Commissioner's Directive

Employee Assistance Program


  1. To encourage employees experiencing personal or work-related problems to voluntarily seek assistance through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). We recognize that the staff are the strength and major resource of the Service, and that the well-being and productivity of employees can be affected by personal or work-related problems.
  2. To provide services related to Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), as Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) employees are likely to be involved in critical incidents due to the nature of their work.


  1. Treasury Board Policy on Employee Assistance Program;

  2. Access to Information Act;

    Canadian Human Rights Act;

    Official Languages Act;

    Privacy Act;

    Public Service Employment Act;

    Any other federal or provincial legislation that apply to the Employee Assistance Program.

    The EAP policy shall not apply where it conflicts or is incompatible with the provisions of a collective agreement, a compensation plan, an arbitral award related to a collective agreement or compensation plan, or the terms and conditions of employment regulations.


  1. Treasury Board Policy on Employee Assistance Program;


  1. The Assistant Commissioner, Human Resource Management, shall designate a manager responsible for the overall CSC EAP and establish a National EAP Advisory Committee. The Committee shall provide advice and guidance to the CSC Executive Committee and include representatives drawn from management and unions which endorse the EAP and the CISM Program, the EAP National Coordinator, an EAP Regional Coordinator, consultants external to the Service and any other member deemed appropriate.
  2. Each Regional Deputy Commissioner shall designate a Regional EAP Coordinator and establish one or more advisory committees based on the regional needs. An advisory committee is composed of the Regional Deputy Commissioner or delegate, Regional Vice-president or delegates of unions that endorse the programs and the regional EAP Coordinator, and may include other members deemed appropriate.
  3. Each operational unit shall establish one or more local committees, composed of one or more program agents, representatives from management and unions that endorse the programs, as well as other members deemed appropriate, with a chairperson chosen by the members of this committee. Volunteer employees, selected by union and management, shall be given specialized training and be mandated as program agents to assist, advise and refer program users to appropriate professionals or agencies.


  1. The EAP is a voluntary and confidential program designed to provide assistance to employees, and their family members, who are experiencing personal or work related problems that may impair their well-being and productivity. Assistance, referral and short term counselling will be provided to any employee or family member who seeks it.
  2. Critical Incident Stress Management is a program designed primarily for employees who are likely to be involved in critical incidents. The emphasis of the program is twofold: First, it is preventive, aimed at educating and preparing employees to deal with potential hazards of being exposed to very stressful events. Second, it focuses on providing support, assistance and follow-up services to individuals who have been involved in critical incidents.
  3. Services related to CISM must be provided to CSC employees who are likely to be involved in critical incidents, due to the nature of their work. Support and follow-up will be provided following a critical incident. When required, further confidential assistance will be provided within the context of the EAP.
  4. Following critical incidents, visitors and offenders who are on premises, families of staff and families of offenders who are directly affected by a critical incident, shall be informed of the appropriate support and assistance services available to them, as defined in the Guidelines on CISM.
  5. Services provided to employees shall be based on the following principles:
    1. the Service shall help employees maintain their health and well-being;
    2. the information and assistance services shall be made available to all employees and their family members. Program agents will be available to inform, assist, advise and refer employees and their family members who seek assistance;
    3. the information and assistance shall be provided on a confidential basis and without prejudice to job security;
    4. confidentiality, in the context of the law, refers to the obligation to refrain from willingly disclosing information which has been received in confidence. It does not refer to situations in which the law requires a person to divulge information according to the requirements of the Privacy Act, or when humane, moral, or ethical considerations prevail;
    5. managers and supervisors have the responsibility to ensure that employees are informed of the availability of such help, and that they, and their family members, are encouraged to seek help when needed;
    6. programs shall be operated as a joint labour-management initiative. The support and participation of management and union representatives at all levels are essential to the effectiveness of the programs;
    7. employees' basic rights and obligations relative to the Service shall not be affected by their participation in the program.


  1. The implementation of the principles contained in this Commissioner's Directive shall be set out in the Guidelines 253-1 on the Employee Assistance Program and 253-2 on Critical Incident Stress Management.


Original signed by:
Lucie McClung


For more information

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