Horizontal Initiatives - Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat 2018–19 Departmental Plan

General information

Name of horizontal initiative

Employee Wellness Support Program (EWSP), formerly the Workplace Wellness and Productivity Strategy (WPS)

Lead department(s)

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Federal partner organization(s)

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Employment and Social Development Canada’s Labour Program (as originally identified under WPS)

Non-federal and non-governmental partner(s)

  • Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)
  • Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)

Start date of the horizontal initiative

The WPS started in November 2013 and evolved into the EWSP in 2017.

End date of the horizontal initiative

This EWSP initiative is funded to 2020–21. EWSP work started under the WPS is underway, but it is subject to ongoing discussions with key stakeholders, including bargaining agents.

Description of the horizontal initiative

In 2013, funding was approved under the WPS to modernize disability management practices across the federal public service, including developing and implementing, in collaboration with bargaining agents, a new short-term disability plan.

In late 2016 and early 2017, in the context of collective bargaining, several bargaining agents signed memoranda of agreement with the employer to create 2 joint task forces to address employee wellness issues, including sick leave and disability. Under these memoranda of agreement, the WPS evolved and has become the EWSP.

The joint task forces will develop recommendations for consideration in the next round of collective bargaining. The recommendations will include measures to improve employee wellness and better reintegrate employees into the workplace after periods of leave due to illness or injury.

The EWSP is an important partnership between bargaining agents and the employer. No work by the federal partner organizations is anticipated during the 2018–19 fiscal year. Once negotiations on the EWSP and other wellness measures have been completed, the Secretariat will resume discussions with its partners.

Governance structures

The joint task forces consist of equal numbers of representatives of the bargaining agents and the employer, who are working collaboratively to support employee wellness.

The discussions are led by 2 joint technical committees, which meet regularly and report to 2 steering committees. The steering committees are co-chaired by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Canada, representing the employer, and by either the President of the PSAC or the President of the PIPSC, representing the bargaining agents.

Total federal funding allocated (from start to end date) (dollars)


(Unspent funding for the original WPS was re-profiled from 2015–16 and 2016–17 to 2017–18 through to 2020–21 to bring forward unspent amounts from previous years and anticipated surplus amounts).

Total federal planned spending to date (dollars)


Total federal actual spending to date (dollars)


Date of last renewal of the horizontal initiative

Not applicable

Total federal funding allocated at the last renewal and source of funding (dollars)

Not applicable

Additional federal funding received after the last renewal (dollars)

Not applicable

Funding contributed by non-federal and non-governmental partners (dollars)

Not applicable

Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation


Shared outcome of federal partners

Better support for employee wellness, which could include the following:

  • a range of measures to support an integrated approach to employee health
  • internal case management and return to work services for employees who are off work for an extended period of time due to illness or injury
  • workplace accommodations
  • changes to leave provisions

Performance indicator(s)

Decrease (%) in the length of time off work on long-term disability for mental health reasons


6% decrease from the previous year in the length of time off work on long-term disability

(Data is not expected to be available before 2020–21.)

Expected outcome of non-federal and non-governmental partners

Not applicable

Name of theme

Not applicable

Planning highlights

In 2018–19, the initiative will continue to focus on supporting the EWSP and on developing recommendations to improve employee health, including recommendations relating to the management of sick leave and disability. Discussions with bargaining agents will continue, with a view to developing joint recommendations.

Contact information

Sean Ross, Senior Director
Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer
8th Floor, 219 Laurier Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0R5

Planning summary

Federal organizations

Link to the department’s Program Inventory

Horizontal initiative activities

Total federal allocation (from start to end date) (dollars)

2018–19 Planned spending (dollars)

2018–19 Expected results

2018–19 Performance indicators

2018–19 Targets

Date to achieve target

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Pensions and Benefits Management




Joint recommendations are developed with bargaining agents

Not applicable

Not applicable

Total for all federal organizations

Not applicable

Not applicable



Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

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