Peer counselling: a comforting alternative

The Report: February / March 1999 vol.19 num.6


In September of 1997, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of 16health care workers, and one of five HSA members, to be trained by the Healthcare LabourAdjustment Agency to deliver peer counselling services to employees who have beendisplaced, threatened with future displacement or affected by changing skill requirements.

The peer counselling service gives employees the opportunity to discusstheir work situation, training/educational needs and employment goals in an attentive andrespectful environment. The service has two key objectives. Firstly, it providesone-on-one counselling assistance, which includes a review of the HLAA job options such asjob placement, training, early retirement, severance and job sharing. Secondly, itprovides referrals to other career development programs such as post- secondaryeducational institutions, Human Resources Development Canada and community developmentagencies or services.

The peer counselling service is currently being piloted in six regions:Capital Health, Vancouver / Richmond, South Fraser, Fraser Valley, Simon Fraser andThompson. If you are interested in learning more about peer counselling or feel that thereis a need to bring this service into your facility, please contact the HSA representativeon your Health Reform/Labour Adjustment Committee. Members working outside the pilotregions should contact HLAA directly to express interest in receiving the peer counsellingservice in their facility.

Lyn Blenkinsop is a Radiation Therapist / Research Outcome Analystand Chief Steward at the BC Cancer Agencys Vancouver Island Centre. She is a PeerCounsellor for the Healthcare LabourAdjustment Agency, as well as a Union Counsellor with training from the Canadian Labour Congress.