Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
Very simply, it is just what it sounds like -- the program provides confidential, professional assistance to help faculty and staff, and their spouses and dependants resolve problems that affect their personal lives or work performance. Participation in the program is voluntary, although it may be recommended when work performance problems exist.
Each of us, regardless of our position in the university, face a variety of problems in our daily lives. Usually we can work them out. Sometimes our problems become too much for us to handle and they affect our personal happiness, our family relations, our performance at work and even our health. When this occurs, we often need professional help in resolving our problems. Without proper attention, these problems usually become worse and the consequences are often unpleasant and expensive.
The program deals with human problems — the kinds of problems that affect personal well-being and ability to perform on the job. These may involve such matters as stress, anxiety and depression; marriage counseling; family conflicts; alcohol and drug dependency; and, in a limited way, financial and legal difficulties associated with the above problems.
The University retains the services of an external program provider, Homewood Human Solutions, with program counselors who are registered psychologists. Here is how the program works:
The request for help may be initiated by any faculty or staff member simply by calling the number listed below. An appointment will be arranged at one of the offices maintained by the program provider. Access is available to either male or female program counselors.
Confidentiality is assured. The discussion of the problem is strictly between the faculty or staff member and the program counselor. Exceptions to this occur when there is potential harm to self or others. In these situations, appropriate resources are notified as required by ethical guidelines and the law. The individual's participation in the program and any records of participation and treatment will remain strictly confidential and cannot be accessed in any way by the University. However, if faculty or staff members choose to inform the University that they are participating in the EFAP, the University will normally suspend the process of dealing with related performance or discipline problems (subject to any prudent requirements related to the safety of the employee, safety of others etc.), so long as the faculty or staff member continues to participate in the program.
Department heads and supervisors will not attempt to diagnose or counsel faculty or staff on personal issues. Department heads and supervisors may encourage the use of EFAP when a personal problem may be interfering with job performance, but it cannot be made mandatory.
Concerned about a colleague? An individual concerned about the well-being of a co-worker, colleague or superior, can contact the program provider for further advice.
Problems are private only until they begin to have an effect on work performance. Many time these problems can affect the morale of the university. The intent of the Employee and Family Assistance Program is to prevent that from happening. It's an offer of a helping hand. The program is strictly confidential and voluntary. No information is released concerning the nature of the personal problem or recommendations without signed consent.
The cost of the initial problem assessment, referral and follow-up treatment to a maximum of twelve visits annually per family is covered by the program. If further COUNSELING is necessary, the client is responsible for the costs. Regular health insurance and/or other benefits may be applicable. If services that are not covered by insurance are necessary, the program counselor will endeavour to help minimize the costs by making referrals to the most appropriate agency. Normal procedures or leave policies apply to faculty or staff attending appointments. Sick leave may apply for residential treatment.
A joint Employee and Family Assistance Program Advisory Committee has the general responsibility for the operation of the program. The Committee advises and consults with the program provider, hears concerns, and receives advice and suggestions from the various university constituencies. The Committee also receives periodic reports regarding usage of the program to assist in evaluating the program's effectiveness. The information provided to the Committee for this purpose does not contain names or any other details which could identify faculty or staff members.
The Employee and Family Assistance Program Advisory Committee is comprised of representatives of the various constituencies served by the program: The Faculty Association, the Administrative and Professional Staff Association, CUPE Local 3338 and the Poly Party.
The program offers a number of ways to start the action. The off campus program provider, Homewood Human Solutions, currently has 8 offices locally, as well as offices in 6 other major cities in Canada and also maintains a toll-free number. Simply contact the program provider by phone (on or off the job) and indicate that you want to discuss the program or you want help for yourself or direction on how to advise someone else to access the program. An appointment will be arranged. The program counselors are trained to make you feel at ease and to help you discuss the next step. If you want information and no action, the process stops there. It is up to you.
Homewood Human Solutions
Offices are currently maintained in Burnaby, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey (2), Vancouver and White Rock.
If you need help while out of the province call