EAP referral agents thanked

Certificates were presented to those who’ve supported the program through the past year, including EAP’s newest RA recruits. From left, EAP Champion Capt(N) Guillaume Lafrance, with Erin Welcher, Wanda Leclair, and Sherry Fraser, as well as EAP Coordinator Holly Scothorn.

Referral agents thanked for support to MARLANT EAP program

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

The wellbeing of DND’s civilian employees in Halifax is just as important as that of military members, and the MARLANT Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is one of the key services available to help members of the DND team take care of themselves.

The EAP was launched nationally in 1982, and exists mainly as a peer-referral service, with volunteer agents at different workplaces across the Formation who are available as a point of first contact for employees dealing with work stress, financial trouble, medical problems or other issues. EAP is a confidential, voluntary, and neutral service – RAs are tasked with listening to their colleagues issues, offering advice and support, and making referrals to other services or suggested resources when relevant. Since 2012, EAP has also provided mental health services through Health Canada.

An annual luncheon event for the referral agents was held on November 25 at the Juno Tower Bridge, where EAP Coordinator Holly Scothorn thanked the team for supporting their colleagues and supporting her in making the program a continued success.

“Our RAs are deeply committed to the well-being of their colleagues and they volunteer for the role in addition to their regular job and duties with DND. They deserve all the credit in the world,” she said.

“Each agent brings something different and special to the table, and without them, this program would not exist. I’m both proud and honoured to be part of the team.”

Capt(N) Guillaume Lafrance, MARLANT Chief of Staff and Champion for the EAP, also attended to thank the referral agents for the work they’ve done over the past year, describing them as the lifeblood of the program.

“They’re the ones who get reached out to and who provide that initial guidance and help for employees who are facing difficulties,” he said.

“People First is a motto within the Navy, and that doesn’t only apply to our military folks, but to our civilian employees as well, and our RAs help with that.”

Union representatives were on hand to sign the local EAP declaration, which acknowledges ongoing support for the program through the coming year. The declaration notes a commitment to maintaining the health and welfare of all DND employees, and endorses the EAP’s peer-referral services as an important resource. Supporting unions include the Dockyard Trades and Labour Council East, Nova Scotia Union of Defence Employees, Professional Institute of Public Service of Canada, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Federal Government Dockyard Chargehands Association.

Scothorn also handed out plaques and certificates to the referral agents and others who have shown exceptional support to the program through the year.