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Your Employee & Family Assistance Program

Immediate, confidential help for any concern

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is a confidential and voluntary support service that can help you solve all kinds of problems and challenges in your life. The program is administered by Shepell, external link and services are entirely anonymous. Neither HR nor supervisors are privy to information regarding who has accessed the program.

You and your immediate family members (as defined in the employee benefit plan) can receive support over the telephone, in person, online and through a variety of issue-based health and wellness resources. For each concern you are experiencing, you can receive a series of sessions. You can also take advantage of online tools to help manage personal wellbeing.

Accessing your EFAP

Your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for immediate, confidential help:

Your EFAP can help you:

  • personal stress
  • depression
  • grief and loss
  • anxiety
  • aging/midlife issues
  • life transitions
  • manage anger
  • mental health and well-being
  • crisis situations
  • trauma
  • communication
  • relationship conflict
  • separation/divorce
  • parenting
  • domestic abuse
  • blended family issues
  • family relationships
  • aging parent concerns
  • workplace conflict
  • workplace performance
  • career planning
  • violence
  • harassment
  • work-life balance
  • work-related stress
  • alcohol
  • drugs
  • tobacco
  • gambling
  • other addictions
  • post-recovery support
  • child care
  • adoption
  • maternity/parental leave
  • schooling
  • adult day programs
  • nursing/retirement homes
  • credit/debt management
  • bankruptcy
  • retirement
  • financial aspects of separation/divorce
  • financial emergencies
  • weight management
  • boost your energy
  • help with: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease
  • identify conditions
  • prevent illness
  • manage symptoms
  • discover natural healing strategies
  • create an action plan for better health

Frequently asked questions

An employee and family assistance program (EFAP) provides professional, confidential support services and programs for employees and members of their immediate families. It offers the counselling, information, tools and insights you need to address minor and major problems so they don't grow into more serious problems.

It is important to remember that no problem is too small or too large for the EFAP and that accessing the EFAP is often the first step towards addressing a problem.

Yes. The EFAP's strict confidentiality policy and safeguards ensure that no one will ever know you're using EFAP services unless you choose to tell them. Complete confidentiality is the foundation of the services and caring professionals work within a strict code of professional ethics, within the limits of the law. Shepell can only disclose to Ryerson statistics about use of services, and never the identity of clients or the content of consultations.

To preserve confidentiality:

  • Two people from the same organization will not have back-to-back appointments with the same counsellor, ensuring that they will not accidentally meet each other.
  • Identifying telephone messages are never left at home or at work.

Personal information is only ever provided to authorities when certain conditions—including threat of violence to oneself or others, child abuse or a subpoena—require Shepell to release it by law.

There is no cost to use your EFAP. If you need more specialized or longer-term support, your EFAP will help you select an appropriate specialist or service that can provide assistance. While fees for these additional services are your responsibility, some may be covered by your provincial or Ryerson extended health Care Plan.

The EFAP toll-free hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is a first point of contact if you require assistance. A Shepell Client Care Representative will answer your call to understand your challenges, connect you to the support you need to discover solutions, and answer your questions about the EFAP and the programs and services available.

Your EFAP toll-free hotline is 1-844-880-9142 and service is available in English and French.

If you prefer or require service in another language, let the EFAP client care representative know at the time of your call and language matching service will ensure you receive help in the language you’re most comfortable with.

Not unless you tell them. EFAP counsellors will deal with only you, not with Ryerson's management, your manager or your co-workers.

No. Your participation is always voluntary. Employers can privately remind you EFAP services are available if you are noticeably experiencing difficulties, or if your work performance has been negatively impacted. The decision to access these services is entirely yours to make.

Employees can bring any problem or issue to the EFAP that they feel is affecting their physical, mental and emotional health or, their quality of life and work.

Common issues that the EFAP can help you with include:

  • emotional and mental health
  • relationships and family
  • workplace concerns
  • work-life balance and stress
  • addictions
  • physical health
  • career questions
  • child and eldercare

If you want to discuss them together, you’re free to do so. You can talk over as many problems with your counsellor as you see fit.

No.  In fact, a family member must access the service independently as appointments from a third party are not accepted. The service is available for you and your family should they choose to use it.  It is a voluntary program.

The EFAP's goal is to ensure that you are provided with the service that will best meet your needs, leading to efficient and effective problem resolution. A unique model of service helps to establish your needs and connect you to programs and services that will help you discover that resolution.

Once the client care representative understands your needs they’ll connect you to one of the following counselling options:

  • professional counselling in person
  • professional counselling over the telephone
  • professional support online (via e-counselling or an interactive support program)
  • self-directed resource packages and tools

A combination of the above can also be used to help you resolve your specific issue. 

No. Your EFAP also offers a wide variety of work and life-oriented services to help you balance your responsibilities at work with the obligations you have at home. You can access professional assistance in the form of information, resources and even resource referrals.

This range of services includes:

  • family support services
  • financial support services
  • health information Services
  • legal support services
  • naturopathic services
  • nutrition support services

The cost of EFAP services is paid by Ryerson as a health benefit.

If you need more specialized or longer-term support, your EFAP will help you select an appropriate specialist or service that can provide assistance. While fees for these additional services are your responsibility, some may be covered by your provincial or Ryerson's extended health care plan.

No. Shepell provides a variety of support options that don't require your in-person attendance at counselling offices. The EFAP offers access to programs and services over the telephone, online and/or through text-based tools. When you contact your EFAP, a client care representative will identify the solution that best fits your lifestyle and learning preferences.

Appointments can usually be made within three to five working days from the time you call the hotline. In urgent situations, arrangements will be made to connect with you on the same day as the hotline call.

Shepell does not book any two individuals from the same organization back-to-back at the same counselling office.

Shepell's counsellors are all social workers, psychologists and addictions counsellors with a minimum of five years of experience.

Yes. If the counsellor feels that the problem is going to require further ongoing counselling or specialized care, he/she will make these recommendations known to the individual and will suggest several resources. Your counsellor will manage the referral process, including follow-up to ensure that your concern has been addressed effectively.

Yes, but it may depend on the situation. You should always tell the EFAP counsellor about your current or previous medical or psychological treatments.

Ryerson reserves the right, at any time, to amend, change or discontinue any benefit coverage. If there is a question about coverage referred to in any portion of this benefits communication, the master contract from the insurer is the governing document.