Time to abolish 30 per cent rule on pensions, says prof

Canada’s regulatory framework employs general principles, including the “prudent person” standard, as well as quantitative rules and limits, wrote Poonam Puri, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in The Globe and Mail Dec. 16 in an article about outdated pension legislation. One of the latter is known as “the 30-per cent rule”. It stipulates that a pension plan administrator shall not invest plan money in the securities of a corporation to which are attached more than 30 per cent of the votes that may be cast to elect directors. Simply put, Canadian pension plans aren’t supposed to hold more than 30 per cent of the director voting shares in a company anywhere – not just in Canada.

It’s time to get rid of this rule. Pension plans are already required to invest prudently, a concept that has been interpreted by courts worldwide as a standard for investments.

The 30 per cent rule, which is federal but has been adopted by provinces, doesn’t limit the overall equity position in an investment, so its existence can’t be justified as a diversification or risk-mitigation tool.

New bridging program at York

Mentoring is a big part of York University’s Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Professionals, wrote Toronto’s Metro Dec. 16. For internationally educated business and IT professionals who discover their skills aren’t accepted in the Canadian marketplace, relief is on the way.

York University is taking full advantage of a recent $4.5-million grant by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration to create a groundbreaking bridging program that lets internationally educated professionals in the fields of business and Information Technology (IT) gain crucial Canadian work experience and train to Canadian standards.

Starting on Jan. 20, York’s Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Professionals features completely individualized assessment and action plans and is aimed at giving internationally educated professionals crucial Canadian work experience.

“One of the things internationally educated people hear all the time is that they need Canadian experience – that’s a huge stumbling block for a lot of people. A key part of the program is the experiential component, and we don’t want people to redo their skills, we just want to give them that Canadian context,” said Kelly Thomson, faculty lead for the program at York.

Mentoring is a big part of the program as many participating employers have pledged to provide developmental assistance to students, and Thomson hopes the overall program will create an atmosphere of inclusion for all involved. “We’re really hoping to foster a kind of reciprocal relationship so that employers and internationally educated professionals can see what they have to learn from each other. These professionals are bringing a lot more than just their expertise,” Thomson said.

‘Victory lap’ won’t go away without curriculum change

York University is examining why half of first-year students taking math fail or drop out, wrote YorkRegion.com Dec. 15 in a column about students who are taking a fifth year of high school before entering university. A recent submission to the province from educators describes the curriculum as “a series of overly robust subject-based documents which are disconnected (and) overwhelming” that “does not engage students within their own realities, nor does it integrate the skills society hopes to see in a 21st-century learner.”

On air

  • Alison Macpherson, professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the Faculty of Health, spoke about her latest study of playground safety, on CTV News in Toronto, Halifax and Winnipeg, CBC Radio and Citytv in Calgary, Dec. 15. Many radio stations across Canada broadcast stories on the report, including CHML-AM, Hamilton, CFRA-AM  Ottawa, CJAD Montreal and CKEN-FM, Kentville, NS.
  • Paula Reid, a former homeless youth who is now a York student, spoke about a new study of youth homelessness, on CBC Radio Toronto’s “Metro Morning” Dec. 16.
  • Paul Delaney, professor of physics & astronomy in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about the launch of NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, space telescope, on CTV News Dec. 15.
  • James Gillies, professor emeritus in York’s Schulich School of Business at York University, and Bill Dimma, York honorary governor and former dean of administrative studies, spoke about the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, on BNN-TV Dec. 15.