By Human Resources Communications on September 17, 2019
There’s a growing trend on campuses to go smoke free. Since 2017 the number of 100% smoke-free campuses in Canada has increased from 14 to more than 80 campuses.1 In addition to smoke-free areas mandated by provincial guidelines and those designated by the university, UBC Vancouver has launched smoke and vape-free areas in the health precinct (UBC Hospital, VCH) and Library Garden, and the Okanagan campus is considering a similar approach. This represents a positive, proactive step in UBC’s formal commitment to promote health and wellbeing.
As community dialogue and consultation with UBC faculty, staff and students continue, UBC recognizes that developing smoke-free areas may create challenges for some members of our community.2 For faculty and staff who may be considering going smoke-free for their health and wellbeing, using smoking cessation products can greatly increase the chance for success. Only about 5% of people who try to quit tobacco succeed without a smoking cessation product, but more than 30% succeed when using one.3
Here’s how UBC’s benefits plan can support your efforts to go smoke free.
UBC’s Extended Health benefits provide reimbursement for smoking cessation products that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) and have been approved under Drug Evaluation, or that have a Natural Product Number (NPN), up to a maximum of $300 per person per year, provided that they are prescribed by a doctor or dentist and obtained from a pharmacist.
The plan also provides coverage for naturopathic services that can include anti-smoking treatments administered by a doctor of naturopathic medicine.
For more details, refer to the information outlined by your UBC Employee Group. For specific drug coverage information, call Sun Life at 1-800-661-7334 or 1-800-361-6212, or review the details in your Sun Life benefits booklet.
In addition to smoking cessation products, it’s important to have a quit plan. Through Morneau Shepell, UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) can be a supportive partner in your goal to quit smoking.
Led by a certified smoking cessation counsellor, you’ll be guided through a series of phone sessions that aim to help you navigate and problem-solve difficult situations. You’ll understand why and when you smoke, intercept smoking triggers, prevent relapse, and build social support networks. You’ll also receive a handbook containing exercises and strategies for incorporating your new skills into your daily routines.
Learn more about Shepell’s Smoking Cessation Program and Stop Smoking Centre. Services are free at the time of access and 100% confidential. To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-844-880-9137 or visit worklifehealth.com. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)
- UBC Pharmacists Clinic (Vancouver campus): The pharmacists have experience supporting people through a smoking cessation process that includes goal-setting, arranging access to nicotine replacement therapy, etc. This routine service is available by appointment. Contact the Pharmacists Clinic.
- HealthLink BC: Smoking cessation resources and health risks and quitting smoking
- BC Lung Association: QuitNow plans and coaches and QuitNow for men
- Morneau Shepell article: Make smoking a thing of the past (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.)
Amanda Swoboda is enjoying her new role as a Wellbeing Specialist at UBC Okanagan. With a background in social work and mental health literacy in the workplace, Amanda is keen to support and promote a campus culture of health and wellbeing.
1 Canadian Cancer Society, University and College 100% Smoke-Free Campuses in Canada: National Status Report, 2018
2 Perspectives on Smoking at UBC Okanagan, Campus Health Voice Project, 2019
3 Mayo Clinic, 2017
By Human Resources Communications on September 17, 2019
As students go back to school and summer comes to a close, there are two things that tend to cause anxiety as we settle back into a fall routine: packing lunches and planning weeknight dinners.
Is plant-based eating healthy? What about carbs; those are bad right? Is more fat better or worse, and what type? Is coconut sugar better than cane sugar? Does fruit have too much sugar? What’s the deal with gluten? What about sea salt vs. table salt?
Is your head spinning?
With conflicting reports, studies and “expert” opinions, there can be a lot of confusion. Things become even more complicated when we add allergies, other restrictions, and our desire to eat well and prevent chronic disease into the mix.
The great news is that UBC employees enrolled in Extended Health benefits get free (or low cost) access to the experts in food and nutrition: registered dietitians (RDs). Dietitians are trained health professionals who studied nutrition for a minimum of five years and know exactly what’s up in the nutrition world. UBC has the only training program for dietitians in BC and sees about 36 graduates a year.
Dietitians can help:
- Ensure you are meeting your nutrition goals
- Slow the progress or prevent many chronic diseases that are closely linked to nutrition, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes
- Find simple, healthy and delicious recipes that fit within any allergies or restrictions, and ensure you aren’t at risk for nutrient deficiencies
- Improve your gut health
- Improve sports performance
- Clear up any confusion and bust nutrition myths
- Clarify the nutritional implications of different life stages, such as pregnancy or aging
- Deal with infant feeding issues and questions
- Improve your relationship with food
- Identify and work through barriers that prevent you from eating well
- And more!
Benefits Coverage, Support and Community Resources
Use your Extended Health benefits:
- Employees enrolled in Sun Life Extended Health benefits are covered for 80% of the cost of RD services, up to a maximum of $600 per calendar year. Note that this $600 is shared with other paramedical practitioners, including acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, speech therapists, and others.
- Check your available balance on the Sun Life website or mobile app.
Access your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP):
- EFAP provides much more than counselling services. If you are enrolled in the EFAP, talk to an RD over the telephone. All EFAP services are confidential. Visit workhealthlife.com for more information or call Morneau Shepell at 1-844-880-9137. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization when accessing workhealthlife.com.)
Explore these community resources:
- Looking for a dietitian in your area? Use the Dietitians of Canada’s Find a Dietitian
- Call 8-1-1 toll-free to contact a HealthLinkBC dietitian or you can email them your questions. Available Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., HealthLinkBC dietitians have advanced training in a variety of topics, such as allergies, infant feeding, cancer and more. This program is provincially funded.
Did you know…
……that Food + Nutrition is one of the six priority areas in the new UBC Wellbeing Strategic Framework? Dietitians across the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses contributed to this important work that supports UBC’s vision for “a nutritionally sound campus” that “promotes health and wellbeing for all members of the UBC community.”
Related Benefits FYI articles:
Melissa Baker, Workplace Wellbeing Strategist for HR, is an alum of the UBC dietetics program and came back to UBC as a staff member in 2016. Melissa is passionate about embedding health and wellbeing into the everyday operations of the university and loves staying up-to-date in the crazy world of food and nutrition.
By Human Resources Communications on April 23, 2019
Access Your Group Benefits through the Sun Life App
The my Sun Life Mobile app is a convenient way for UBC plan members to connect to their group benefits through their mobile devices. The app offers instant access to all your health and vision care benefit information and allows you to submit your claims using your phone.
Why use an app when I can access Sun Life from my desktop?
Visit mysunlife.ca from your desktop computer, and you’ll find a full range of services, information and tools. You’ll also be able to update your contact and banking information.
The my Sun Life Mobile app offers more specific services, information and tools to help you when you’re on the go. You can:
- Submit and view your recent claims
- Review your coverage information: medical, vision, drug, health spending account, and disability
- Search for a healthcare provider near you
- Discover the latest deals, special offers and opportunities to save on your vision and/or medical equipment purchase
- Use the drug look-up tool to find out how much of your prescription drug costs are covered
- Access your coverage card, drug card and medical card. If you have an iPhone, you can even include these in your Apple Wallet.
That’s so convenient. How do I get the Sun Life app?
Visit my Sun Life Mobile app to download the appropriate version of the app for your device.
Support at Your Fingertips with the My EAP App
When you need health information or help, the My EAP app can give you immediate, confidential and secure access to your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP/EAP) – anytime and anywhere.
Morneau Shepell is UBC’s EFAP/EAP provider, and their award-winning My EAP app offers interactive support tools and expert information for work, health and life issues that can impact you and your family.
Here’s what you can do with the My EAP app:
- Book a service using the Online Access platform or First Chat, which allows you to connect with a counsellor for immediate support
- Access counselling services through First Chat or log in for E-Counselling, where you can exchange written messages with a counsellor in a secure online portal
- Discover Morneau Shepell’s library of expert health and wellbeing articles
- Watch informative videos, access assessment tools, and enrol in online programs on topics such as financial planning, smoking cessation, stress management and retirement planning
I like being able to access health and wellness supports while on the go. How do I get the My EAP app?
Visit Morneau Shepell’s My EAP Mobile Device Application page for more information and to download the free app. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization to access the page.)
Do you have questions? Contact the Health, Wellbeing & Benefits team at email@example.com.
By Human Resources Communications on February 21, 2019
When faced with life’s challenges, UBC employees and their dependents have access to many supports. In this issue of Benefits FYI, you’ll find three different scenarios. We highlight the dilemma at hand, as well as the supports available to help you navigate those situations and find solutions, or at least make them more manageable. You may be currently facing a similar situation or maybe you aren’t, but you’ll have the knowledge you need to reach out for support.
Rico’s Challenge: When you need to support your mental wellbeing – at work and at home
Rico would like to learn more about work-life integration. He’s feeling overwhelmed and often finds himself worrying about work, even when he’s at home trying to focus on caring for his family. He feels anxious and worries it’s putting a strain on his personal and professional relationships.
How EFAP and UBC’s Extended Health plan can help:
UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Morneau Shepell, offers confidential counselling and consultative services to help you and your dependents find solutions to any challenges, including anxiety, work-life integration and relationships. Their experienced professionals are available 24/7: in-person at various locations across BC, over the phone in multiple languages, via video, or through First Chat.
To book services or to learn which service is right for you, call the Shepell Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765 or visit www.worklifehealth.com. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.) Whether you’ve used Morneau Shepell before or are using them for the first time, know what to expect when you access EFAP services.
Through UBC’s Extended Health Plan, you can access counselling services from a licensed psychologist, registered social worker or registered clinical counsellor and be 100% reimbursed up to a maximum of $2,500 for each person enrolled per benefit year. For more details, refer to your UBC Employee Group.
How HR resources can help:
UBC Human Resources offers a range of programs and resources to help individuals improve their mental health and resiliency and support UBC workplaces that want to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of its staff and faculty. Visit our Mental Health page for more information.
Katie’s Challenge: The emotional toll of caring for an ill family member
Katie’s father has been living with her for the past two years. He’s physically capable of caring for himself, but is financially dependent on Katie and her partner. Recently, he was diagnosed with gout and is having difficulty coming to terms with the diagnosis and the diet changes his doctor advised him to follow. Katie would like some advice for herself as a caregiver and also for her father to support him through this diagnosis.
How EFAP can help:
EFAP is available for eligible staff, faculty, retired employees, and their dependents. Dependents include spouses and children, as well as parents that are financially dependent on the employee. Because Katie already enrolled her father in EFAP, they can both access Morneau Shepell’s support services.
For Katie’s father, a counsellor can help him cope with health changes. He can also receive nutrition advice and health-related consultations from naturopathic doctors, registered dietitians and nurses over the phone. As a caregiver, Katie can support her own emotional wellbeing through counselling. Confidential email or e-counselling for psychological support is available, which Katie might find useful since she enjoys writing and journaling.
Did you know you can add your parents to your EFAP coverage as long as they live with you and are financially dependent on you? To add an eligible parent to your EFAP coverage, complete this form and send it to the appropriate UBC Payroll Office for processing:
Attention: Payroll Services
TEF3 – 5th Floor, 6190 Agronomy Road
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z3
Finance Operations & Strategies
ADM006 – 1138 Alumni Ave
Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7
Bruce’s Challenge: When gambling isn’t fun anymore
Bruce has always enjoyed a night out at the casino with friends. A few months ago, after comments from a family member regarding the amount of time he spent gambling, he switched to online poker instead. He also recently had to sell his car to be able to pay his rent. Bruce is feeling increasingly self-conscious about his gambling and has begun to question whether or not his habits are cause for concern. He would like to talk to a counsellor about his situation and also needs help figuring out his finances.
How EFAP can help:
EFAP has many addictions-related articles including this one on understanding gambling addiction. EFAP provides confidential short-term, in-person counselling that can help Bruce talk about his concerns and determine if he has a gambling addiction. An EFAP counsellor could help him develop coping strategies and practical tools for abstaining from addictive behaviour, with the goal of maintaining abstinence over time. Bruce can also access First Chat, a confidential chat platform that provides online support any time of day.
Bruce can also access financial consultations over the phone to help with budgeting and debt reduction. If the situation requires specialized care or long-term counselling, Bruce could be referred to a counsellor within the community and be covered through UBC’s Extended Health Plan.
For a list of additional resources at UBC and within your community including help lines, support groups, and harm reduction and treatment options, visit the Substance Use and Addiction Support Resources page.
Do you have questions? Contact the Health, Wellbeing & Benefits team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Human Resources Communications on September 21, 2017
UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is a confidential and voluntary counselling support service that provides you and your family with the help you need to resolve a wide range of personal, work, health or life issues. Expert information and immediate support resources are available in-person and by phone, video, web or mobile app.
UBC’s EFAP service provider, Shepell, provides both short-term counselling and work/health/life consultations to all eligible UBC faculty and staff and their dependent family members, at no cost to users other than the cost of your monthly premiums. EFAP is also available to UBC retirees and eligible surviving family of UBC faculty and staff who enrol in this program through the Retirement & Survivor Benefits Program.
Overview of EFAP Services:
- Available for all eligible UBC staff, faculty and their dependents, as well as UBC retirees and eligible surviving family members
- Provides accessible, confidential, voluntary and immediate (if needed) counselling
- Short-term, solution-focused counselling
- Available 24/7, 365 days
- Categories of services include:
- Counselling (i.e. anxiety, relationships, stress, depression, addiction)
- Work/health/life consultations (i.e. health coaching, nutrition, family and eldercare support)
- Professional advice (i.e. financial, legal, and career advice)
- Counselling available via eight modalities including in-person, phone, instant chat, e-counselling, video, online group counselling, and self-directed learning (Health & Wellness Resource kits)
- Additional services include online programs for stress management, relationship, separation and divorce, financial planning, and smoking cessation
- My EAP app gives access to immediate, confidential and secure access to EFAP on any mobile device
What you can expect when calling Shepell’s Care Access Centre (CAC):
Shepell’s CAC is available 24 hours, seven days a week, at 1-800-387-4765. When calling the confidential CAC, after the language prompt, there are three selections:
- Press 1 for immediate counselling
- Press 2 to schedule an EFAP service based on need
- Press 3 for critical incident debriefing (for onsite crises)
Emergency counselling services are available. If you are experiencing a personal crisis and require immediate counselling services, call 1-800-387-4765, choose your language preference, and press 1 for immediate access to a counsellor. If you want to arrange an in-person counselling session during this call, an appointment will be set up within 24 hours.
Clients can make requests for specific needs and the general wait time to see a counsellor in person is within five business days (non-emergency counselling). If you have specific preferences, you may have to wait longer than five business days. For example, if you request an in-person appointment with a female counsellor in Burnaby on a weekend, you may wait longer than five business days.
In-person counselling through EFAP is available at many different locations. Shepell’s main offices are located in downtown Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Kelowna and Kamloops. Other private offices in the Metro Vancouver and the Okanagan are also available.
What you can expect when making a counselling appointment:
Clients should approach counselling, and their counsellor with an open mind.
The scope of EFAP is to provide short-term, solution-focused counselling. While there is no set limit to the number of counselling sessions a person can use, it is meant to provide short-term, solution-based counselling to assist with specific issues. Referrals can be made based on the counsellor’s assessment for issues that may require long-term, on-going support.
Counselling for crises/traumatic events and critical incident debriefing assistance at a department or faculty are available with a quick turnaround time. Either a HR advisor or a HR manager at a department or faculty can contact Shepell to request this service (different from a personal crisis situation).
All EFAP services are confidential and UBC is not informed of the identity of those using EFAP services.
All Shepell counsellors have a minimum of a Master’s degree in a related field and a minimum of five to 10 years of EFAP counselling experience in a variety of clinical areas. In-person, telephone and video counselling are all available in multiple languages.
After your first counselling session, any additional sessions will be booked directly through your counsellor. You do not need to call the Care Access Centre (CAC) to book a subsequent appointment unless you are seeking support for an unrelated issue or a new case.
Help for all mental health issues is available, including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, addiction, self-esteem, etc.
Additional support services are also included. You can access many other WorkLife support services through EFAP. These include financial and legal support, career counselling, nutrition support and health coaching. Shepell’s website includes many additional resources, including self-directed online programs and a collection of articles.
Work/Life services are telephonic. These services are different from clinical counselling in that they are resource-based, done over the phone and delivered by professionals with designated credentials based on the area of expertise (e.g. registered dietitian for nutrition).
Feedback about EFAP services and counsellors is encouraged. When accessing services and after you have completed sessions, you will be given a paper satisfaction survey or directed to an online survey. Feedback can also be provided by contacting the Care Access Centre (CAC). This evaluation data is used by Shepell to improve services and Shepell provides summary reports back to UBC (identity of those who provided feedback is not disclosed to UBC).
For more information, including requesting brochures, booking an EFAP orientation presentation, or sharing compliments or concerns about your counselling experience with Shepell, please contact:
Health & Wellbeing Associate
By Human Resources Communications on September 21, 2015
Updated: Sept. 27, 2017
To support our faculty and staff with balancing the demands of work and family, UBC has partnered with Kids & Company to provide you with another option for child care.
These services are exclusive to employees of corporate members and the cost will depend on the service(s) you select. For example, the emergency child care package currently costs $350 for 15 visits per year per child.
Kids & Company has several locations in Metro Vancouver and surrounding areas, with plans for expansion in the coming years.
- For more information on emergency child care, please visit: https://kidsandcompany.com/corporate/back-up-program/
- For more information on full and part time child care programs, please visit: https://kidsandcompany.com/programs/full-time-part-time-programs/
UBC employees may also access additional services such as babysitter referrals, parenting concierge, Kidco Kuts (in-centre hair cut services), parenting centres and various family events.
For more information or to access services, contact Kids & Company toll-free at 1-866-695-4326 and say you’re with UBC, or register online and select either “UBC – Faculty” or “UBC – Staff” from the pull-down menu. Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Kids & Company is just one child care option available to you. UBC Child Care Services in Vancouver and University Children’s Learning Centre in the Okanagan provide child care spaces for children of UBC students, faculty and staff. Please contact them early about available space as there may be long waiting lists.
UBC’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Shepell, provides family support consultations over the phone, including information on day care centres and after school programs. Click here to find out how Shepell can help you.