Employee and Family Assistance Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)?

From time to time, we all have to deal with difficult or stressful events in our lives. The EFAP is a service designed to support individuals in dealing with personal, family or work related issues. The service most commonly accessed through the EFAP is individual or family psychological counseling. Areas commonly addressed through the EFAP include personal and relationship issues, physical health concerns, conflict resolution, divorce, custody issues, stress, communication and addictions, to name only a few.

What services are covered through the EFAP?

In addition to individual and family psychological counseling, the EFAP provides a variety of services, including:

  • specialized individual or group programs (parenting, communication and relationship issues, cultural transition, addictions, retirement preparation, etc.)
  • crisis response
  • workshops, seminars, lunch ‘n’ learn series
  • online courses
  • nutritional, financial, legal counseling
  • educational health resources
  • elder care and child care resources
  • retirement adjustment
  • life event services
  • work life services (especially child care, elder care and role overload related issues)
  • legal and financial consultation
  • specialized programs (Indigenous, cultural- and gender- specific programs, addictions hotline, workplace advice line)
  • web based services (online resources, self-assessment tools, counseling, e-scheduling, health information services

Individual assessment and counseling, family or couple counseling, psychological assessment and counseling in a wide range of areas. Please refer to the EFAP website for a more detailed listing.

  • Marriage and family counseling
  • Anger management
  • Stress management
  • Career and job stress
  • Anxiety and depression support
  • Self-esteem enhancement
  • Personal and relationship issues
  • Physical health concerns
  • Retirement adjustment
  • Separation/divorce/custody
  • Conflict resolution
  • Family violence
  • Post traumatic stress
  • Communication
  • Coping with grief and loss
  • Addictions
  • Career or vocational counseling
  • Eldercare consultation
  • Cultural transition support
  • Childcare consultation

Organizational support services are also available to help address issues such as:

  • Work performance
  • Constructive conflict
  • Supervisory coaching and counseling
  • Team building
  • Critical incident response
  • Effective communication
Who has access to the EFAP?

All University of Alberta staff members and their eligible dependents have access to the EFAP. This includes all staff members who are not covered by the university's Supplementary Health Care Plan (e.g. casual and temporary staff members). The EFAP provides crisis response to the university's faculties, departments and work units for faculty, staff and students. However, students wishing to access individual counseling services should contact Counseling and Clinical Services at 780-492-5205.

Is the service confidential?

Yes, the EFAP service is completely confidential. The business relationship is between the university and Homewood Health, not the individual psychologists and other professionals who will be providing you with services. Homewood Health reports aggregate data on utilization and trends to the university quarterly, but absolutely no information on these reports is specific to an individual(s). As with any health-care provider, the only exception is in cases where the individual accessing services has provided written consent to their psychologist to have specific information shared in order to address benefit entitlement questions or other similar issues.

How do I pay for services?

For faculty, staff members and eligible dependents, there is no charge for visits to the EFAP psychologists or access to the other EFAP services.

However, should a faculty or staff member choose to access psychological counseling outside of the EFAP program, the staff members will be required to pay the psychologist's fees unless a pre-approved subcontractor arrangement is arranged through the university's EFAP provider.

Is there a provision to reimburse for services obtained outside of the University's EFAP provider?

There is no provision for reimbursement for psychological counseling services obtained outside of the EFAP network. For those with access to a Health Spending Account, psychological services are deemed an eligible expense under the plan provisions.

What do I do if my family physician makes a referral to a psychologist other than the university's EFAP provider?

Physicians often make referrals for patients. Physicians may make this referral based on those psychologists that they are aware of who treat individuals for issues like depression, etc. If there is a counselor at Homewood Health who has this specific area of expertise, they will recommend that you go to the university's EFAP provider in order to have the cost of your sessions covered.

What do I do if I have a pre-existing relationship with a psychologist outside of Homewood Health?

Due to the sensitive nature of the counseling relationship between staff member and psychologist, minimizing the disruption, whenever possible is of utmost importance. We realize that this may occur when a new staff member starts work at the University of Alberta. Faculty and staff members may make a subcontractor request to the university's EFAP provider by contacting them directly at 780-428-7587. If approved, the subcontractor request will be in effect for a set number of sessions. The request is intended to address the immediate presenting concern therefore should future visits be required for an alternate concern the arrangement will no longer be in effect. The benefit of this arrangement is that the faculty/staff member may not need to interrupt the counseling relationship in the short term however it is expected that the staff member will transition to the EFAP to address future concerns.

What if one of my students/graduate students needs assistance?

University of Alberta undergraduate students and graduate students have access to psychological counseling services through Counseling and Clinical Services. You can reach them directly at 780.492.5205. The office is located on the second floor of SUB. Please check their website for business hours.

Graduate Students at the university can also access psychological counseling services through the Graduate Student Assistance Program (GSAP). Graduate students needing assistance can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The program is covered as part of the graduate student fees therefore there is no additional cost to access the service. There is no cap on the number of sessions that can be accessed through the program, the number of sessions necessary to address a concern is decided jointly between client and the clinician. Services are completely confidential. The program can be reached by calling 780-428-7587.

How do I provide feedback about the EFAP?

Both positive and negative feedback about the program is always appreciated. We rely on comments and feedback from faculty and staff members to continually enhance our programs and service. You can provide feedback by calling the EFAP Administrator, Sarah Flower at 780-492-2249 or by e-mail to sarah.flower@ualberta.ca, you may also complete a feedback form following your appointment or contact the university's provider directly.

Get Help Now