Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 85.48
Liaison Emmanuelle Jodoin
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Université de Sherbrooke
EN-7: Employee Educators Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Lucie Durand
Institutional Research Advisor
Management - Support Service
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total number of employees (staff + faculty, headcount):
7,010

Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by a peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education program (avoid double-counting):
7,010

Percentage of employees served by a peer-to-peer educator program:
100

Name of the employee educators program:
Peer Helpers Program

Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount):
7,010

A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities:

The quality of life and psychological health in the workplace is a responsibility shared by all. With this in mind, since 2007, the Peer Helpers Program, which was integrated to Réussir en santé (meaning Succeeding in Health), an institutional approach to health and wellness for the entire university community and stems from the institutional 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, has been successfully deployed among Université de Sherbrooke staff, including managers and faculty members.

Staff members from the Program are peer helpers trained and equipped to welcome, support and guide, in complete confidentiality, colleagues who are experiencing difficulties and showing signs of distress. They also see to it that colleagues listen to each other, help each other and recognize each other, in order to contribute to the quality of life in the workplace. The Peer Helpers Program is based on the establishment of an ongoing university wide permanent psychological health " vigil " that builds on internal strengths.

Here are a few examples of interventions peer helpers can carry out:
Can help demystify psychological health problems;
Generally know what to do and what not to do when a colleague is experiencing psychological difficulties;
Can help clarify the elements involved with a specific problem;
Can offer information on psychological health problems or suggest relevant resources;
Know the relevant references and the procedures to follow to obtain appropriate help;
Can facilitate the return to work of employees who have been absent from work due to a psychological health problem.

Staff members seeking support from peer helpers may do so by accessing the Program website (by consulting an alphabetical list of names, list by administrative units, list by pavilions or list by employment categories).

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), “psychologically healthy workplaces and mentally healthy workplaces both describe the same high-functioning, respectful and productive workplace” (https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/mentalhealth_intro.html). To that regard, by providing and encouraging a program such as the Peer Helpers Program, the University demonstrates its concern to work towards the UN’s Good Health and Well-Being Sustainable Development Goal, which is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, with support services dedicated to its employees positively impacting their lives on and off campus.

A healthy work climate is a collective responsibility that everyone can help to improve. Peer helpers become agents of mutual support, collaboration and recognition, creating by the same token a virtuous circle, where those who are helped and supported become part of the process which generates in turn positive outcomes such as contributing to good health (i.e. psychological health) and well-being, in a sustainable manner, while strengthening the spirit of community throughout the University.


A brief description of how the employee educators are selected:

Peer helpers are staff members from the Université de Sherbrooke who are initially appointed (often by their colleagues) because of their special qualities in their relationships with others. They are natural “caregivers”. In addition to these appointments, the University also conducts outreach campaigns to recruit fellow peer helpers. They are in a position to identify individuals who may be experiencing personal difficulties and know how to intervene appropriately.

Across services, administrative units and faculties, no fewer than 130 staff members, including managers and faculty members, are currently appointed as peer helpers.


A brief description of the formal training that the employee educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach:

Peer helpers are trained to effectively guide and refer their colleagues to appropriate resources. They also ensure to encourage listening, mutual support and recognition among colleagues, thus making them effective outreach agents in the area of psychological and overall health at work. They are supervised and supported to act effectively with their colleagues. When the situation requires it, peer helpers are also trained to detect signs of distress among colleagues and to intervene more specifically.

The initial training offered to new peer helpers leads them to acquire knowledge and skills related to their role. This training aims to optimize and properly frame their personal abilities.

Approximately four to five times a year, small group discussion meetings allow peer helpers to share their respective experiences, attend continuing education activities and assist each other. These meetings provide them with the support and assistance they need to fulfill their role. Peer helpers also have access to training on suicide prevention with the JEVI organization (Centre de prévention du suicide) or training in synergology, i.e., non-verbal communication, to better perceive, decode and know how to intervene.

Peer helpers also have access to an authenticated internal communications network (intranet) providing them with support materials, resources, etc.


A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or paid faculty/staff coordination):

The Peer Helpers Program is supported by the University’s Human Resources (HR) Organizational and Health Development Section, i.e. management of this program is undertaken by this HR Section, particularly under the responsibility of the Human Resources Management Consultant and Peer Helpers Program Coordinator.


Name of the employee educators program (2nd program):
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Number of employees served (i.e. directly targeted) by the program (headcount) (2nd program):
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A brief description of the program, including examples of peer-to-peer outreach activities (2nd program):
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A brief description of how the employee educators are selected (2nd program):
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A brief description of the formal training that the employee educators receive to prepare them to conduct peer outreach (2nd program):
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A brief description of the financial and/or administrative support the institution provides to the program (e.g. annual budget and/or paid faculty/staff coordination) (2nd program):
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A brief description of all other employee peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education programs, including the number of employees served and how employee educators are selected, trained, and supported by the institution:
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Total number of hours employee educators are engaged in peer-to-peer sustainability outreach and education activities annually:
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.