Support for substance use and mental health challenges over the holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time of year. For those who are experiencing challenges with their mental health and/or substance use, it can help to know where you can find support and resources.

If you or a family member are in need of mental health support:

If you or a family member are in need of support for substance use:

It is important to know that no matter how you are feeling, you are not alone – help is available.

UBC co-hosting WACUBO 2019 annual conference; volunteer opportunity

UBC co-hosting WACUBO 2019 annual conference; volunteer opportunity

The 2019 WACUBO Annual Conference (Western Association of College and University Business Officers) is being held in Vancouver May 5-9, hosted by UBC and SFU.

Since 1937, WACUBO has offered business officers from Canada, the United States, and Mexico opportunities for professional development and a forum for identifying solutions to issues affecting higher education. The 2019 conference will be of interest to members of the UBC community who are responsible for business operations within their units.

In addition, the planning committee is looking for a Volunteer Services Coordinator to recruit 35-40 volunteers on behalf of UBC.

To learn more about the conference and about the volunteer position, please visit If you have any questions, you can contact Tammy Brimner.

Inclusive holiday celebrations

This winter at UBC, our community is celebrating events and holidays from around the world. Our students, staff and faculty come from many cultural backgrounds and faith identities, and at this time of year, we have an opportunity to celebrate the cultures that make up our UBC community.

Some celebratory events are coming up in the next few weeks, including Mawlid an Nabi (Islam), Hanukkah (Judaism), Yule (Paganism), and Christmas (Christianity). In February, we will see festivities for the Lunar New Year (Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist). See the Days of Significance list to see all the events and celebrations coming up soon.

Ways to Celebrate in the Workplace

We have a great opportunity to celebrate the season together, in a respectful and positive way that can help build intercultural understanding.

  • Display a calendar in your workplace to raise awareness of important cultural/faith events and holidays throughout the entire year.
  • Celebrate all faiths present in your workplace.
  • Consider having a New Year’s celebration party instead of a holiday party in December.
  • Be flexible with the needs of staff around faith and/or holiday celebrations.
  • In your workplace or at celebration events, bring together decorations and food from the many cultures in your workplace, and encourage staff to share stories about their favourite traditions.
  • Be respectful of religious holidays at this time of year when planning events and meetings. Check the Days of Significance calendar for details.

Office Decorations

Here are some tips to make your office decorations inclusive and respectful of all cultures and beliefs:

  • Aim for neutral decor in the front-facing areas of your office
  • Ensure your office is accessible and that decorations do not prevent or block access to public services.
  • Consider how your office can celebrate dates significant to all members of your workplace. Invite staff from all faith identities to be involved in the office decorating discussion.
  • Set an agreed upon limit to the number of days that your office will display decorations, and have a discussion about what other times of year you might want to decorate, in celebration of other events.
  • Use the holidays as an opportunity to build community within your office, and with the people your office serves or supports.

If you are feeling excluded as a result of office celebrations, you are encouraged to reach out to a colleague or a supervisor and have a conversation about how you feel and how you would like your culture and beliefs to be included. At UBC we should all feel comfortable to share our culture and beliefs with others. You are welcome to contact the Equity and Inclusion Office or your HR Advisor to discuss.

We hope that this advice provides some suggestions on how to foster community and inclusion at this time of year through encouraging the celebration of our many cultures and faiths on campus.

Relevant links

Preparing an essential service level plan in advance of possible weather-related campus disruptions

Do you have an up-to-date staffing plan in case of a campus disruption? While the weather forecast in Vancouver looks seasonally rainy for now, HR recommends that you have a plan for essential staffing in the event of an extreme weather, such as a snow or ice storm. Setting up a plan in advance will allow you to address any issues with your team and with your HR Advisor.

Some things to consider:

  • Review the services your unit offers to the university, and determine which of those services are operationally essential.
  • Have a discussion with employees who are in those roles and let them know the university’s expectations and policy in the event of extreme weather.
  • If you have essential CUPE 2950 positions, follow the process as outlined in Article 13.01 and Letter of Agreement 13.01 of the collective agreement, which requires communication with Human Resources (contact Korey Onyskevitch at and the union. This does not preclude your ability to request additional essential services should the need arise.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Human Resources Advisor.

IRP HR update call Nov. 7: Slides and recording available

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Integrated Renewal Program HR update call on Nov. 7. If you weren’t able to make it, or you would like to review the slides and the call, there is a recording available.

We will have information about the next IRP HR update call in an upcoming edition of HR Network News.

PD Opportunity: Difficult Conversations: Strategies for Dealing with Challenging Situations: Dec. 10

We have an upcoming workshop on Dec. 10: Difficult Conversations: Strategies for Dealing with Challenging Situations. This workshop is for anyone who needs to have challenging conversations as part of their work.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of this seminar, you will be able to know how to identify resistant behaviour in yourself and others;
  • have a greater understanding of what the physiological responses to emotional challenges look and feel like;
  • be able to identify your personal strategies for managing your own defensiveness as well as others; and
  • recognize when to push and when to back off to get your needs met.

Course Information

Date: Dec. 10, 2018, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: TEF III, Room 610
Cost: $350
Register online

You may be able to use your professional development funding towards this course. Visit the PD funding page for your employee group to learn more, or contact with questions.

Daylight Saving Time ends Nov. 4, 2018

Daylight Saving Time ends on Nov. 4, 2018. Clocks fall back one hour at 2:00 a.m. Sunday. Please encourage your staff to have a safe commute on Monday, Nov. 5.

Integrated Renewal Program HR update call #2: Nov. 7, 2018

You are invited to join the second Integrated Renewal Program (IRP) HR call-in session on Nov. 7, 9:00-10:00 a.m. All human resources practitioners at the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses are invited to join through phone or by video-conference.

During the session, the IRP HR team will provide updates on what’s happening now, what’s coming up next, and will take your questions. Based on feedback from the first call-in session, IRP will be offering a more interactive way for you to ask questions during the session.

If you are interested in attending, please contact IRP at to RSVP. Details on how to join the session will be provided upon registration.

These call-in sessions will be held monthly going forward and each will be recorded and posted on the IRP website for future reference.

2017-18 Focus on People Benchmark Report

2017-18 Focus on People Benchmark Report

The 2017-18 Focus on People Benchmark Report provides analytics and insights about UBC’s workforce. Taking into consideration the priorities in UBC’s new strategic plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century, the information in the report is intended to begin to inform the university’s ability to:

  • Attract, engage and retain a diverse global community of outstanding student employees, faculty and staff;
  • Support the ongoing development of sustainable, healthy and connected campuses and communities; and
  • Cultivate a diverse community that creates and sustains equitable and inclusive campuses.

Many of the insights and calls-to-action are applicable university-wide, and we encourage you to think about how these apply to local areas.

Visit to read the full report.

Coaching Internship Program information session: Nov. 21, 2018

Coaching@UBC is accepting applications for the 2019 Coaching Internship Program. Successful applicants will receive funding towards the completion of an ICF Accredited Coach Training Program. Learn about the program and what it mean to become a coach through the Coaching Internship Program at our information session on Nov. 21, 2018, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Register online.

Please visit the Coaching Internship Program for full details and application package. The application deadline is Feb. 1, 2019.

Search Inside Yourself training program: Jan. 14-15, 2019

In support of UBC’s commitment to workplace health and wellbeing, HR is bringing back a unique professional development opportunity for faculty and staff at the Vancouver campus.

Developed at Google and founded in neuroscience, Search Inside Yourself (SIY) is a training program that uses emotional intelligence and mindfulness to optimize performance, build leadership skills and increase wellbeing. The SIY program consists of:

  • Two-day in-person cohort-based training taught by SIY-certified instructors (Jan. 14-15, 2019, at the Vancouver campus)
  • Four weeks of follow-up exercises, content and cohort conversations via email (approx. mid-January to mid-February)
  • One-hour debrief session via webinar to integrate learning, answer questions and provide direction going forward (approx. late February)

Cost: $50 per person (eligible for PD funding)

The registration deadline is Jan. 4, 2019, but last year’s program filled up quickly. Spots are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. Register now!

For more information, including program benefits and what’s included in the cost of the program, visit the Search Inside Yourself webpage.