What is an Employee Assistance Program?

Canada Life - May 04, 2023
Learn what could be offered and how your confidentiality is protected with an Employee Assistance Program. This free service could provide help for financial, caregiver, health, or relationship concerns
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An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a voluntary and confidential service, to help employees at all levels, and in most cases their family members (dependents), who have personal concerns that affect their personal well-being and/or work performance. Not all employers offer EAPs. Check with your employer to see if they do.  

Is this therapy? 

This is a short-term, problem-solving service and very often only a few sessions are required. If longer-term help or a more specialized service is needed, the EAP counsellor can help identify the expertise required and facilitate a referral in your community. 

What type of concerns? 

  • Marital and family 
  • Interpersonal relations 
  • Personal and emotional 
  • Stress and burn-out 
  • Work-related stress 
  • Problematic substance use 
  • Critical and traumatic incidents 
  • Conflict 
  • Grief 
  • Any other concerns that affect or could affect personal well-being and/or work performance

How do I contact my EAP? 

Any individual wishing to talk to a counsellor or make an appointment can call the EAP. Most have a 24-hour service, 365 days per year. Some have professionals available to address crisis and emergency issues immediately by phone. 

Who offers this service? 

In most cases your employer will make this service available to you and your family at no direct cost to you. The services are often provided by external EAP providers, and you may get an appointment time and place outside your normal working hours and workplace for greater confidentiality. The number of sessions allowed vary but are usually no less than three separate one-hour sessions. Many programs will extend the sessions up to a maximum of 5-8 sessions per person per year. 

What if you require more than the EAP can provide? 

Your EAP counsellor can be most helpful in helping you identify your treatment/service requirements. They can help guide you towards specialized services in your community, and coach you on how to access these services. In some cases, these services are free or available on a sliding fee scale. Your group health plan may assist in covering some of the cost through reimbursement (a referral from a medical physician may be required in some cases for reimbursement). Your group health benefits plan should have these details available to you. Your Human Resource advisor, a union representative or your supervisor can also assist in finding this information. 

This article is brought to you by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, compliments of Canada Life. You can also see Health resources for tools and resources for managing your own health and wellness, as well as information for helping others. NOTE: This is for general information only. Check with your employer to get contact information for any benefits, including EAP that are provided to you. 

If you are a Canada Life plan member, go to My Canada Life to learn more about your benefits and if an EAP is covered on your benefits plan.

Contact me today to learn more.