Jim Leech and Jacquie McNish have won the $20,000 National Business Book Award for The Third Rail: Confronting Our Pension Failures. Published by McClelland & Stewart imprint Signal, the book examines the current state of Canada’s pension system and offers case studies from other nations. It also suggests possible pension reforms in the face of a ballooning population reaching retirement age while facing longer life expectancies and uncertain financial markets.
Leech is the former president and CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of the largest pension plans in the country, and chair of the advisory board for Queen’s School of Business. McNish is a reporter with The Globe and Mail and a five-time National Newspaper Award winner. McNish is also a previous winner of the National Business Book Award, in 2004, for her volume Wrong Way: The Fall of Conrad Black, co-written with Sinclair Stewart.
The Third Rail beat out two other shortlisted titles: The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty by Nina Munk (also published by Signal) and Harrison McCain: Single-Minded Purpose (McGill-Queen’s University Press).
The jury that chose the winning title comprised chair Roger Martin, along with the Royal Bank of Canada director David Denison; chairman emeritus of Home Capital, Inc., William A. Dimma; broadaster Peter Mansbridge; journalist and National Business Book Award adjudicator Deirdre McMurdy; publisher and author Anna Porter; and senator Pamela Wallin. The award is given out annually to an outstanding business-related book published in Canada in English.