Navigating the Plan Environment

Navigating the Plan Environment (Bridge Course)

This course is required to earn the following designations: GBA, RPA, CEBS 

Sponsors do not make decisions about their benefit and retirement plans in a vacuum. They are influenced by their “context”—various factors, conditions and circumstances in their environment. This course looks at two factors in the plan environment that impact most plan sponsors—the compensation system and the social security system. Benefit plans, regardless of type, are typically developed within the constraints and opportunities inherent in the sponsor’s chosen compensation strategy and in the constraints and opportunities inherent in government-sponsored benefit programs provided through Canada’s social security system. GBA/RPA3 also introduces tools for building contextual knowledge. Decision making and risk management models and processes explore how awareness of thinking processes and their resulting biases can improve professional effectiveness in a range of plan contexts and benefits roles. Theory-based readings are supported with industry-developed models and guidelines.

Topics covered in GBA/RPA 3

  • Leveraging Canada’s Social Program Benefits for Health and Financial Security
  • Optimizing the Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan Benefits in Retirement Planning
  • Optimizing Employment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Income Protection Planning
  • Optimizing Provincial/Territorial Health Care Insurance Benefits in Health Management
  • Aligning Benefit Design With the Plan Sponsor’s Strategic Compensation Framework
  • Thinking Through a Behavioural Economics Lens
  • Using Behavioural Economics Tools to Improve Professional Practice Skills
  • Thinking Through a Risk Management Lens
  • Establishing Risk Governance and Culture
  • Integrating Risk Management Into Strategy Setting and Execution
  • Optimizing Risk Communication Reporting and Monitoring to Improve Decision Making

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Resources for GBA/RPA 3


Successful completion of comprehensive exam         



GBA/RPA 3 Study Guide/Required Readings, including online access to the guide and practice exam

*Readings Updates   



Instructor-led online class
12-week sessions offered in spring, summer and fall



Study Guide—Delivered in Print and Online!

The CEBS Study Guide is an essential component for mastering the CEBS material you will be tested on in the examination. Your Study Guide purchase is made through Books for Business and includes both a printed study guide and access to an online environment.

  • Learning Modules provide structured coverage and highlight key elements and critical takeaways of the Assigned Reading. The learning modules draw on readings from Textbooks and journal articles written by leading academics and expert practitioners.
  • Applications are designed to make you think about how what you are learning translates to the work world. Two types of applications are provided throughout the CEBS courses—Benefits in Action and Integrated Cases (Capstone Cases).
  • Practice exam, accessible in the online environment, provides immediate results indicating the areas that may need additional study, along with page reference sources and an explanation of correct responses.


A textbook and/or supplementary readings are required for each course, providing the theory and content of the topics covered in the study guide.

Instructor-led online class

Need a little push to stay on track or the security of expert and peer support? Online classes are for you. Guided classes provide access to instructors, a structured time frame and peer interaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still looking for more information? Check out CEBS FAQ for further details on curriculum updates.