Upper Island Counselling Executive Director Kelsi Baine sits with one of their members, Steve Marshall Auto Group General Manager and Partner Karl Ebdrup.

Auto group gives back to counselling agency by joining board of directors

‘I believe in it that much’

Back in the late ’80s, forestry companies and labour organizations on upper Vancouver Island came together with a common goal. They realized healthy people make healthy employees and companies, but health and safety isn’t just about hard hats and protective equipment. So, they decided to provide a unique program to better support their employees and family members.

They created a private, non-profit society — now known as Upper Island Counselling — to offer an employee and family assistance program (EFAP), including counselling services. The non-profit would be governed by a voluntary board of directors consisting of representatives from member companies.

“The model was really unheard of back in 1987,” said Kelsi Baine, a professional registered counsellor at Upper Island Counselling. “It’s still incredibly rare to have a non-profit society that offers an EFAP.”

Baine, who is also the executive director, spoke about the importance of their model.

“We are owned and operated in our communities by those we serve,” she said. “We help our members and their employees with health and wellness, and in turn they have a stake in and care about the sustainability of our programming.”

One of their members, Karl Ebdrup, is a great example.

He runs a large auto group that has used Upper Island Counselling services for over 15 years, paying a reasonable monthly fee based on their number of employees.

“Immediately when I took over ownership of the six dealerships, I thought Upper Island Counselling was a great tool,” he said.

The auto group’s member package includes accessible counselling services for staff that are kept completely confidential — Ebdrup just receives reports showing how many people are using the services. However, Ebdrup said many of his employees dealing with personal tragedies have taken it upon themselves to thank him for making the counselling freely available through work.

“Most people don’t have an extra couple hundred bucks just to go and speak to someone,” he said.

After a few years, Ebdrup even used the counselling services himself.

Times got tough, so he went to speak with a counsellor a few times and got “first-hand knowledge of what they really do for folks.”

“It helped me focus my energies on work when I needed to focus on work and focus on myself when I needed to do that,” he said.

He believes in Upper Island Counselling so much, he added, that he’s in the process of nominating someone from their staff to sit on the board of directors.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to give back to the program.”

Beyond providing direct access to counselling for employees, Upper Island Counselling also offers consultation for supporting management with employee issues.

“Sometimes employers are faced with an issue that is out of their wheelhouse, so they might call us and they know they’ve got a counsellor in their corner, which provides a lot of peace of mind,” Baine said.

Other services included in member packages are:

  • trauma and critical incident response;
  • educational health and wellness presentations and workshops; and
  • worksite visits and awareness presentations to promote and personalize the EFAP.

To learn more about support for your workplace, your family or yourself, or to request an appointment, visit Upper Island Counselling online at www.uics.ca/contact. You can also visit the non-profit in person in Campbell River or Comox, or call 250-287-2266.

Just Posted

Moen tapped to run for Green Party in North Island riding

Moen says all issues should be viewed through environmental lens

VIDEO: Save Wild Salmon demonstrators march in Campbell River

March to put pressure on federal government to fulfill Cohen report recommendations

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

NDP candidate Babchuk a fixture in local politics since 2005

School trustee, city councillor and regional district chair sets sights on being North Island MLA

Multiple incidents of bear-spraying investigated

Police are investigating multiple incidents of people being bear sprayed on Sept.… Continue reading

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Most Read