About us

  • What is the Judges Counselling Program?
  • Sometimes even judges don’t have all the answers. The Judges Counselling Program provides federally and provincially appointed active and retired Judges, Justices of the Peace, Masters, Prothonotaries and their families,  including spouses and children (under 21 years of age, or under 25 years of age and attending accredited school, college or university on a full time basis, or over 20 or 24 years of age who was a dependant child as defined above when they became incapable of engaging in self-sustaining employment by reason of mental or physical impairment, and is primarily dependent upon the member for support and maintenance), with access to short-term counselling, worklife solutions and trial support services.  This service addresses problems such as alcohol and substance abuse, burnout, financial matters, bereavement, emotional problems, relationship problems, child and elder care issues and many other types of problems. Confidential help for personal problems is just a phone call away.

  • Who provides the service?
  • The counselling service is sponsored by the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada and the Offices of the Chief Provincial Court Judges in each province and territory. Thus, counselling services of the professional care provider, Shepell, are provided at no cost to members of the plan.

  • Who is Shepell?
  • Shepell is Canada’s largest provider of counselling and assistance programs. As Canada’s premier provider of human support programs, Shepell works with over 2,000 counsellors and serves more than 5,000 companies in 100 countries around the world.

  • When should you use the JCP?
  • Personal concerns, at one time or another, are a normal part of life. It is often difficult to admit that you do not have all the answers and that you need help. At times like these, professional guidance can offer new insights, or provide information to help with decisions, respond to issues and resolve problems.

  • Is the JCP confidential?
  • The JCP is confidential. Shepell respects your privacy at all times. No one else receives information from Shepell without your written, informed and voluntary consent. No one will know that you have used JCP unless you decide to tell someone. The program is completely confidential.

  • How much does it cost?
  • Initially, the service costs you nothing. Shepell believes most problems can be handled in around five to ten hours of counselling. If long term or specialized counselling is required, your counsellor will assist you with a referral to a community resource. After that referral, you would be responsible for any charges that your benefits plan or provincial health insurance does not cover. If necessary, your counsellor will help you find services that you can afford.

  • What kinds of counselling services are provided?
  • Here are many of the kinds of personal issues for which Shepell can provide counselling:

    • Couple and marital relationships
    • Family matters and parenting concerns
    • Work-related and career issues
    • Stress and anxiety
    • Depression
    • Childcare concerns
    • Aging parents (eldercare)
    • Financial concerns and legal matters
    • Alcohol and substance addictions
    • Gambling addictions
    • Bereavement (grief counselling)
    • Cross-cultural issues
    • Smoking Cessation
    • Nutrition support services

    Shepell’s staff includes experienced psychologists, nurses, social workers, addiction counselors, registered dieticians, parenting specialists, legal and financial counsellors.

  • Can my family use this service?
  • This service may be used by you and your immediate family members, including spouses and eligible children (under 21 years of age, or under 25 years of age and attending accredited school, college or university on a full time basis, or over 20 or 24 years of age who was a dependant child as defined above when they became incapable of engaging in self-sustaining employment by reason of mental or physical impairment, and is primarily dependent upon the member for support and maintenance).

  • When can I call?
  • You can call the toll-free number 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to seek advice or make an appointment to see a professional counsellor.

  • What are Nutrition Support Services?
  • JCP support will help you make positive changes to your diet by addressing any underlying issues associated with weight loss/gain, eating routines and lifestyle changes; in addition, it will offer support for a proactive, self-care approach to wellness.

    Professionals can also connect you to a Registered Dietitian who will assess your eating habits, identify dietary concerns and answer any questions you may have.

  • How can the service help?
  • You can receive help on a variety of concerns including:

    • Weight loss/gain
    • Getting off the diet ’roller coaster’
    • Boosting energy and stress resilience
    • Healthy eating on the go
    • Accommodating shift work
    • Eating a well-balanced vegetarian diet
    • Lowering cholesterol levels
    • Reducing high blood pressure
    • Regulating diabetes
    • Preventing heart disease
    • Preventing osteoporosis

    Your first professional consultation with a Registered Dietitian will help you create and follow a personalized nutrition program that targets your individual needs and suits your lifestyle. Subsequent consultations can address any questions you may have and support you in achieving your goals. Printed educational materials are also available to help you along the path to healthier eating habits.

  • What help can I get regarding childcare and eldercare?
  • Your JCP offers a total approach to caregiving support. Professionals will help you cope with the stress, guilt, and sense of ’being overwhelmed,’ often associated with caregiving responsibilities. Dependant Care Consultants can also provide a one-on-one telephone consultation that offers relevant information, resource referrals and educational materials, for day-to-day challenges or longer-term solutions.

    Dependant Care Consultants will assess, identify and locate caregiving services to suit your needs. They will research provider locations, current availability, fees, and provide options on:

    • Parenting classes
    • Daycare centres and after-school programs
    • Daycare centres and after-school programs
    • Schools, educational services and special needs programs
    • Adoption and multiple birth services
    • Emergency home care services
    • Seniors’ accommodations/nursing homes
    • Caregiver support groups
    • Rehabilitation and home support programs
    • Companion and elder care programs
    • Palliative care
    • Outreach and transportation services

    While fees for referred services are your responsibility, many may be covered by your provincial or organizational health plan. Depending on your individual situation, you may also receive a targeted resource package complete with a selection of educational articles and other helpful tools.

    Article topics include:

    • Maternity/parental leaves
    • Parenting effectively at all ages and stages
    • Talking to kids about divorce, peer pressure, drugs, etc.
    • Building strong blended families
    • Talking to older parents about their changing needs
    • Understanding palliative care
    • Support for older relatives with cognitive impairment
    • Long distance caregiving
    • Other family-related topics
  • Whom do you call?
  • For JCP services in English or French, call toll-free 24 hours a day, 365 days per year: 1-866-872-6336.

    For the hearing impaired, call 1-800-363-6270 for service in English, or 1-800-263-8035 for service in French.

  • Other questions?
  • Please feel free to contact your Provincial Advisory Board member about the Judges Counselling Program. Click here for a list of Board members. Alternatively, you can e-mail the President of the Judges Counselling Program by clicking here.

    Download a PDF version of our brochure.

  • Related Sites
  • American Bar Association’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP)
    CoLAP is available to assist lawyers with chemical dependencies or mental health problems.

    American Bar Association’s Judges Helping Judges
    This publication is available to assist judges with problems such as stress, depression and chemical dependencies.

    Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges (CAPCJ)
    CAPCJ is a federation of provincial and territorial judges’ associations.

    Canadian Superior Court Judges Association (CSCJA)
    CSCJA is an association of Canadian judges who serve on superior courts and courts of appeal of each province and territory.

    Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL)
    LCL is an independent association of lawyers and judges concerned about those in legal profession suffering from personal difficulties.

    Legal Profession Assistance Conference (LPAC)
    LPAC is dedicated to helping lawyers, judges and law students and their families with personal, emotional, health and lifestyle issues through a network of Lawyer Assistance Programs.

    Programme d’Aide aux Membres du Barreau du Québec (French only)

    Shepell
    Shepell develops and delivers employee assistance, disability management and cross-cultural services for employers in North America and around the world.