Minutes of the Well-being National Advisory Committee (WB-NAC)

Well-Being Committee
Minutes of the Well-being National Advisory Committee (WB-NAC)
December 19, 2023

Wednesday, December 19, 2023 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm EST

Workplace Relations and Compensation Directorate (WRCD)

  • Natalie Waples, Chair and Director General, WRCD
  • Deirdra Finn, Director, Well-being and Occupational Health and Safety Division (WOHSD)
  • Kyla McGuire, Assistant Director, Well-being Section
  • Genevieve Maurice, Manager, Employee Assitance Program (EAP), Policy and Programs
  • Lisa Beaulieu-Picard, Manager, EAP, Clinical
  • Lise Breau-Emond, Manager, National Informal Conflict Resoltuion (ICR) Program Office
  • Natalie Cherryholme, Senior Analyst, Early Intervention and Return to Work
  • Timothy Fleming, A/Manager, National Well-being Office
  • Katelin Pepper, Senior Project Officer and Secretariat


  • Susanna Moretta
  • Abraham Garcia


  • Eddy Aristil
  • Patricia Sleczkowski
  • Jacquelyn Whyman
  • Shirin Amiri


Management Representatives

  • Ron Hebdon, A/Director, Northern Ontario TSO
  • Pansy Leung, A/Director General, Information and Data Directorate, Service, Innovation and Integration (SIIB) Branch

Union-Management Relations

  • Khaled Messaoudi, Analyst


  • Jocelyne Quane, A/Assistant Director, OHS 
  • Éric Saucier, Manager, OHS

Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Natalie Waples chaired the meeting in her now role as the Director General of WRCD.
  • Pansy Leung, A/Director General, SIIB, was introduced and welcomed as the new management representative.
  • The table was reminded that UMA principles of mutual trust and respect, and a commitment to be constructive, fair, sensitive and courteous in our dealings with each other, would be followed. When items outside the scope of this committee are raised, they will be redirected to the appropriate forum.
  • Members were invited to speak in the language of their choice.
  • AFS and UTE gave brief opening remarks.

Composition of the WB-NAC

  • UTE requested that representative from the Contact Centre Services Directorate (CCSD) join the Committee.
  • Program management made a commitment to look at the Terms of Reference and to review the composition of the committee to either add another management rep, or to invite the CCSD, ABSB manager to join the committee as guest/observer.

Program Updates

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

  • Since the last WB-NAC meeting, the EAP promoted: Mental Health week in the first week of May 2023; International Self-Care Day on July 24, 2023; World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2023; and Mental Illness Awareness Week in the first week of October 2023 by posting messages signed by the Assistant Commissioner HRB, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner HRB and the National Well-being Champion Agency Spotlight items on InfoZone. The next event is Bell Let’s Talk Day on January 24, 2024. In addition, events took place in the regions, such as wellness fairs, EAP workshops, and orientation sessions. These are also offered throughout the year.
  • In October 2023, the NEAPO, AD of the Well-being Section, and the Director of WOHSD attended the UTE Mental Health Conference to speak about EAP services and the new approach to well-being and psychological healthy and safety (WB&PHS) in the workplace.
  • In November 2023, a new desktop icon was made available to all employees, making EAP contact information more accessible. Union representatives were encouraged to share this information with their members.
  • In December 2023, an EAP orientation session was delivered by Homewood Health and the NEAPO to 160 EXs. The focus of this session was on EAP services available to EXs to help them better support their employees.
  • In January 2024, the C-Cs will receive a suicide intervention refresher training entitled, “Safe Spaces to Talk About Suicide: A Clinician's Toolkit.” The focus will be on therapeutic techniques and on supportive and safety-focused dialogue when working with clients who may be suicidal.
  • In addition, the NEAPO continues to promote Homewood Health newsletters, Vitality and Life Lines, on topics related to mental health and well-being on a monthly basis to both employees and managers by means of an InfoZone news item.
  • UTE raised concern that Manitoba does not have a C-C and questioned why the NEAPO isn’t overseeing staffing. The program manager indicated that the NEAPO is aware of the situation and acknowledges that is an issue. While the NEAPO can advise and make recommendations, regional management makes decisions about staffing and budget.

Informal Conflict Resolution Program (ICR)

  • May 2023, Managing Difficult Conversations: A Workshop For Leaders, was relaunched as a virtual workshop, and almost 30 sessions have been delivered to date.
  • July 2023, the Microaggressions and Interventions workshop was launched in partnership with EDID. Employees learn what a microaggression is, its impacts on individuals, and further develop strategies they can use to address microaggressions in the workplace.
  • August 2023, the National ICR team, in collaboration with the Character Leadership Division and the Management Group Network, hosted a panel discussion on difficult conversations. Approximately 800 managers attended sessions in English and French.
  • On July 12 (EN) and 13 (FR) 2023, ICR program hosted a panel discussion called Microaggressions: How to Recognize and Address Them, in collaboration with Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Division (EDID). Over 3,000 employees attended sessions in English and French.
  • In August 2023, The Team Charter Guide workshop was  launched and is facilitated by ICR Practitioners.
  • October 2023, Conflict Resolution (CR) Day under the theme of Preventing Conflict Through Empathetic Listening was held. CR Day was promoted in the HR Newsletter, a National message went out that was signed by the AC, and an employee story was published on InfoZone.
  • Launch of Conflict Resolution Conversations – Part 1 (CRC-1) is anticipated for the first quarter of 2024. The learning material is currently with the Learning and Leadership Directorate (LLD) for accessibility review. The online CRC Part 1 pre-requisite, TD 1595-011, is also under review by the LLD.
  • UTE commented that there should be better communication between management and unions, and that union representatives should be able to participate in these workshops. Local union representatives aren’t aware of all the benefits of ICR. Program management confirmed that CRC 1 and CRC 2 are available to all CRA employees.
  • UTE asked if UTE and AFS local presidents can be included as participants in the Managing Difficult Conversations: A Workshop for Leaders. UTE also asked if CRC 1 will still be co-facilitated by UTE and management for UTE employees only. Management indicated that  once the review of the CRC-1 is completed, unions will be consulted and their feedback requested.
  • UTE brought up that sometimes following an ICR process, employees and managers don’t feel they achieved their desired outcome and they tend to perceive ICR from a “win or lose” perspective. UTE suggested, and the program manager agreed, that there be communication/promotion to demystify ICR processes and benefits.

Early Intervention Return to Work (EIRTW)

  • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s launch of the digital version of the Government of Canada accessibility passport is expected in March 2024. The hard copy version will still be available after this digital launch. CRA continues to look at how to integrate the digital version into the existing accommodation process for injury, illness, medical condition, or disability.
  • The program’s name change exercise remains on hold.
  • The process to determine accommodations in the hybrid environment have not changed. The program is aware of accommodation challenges in a hybrid environment (for example, unassigned seating) and are currently working on options.
  • Following a UTE question regarding a time-code for ergonomic adjustments, OHS confirmed the code.

Discussion of EAP and ICR statistics

  • UTE asked if they can obtain a breakdown of the EAP Statistics to identify the number of union members who used/accessed the EAP services.
  • EAP does not track whether clients are unionized.
  • Union representatives were encouraged to promote EAP resources and services to their members even if they are not certain what their specific needs are. This could be done by repurposing national EAP messages and contact information in their newsletters, etc.
  • A reminder was provided that the EAP provides advisory services to union representatives to help them better support their members.

Update on Well-being Approach

  • The Board of Management has requested an update on the data strategy associated with the new approach to well-being and psychological health and safety (WB&PHS) in the workplace at the end of March or early April (*post-meeting update: this meeting has been rescheduled to early June). The focus of the briefing will be on how the PSES results differ at the employee, manager, and executive levels, and what actions can be taken to address issues at each level.
  • The NWBO and OHS are working collaboratively on projects associated with WB&PHS:
    • Environmental scan of learning materials, corporate policy instruments, and aspects of the employee lifecycle (onboarding, performance management, etc.) to determine where information can be embedded on WB&PHS and the 13 Factors.
    • Collaboration with the Well-Being Champions Community (WBCC) members, who are mostly the branch and regional well-being champions, to mobilize support for the new approach across the country. They have asked them to connect with their well-being committees to ensure they are aware of the new approach and what is coming.
    • Future iterations of the well-being series for leaders and employees --- coming up are “psychologically safe leaders” and “how to understand the PSES data by Branch and Region”.
    • Data strategy including a pilot project (awaiting AC approval), and development of a performance measurement framework.

Round table

  • UTE raised a concern regarding the change to the federal public service health care plan. While this issue is out of scope for the WB-NAC, the chair confirmed that it was raised at the UTE-NUMCC of December 7, 2023, and that there will be more communication available to employees through InfoZone.

Closing Remarks

  • The Chair, UTE, and AFS gave closing remarks.
  • The next meeting will be held in the spring of 2024, and members were encouraged to submit any agenda items when the call comes out before the meeting.