EAPs in numbers

Survey shows broad differences in program access and lack of uniform measures
By Rick Csiernik
|CHRR, Report on Healthy Workplaces|Last Updated: 04/25/2006

As conspicuous as employee assistance programs are on the Canadian landscape, the programs themselves remain surprisingly unexplored. While there has been extensive research conducted in the EAP field, there has not been a thorough examination of the structure and function of programs.

In 2001, a four-page survey was developed in conjunction with a national advisory committee of labour, management and service providers. In all, 154 organizations took part, with 100 from the public sector. Workforce size ranged from seven employees to 60,000, with an average of 3,144 and a median of 1,350 employees. The majority of the workplaces surveyed (89.6 per cent) were unionized.

The EAP field remains relatively new as only 16 programs in the study were initiated prior to 1980. Nearly half (45.8 per cent) were developed in the 1980s while another 56 (39.4 per cent) were begun in the 1990s. There still also appears to be ongoing growth as 21 (13.6 per cent) were created between 1997 and 2001 with five (3.5 per cent) begun in the new century.