Navigating the Plan Environment

Navigating the Plan Environment (Bridge Course)

This course is required to earn the following designations: GBA, RPA, CEBS (Updated October 2021)

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

  • Optimizing Social Programs in Planning for Retirement and Health Security
  • Optimizing the Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan for Income Security
  • Optimizing Canada's Social Security System-Employment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation
  • Optimizing Canada's Social Security System-Health Care
  • Driving Plan Sponsor Strategy with Reward and Compensation Systems
  • Driving Behaviour with Reward and Compensation Systems
  • Understanding How Behavioural Economics Impacts Decision Making
  • Applying Behavioural Economics Tools to Improve Decision Making
  • 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, 3rd Edition

*Readings Updates   



Online Study Group With Instructor Support
12-week sessions in fall, spring and summer

Success Package                C$668

Save 20% when you purchase the Online Study Group and corresponding Exam Package.



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. 

Online Study Group With Instructor Support

Need a little push to stay on track or the security of expert and peer support? Online study groups are for you. Guided study groups 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.


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