Supporting your employees has grown in popularity and importance over the last few decades. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) have been around since the ’80s, starting with programs for alcohol addiction, and expanding significantly in the following years.
Since then, other aspects such as counselling and legal support have been added to these plans. With the workforce continually changing, the standard EAP has been updated again, to include wellness solutions to counsel on stress, anxiety and burnout.
We know it can be overwhelming to keep track of all of these changes. That’s why we are dedicated to not only providing you with employee benefits and support but also advising you through any policy changes needed to maintain a healthy workforce.
Contact one of our benefits specialists today to discuss EAPs and other employee benefit programs.
Phone: 416 270 5398
Stay tuned for more thoughts on EAP changes in our upcoming BLOG!
A few months ago, we introduced you to our wonderful community partner, KAIROS Canada.
We’d love to take the time today to dive deeper into KAIROS, and share their amazing story and resources.
Women, Peace and Security program, works with local women’s organizations in Colombia, the Democratic of the Congo, South Sudan, and West Bank to support and empower women victims and survivors of war and violence to become effective peacebuilders. KAIROS and partners advocate for sustainable funding for women peacebuilders and the full implementation of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.
This program helped to support migrant workers in Ontario and the Maritimes and ensure their safety during the pandemic. Funded by the Government of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, this project used a community-coordinated approach in partnership with local and community organizations to provide workers with information and resources on safer work environments and needed community services. Our ecological justice work educates and advocates for an equitable and just transition to a clean energy economy.
- KAIROS’ primary goals are to help advance more equitable, just and sustainable societies in Canada and worldwide. This shows up in our work as action and advocacy: To ensure responsive action to all the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
- To influence the Canadian government to implement permanent residency for all migrant workers with and without status in Canada.
- For gender equity and women’s leadership in advancing peaceful and sustainable communities, and
- For Canada to contribute its fair share in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping Global South countries adapt to the climate emergency.
KAIROS will continue to work towards just, feminist transformation: a more resilient and equitable society that upholds human rights and respects ecological integrity and is rooted in anti-colonial, feminist political and socioeconomic narratives that respect people and the environment. KAIROS will continue to call on the federal government to invest in a future that promotes the integrity of our planet, people’s access to basic human rights and the dignity of all peoples.
For more on this visit: Recommendations for a Just and Feminist Post-Pandemic Transformation
2) What have been the biggest impacts/outcomes on the community you serve?
- In the last five years, the KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) delivered more than 5,300 workshops to approximately 160,000 participants!
- The Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers During COVID-19 Project served more than 50,000 migrant workers from the start of 2021 to September this year.
- Through the five-year WPS program, more than 3,000 women received psychosocial counselling, and thousands of women and men participated in gender awareness as well as human rights training. More than 250 men became advocates for women’s rights in government, multilateral organizations, and media.
3) What are some of the biggest challenges KAIROS has had to overcome?
In 2009, KAIROS’ was challenged with a major funding cut from the Canadian government. The government funds – in the millions of dollars – supported the human rights and ecological work of KAIROS’ international partners. KAIROS was informed by an official from the then Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) that CIDA would no longer fund KAIROS because the organization no longer fit CIDA priorities.
KAIROS had received a positive audit and excellent CIDA evaluation that year and in a message requesting an explanation written to Bev Oda, then Minister for International Cooperation, KAIROS’ then Executive Director, Mary Corkery stated, “I know of no precedent for the Canadian International Development Agency ending a decades-long funding relationship with a major Canadian organization without notice in writing, with no reason and no transition plan.”
The government was under pressure to explain itself which led to a Contempt of Parliament motion against the Minister for International Cooperation in the House of Commons.
This situation impacted the human rights work of KAIROS’ global partners. The funding cut also became the “story” about KAIROS and led to erroneous assumptions, including that KAIROS had folded. Yet, KAIROS experienced first-hand that partnership is about much more than funding. Solidarity messages came from our partners all over the world. In many cases, we were able to continue to support partners with solidarity funds. KAIROS also worked to diversify its revenue streams further and engaged in public relations – sometimes playfully – to let everyone know that KAIROS was still alive and active. In 2018, Global Affairs Canada approved funding for Women of Courage: Women, Peace and Security program, a now 6-year program which is jointly funded by KAIROS.
More recently, KAIROS was challenged by the rapid growth of its Blanket Exercise. We have currently paused any new bookings of the KBE until March 2023 for a program redesign that will deliver a more robust program, better serve Indigenous communities and deepen KAIROS’ advocacy with respect to the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The pandemic also presented many challenges for KAIROS and the work we do nationally and globally. Our staff moved to working remotely, in-person KBEs were cancelled which led to the development of the vKBE, migrant workers vulnerabilities intensified due to their limited rights in Canada, and our global partners, and the Women, Peace and Security Program had to pivot some of their outreach online while seeing the need for services increase due to issues such as gender-based violence. Creativity, resilience and persistence are common threads that have kept KAIROS’ staff and partners committed to their vital work even in the face of the pandemic.
4) What are KAIROS’ goals for the future?
KAIROS is steadfast in its commitment towards a more just, equitable and sustainable world through an ecumenical approach. Bridging faith and justice with principles of equity, anti-racism, anti-oppression and anti-colonialism, we will continue our work and advocacy for Indigenous Sovereignty, human rights, and migrant, gender and ecological justice.
KAIROS is restructuring and will acquire its own charitable status independent from the United Church of Canada by the end of 2024. We will focus on restoring, deepening and
establishing the right relationships with communities and partners all over the world, and we are committed to ensuring opportune engagement for new, youth, and diverse representation in our work and within our organization and networks.
As mentioned, the KAIROS Blanket Exercise is celebrating 25 years. We are redesigning this program not solely for deeper impact and reach but more importantly to ensure that we become better stewards of the program, provide greater support to Indigenous Peoples and their communities and advocate for and act on the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. We are developing our strategic plan and that will include more about our goals over the next two years.
Francine Williams joins Benchmark as a Benefits Analyst, with a degree and background in Arts and Commerce.
Through running a family business, Francine is quite knowledgeable about business strategies such as accounting, administration, budgets, industry connections and more.
We are excited to add her entrepreneurial lens to the team and to help us elevate our services for small businesses.
A fun fact about Francine is she is a master at cards, and also loves all things puzzles, travelling, and food. Welcome to Benchmark, Francine! We are so thrilled to have you.
To get customized or traditional health benefit plans for your employees, contact one of our Experts today!
Phone: 416 270 5398