Well-Being Committee

National Employee Assistance Program Consultation Meeting

June 14 and 15, 2005

Canada Revenue Agency

National Employee Assistance Program

Consultation Meeting

EAP logo

Our vision:

A strategic partner in support of employee and
organizational wellbeing

June 14 and 15, 2005
Toronto, Ontario

Report prepared by

Michael Trottier

Training Task Group International

And the CRA National EAP Office


Introduction............................................................... 3
Attendees.................................................................. 5
Accomplishment and Successes:

Ease of Access.....................................................


Excellent Service Delivery......................................


Increased Awareness and Acceptance......................


Strong Management.............................................


Strong Union-Management Support and Cooperation..

The Future of the Program.......................................... 10
Proposed Actions...................................................... 12
Organizational Issues................................................ 13
Strategic Action Plan................................................. 14


This consultation meeting was an opportunity for the stakeholders of Canada Revenue Agency’s National Employee Assistance Program to review the progress of the program to date and decide on a future direction. The issues facing the program are a natural outcome of its success.  Attendees agreed that the challenge is to position the Employee Assistance Program more strategically to support the organization in addressing the people issues in business planning, while maintaining its strong role as a neutral and impartial resource offering help and guidance to employees and managers in every region of the country. 

As a starting point to the discussions, six broad issues had been identified prior to the meeting as being critical to the future strategic direction of the program.

Access:  Ensuring consistent access to referral agents throughout the Agency
Awareness:  Creating and maintaining a high level of awareness of the Program with managers and union representatives
Union and management support: Gaining the full support of union and management representatives for all components of the Program
Budget:  Managing the use of available EAP funding as effectively as possible
Contracts:  Ensuring a consistent level of service, given the number of contracts
Performance Indicators:  Tracking and measuring program effectiveness and impact

While the National EAP Business Meeting was held from June 13 to 16, this report covers the proceedings of the two middle days of the meeting. 

Consultation Meeting Overview

The first day was devoted to exploring the program’s successes and achievements to date and sketching out the outline of a broad strategic direction for the program as its role evolves within the Agency. Union and management members of the National EAP Advisory Committee joined the EAP Coordinator-counsellors in discussions, as did managers from HR and other business lines.  The objective of the discussions was to generate ideas on how EAP can better support the organization and employees. 

The second day included some managers, as the group focussed on further refining and developing the ideas gathered on Day One in order to develop strategies and action plans for the future. 

This report describes the process, presents the conclusions reached by the groups and describes the strategic directions and associated goals and actions.

Day One Attendees

National EAP Advisory Committee

  • Reid Corrigall, Director, Calgary
  • Lina Ruel, LRO/ART, UTE/SEI, Ottawa
  • Eunice Trainor, CEUDA, Summerside
  • Hector Walters, UTE/SEI, St. John’s


  • Thérèse Awada, Director, ITSO, Ottawa
  • Robina Canaran, Manager, HR Operations, NOR, Ottawa
  • Sue Cooper, AD, Technical Services, HR Operations, HQ
  • Dan Couture, Director, HQ Operations, HQ, Ottawa
  • Lise Gignac, AD, HR, Québec Region, Montréal
  • Kathy Mawbey, Wellness Team Leader, SOR
  • Joan McLeod, AD, Competencies, Learning and Organizational Effectiveness, Vancouver
  • Jerry Travis, Director, Sydney TSO

Day Two Attendees


  • Sue Cooper, AD, Technical Services, HR Operations, HQ
  • Dan Couture, Director, HQ Operations, HQ, Ottawa
  • Lise Gignac, AD, HR, Québec Region, Montréal
  • Kathy Mawbey, Wellness Team Leader, SOR
  • Joan McLeod, AD, Competencies, Learning and Organizational Effectiveness, Vancouver
  • Jerry Travis, Director, Sydney TSO
  • Claude Bourget, Director, Office of Dispute Management

EAP Network Participants – Day One and Two

Laura Allen, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, Pacific Region, Vancouver
Lisa Beaulieu-Picard, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, Atlantic Region (NB and PEI)
Natalie Boulet, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, Québec Region, Montréal
Marilyn Cavaretta-Latzel, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, SOR, Toronto
France Desjarlais, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, NOR, Ottawa
Sara Fowler, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, Atlantic Region (NS and NFLD)
Nathalie Gladu, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, HQ, Ottawa
Michel Goguen, Senior EAP Advisor, National EAP Office
Suzanne Gorley, National EAP Coordinator, Ottawa
Hélène Grandmaître, Senior EAP Advisor, National EAP Office
Catherine Hamel, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, Québec Region, Montréal
Lynn Jenkins, EAP Coordinator Counsellor, Prairie Region (AB)
Terri Johnston, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, Prairie Region (MB and SK)
Rose Norman, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, SOR, Hamilton
Myriam Pierre-Louis, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, HQ, Ottawa
Lisane Turcotte, EAP Coordinator-counsellor, Québec Region, Québec


Accomplishments and Successes

The group began the session by reviewing the strengths and achievements of the program to date. The starting point for this exercise was quickly established: Canada Revenue Agency’s Employee Assistance Program is widely considered as a best practice in the Public Service. The participants agreed that the program to this point has been a huge success, due in large part to the efforts of all the program partners.

Some of the strengths and successes that were seen as particularly noteworthy are organized into five specific themes below: Ease of Access, Excellent Service Delivery, Increased Awareness and Acceptance, Strong Management, and Solid Union-Management Support and Cooperation.

Ease of Access

  • The diverse ways of accessing the program (the various service providers available) make the Program accessible to all.
  • Each access point is well utilized.
  • Short wait times to receiving service.
  • EAP availability to families.
  • The increased level of comfort of managers, employees and family members in using EAP now that the stigma has been reduced.

Excellent Service Delivery

  • The excellent quality and breadth of the training programs and workshops available.
  • Strong integration of EAP with other HR disciplines and programs.
  • The strong relationships within the EAP network.
  • The high quality of the people involved in the program - professional staff, volunteer referral agents and committee members, and contracted resources
  • The positive feedback we receive from people who have used the program is a sign we are meeting real needs.

Increased Awareness and Acceptance

  • The strong sense by all parties that EAP is a completely “neutral” program.
  • The program is solidly anchored at the local level.
  • EAP’s increased visibility in raising awareness of organizational wellbeing.
  • The strength and active involvement of the local EAP committees in our promotion efforts.
  • We have a logo that is well established and recognized.
  • Holding EAP week in some Regions has done much to raise awareness of the program and promote interest in using it.
  • Increased awareness of the importance of critical incidence stress debriefings.
  • The growing number of people who want to be referral agents and sit on EAP committees.
  • The trust and credibility of the program is higher than ever.
  • Both support and acceptance of the program throughout the Agency are strong.
  • EAP is now seen as the key to organizational health, especially at it relates to change management and critical incident stress management.
  • The program is now more and more understood and appreciated at all levels of the Agency as various unproductive “myths” about the program have been clarified.
  • The focus on prevention and early intervention is now more widely understood and applied.
  • The increased number of one-to-one manager consultations is a very positive sign of growing understanding and acceptance of the role EAP plays in supporting managers, especially with difficult or delicate situations.

Strong Management

  • The leadership and stability at the national level is strong.
  • The 1999 evaluation helped the program take stock, grow and evolve.
  • A comprehensive EAP policy that clarifies roles and mandates.
  • Contract management has improved with greater coordinator-counsellor involvement and a national standard Statement of Work.
  • Bi-annual national EAP business meetings provide an opportunity for program planning.

Strong Union-Management Support and Cooperation

  • Managers and union representatives cooperate more to make EAP work for people in a win-win approach.
  • Active participation of management and unions in program development.
  • The unwavering support the program is receiving from senior management is appreciated and indispensable.

The Future of the Program

The group agreed that EAP has evolved into a mature, well established and well utilized program offering an excellent level of service.  Discussion then turned to how we can build on that solid foundation, to ensure that the program is well positioned to meet future needs and support employees and the organization as a whole in a more proactive and integrated manner. 

The goal is not to change current service delivery, but rather to fine-tune the program so that it can contribute even more to, and have a greater impact on, employee and organizational wellbeing.  From this perspective, therefore, the program will work towards becoming:

A strategic partner in support of employee and
organizational wellness.

Some of the major themes that flowed out of the discussions include the following:

  • Prevention:  we will work to position the Employee Assistance Program at the centre of management and union considerations, in order to ensure that people issues are taken into account at the earliest stages of business planning.

  • Integration:  we will continue to develop and build on partnerships with unions, management, HR and other program partners, in order to offer a continuum of services and assist our clients in making the necessary linkages.

  • Change management:  we will develop and offer expertise in this area, in order to assist the organization in engaging employees and helping them move through change with increased resilience.

  • Alignment:   we will seek union, management, program and business lines’ feedback on how we can target our services to meet emerging business needs.

  • Monitoring:  we will improve our program tracking and measurement tools to identify key indicators of program success.  In this era of diminishing resources, only a rigorous evaluation program will allow everyone in the Agency to appreciate the program’s value-added contribution to the Agency’s success. These indicators will allow us to secure the program’s financial base and ensure that targeted funds are spent on program activities.

  • Corporate approach:  we will take steps to strengthen the management of the program by eliminating duplication of efforts and costs, ensuring consistent contract management, creating equal access to referral agents, and linking EAP staff, committee members and referral agents in a national network where everyone works together towards common goals.

  • Support and Development of Coordinator-counsellors:  we will focus on continuous renewal and development of program staff in our efforts to reach our goals.

Proposed Actions

The group ended the day by brainstorming on possible actions to support the vision and goals described above:

  • Find new ways to build partnerships throughout the Agency.
  • Revise the content of the half-day course offered to managers and union representatives.
  • Develop communication that is more strategic in nature and focuses on the prevention aspects of the program.
  • Strengthen the EAP content on the MGLP training curriculum.
  • Communicate the vision for the Program, add it to documents, and take the message to the decision-makers.
  • Promote the use of the Business Health Culture Index.
  • Ensure EAP input into the Corporate Business Plan and Annual Report.
  • Have an EAP presence at the UTE meeting to be held in September.
  • Review the EAP site on InfoZone to align with the strategic direction.
  • Share the report on the Business Meeting with the EAP network.
  • Develop client satisfaction tools.
  • Inform every one of the added value the program provides.
  • Get EAP on the agenda of management and union meetings throughout the Agency.
  • Issue reminders regarding the Leave policy to access the program, to ensure consistent application across the country.
  • Reach out to partners in the Human Resources community to create solid linkages and a true partnership.
  • Meet locally with management teams and unions.


With the strategic vision and goals that were developed on Day One in mind, the group turned their attention to the issues facing the organization now and in the coming years, with a view to ensuring that EAP services are tailored to meet future needs.  The following issues were identified:

Organizational Issues

Constant change, in a context of decreasing resources and increasing demands
Capacity of the organization to manage this kind of change
Increased automation
Shift to knowledge-based organization
Growing business - potential partnerships with other levels of government
Potential job losses, loss of security, re-skilling of workforce
Competencies - Observe and Attest
HR capacity, reduced budgets
Changing demographics
Union Management Initiative
Compensation Service Delivery Model
New classification standard – SP
Expenditure Review Committee initiatives
Increased managerial responsibilities

Strategic Action Plan

A broad outline of an action plan was developed and is included below.  Note that the goals, actions and priorities identified by the group have been organized under the following three major strategic thrusts:

  • Position EAP as a strategic partner, with a focus on prevention
  • Develop and provide change management expertise
  • Enhance the quality of the program

While union and management partners as well as the EAP network will be consulted throughout the process of developing products or tools, the table below attempts to identify the entity that would have primary responsibility for each action.

Strategic Orientation
#1. Position EAP as a strategic partner, with a focus on prevention



Nat. EAP Office




A. Be involved upfront in business planning
(people aspect)

1. Sensitize senior management

2. Build partnerships

B. Ensure program is aligned with Agency values and competencies

3. Focus on advisory services to managers

4. Participate in union-management meetings

5. Develop and implement communication strategy targeting specific groups

6. Use pulse report as a tool to raise awareness

7. Meet with local management to debrief this meeting and gain their support

8. Strengthen EAP content in MGLP

Strategic Orientation
#2. Develop and provide change management expertise



Nat’l EAP Office




Help create a resilient, change competent workforce

1. Develop change management tools

2. Revise content of union-management workshop

3. Promote change management services to managers

4. Update EAP web page on InfoZone

5. Consult and partner with MG focal point

6. Promote use of Business Health Culture Index

Strategic Orientation
#3. Enhance quality of program



Nat’l EAP Office




A. Eliminate duplication

1. Create a national inventory of EAP tools (workshops, presentations, etc)

2. Develop national tools (sub-committee approach)

3. Consult Training and Learning on product integration and partnerships

B. Enhance access to program

1.Recruit and train more RAs

2. Ensure consistent contract management

C. Demonstrate program effectiveness

1. Identify performance indicators

2. Develop tools to track and measure performance

D. Support and develop EAP network

1. Hold bi-annual national business meetings

2. Partner with other HR professionals

3. Provide training to C-C

4. Recognize RA and local committee contribution