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New EFAP provider meeting the needs of Queen’s employees and their families

LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell offers a wide range of supports including counselling, and work, health and life services.

As of May 1, Queen’s University has a new Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) in LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell.

LifeWorks by Morneau ShepellThe Gazette recently spoke with Sydney Downey, Associate Director, Return to Work & Accommodation Services, Human Resources, to discuss what the change in providers means for Queen’s employees and what resources are available through the EFAP.

Why did Queen’s University change the provider of the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) to LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell?

It is a standard process. The previous agreement of five years plus two one-year extensions came to a conclusion and a Request for Proposals from potential providers was initiated. Among the providers submitting a proposal was Morneau Shepell, as well as the previous provider Homewood Health. Following a thorough vetting process Lifeworks by Morneau Shepell was selected as having the program that best meets the needs of Queen’s employees.

Now that Queen’s has changed EFAP providers, will there be any significant changes in the services being provided?

Throughout the RFP process there was an emphasis placed on both quality and access to counselling, which remains a top priority for the university. LifeWorks employs a higher number of qualified counsellors inhouse which allows for greater control of training, development and performance evaluation but also allows for the call center to book 90 per cent of appointments within the first call. Counselling access remains 24/7/365, and counselling is available in person (depending on COVID-19 restrictions), by telephone, video counselling, online group counselling, First Chat, and online programs via CareNow.  Counselling continues to support a variety of themes including workplace stress, families, couple, and addictions. 

Also Work, Health and Life Services include legal, financial, career, family support services and nutrition services. LifeWorks is a very thorough program with many helpful offerings.

If a Queen’s employee has an active file with the previous EFAP provider, do they need to switch over to Lifeworks by Morneau Shepell?

If an employee has an active case initiated prior to May 1, 2021 this file will remain active with Homewood Health until completion. This could include if the employee was an active participant in a program or service or if they were working directly with a counsellor. Once that case is complete LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell is ready to help.

Utilization of the EFAP by Queen’s employees has grown by more than 30 per cent since 2017. Is this a good development?

An EFAP is only good if it is being used. A key step to growing further is to ensure that employees are aware of the programs and support that is available. It’s also important that we all work toward eliminating the stigma of needing help. The EFAP is there to help Queen’s employees and their families. If there is increased use that means it is being utilized for the betterment of the community. Also, the EFAP’s programming isn’t just for crises, although that is a very important aspect, and is meant to be assessed preventatively with the hope that crisis in the employee’s life would then be minimized. There are many programs available to help improve the overall health of the Queen’s community.

While the university would like to see all services made available through the EFAP be utilized, are there any that you would like to see get more attention?

I would like to see more of a focus by leaders on accessing preventative supports on behalf of their teams. Managers are a vital link between employees and the resources of the EFAP. This can be accomplished through accessing the Workplace Learning Catalogue or through other online supports or resources. If any manager or leader has a question of what supports might best support their team, call the dedicated line (1-877-789-7572) and ask for the Manager Consultation Line or visit the Manager Toolkit and Manager Supports.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot more stress and changed the way that Queen’s employees do their work. Is there anything available through LifeWorks in this area?

Yes, LifeWorks offers a COVID-19 Toolkit that provides access and links to a number of resources related to the pandemic. I highly recommend managers refer employees to this valuable resource.  

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To learn more about LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell and accessing the many resources provided through the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), consider attending one of the following orientation webinars:

Upcoming manager orientation sessions

Upcoming employee orientation sessions

Contact hrrtw@queensu.ca for any questions.