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July 6, 2022

IMPORTANCE OF BENEFITS PLANS INCREASES

In the midst of a tight labour market, Canadians are placing increasing importance on employer-provided benefits plans, says an RBC Insurance survey. It found 73 per cent of young Canadians aged 18 to 34 and 69 per cent of 35- to 44-year-olds are significantly more likely to leave their current employer for another that is offering what they would consider better benefits. In determining what makes one benefits plan better than another, the top three desired features are support for mental health, health spending accounts, and options to add additional coverage to better meet personal or financial objectives. “Given our collective experience since March of 2020, it’s not surprising to see a range of worries and stressors reported by working Canadians” says Julie Gaudry, head of group benefits at RBC Insurance. “The knock-on impacts of a tightening labour market have made flexible and tailored employer-provided benefits desired by many and clearly a draw, particularly for younger generations.” RBC Economics has found there are roughly 70 per cent more job postings and six per cent fewer available workers compared to pre-pandemic levels in Canada, creating a ‘buyer’s market’ for those seeking a job change. Further, the Bank of Canada’s ‘Survey of Consumer Expectations’ reveals the likelihood of a worker voluntarily leaving a job is increasing as younger Canadians report lower levels of overall well-being, mental, and physical health year-over-year since 2019. “With heightened competition for talent, it’s critical that organizations develop or refine benefits plans as a key component of their offer,” says Gaudry.

July 6, 2022

INROADS MADE ON ESG COMPLIANCE

Sovereign wealth funds and their public pension peers have made inroads when it comes to improving ESG (environmental, social, and governance) compliance, says the Global Sovereign Wealth Fund’s annual ‘Governance, Sustainability, and Resilience Scoreboard.’ It showed a marked improvement among some of the world’s largest asset owners year-over-year. Of the funds scored, top performers included the Canada Pension Plan and the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ). Each top fund received a 96 per cent score. The analysis, which covered 100 sovereign wealth funds and 100 public pension funds globally, is broken up into three sections. The governance section covers deposit and withdrawal rules, external manager reputation, investment strategy, returns, and internal and external governance, among other criteria. Within the sustainability category, elements scored included policies, mission statements, and alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The resilience category takes into account risk management policies, funded status disclosures, and other criteria.

July 6, 2022