Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available to employees of the University of Toronto who are eligible to participate in the University’s group benefit programs, and their dependants: spouses, partners (including same-sex partners) and dependent children. This program is provided at no cost to you.

The EFAP is operated by an external provider, Homewood Health. It is available 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year at many locations both near your home or work.


The EFAP offers free confidential short-term counselling to employees and their dependants for personal, family, and work-related problems. You and your dependents can receive counselling and referral services related to concerns in the following areas:

1. Counselling

Within a supportive, confidential and caring environment you can receive counselling for any challenge:

  • Family
  • Depression
  • Marital / Life transitions / change
  • Relationships
  • Grief / bereavement
  • Addictions
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Other personal issues

2. Life Smart Coaching

3. Online Resources

  • E-learning courses
  • Child and eldercare resource locators

Frequently Asked Questions – Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

Is the EFAP confidential?

Confidentiality is the cornerstone of the EFAP. The program allows all EFAP clients to discuss any life issue in complete confidence, whether speaking with a masters level counsellor or another professional for one of the Plan Smart specialty services (e.g., lawyer or registered dietician).

Homewood Health standards of confidentiality are the same as those used by medical doctors in Canada. You and your family may rest assured that all conversations and dealings with the EFAP will remain strictly confidential within the limits of the law*.

*Homewood Health is required by law to disclose what would otherwise be confidential information when there is a risk of serious injury to oneself or others, there is suspicion of child abuse as defined by provincial legislation, or when served with a properly executed court order (i.e., subpoena).

Who provides the EFAP to the University of Toronto?

As of November 1, 2014, Homewood HealthTM provides the EFAP program to the University of Toronto employees and their immediate family members. Homewood has been delivering EFAP services across Canada since 1979. They are known for their personal and exceptional level of clinical service delivery.

Your EFAP through Homewood Health provides completely confidential, professional counselling for a broad range of personal and family issues. While the program can be used for crisis intervention, the ideal time to use the program is before problems get out of hand. The EFAP is a pro-active option for helping you manage your personal health and well-being.

What services does the EFAP offer?

The EFAP offers counselling, coaching, information, and support for all types of issues relating to mental health, health management, and achieving greater personal and workplace well-being.

Together, you and your dependents can receive short-term counselling from a professional counsellor either in person, over the phone or through the Homewood Health website. You are also able to access a full suite of Life Smart Coaching as well as several online services.

All of the EFAP services are outlined in more detail immediately below.

What kinds of counselling services are offered?

Counselling services are confidential and professional. Assessments, guidance (and referrals when required) are offered that may help with many personal challenges including, but not limited to:

  • Relationship concerns: communication / separation / divorce
  • Family issues: parenting support / communication / aging parents
  • Workplace concerns: conflict / stress/change / balance / career
  • Financial and legal difficulties
  • Alcohol and drug dependency
  • Gambling and other addictions
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Bereavement and grief
  • Anger management
  • Sexual harassment and abuse
  • Child / eldercare resources
  • Life transitions: retirement/menopause/divorce

How does the counselling program work?

When you need to speak with someone, simply call Homewood Health hotline number listed below. Homewood Health staff will ask you for some basic information (to establish your eligibility for this benefit) and will help set up an initial face-to-face counseling appointment at a time and office location that is convenient for you. If you prefer, telephonic or e-counselling can also be arranged.

In all cases, an experienced counsellor will help assess your concerns and aid you in developing practical solutions. All Homewood Health counsellors have a minimum of a master’s level degree, and extensive experience in helping individuals with their personal challenges. If longer term counselling, hospital treatment or specialized services (such as medical, legal or financial help) are required, your counsellor will arrange an appropriate referral and follow up with you.

What are ‘Life Smart Coaching Services’?

Whether one needs to find a nursing home for an aging parent on the other side of the country, obtain help getting finances under control, receive advice on how to raise a gifted child, or help stop bullying at school, Homewood Health can help.

Clients utilizing Life Smart are provided with an overview of the service at intake by the counsellor initiating support with the specialist. Clients have access to the specialist within 24 hours, and depending on client availability, specialists can provide an assessment of the client’s needs upon first contact. Assessment outcomes, including additional support and resources, are customized for each client.

For the most part, these services are delivered by phone or online and often include a personalized package of information and useful tools, such as software programs that have been selected with the client’s best interests in mind.

  • Life Smart – Lifestyle and Specialty Counselling Services include:
    • Life Balance Solutions
    • Childcare/Parenting Services
    • New Parent Outreach Services
    • Elder and Family Care Services
    • Legal Advisory Services
    • Financial Consultation
    • Relationship Solutions
  • Career Smart Counselling Services
    • Career Development Services
    • Pre-retirement Planning Services
    • Conflict Counselling and Resolution
    • Shift-worker Support
  • Health Smart Coaching Services
    • Nutritional Counselling
    • Smoking Cessation Program
    • A ‘12 Weeks to Wellness’ healthy lifestyle program

What services are available online?

In addition to core EFAP services, you have access to a variety of online resources that provide self-help information, references, articles, and guidelines.

  • Online Health Library – an extensive collection of educational resources organized into a Health Library with rich content, relevant topics, and easy navigation.
  • The Health and Wellness Companion– a comprehensive self-guided, self-development program that is designed to provide a personal plan of action. This also includes a Health Risk Assessment.
  • E-Learning Courses – instant access to online learning developed by psychologists specialized in e-learning and health promotion. These self-paced, interactive, confidential learning courses target personal and workplace issues.
  • BusyFamily Child and Eldercare Resource Locators – conduct your own customized searches by keying in specific requirements. You can search for daycares, homecare, respite care, schools, camps, long-term facilities, assistive care facilities, and facilities geared towards the elderly with health needs or cultural preferences. Responses are instantaneous and can be easily sorted for comparison purposes.

What does the EFAP cost?

All services are offered at no cost to you or your family members. Occasionally a counsellor will refer to resources in the community. Any costs incurred through community resources are considered outside of the EFAP program and are therefore not covered by the program, however, they may be covered through your other health benefits.

What if I’m seeing a counsellor with our previous provider?

If you are currently meeting with a counsellor through our previous EFAP provider, you may continue with your counsellor through to case closure. Any future needs would be met by contacting Homewood Health.

How do I contact the EFAP?

Whether in concern or in crisis, you and your family members are encouraged to take the first step, and access support through your Employee and Family Assistance Program. To speak to someone in confidence, for crisis services (24 hours a day) or to book an appointment, call one of the Homewood Health numbers below:

1.800.663.1142 (English)
1.866.398.9505 (Numéro sans frais – en français)
1.888.384.1152 (TTY)
604.689.1717 International (Call Collect)