Directive on Employee Assistance Programs

Provides direction to heads of human resources to establish employee assistance programs that support employee health, well-being and productivity. Persons employed and their dependants who are experiencing personal or work-related issues will have access to employee assistance programs.
Date modified: 2020-04-01

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1. Effective date

  • 1.1This directive takes effect on April 1, 2020.
  • 1.2In conjunction with the Policy on People Management, this directive replaces the Policy on Employee Assistance Program dates December 1, 1999.

2. Authorities

  • 2.1This directive is issued pursuant to the same authorities indicated in section 2 of the Policy on People Management.

3. Objective and expected result

  • 3.1The objective of this directive is to support employee health, well‑being and productivity.
  • 3.2The expected result of this directive is that persons employed and their dependants who are experiencing personal or work‑related issues have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

4. Requirements

  • 4.1The head of human resources is responsible for the following:
    • 4.1.1Ensuring that the EAP is administered in accordance with the requirements contained in this directive, regardless of whether the service delivery model is internal, external, an interdepartmental arrangement or blended/hybrid;
      • greater certainty, organizations can deliver EAP services using the model that best responds to their operational needs;
    • 4.1.2Ensuring access to the EAP for all persons employed and their dependants (i.e., “clients”);
    • 4.1.3Ensuring that the EAP comprises at a minimum the following services:
      • and confidential assessment of the client’s needs and issues;
      •‑term and confidential counselling to help clients alleviate or resolve their personal or work‑related issues;
      • to internal or external community resources where appropriate;
      •‑up with the client to monitor progress and/or the impact of the EAP assistance and to determine whether the client needs additional services;
      •, promotion and prevention activities to support health and well‑being, including the ongoing promotion of EAP services and how to access them;
      • services to managers, including on how to refer persons employed and dependants to the EAP; and
      • stress debriefing (individually or in groups) after a critical incident, and EAP follow‑up as appropriate;
    • 4.1.4Consulting employee representatives and providing them with an opportunity to help develop and participate in the educational and promotional aspects of the EAP;
    • 4.1.5Ensuring that EAP services are offered in both official languages;
    • 4.1.6Ensuring that procedures are established for the appropriate handling of personal information collected, used, retained, disclosed and disposed of in the context of the EAP;
      • greater clarity, confidentiality cannot be promised in the following situations:
        • circumstances set out in subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act, which include court subpoenas;
        • cases of abuse or neglect of a child;
        • there is a risk of serious bodily harm or death to the client or others; and
        • other situation where the EAP practitioner is required by law to disclose confidential information;
    • 4.1.7Ensuring that measures are in place to monitor and assess the quality of the services provided; and
    • 4.1.8Ensuring that leave for consulting the EAP is administered in accordance with the relevant collective agreements, or with the employee’s relevant terms and conditions of employment for those employees not governed by a collective agreement.

5. Roles of other government organizations

  • 5.1The roles of other government organizations in relation to this directive are described in section 5 of the Policy on People Management.

6. Application

  • 6.1This directive applies to persons employed and the organizations listed in section 6 of the Policy on People Management.

7. References

8. Enquiries

  • 8.1For interpretation of any aspect of this directive, contact Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Public Enquiries.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2020,

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