Well-Being Committee

Minutes of the National EAP Advisory Committee

February 23, 2005

DATE: February 23, 2005 TIME: 0900h – 1200h

LOCATION: 99 Metcalfe – 9th Floor Boardroom

Management Union
Neil Barclay (DG, SBMPS, HR Branch)
Reid Corrigall (Director, Calgary TSO)
Suzanne Gorley (National EAP Office)
Michel Goguen (National EAP Office)
Bonnie Lehman (Staff Relations)
John Benbow (PIPSC)
Shawn Bergeron (UTE)
Eunice Trainor (CEUDA)
Lina Ruel (UTE)
Laurel Randle (CEUDA)

Observers

Diana Gee (UTE – Observer)
Hector Walters (UTE – Observer)

OPENING REMARKS

Neil Barclay opened by welcoming Hector Walters (UTE) to his first meeting.

Management cited the recently released 2003-2004 Annual EAP Report as a tool publicizing the valuable services performed by the program and validating the hard work performed by all EAP stakeholders.

The unions reinforced the importance of regular, biannual meetings and were pleased to note the ongoing presence of the current management representatives, citing the importance of continuity.

Management agreed with the unions that regular conference calls between biannual meetings would be beneficial.

Management added an agenda item concerning the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with CBSA.

Regular conference calls between members of the committee will be held between biannual meetings.

1. Review of Commitments

a) Staff Relations Bulletin on Leave

Information concerning this item was sent to the unions previously.

Management reiterated the importance of dealing with specific problems related to leave for EAP purposes at the lowest level possible. The program at the local level is a management responsibility and most issues can be dealt with successfully at that level. Management and unions agreed that sensitization as to a manager’s role in regards to EAP should be a part of their training.

The National EAP Office will consult with Training and Learning to assess the amount of EAP information contained within the MG Learning Program.

b) Sharing of Wellness Report

Information concerning this item was sent to the unions previously.

c) 2003/2004 Statistics

Information concerning this item was sent to the unions previously.

d) Messages to the Field on CBSA Transition

Information concerning this item was sent to the unions previously.

 

2. Updates

Information concerning the following items was forwarded to the unions November 24, 2005, following the cancellation of the November 9 meeting.

a) National EAP Meeting (June 2004) – Status of Projects

File-keeping guidelines have been drafted and will now be updated.

A Statement of Work was developed describing the services to be delivered related to Clinical Supervision of the Coordinator-Counsellors. Guidelines concerning these services have now to be drafted. The National EAP Office confirmed that part of the funding allocated to the regions is ear-marked for the purposes of Clinical Supervision.

The National EAP Office presented a copy of a Quarterly Pulse Report for the period September-December 2004. This newly developed report attempts to capture information related to the impact of the Coordinator-Counsellor’s activities, information not currently captured by the standard statistical reporting form. The National EAP Office intends to consult with Regional HR Directors and Coordinator-Counsellors to get their feedback on this tool.

The unions wondered if more detail should be incorporated, and if the activities and impacts could be described on a regional basis. The National Office clarified that this is intended to be a National Report, that local or regional details would be available at that level through the Coordinator-Counsellors. Management suggested that the report be kept relatively simple and that it be reassessed after a period of regular use.

The unions were brought up to date concerning the learning event for Coordinator-Counsellors held January 10-14, 2005. The Coordinator-Counsellors received 2 days of professional development training related to Consultation Skills, a need identified by them during their previous Business Meeting (June 2004). One day was spent being briefed by Neil Barclay on Human Resources priorities and discussing their career development. Finally, there was a one-day meeting with Alternate Dispute Resolution Advisors (ADRAs) from across the country. The two groups clarified their roles and spent the day discussing ways that their interaction could benefit their programs and the employees who access them.

The National EAP Advisory Committee was invited to attend the next EAP Business meeting, scheduled for June 13-17, 2005. The National EAP Office will develop an agenda and will incorporate one day where the Committee will meet with the Coordinator-Counsellors.

The unions will provide any formal written feedback on the pulse report by March 25, 2005.

The unions will be consulted concerning the agenda for the one-day meeting between Committee members and Coordinator-Counsellors (June 2005 Business Meeting).

b) Wellness Report and EAP Coverage for Retired Employees

Management explained that the new Commissioner has not yet been briefed on the Wellness initiative.

The PIPSC representative raised the issue of EAP coverage for retirees, commenting that the Committee first agreed on its importance quite some time ago and that employees were feeling frustration at the lack of progress.

The National EAP Office clarified that a presentation was made to senior management 3 years ago. They decided, at that time, that efforts should be focused on pre-retirement planning. Management still intends to raise this issue should a broader wellness strategy be developed in the future.

c) Training Plans

The committee discussed a training plan document that detailed the training and learning events for fiscal year 2004/2005.

UTE expressed concern that there was not enough attention being drawn to the activities of the local EAP committees. The unions also reiterated the importance of regular local EAP committee meetings and conferences. Management explained that particular concerns should be addressed at the local and regional level, but agreed that the issue warranted the attention of the Regional HR Directors.

The issue of the mandate of the National EAP Advisory Committee arose, with discussion centering on the need to revisit and discuss the strategic role of the Committee.

The National EAP Office agreed to modify the training plan template to allow for the capture of local committee activity information.

Management agreed to raise the issue of regional EAP learning activities with the HR Directors.

It was agreed that the next meeting of the National EAP Advisory Committee would be used to discuss program strategy and the mandate of the committee.

d) CISM Plans

The unions requested information concerning Critical Incident Stress and the nature of the debriefing and defusing sessions used. It was agreed that a presentation on this subject by a Coordinator-Counsellor would be beneficial.

A presentation on CISM will be made to the Committee at a future meeting.

3. Statistics

The Committee was informed that the 2003-2004 Annual Report is posted on the National EAP website.

The Committee discussed the Excel report that had been prepared using statistics for the first 6 months of the current fiscal year. As this is the first report containing data concerning CRA employees only, it is not possible to draw any conclusions at this time. Year-end statistics will be more informative.

The unions raised a concern with regard to the apparent reduction in the time spent counselling by the Coordinator-Counsellors. Management explained that this topic was discussed at the learning event in January 2005 and that the Coordinator-Counsellors noted that their job has been evolving as they become more involved in the management and coordination of the program. They do feel supported professionally, however, and do not feel that this is a critical issue. The Committee agreed that this situation should be monitored and that it may be a topic for discussion at the June Business Meeting.

PIPSC raised the issue of the inactivity of the Headquarters EAP committee, stating that the committee’s PIPSC representative had resigned as a result. PIPSC also mentioned the comparatively low utilization rate in the Headquarters region. Management informed the unions that the HQ Coordinator-Counsellors and the Director of HR were aware of the situation and that ideas to revitalize the HQ EAP committee were being discussed.

The National EAP Office will send to the unions an updated electronic copy of the statistical data for the first 6 months of the current fiscal year.

4. Best Practices

The Committee was presented a partial list of the ongoing best practices within CRA’s EAP:

  • A wide variety of information sessions, training incidents and orientation sessions, evidence of an active program.
  • Widespread Wellness activities: Edmonton held a very successful Wellness Fair February 3, 2005; Atlantic Region hosted its annual EAP Week February 7-11; HQ also held an EAP Week Feb 7-11; wellness committees continue to evolve.
  • Partnerships with other programs (EE, ADR), with the public sector (Federal Workplace Wellbeing Network), and with the private sector (Canadian Mental Health Association), are ongoing.
  • EAP Planners for 2005 were distributed in all regions save for Pacific and Quebec:

The National EAP Office indicated that the National EAP website continued to post links to sites of interest to employees (Atlantic Region’s website, Sustainable Development).

The National EAP Office agreed to study the issue of posting best practices on the National EAP website.

5. Communication Between Committee Members

PIPSC questioned the need for Staff Relations to handle all communications between members of the National EAP Advisory Committee. The union feels that not all program information is being communicated and that it might be more efficient for the members to communicate with each other directly.

Management explained that Staff Relations is the conduit through which all communications between union and management are directed. They ensure a quick turnaround time and follow up on commitments made. Management also stated that important EAP program information is passed on to the union in a timely manner. They asked that the unions bring their attention to specific problem issues should they arise.

6. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) With CBSA

CRA and CBSA signed an MOU in order to facilitate transition and to maintain a consistent level of EAP service to employees of the newly formed CBSA. The agreement stipulated that coordination and management services for the CBSA program would be provided by CRA Coordinator-Counsellors in HQ, Prairies and Atlantic Regions. The period of time for the agreement was a minimum of one year, to a maximum of two. The issue of termination dates has recently been discussed with CBSA. The Agencies have agreed that the MOU for the HQ area will expire March 31, 2005. The MOUs for the Prairies and Atlantic Regions will expire June 30, 2005, unless Coordinator-Counsellor positions are filled before that date.

Management confirmed that no existing CRA positions are affected and that all positions are funded.

7. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for May 11, 2005.

CLOSING REMARKS

Management thanked the participants for a successful meeting and indicated that the strategic discussions proposed for the next meeting will be very useful.

The unions appreciated the frank and open discussions that took place. They saw value in the pulse activity and impact report that has been developed. They found the discussions productive and looked forward to discussing some of the emerging trends in the program with the Coordinator-Counsellors at the June EAP Business Meeting.

SUMMARY OF COMMITTMENTS

   
Responsible Party
1. Regular conference calls between members of the committee will be held between biannual meetings. National EAP Office
2. The National EAP Office will consult with Training and Learning to assess the amount of EAP information contained within the MG Learning Program. National EAP Office
3. The unions will provide any formal written feedback on the pulse report by March 25, 2005. Unions
4. The unions will be consulted concerning the agenda for the one-day meeting between Committee members and Coordinator-Counsellors (June 2005 Business Meeting). National EAP Office
5. The National EAP Office agreed to modify the training plan template to allow for the capture of local committee activity information. National EAP Office
6. Management agreed to raise the issue of regional EAP learning activities with the HR Directors. Management
7. It was agreed that the next meeting of the National EAP Advisory Committee would be used to discuss program strategy and the mandate of the committee. All
8. A presentation on CISM will be made to the Committee at a future meeting. National EAP Office
9. The National EAP Office will send to the unions an updated electronic copy of the statistical data for the first 6 months of the current fiscal year. National EAP Office
10. The National EAP Office agreed to study the issue of posting best practices on the National EAP website. National EAP Office