Agreement from stakeholder groups on changes to the University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and new funding in the 2007-08 operating budget have laid the groundwork for development of an integrated Health and Wellness Resource Centre on campus.
In March, the University’s unions signed a multi-party agreement to implement changes recommended in a 2006 external review of the EAP. The recommendations include assigning accountability for the program to the Human Resources Division, setting up a new board structure involving both the unions and the University, outsourcing the program, and integrating it into a health and wellness model. In the operating budget approved May 8, the new centre received some $490,000 in new funding as well as reallocated EAP and Sick Leave Replacement funds.
Barb Daigle, associate vice-president of Human Resources, said the University will soon issue a call for proposals to find an external EAP provider. Work will also begin on adding new services like an occupational health nurse and medical assessment.
Finally, services associated with employee health and wellness will be centralized in a single location, she said.
Providing a multi-discipline and integrated approach is becoming more common in health care practice, she said. “The long-term vision … is to support a culture where all employees are healthy and engaged.”
She added that it will likely take about a year before the integrated centre is fully established.