Employee Assistance Program

Minutes of the National EAP Advisory Committee

May 16, 2007

DATE:  May 16, 2007

TIME: 0900h – 1230h

LOCATION: 

  275 Slater – 18th Floor Boardroom

PARTICIPANTS

MANAGEMENT

UNION

 

Chair

Claude Tremblay (DG, Workplace Relations and Compensation Directorate)

National EAP Office

Suzanne Gorley (Director)
Hélène Grandmaître (Senior EAP Advisor)
Carolyne Keseris (Senior EAP Advisor)
Judith St-Onge (minute taker of committee)

Labour Relations

Jean-François Gagné (Labour Relations Advisor)
Bonnie Lehman (Labour Relations Advisor)

John Benbow (PIPSC)
Jerry Dee (UTE)
Lina Ruel (UTE)

Observers

Doug Gaetz (UTE – Observer)
Hector Walters (UTE – Observer)

Absent:

Jerry Travis (Audit Manager, Site Director, Sydney)

OPENING REMARKS

Management welcomed the committee members and informed the committee that Jerry Travis (Audit Manager, Site Director, Sydney) would not be able to attend. Jean-François Gagné (Labour Relations Advisor) was welcomed to his first meeting.  Doug Gaetz (UTE) was welcomed back, having been previously a member of the committee.  The agenda was presented and accepted. 

1. FOLLOW-UP ON COMMITMENTS FROM LAST MEETING

The National EAP Office reviewed the commitments made at the last meeting and the actions taken with respect to each. 

Further to the revision and pilot of the union-management workshop at the UTE EAP conference in December 2006, the National EAP Office sent the revised version to the unions.  The final File Keeping Guidelines document to be sent to the unions by December 1st, 2006 was forwarded November 28th, 2006.  Final versions of the CAS role 20 guidelines document and the Infokit were sent to the unions December 5th, 2006.

The National EAP Office forwarded to the unions the revised Statement of Work for the EAP assessment on November 16th, 2006.
 
The National EAP Office contacted Procurement to enquire about the issue of an audit of the contractors’ files.  Details about this issue will be addressed at Agenda item # 2.

The unions were consulted for agenda items for the CRA EAP Business meeting that was held in January 2007.

At the January 2007 CRA EAP Business meeting, Jerry Dee (UTE) provided us with a summary of the UTE EAP questionnaire and its results.

Also, Jerry Dee (UTE) attended the Basic Course for Referral Agents’ held February 5th-9th, 2007 in Rigaud.
 
The National EAP Office finalized the annual report based on the unions’ comments and feedback from the coordinator-counsellors.  The report was tabled at AMC on January 31, 2007, distributed in February 2007 and tabled at BoM in March 2007.

The National EAP Office verified and corrected the numbers in the Regional Program Activities Table 1 with the regions and resent the report to the committee members.

The National EAP Office stated they take the opportunity, on a regular basis, to highlight to the HR Directors the importance of having EAP as a standing agenda item at UMC.

The National EAP Office looked into the implementation of a national EAP newsletter and will report back on this at Agenda item # 5.

Further to the issue raised last November regarding a proposed selection process for Referral Agents in the Pacific Region, the National EAP Office reported that local management has confirmed its support for every component of the EAP.  A Referral Agent selection process is currently underway in the region and the local office in question.

The National EAP Office informed the committee that the EAP business meetings, usually held twice a year, would now occur every 8 months, with the next one in Toronto, in October 2007, to coincide with the Health, Work and Wellness Conference.  Its focus would probably be the results of the EAP evaluation.  The National EAP Office also explained that, since Rigaud is no longer available for training sessions, other options to provide training for Referral Agents were being considered.

2.  STATEMENT OF WORK (SOW) for EXTERNAL SERVICE PROVIDERS

The National EAP Office updated the committee on the changes that have been made to the Statement of Work for the external service providers.  An updated version had been provided to the unions prior to the meeting.  Hélène Grandmaître, Senior EAP Advisor, summarized the key changes:

  • greater detail introduced in the definitions and parameters, specifically regarding ‘intake’, 
  • modifications added to ensure more information is required from bidders concerning costs related to delivery of all services mentioned in the contract, in order to avoid hidden costs that may not have been explicit. 

The unions sought clarifications regarding several areas:

  • the PIPSC representative raised questions about the different types of intakes provided and expressed the importance of including in the SOW statements around clinical and financial audits.
  • the PIPSC representative expressed concern about the low response rate of the EAP clients to the internal Client Satisfaction Questionnaire in light of the fact that we expect the external service provider to provide us with regular reports of their client satisfaction rates.  It was agreed that internal staff should be held to the same standards.  The National EAP Office will explore the potential barriers that may explain this result, and how we can overcome them.
  • UTE sought a better understanding of the process of clinical audits.

The National EAP Office stated that there might be some recommendations on the issue of audits in the upcoming EAP evaluation report.
Management agreed that we would look into the possibility of audits of external service providers. The National EAP Office will forward the revised Statement of Work to the unions when it is finalized.

The National EAP Office will forward to the unions the revised Statement of Work as soon as it is available.

The National EAP Office will work with Procurement to include in the contracts the right to conduct financial and clinical audits of the contractors.

3.  2006-2007 Statistics – ROLL-UP OF FIRST TWO QUARTERS

Carolyne Keseris, Senior EAP Advisor, provided an overview of the Statistical Roll-up of the first 2 quarters of 2006-2007.  The following key points were highlighted:

  • Sustained high utilization rate of 6.48% (6 months rate)
  • Stable utilization rates for all access points
  • 3 main types of issues for accessing EAP services remain the same:  Family/Marital, Emotional, Work
  • Decrease of ‘Other’ category from 5.6% to 1.97% probably due to tightening up of statistical reporting process
  • Training sessions have once again more than doubled from previous year.

A discussion on the roll-up followed:

  • The PIPSC representative suggested that a greater drill down of the data would be useful, i.e. by gender, age, etc.  That information is not available.
  • UTE sought clarification on the data for the training for local committees.

Members were pleased to see that the statistics indicate that the EAP is performing well.

4.  REVISED STATISTICAL FORMS

Carolyne Keseris of the National EAP Office presented the revised statistical forms.  She started with a summary of the process to modify the forms:  gathering of suggestions from National Advisory Committee members and coordinator-counsellors during the year, review of documents by statistics committee composed of coordinator-counsellors and chaired by Carolyne Keseris.  The revised forms were then presented to the coordinator-counsellors via a conference call.  The final versions will be forwarded to the coordinator-counsellors once final changes have been made.  They will be effective as of April 1, 2007 in order to coincide with the new fiscal year and ensure the same data is captured throughout 2007-2008.

Major changes include the creation of a new statistical definitions document.  Its new or enhanced definitions will increase the EAP network’s common understanding of the terms used and therefore enhance the quality of our statistics.  

Following a discussion on some suggestions for improvement, the unions recognized the amount of work involved in this initiative.

The National EAP Office committed to revise the statistical Excel documents and include necessary changes:  it will forward the finalized versions of the revised statistical forms and documents as soon as they are available.

5.  NATIONAL EAP NEWSLETTER

To follow up on its commitment to look further into the possibility of a National EAP Newsletter made at the November 2nd, 2006 National EAP Committee meeting, the National EAP Office reported on its consultations with the coordinator-counsellors.  The great majority of coordinator-counsellors felt this was a positive initiative.  However, it was clear that no one had the time required to devote to the creation of such a newsletter.  An example of the quarterly newsletter HQ purchases was distributed among committee members as a possible alternative.  The newsletter, entitled ‘Changing Perspectives’, is available in a bilingual format and offers the option of adding local/regional information.

While members agreed that a purchased newsletter was a good idea, it was felt that it should also contain some CRA EAP information.

The National EAP Office suggested that this newsletter be distributed nationally for the remainder of the year as a trial period.  If this proves successful, the National EAP Office could then cover the costs in 2008-2009.  All committee members were in agreement.  Management indicated that the initiative should start as soon as possible. 

The National EAP Office will follow up on the distribution of the ‘Changing Perspectives’ quarterly newsletter throughout the regions.  It also committed to exploring the possibility of adding a national article to the newsletter.

6.  UPDATE ON EAP EVALUATION

The National EAP Office shared the latest information on the EAP evaluation, reporting that the consultant has found that the data gathering activities through local interviews went very smoothly.  He was appreciative of the support from coordinator-counsellors and the National EAP Office for the logistics of the whole process.

However, there have been delays in the submission of reports due to ill health in the family of the consultant.  The National EAP Office will consider re-negotiating the timelines of summary reports at the earliest convenience.  The preliminary summary report of the Employee Survey was shared with committee members.  Committee members discussed the results and the potential conclusions that might be drawn from them in various areas, most specifically around promotion/visibility of the program.

The National EAP Office committed to keeping the committee members informed of developments related to the EAP evaluation as they occur.

7.  BEST PRACTICES

The National EAP Office reported the following:

The ‘Mental Health for Employees workshop’ developed by a committee of three coordinator-counsellors is being piloted with great success in the Pacific region. 

The National EAP Office has sent a small supply of post-it notepads and stress balls as EAP promotional tools to all regions.

CRA’s EAP partnered with the Department of Justice, the Federal Workplace Well-being Network, Heritage Canada and the Canadian Mental Health Association to deliver a workshop at the National Managers’ Forum, April 23rd and 24th.  The workshop, entitled ‘Mental Health in the Workplace - What Can You Do as a Manager?’ was developed to support managers in their role when there are mental health issues in the workplace.  The CRA’s Mental Health workshop for managers was a major contribution to the presentation offered.  It was very well attended and extremely successful.

Management invited committee members to provide their best practices examples.

The PIPSC representative spoke of the PowerPoint EAP Orientation session developed in London by a Referral Agent, supported by the coordinator-counsellor.  A copy of the session had been distributed to committee members prior to the meeting.  The National EAP Office plans to develop a national EAP Orientation tool and thanked the PIPSC representative for sharing the London tool.

The PIPSC representative inquired about the EAP national web site.  Management responded that the web site has undergone a review and the changes are pending, as they are to be integrated into the overhaul of the HRB web site.  The National EAP Office committed to forwarding to the unions an outline of the proposed changes for the EAP web site as soon as possible.

UTE mentioned that the Coordinator-counsellors of the Atlantic are now attending some local UMC meetings as observers.  The union feels it is a useful practice to have EAP present so they are informed of the upcoming initiatives in the organization.

Claude Tremblay, DG, recommended that a report detailing the benefits and the impact of this practice be made and distributed to other regions.

The National EAP Office committed to forwarding to the unions an outline of the proposed changes for the EAP web site as soon as possible.

8.  CLOSING REMARKS

Claude Tremblay, meeting chair, thanked everyone for attending the meeting.  He expressed how pleasant it was to see people working together for the well-being of employees.  Two potential dates for the next meeting were considered, either October 17th in Toronto to coincide with the EAP business meeting or November 1st, 2007. 

The National EAP Office will look into both dates for the next National Advisory Committee meeting and inform the committee members.

SUMMARY
OF COMMITTMENTS

To Be Actioned By

  • The National EAP Office will forward to the unions the revised Statement of Work as soon as it is available.
National EAP Office
 
  • The National EAP Office will work with Procurement to include in the contracts the right to conduct financial and clinical audits of the contractors.
National EAP Office
 
  • The National EAP Office committed to revise the statistical Excel documents and include necessary changes:  it will forward the finalized versions of the revised statistical forms and documents as soon as they are available.
National EAP Office
 
  • The National EAP Office will follow up on the distribution of the ‘Changing Perspectives’ quarterly newsletter throughout the regions.  It also committed to exploring the possibility of adding a national article to the newsletter.
National EAP Office
 
  • The National EAP Office committed to keeping the committee members informed of developments related to the EAP evaluation as they occur.
National EAP Office
  • The National EAP Office committed to forwarding to the unions an outline of the proposed changes for the EAP web site as soon as possible.
National EAP Office
 
  • The National EAP Office will look into both dates for the next National Advisory Committee meeting and inform the committee members.
National EAP Office
 

Approved by                           

Claude Tremblay,
Management chair
National EAP Advisory Committee

June 7th, 2007
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Date

Approved by                                       
 
John Benbow, PIPSC representative

June 12th, 2007

Date

Jerry Dee, UTE representative,

June 13th, 2007
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Date