Canadian Pensions Certificate Program

Date and Time

Starts:10/23/2023 9:30 AM

Ends:11/01/2023 4:30 PM

Registration Closes:10/22/2023 12:00 PM

Event Type: Certificate Program

23 CPD Hour(s)

Partner's Virtual Platform


HRPA Members:
$1,870 + Taxes
$2,350 + Taxes
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Additional Information

Event Sponsor

Pensions and retirement savings used to be a relatively straightforward area for HR professionals.

Not anymore.

While still a very important element of employee compensation, the landscape of pension and retirement savings has become much more complex.
Longer life expectancies and workplace demographics that often skew toward the more mature end of the spectrum are also complicating factors. And as pension law and regulation continue to evolve, a good understanding of the legal framework, best practices and risk management is critical to successful plan administration.

 In this certificate course, master one of the most important elements of employee compensation and learn how to make your firm's programs as efficient as possible. This is an invaluable opportunity to further your career and enhance your company's effectiveness by becoming an expert in the area of pension and retirement savings.

What will I learn?

After completing the certificate program, participants will have the skills and information required to:

  • Gain an understanding of the legal and regulatory framework that applies to pension and other retirement savings plans.
  • Learn tips on best practices in plan administration and governance.
  • Get strategies to reduce risk and liability in plan administration.
  • Develop an understanding of investment and plan structure principles across different plan types


This program will not be recorded.  This is an intact program in which attendees must attend all of the sessions in order to qualify for the certificate. To receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program, the candidate  must successfully complete an online assessment after each scheduled module.


What is covered?

During this four-day, eight-module virtual experience designed for HR practitioners, participants will collaborate with peers through instruction, case studies, scenarios and simulations that include:

Module 1 – Plan Overview and Statutory Requirements

  • Overview of defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans, and other registered plans
  • Pension standards registration and compliance requirements
  • Tax registration and reporting requirements (e.g., plan registration requirements, advantages of registration, T4 reporting, pension adjustments, etc.)


Module 2 – Key Concepts – Defined Benefit Plans

  • Plan funding
  • Investment rules (30%/10%) and regulations
  • Actuarial funding, valuations and assumptions
  • SIPPs
  • DB limits under ITA


Module 3 – Key Concepts -Defined Contribution Plans

  • Service providers and investment options (risk appetites)
  • Default investments
  • Fees
  • DC/money purchase limits under the ITA


Module 4 – Investment Concepts Explained – for DB & DC Plans

  • Investment managers
  • Alternative investments
  • Global & Canada investment trends


Module 5 – Best Practices in Communications & Record Keeping

  • Best practices for all organization types & size
  • Common communication pitfalls
  • The importance of clear and accurate communications
  • Communications in a post-COVID world


Module 6 – Administrative Guidelines for Life Events

  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Separation of Employment
  • Marital Equalization Payments
  • Employer Bankruptcy


Module 7 – Plan Member’s transition to Retirement

  • Helping your members address the retirement gap
  • Decumulation product trends and insights
  • Improving Member outcomes


Module 8 – Governance & Risk Management

  • Principles of plan governance
  • Risk management (including de-risking) and best practices in plan governance


Who should attend?

HR professionals/Executives, VPs/Directors/Managers of Human Resources, HR generalists, Pension Committee Members, Boards of Trustees, C-suite Executives. Head of Finance, Finance Managers, Analysts, Pension Specialists, HR Consultants, Business Owners.

What is the course format?

This certificate program combines live virtual instruction with hands-on experiential learning through case studies, scenarios, group work/break out discussions and simulations.

Live Virtual Sessions:

There will be online instructor-led modules, during which practical examples and experiences will be shared.


Participants will be provided with session workbooks to follow along with the content covered in each module and to take notes, as well as additional pre-session readings and post-session assignments.

Peer Learning and Group Work:

Participants will have the opportunity to learn from each other while answering questions and sharing experiences and observations during the modules, as well as through practical, hands-on exercises and simulations based on real-world labour relations events and processes.

Time Commitment:

This four-day certificate program will be delivered in eight modules. Participants will spend four (4.5) hours each day participating in the virtual sessions and accompanying exercises and simulation activities. Over the duration of the course, participants can expect to spend an additional five (5) hours completing offline independent work (outside of the daily sessions). The in-class virtual modules will be held as follows:

Module 1 – October 23, 2023 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST)

Module 2 – October 23, 2023 (2:00 pm – 4:30 pm EST)

Module 3 – October 25, 2023 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST)

Module 4 – October 25, 2023 (2:00 pm – 4:30 pm EST)

Module 5October 30, 2023 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST)

Module 6October 30, 2023 (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST)

Module 7November 1, 2023 (10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST)

Module 8 - November 1, 2023 (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm EST)


*** CPBI Members can contact CPBI Ontario at to receive the coupon code.

The promo code entitles you to the HRPA Member rate. If you are an HRPA member, you will automatically receive the HRPA Member rate without having to apply the promo code. Registrants are allowed only one discount per registration, equivalent to the HRPA Member rate.


To receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program, the candidate must successfully complete an online assessment after each scheduled module.

This program will not be recorded. This is an intact program in which attendees must attend all of the sessions in order to qualify for the certificate.

For more information please Call the Toll-free number:   888 788-3185  Choose 1 for Region, then Ext. 3email 

Registration Difficulties/Questions: Please reach out to the Professional Development team at

Cancellation Policy 

Speaker bio(s)
Maggie Carmichael, Associate, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Maggie’s practice covers all aspects of pensions, benefits, and executive compensation law, including plan administration, governance, investment, design and taxation. She also advises on the pensions and employee benefits aspects of corporate transactions. Maggie completed her articles with Blakes in 2018/2019. She has a J.D. from Queen’s University, where she was named to the Dean’s List.

Kelleher Lynch, Associate

Kelleher is an Associate with McCarthy Tétrault’s National Pension, Benefits & Executive Compensation Group in Toronto and a member of McCarthy Tétrault’s Pension Funds Investment Group.

Kelleher provides strategic legal advice to public and private companies on legal issues arising in respect of the planning, establishment, governance, administration, and wind-up of pension plans, profit sharing plans, registered retirement savings plans, welfare benefits plans, retirement compensation arrangements, equity compensation plans and other forms of executive compensation.

Kelleher is the Chair of the Pension & Benefits Section of the Ontario Bar Association for the 2021-2022 year. He also serves on the Executive of the Pension & Benefits Section of the Canadian Bar Association, and on the Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute.

Natasha Monkman, Partner

Natasha Monkman is a partner in Hicks Morley’s Pension Benefits and Executive Compensation practice group. She regularly advises private and public sector employers on a variety of plan administration, compliance and governance matters relating to their employee benefit plans and pension plans, including with respect to the administration of marriage breakdown and death benefit entitlements. She also regularly advises employers under going significant transactions and with respect to pension plan funding issues.

Jason Paquette, Associate, Brown Mills Klinck Prezioso LLP

Jason is a lawyer at Brown Mills Klinck Prezioso LLP practicing in all aspects of pension, benefits and executive compensation law. Jason advises clients in both the public and private sectors across Canada on all matters related to pension and benefit plans, including pension plan design, funding and governance matters. Jason has experience advising on leading edge joint governance initiatives as well as innovative retirement savings programs. Jason is currently acting as pension counsel to several broader public sector employers in regard to the transfer and consolidation of over $10 billion in pension plan assets within a newly created jointly sponsored pension plan.

Dimitri Poliak, Associate Vice President, Investment & Retirement

Dimitri has practiced in defined benefit and defined contribution consulting for 14 years. Dimitri consults on investment manager search and selection, plan re-design, mergers and acquisitions due diligence and, has developed proprietary organizational retirement readiness diagnostics to help plan sponsors design more effective retirement programs.

Paul Rossi, Investment Consultant

Paul joined Eckler’s Investment Consulting practice in 2004, starting out as an investment analyst. Today, he serves as lead and co-lead consultant to clients of all sizes with defined contribution (DC) or defined benefit (DB) plans, working with clients in a variety of areas, ranging from governance, to investments, to record keeper selection and plan design.

Paul has been primarily focused on DC over his entire career and has extensive knowledge of investment managers and record keepers, leading various research efforts on both fronts over his tenure at Eckler. He brings a detailed approach to all his clients and specializes in helping manage their DC plans effectively.

Paul graduated from Ryerson University with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree and has completed level 1 of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Salina Shariff, Financial Wellness Leader

Salina leads the financial wellness initiative through consulting, creating, managing, and delivering member communication for clients. She has also championed the launch of a digital financial wellness platform designed to provide a holistic financial well-being strategy to assist individuals towards better financial outcomes.

Salina’s career spans over 30 years within retirement solutions, including 15 years in leadership roles. Her experience in the retirement and savings industry is founded in several of Canada’s largest insurance companies. Salina’s background in retirement administration, client relationship management and financial education makes her a subject matter expert for colleagues and clients. The last decade of Salina’s career has focused on various components of retirement solutions to assist plan sponsors and members in achieving their retirement goals. Salina now leverages her experience in the field to build and offer financial wellness consulting solutions to clients at People Corporation.

Salina holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Retirement Plan Associate (RPA) designation, is Life Licensed (LLQP) and has passed exams for the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) and Canadian Securities Course (CSC).

Jessica Silverman, Associate, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Jessica is an Associate at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Jessica's practice covers all aspects of pensions, benefits and executive compensation law including advising on the pension and employee benefits aspects of corporate transactions. She provides legal services to both public- and private-sector pension plan sponsors and administrators.

Steve Tarling, Consultant Group Retirement Solutions

Steve manages all aspects of our relationships with clients, assisting in plan implementation and design, to responding to the ongoing needs of plan sponsors throughout the partnership.

Steve has over 20 years of experience in the group retirement savings industry. He began his career in human resources and has worked in operations, sales, education and relationship management with two Insurance companies over his career.

Steve’s well-rounded back-ground provides him with a unique perspective to provide guidance and expertise for our clients’ retirement and savings plans.

Steve has successfully completed the Canadian Securities Course (CSC), as well as the Code of Ethics Exam (CPH), Canadian Financial Planning (level I and II), Branch Managers Exam, Pension Plan Administration Course PPAC (level 1 & 2), and the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) Course. He holds his Certificate in Human Resources Management from Seneca College and his B.A. from Carleton University.

Jason Vary, President

Jason has practiced in defined benefit pension and retiree health plans for over twenty years. He has experience with many plan designs including single-employer, multi-employer, jointly-sponsored, private sector, government, unionized, non-unionized, as well as registered and non-registered executive plans. He also provides clients with independent due diligence services with respect to mergers and acquisitions, and expert independent advice on matters before arbitrators and the courts. Jason is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries and is also an active volunteer within the actuarial profession and with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario.