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Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EFAP)

Did you know? Mental and nervous disorder have replaced

muscoskeletal conditions as the top conditions causing long-term disability. 


An Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) helps employees and their dependents deal with personal problems that may adversely impact their job performance, health and well-being. It is an employer funded support program which enables employees to resolve personal problems through free and confidential counselling, assessments and follow-up services. They may be used for a wide variety of issues relating, but not limited to family, finances, mental health and personal well-being.

Canadian employees are constantly juggling competing priorities. They must manage their career, family life, finances, as well as plan for the future. Many of these priorities have grown in complexity as well.  With a large percentage of Canadians waiting until well into their late twenties and thirties to have children, they quite often find themselves taking care of teenagers and elderly parents at the same time. (Also known as the sandwich generation.) In addition to extra family and life stressors, these Canadians must navigate a sometimes bleak economic landscape with greater personal expenses and less job security. Many of us have become very talented at shouldering this burden and suppressing our emotions, but more often than not these problems surface in other areas of life – including the workplace.

EFAP programs focus on addressing the fundamental issues and personal problems an employee and their family may be experiencing by creating a healthy course of dialogue through various modalities. Some of the core services provided by an EFAP include:

These programs not only reassure employers that they have their employees best interest in mind, but they also make sense from a business standpoint. Two of the major pain points affecting Canadian employers are employee productivity and absenteeism. Absenteeism alone cost Canada an estimated 16 billion dollars in 2013 or approximately $1,100 per employee. The average savings from an EFAP program on absenteesism alone are $280 per employee – not including the productivity, medical and turnover savings. A recent case study by Ceridian Lifeworks, involving an international hoteliers with 300,000 employees also noted an estimated pay back of $2.60 on every $1.00 spent on the program.

One of the main concerns about Employee and Family Assistance Programs is whether or not your employees will actually use the services. Typically, EFAP’s have been known to have low usage rates, however, in the past four years they have seen a 50% increased usage. A huge part of this is due to an increased awareness that these programs exist. Companies that offer EFAP’s have worked hard to provide information sessions and educational material to employees and their families, allowing them to   more easily access their program.


For more information about EFAP’s or how to spread awareness about your program – please contact us today.

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