Employee Assistance Program

Minutes of the National EAP Advisory Committee

June 19, 2012

DATE: June 19, 2012

TIME: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

LOCATION:

Place de Ville, Tower A, 22nd Floor, Room 2234,
320 Queen St.

PARTICIPANTS:

Management

Claude Tremblay
DG, Workplace Relations and Compensation Directorate

Jane Mah
Chief of Appeals, Ottawa TSO
Alternate for Janet deKergommeaux

National EAP Office

Suzanne Gorley
Director

Hélène Grandmaître
Senior EAP Advisor

Martine Parent
Corporate EAP Consultant

Judith St-Onge
Minute taker of committee

Regrets

Janet deKergommeaux
Director, Ottawa TSO

Corina Harding
UTE Observer

Union

Bill Blair
UTE Representative

Erik Gagné
UTE Representative

Lorne Roslinski
UTE Observer

Teekah Ramnauth
PIPSC Representative

Ian Tait
PIPSC Observer

Labour Relations

Leanne Given
Labour Relations Advisor

Guests

Kathryn Hill and Richard Lyke, Family Services Employee Assistance Programs

Andrew McCartney and Stan Pope, Shepell fgi

Alain Contant and Richard Sambara, Employee Assistance Services - Health Canada

OPENING REMARKS

The Director General, Workplace Relations and Compensation Directorate, Claude Tremblay, welcomed everyone, particularly new committee members Teekah Ramnauth, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) representative on the committee and Ian Tait, PIPSC observer as well as Jane Mah, Chief of Appeals, Ottawa Tax Services Office and alternate for Janet deKergommeaux.

Both union representatives reiterated their strong commitment to the program. Members indicated they were looking forward to a productive meeting. All agreed that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services would be especially important in supporting employees during the upcoming transformation initiatives.

1. COMMITMENTS FROM LAST MEETING

The National EAP Office (NEAPO) reviewed the commitments made at the last meeting and the actions taken with respect to each. No additional items were derived from this item. Follow-up to certain items were part of the agenda, to be covered subsequently in greater detail. The minutes from the December 13, 2011 meeting were sent out on February 24th, 2012.

2. E‑COUNSELLING

Three external service providers, Kathryn Hill and Richard Lyke, of Family Services Employee Assistance Programs, Andrew McCartney and Stan Pope, of Shepell fgi, and Alain Contant and Richard Sambara, of Employee Assistance Services - Health Canada attended the meeting and provided information on their e‑counselling services. Presentations by the providers addressed questions previously submitted by the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE). These touched on:

  • clinical aspect;
  • training and education;
  • technology.

The National Advisory Committee (NAC) members found the presentations extremely informative and useful. They were followed by a question and answer period and a very helpful discussion that served to alleviate concerns members may have had.

After the discussion, NEAPO reported on its consultations regarding legal liability questions about the provision of e‑counselling. The Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) responsibility lies in the management of the contracts and ensuring that these are complied with. Any responsibility for the e‑counselling services offered is the responsibility of the service provider.

CRA’s current data on e‑counselling indicates a very small percentage of clients are using the service. This is consistent with the data reported in the above-mentioned presentations.

The NAC members are in full support of employees having the option to use e‑counselling. It is important to note, however, that face-to-face counselling will remain the preferred method of delivery for counselling services in our contracts, as e‑counselling is not appropriate for all types of situations. It was also decided that EAP will continue to direct its external service providers to avoid targeted promotional campaigns for e‑counselling services.

NEAPO will amend the national standard Statement of Work and relevant contract templates as well as take the necessary steps to amend the current contracts to include requirements for the provision of e‑counselling.

NEAPO will also amend the statistical reporting form for external service providers in order to track the number of e‑counselling sessions provided to employees.

3. 2011-2012 EAP STATISTICS / ANNUAL REPORT

NEAPO provided an overview of the 2011‑2012 annual EAP statistics. The document and three-year comparison roll-up were shared prior to the meeting. NEAPO’s Director highlighted that the statistics were provided extremely promptly by the regions which enabled the National Office to fully validate them in time for the NAC meeting.

NEAPO had also provided the members with portions of the draft annual report prior to the meeting for consultation and feedback.

The union members indicated that the report clearly demonstrates that the EAP is an important program offering a lot of services to employees; these services are particularly important in order to provide support to employees and the organization during the upcoming transformation. NEAPO highlighted that all major services offered by EAP: counselling, advisory services, training for employees and training for managers have all increased this past fiscal.

The unions sought clarification on the annual report’s section on the Local Advisory Committees’ (LAC) activities. The UTE representative expressed concern that some LACs were not having quarterly meetings while other LACs were not developing promotional plans annually as stipulated in the LAC Terms of Reference. The PIPSC representative wanted to know how the unions can help raise the committees’ awareness of the importance of both these activities.

Members of the National Committee noted the decrease and wondered what follow‑up would be done to ensure that committees do meet at least four times a year, and produce an annual plan. NEAPO responded that it would bring the situation to the attention of the coordinator-counsellors (C‑Cs) for their discussion with the regional LACs and/or local management as appropriate.

4. NATIONAL EAP TRAINING

NEAPO shared information on the recent updated EAP products.

  • a train-the-trainer session on the two revised workshops on Mental Health in the Workplace for Managers was held with the C‑Cs during the Learning Event.
  • Living Well in Transition, the employee change workshop was revised and updated to include the latest research and make it more interactive.
  • the Toolkit for Leaders and Managers during Changing Times, originally designed during the cost-containment initiative, was updated and is posted on the EAP Web site and the Change management portal.
  • The Initial Impact of Change: Taking Care of Yourself and Supporting Your Employeesis a tool developed for the C‑Cs to support managers. It is a process, not a workshop. Using the Focused conversation model, it helps people process difficult situations, such as a significant or sudden change at work, as well as supporting them in managing the impact and finding ways to identify steps they may take to meet their own needs. The process can be adapted for groups of employees.

NEAPO also shared that the new products being planned include a workshop on resilience for managers, a series of factsheets for employees on planning for the psychological and social aspects of retirement, as well as tools for staff on the impacts of reorganizations.

NEAPO committed to sending the latest research on resilience to the unions.

5. UPDATES

NEAPO will look into the possibility of implementing the suggestions to enhance EAP promotion and awareness.

  1. A Learning Event for C‑Cs was held January 30 to February 2, 2012. It included a one-day train-the-trainer session on the Mental Health in the Workplace workshops, a one and a half-day of professional development on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and a half-day training on the consultations skills used by the C‑Cs in their advisory role with managers, human resources professionals and the unions.

  2. Concerning the Fit-up Standards for EAP C‑C offices, NEAPO submitted a Request for Non-compliance review of EAP Office requirements to CRA Real Property on May 22, 2012 and is awaiting further instructions from Real Property on the next steps. A similar request to Real Property at the Public Works Government Services of Canada, in partnership with other internal EAPs, is in process.

  3. The Toolkit on Grief and Loss in the Workplace, revised and adapted, as per the suggestions made by the NAC has been rolled out to the regions recently and posted on the EAP Web page. NEAPO has received positive feedback from the C‑Cs on the toolkit.

  4. NEAPO shared the summer issue of the national EAP newsletter, On the Road to Wellness. It focuses on the social dimension of wellness. The Toolkit on Grief and Loss in the Workplace is highlighted in this issue, as per commitment item ten (10) of the previous NAC meeting.

  5. EAP Promotion

    • The EAP promotional strategy has been updated.
    • As per commitment item nine (9), NEAPO consulted the Interaction editorial team to enquire about adding regular promotion of EAP services in the publication. It was determined that Interaction would not be able to do so due to the parameters of its mandate.
    • EAP was recently featured in Interaction in an article entitled “Fine Krystel”. A copy of the article was provided to members.
    • As per commitment item eight (8), feedback on cancellation of the EAP planner was sought from the regions. Regions reported that CRA employees have expressed disappointment but understand the current budgetary restrictions.
    • A discussion followed on various options to enhance promotion and awareness of EAP. These suggestions focused on ways to increase the visibility of the program, or of Mental Health or EAP Weeks.
  6. Best Practices

    NEAPO reported the following best practices.
     

    • The Atlantic Region has highlighted the following best practices:
      • Hosts three LAC conference calls per year.
      • Completed a needs assessment survey with all LACs to determine if the C‑Cs were meeting their needs.
      • Is implementing the findings of the survey:
        • Continue current schedule of conference calls (three per year).
        • Move EAP Week as it currently occurs during Security Week.
        • Post local LAC plans on local Web sites to share best practices.
    • Change management preparedness
      • All of the regions have worked diligently to be fully prepared to provide support and deliver services whenever the announcement is shared.

CLOSING REMARKS

Committee members expressed their appreciation for the collaborative tone of the meeting. The PIPSC representative thanked NEAPO for providing useful material and information prior to the meeting. The UTE representative indicated that he found the meeting to be a great opportunity to discuss the EAP.

SUMMARY OF COMMITMENTS

To be actioned by

1.

NEAPO will amend the national standard Statement of Work and relevant contract templates as well as take the necessary steps to amend the current contracts to include requirements for the provision of e‑counselling.

NEAPO

2.

NEAPO will also amend the statistical reporting form for external service providers in order to track the number of e‑counselling sessions provided to employees.

NEAPO

3.

NEAPO committed to sending the latest research on resilience to the unions.

NEAPO

4.

NEAPO will look into the possibility of implementing the suggestions to enhance EAP promotion and awareness.

NEAPO

Approved by

Claude Tremblay, Director General,
Workplace Relations and Compensation Directorate

Date: August 20, 2012

Approved by

Bill Blair, UTE representative

Date: August 20, 2012

Teekah Ramnauth, PIPSC representative

Date: August 30, 2012