research project.

Each POG member contributes a unique skill set; collectively they contribute to a well-rounded product. This document should help you get off on the right foot and provide you with the information needed to contribute your talents to your new team.

POG Structure

We recommend that an odd number of volunteers sit on a POG, with a minimum of five members. One of these volunteers must take the role of chair.

POGs report directly to either the REC or one of the research committees: 


Preparing for Your Role

Assess yourself to determine if you need to do any reading or use your networks to get up to speed on prior research concerning the topic being managed by your POG.

Ensure you have time. Volunteering on research projects can be very time consuming. If you are concerned about your ability to meet the time commitment necessary after learning more about a project, discuss this with the chair of the group. Admitting you are short on time does not mean that you have to be taken off a project, rather, it ensures that your team knows the level of commitment you are able to make.

Ask questions. Your position description will include the contact information for the chair of your group, our research department, and the volunteer services department.


The following are some of the responsibilities required from our POG volunteers. By no means is the list exhaustive, nor will each item on the list apply to every POG.

  • Oversee the development of solicitation documents, such as requests for proposals (RFPs);
  • From the responses to solicitation documents, recommend a researcher(s) to the responsible committee (REC, ERC, ARC); once approval is obtained, the researcher(s) signs a contract with the CIA’s finance director;
  • Determine project milestones and work with researcher to ensure they are met;
  • Attend and participate in periodic conference calls as necessary, usually around key project milestones;
  • Provide guidance on the methodology and approach of the researcher(s) and high-level examination of the direction, key assumptions, and insights/conclusions of the research;
  • Oversee the fulfillment of the project by the researcher, responding to inquiries and providing clarification, ensuring that the end product meets CIA standards;
  • Report periodically on the progress of the research project to REC/ERC/ARC, ensure that the allotted budget is respected, and approve payments based on progress;
  • Recommend approval of the end product once completed to CIA standards;
  • Provide recommendations for the communication and dissemination of the research report and offer guidance in the interpretation of results of the project;
  • Determine if an independent peer review is needed, and should that be necessary identify suitable candidates for peer review;
  • Work with CIA editorial staff to ensure that all research papers are reviewed and published in accordance with the CIA Guidelines for Submitting Papers; and
  • When asked, present the findings at forums such as CIA meetings and seminars.

NOTE: Well-rounded and unbiased research requires the collaboration of peers who may have differing opinions. POG members are considerate of the opinions of their peers and use respectful dialogue to promote healthy debate, compromise, and consensus. If at any time you are unsure of how to share concerns, please contact your POG chair or a CIA staff member. Furthermore, the research team is the ultimate author and, in matters of disagreement, has the authority to make the final decision on what appears in reports, etc.

The CIA asks that POG members not work outside of their responsibilities, to ensure the integrity of the project and the team. The following points are important to remember in your role as POG member:

  • Editing for grammar or style will be completed by the communications team at the CIA Head Office;
  • Sharing draft material outside of the POG can occur only if permission is requested and given in advance, and the project would benefit; and
  • Representing the best interests of an employer is strictly prohibited; POG members are unbiased and act in the best interest of Canadians.

If at any point during the project you feel you have a conflict of interest, please inform the POG chair. You may be asked to recuse yourself from certain POG activities or, if no other remedy is appropriate, you will be asked to discontinue your participation on the POG.

POG Meetings

POG meetings are conducted by conference call. The POG determines the frequency of meetings based on group-specific needs. Remember, you contribute a unique set of skills, so the group functions best when as many members as possible are present for the meetings. With that said, life happens; if you’re unable to attend, please send the chair your regrets.

  • To attend the meeting, call the number that the POG chair provides; generally, the POG will use the same number for each meeting.
  • Each POG determines if there will be a note-taker who distributes minutes and determines when they must be distributed.
  • Each POG determines the meeting agenda and who will distribute the agenda.
  • Each POG sets its own group norms, with an understanding that professional respect and courtesy are an expectation from the CIA.

POG Chair

One ingredient of a successful POG is having a conscientious leader. The POG chair organizes meetings, arranges calls, resolves issues, liaises with CIA staff when necessary, and acts as the volunteer contact. Being a POG chair helps build leadership skills and strengthen professional networks. The CIA encourages all POG members to consider becoming a chair should the need arise.

Contact Information





Shlomit Jacobson

Manager, research

613-236-8196 ext. 157

[email protected]

Sue Alcott

Manager, volunteer services

613-236-8196 ext. 118

[email protected]


I agree to serve as a member of the project oversight group for this effort. I have read the above document and agree to be active and conscientious in my role.

  • I will attend meetings and prepare in advance, as my schedule allows.
  • I will work collaboratively and contribute appropriately.
  • I recognize and respect that the chosen researcher(s) are ultimately responsible for conducting the research and writing the report. I will be constructive in my feedback and suggestions.
  • I will not use this volunteer experience to obtain data, information, models, or tools for personal advantage, or the business advantage of my employer, prior to their becoming available in the public domain.