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EVENT:                                   DESJARDINS SECURITIES FINANCIAL -
                                         NEWS CONFERENCE 2006 HEALTH INDEX
                                         CONFERENCE CALL & WEBCAST
TIME:                                    11H00 E.T.
REFERENCE:                               CNW TELBEC
LENGTH:                                  40 MINUTES
DATE:                                    JUNE 1, 2006




"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                  2


             BOYD NEIL (phon): You want me to count to ten? One, two, three,

four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Welcome everyone. I’m Boyd Neil.

This is the third edition of the Desjardins Financial Security national survey

on health.

             The objective of the annual survey is to measure Canadian

perceptions about financial security and their mental and physical health.

This survey provides a snapshot of how Canadians, at home and at work,

are managing and balancing their present and future financial and health

challenges.

             For this webcast, I will introduce our three panellists and then ask

them three questions to provide some context to the survey. After the

three questions are answered, we will then open up the webcast to

questions from the media.

             Media questions may be asked by e-mailing us at any time via the

question box on the webcast or by telephone at the direction of the

operator if you are on the conference call.

             First, the introductions: In the middle, you’ll see Alain Thauvette,

Senior Vice-President, Group and Business Insurance for Desjardins

Financial Security, the sponsors of this survey. On his right is Dr. Irvin

Wolkoff, a psychiatrist with a fulltime practice in Toronto. And on his left is


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                  3


Jean Hervieux, who is Director, Sigma assistel, which is a Montreal-based

employee assistance provider.

             I’ll now begin with the first question.                                                       Survey results show that

Canadian workers are not inclined to take the necessary time off from work

to recover properly from mental health problems.                                                                             Why are workers

reluctant, rather, to take the time off? How do they cope? And what is

causing all this stress?

             I’ll ask Alain Thauvette to begin.

             ALAIN THAUVETTE (Senior Vice-President, Group and Business

Insurance, Desjardins Financial Security):                                                            Well, the main reason why

people are reluctant to go back to work, or not to leave work, is money.

             Basically, what our survey is showing is that one employee out of

five suffered from physical illness due to stress, anxiety or depression.

Now of those 21 per cent, 62 per cent decided to keep going at work even

though they didn't feel well enough to go back to work.

             Of those 62 per cent, 37 per cent of them went back to work

because they were scared not being able to meet their financial obligations

if they have to have any pay cut, pay cheque cuts.




"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                  4


             So basically, that creates a new phenomenon within the enterprise

that is called "presenteeism", so people show to work even if they’re not

well enough to work so they’re not as productive as they should be.

             Now, how do they cope with this? Obviously, if you go to work and

you don't feel well enough to be at work, somebody has to break

somewhere.

             So basically, what we’re seeing is that 59 per cent of the people who

show to work, what they do is that they do personal sacrifice in terms of

their family, of their friends so that they can rest to recuperate of the

problems that they have.

             BOYD NEIL: Dr. Wolkoff, can you shed any light on the way in

which people are coping?

             Dr.          IRVIN              WOLKOFF                        (Toronto-based                           psychiatrist):                          Yes,

unfortunately the way people are coping essentially is by not coping.

They're not able to lift themselves out of the role of productive worker,

assume a patient role for awhile and help themselves feel better, nor are

they able to engage in preventive activities to keep themselves well.

             And I think it’s worth pointing out, we’re not just talking about people

who feel a little bit overworked and who uncomfortable and grumble about

it at home.


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                  5


             Stress is the state in which we find ourselves when we have to fight

or flee.                And it’s accompanied by changes in our hormonal milieu,

particularly elevated levels of adrenaline and cortizol bathe all our organs.

And there are a number of serious physiological consequences. Foremost

among them, a sustained state of stress that’s definitely associated with an

increased risk of heart and vessel disease and stroke and it may also be

associated with reduced resistance to infectious diseases and perhaps

even reduced cancer surveillance.

             So in effect, we’re talking about not only discomfort, which is

important enough in itself, but about things that can actually kill people.

             What I would hope people can learn to do is to regard themselves as

legitimate, separate individuals and have identities and lives independent

of their function as a breadwinner.                                                       But it’s pretty difficult nowadays

because our entire society is set up according to the false notion that we

feel uncomfortable because there’s a product, there’s a service we haven’t

purchased, that we will gain comfort by purchasing that product or service.

What happens eventually is since the "ickiness" actually comes from

elsewhere, you have to keep buying, you have to keep working.

             That ethic makes it very difficult for people to be workers when

they’re working and to be husbands, wives, fathers, sons, daughters, to be


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                  6


really rich human beings when they’re not working and not chasing after

money.

             BOYD NEIL: Jean, maybe you can tell us a bit about who people

rely on for assistance when they’re feeling mental health problems?

             JEAN HERVIEUX (Director, Sigma assistel):                                                                             Well, generally

companies will have EAPs and the EAPs are essentially benefits that are

confidential and personal and offered to employees, expert and

professional advice in different areas and that, to help in their work and

non-work related issues and problem. We can include in there emotional

situations, financial situations, legal or substance abuse, for example.

             Now, interestingly enough, the Desjardins Financial Services survey

talks about over 50 per cent of employees that were surveyed saying that

they have an employee assistance program at work.

             Now, a little further than that, over 80 per cent of employees from

companies that have more than 200 employees, have or say that they

have an employee assistance program. So there’s a lot of room for small

businesses and it is available for small businesses as well, to offer

employee assistance programs to their people.

             What benefit comes out of an employee assistance program? It’s

pretty obvious for the individual. They have somebody they can confide to


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                  7


and they can talk to and help resolve or see their problem in a better light.

But on the other hand, a happy employee in a business environment will

be more productive, that will reduce the turnover, that will reduce a number

of situations that are costly to businesses.

             In Canada, unfortunately, a lot of people rely on friends, relatives,

family to discuss their issues. Although I’m glad to say that 70 per cent,

over 70 per cent of the people said that they were talking to their family

physician, there’s a lot of room to improve and there’s a huge opportunity

to better communicate and to support employee assistance programs in

the workplace.

             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. The second area of questioning is about

the sources of stress. The survey results show that money is the main

source of stress outside of the work situation. Money is the source, most

often cited as the cause of stress, anxiety or depression. Is this because

we are a consumer-oriented society than before? And how are money

issues affecting Canadians at home?

             Might as well start with Alain again.

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Well, without being an expert, I would say

that, yes, we’re a more consumer-oriented society. Not only are we more

consumer oriented but basically we are also buying compulsively. So this


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                  8


means that we buy even though we cannot afford what we’re buying at the

present time. So what we’re creating for ourselves is that we’re indebting

ourselves.

             Now, what the survey is saying is that apart from work, 44 per cent

of people who suffer from some mental illness suffer of it because of

money problems. Basically they are so stretched financially that it causes

them to have problems.

             Now, this is a little bit worse when we consider that an employee

who’s 35, he’s got 50 per cent of the chances to be three months disabled

between the age of 35 and 65 and the average disabled is at around

42 years old when the financial obligations are at their peak. Usually at

this age, you have a mortgage, you have kids at school. So that’s a little

bit worse.

             BOYD NEIL: Dr. Wolkoff, perhaps you can shed some light on how

are people coping with these money issues, with these money problems?

             Dr. IRVIN WOLKOFF:                                         Overall, I think not well.                                       People keep

chasing and chasing and chasing and to some extent, even if they manage

to keep up, you know, you have to run as fast as you can not just to stand

still these days but to keep from backsliding too fast.




"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                  9


             We’re living in, you know, notwithstanding what you might read in

the paper, our economy isn’t what it used to be. We’ve had a lot of money

leave the western economies because of increasing oil prices and a

number of other changes have meant that it’s not reasonable to expect the

Ward and June Cleaver, one-income family be doing okay anymore.

             So people are having a very difficult time distracting themselves from

the chase for the buck and what suffers principally is relationships. That’s

true in situations where one partner is under stress and it’s particularly true

where that stress has precipitated a major depressive episode or an

anxiety disorder.

             So what we’ve seeing is a steadily increasing rate of relationships

that dissolve. And to me, even more frightening, relationships that don't

dissolve, people that stay together and subject each other and their kids to

a constant atmosphere of uncertainty and hostility that, in the end, doesn't

have anything to do with the family functioning. It has to do with too much

preoccupation with work and not enough investment in life activities that

would enrich people personally.

             I think that one thing that would make a huge difference would be an

attitudinal change in employers.                                                 You know, get off the track of the




"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                 10


efficiency experts who tell you how to get the most out of your staff

because what you’re going to get out of them is blood.

             Consider workers to be very, very valuable corporate resources and

look after them as much as you would look after motor vehicles in your

fleet.

             Once employers have that attitude, then they can pass on to their

employees that they should ignore societal stigmata against feeling

stressed, particularly against diagnosable mental illnesses. Employers can

give their employees permission to try to preserve and protect their well-

being and to get themselves back together again when they fall ill.

             And I think once that attitudinal shift takes place, it will be clear that

this is not bleeding heart liberal indulgence of workers. This is making

sure that your profits stay maximized, that your share prices stay high.

You don't do it on the bones of your employees; you do it with the heart

and soul of your employees. And to have the heart and soul, you have to

let them be true human beings.

             BOYD NEIL: Jean, are there things that EAP programs can offer to

help employees get back on track, especially financially, should they be

facing money issues, money problems?




"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                 11


             JEAN HERVIEUX: Well, absolutely. Part of the EAP program is

credit counselling, and obviously if an employee takes advantage of

obtaining counselling when they’re in financial dire straits, it will improve

their personal situation and improve their productivity and improve their

life, both at work and at home.

             There was a recent speech that I read and the president of the

company said the only asset that doesn’t depreciate in the business is the

employees. And that was an interesting quote. Essentially, you need to

do whatever you can to make these assets, not looking at them as physical

assets but as people, produce better and be happier in their job because

it’s a win/win situation for both sides.

             Now, we said that over 20 per cent of people take advantage of an

EAP program. Those are those that responded to the surveys that are

part-time or full-time employees. Now, that leaves 80 per cent. So there’s

a huge opportunity and here’s the challenge for business managers and

business owners right now to improve on their communication and

education around EAPs.

             One of the things that, and one of the questions that was also asked

is about is there anything done in terms of prevention and education? And

only a third of the people surveyed said that there was.


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                 12


             So a huge opportunity to improve on the communication and

education of the employees to use those programs for their own

betterment and for the better good of the business as well.

             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. Another area of questioning – and I think

those of us who have our Blackberries always close at hand will be

interested in the responses to – was around the impact of technology on

stress. Years ago, technology was heralded as the new tool to give us

more leisure time.

             Now, according to the survey, three out of five workers – that is 62

per cent of respondents – have some sort of technological device such as

a wireless handheld which enables their employer to reach them at any

time. What has this done to stress levels? Alain?

             ALAIN THAUVETTE:                                         Well, basically for 54 per cent of the

employees that have such a device, that didn't change their stress level.

Meanwhile, for 29 per cent of them, that increased their stress level while it

decreased the stress level only for 17 per cent of them.

             Worse is that for people who are not in full control of their jobs,

50 per cent of the people who have such a device are more stressed

because of the use of this device.




"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                 13


             The intent of those devices, as employers, you don't put those

devices to increase the stress level of your employee. As a matter of fact,

you try to put that in the hands of your employees to help them achieve

their work.

             So one of the things, as an employer, that I think we have to do is to

train better people who have such a device when they’re outside of work.

             BOYD NEIL: Dr. Wolkoff, what impact do you see technology having

on the physical health of people in the workplace?

             Dr. IRVIN WOLKOFF: Well, through the intermediate step of stress,

all these devices that were supposed to make things easier and create

loads and loads of leisure time for us... We’re living in the future now. In

the past, it was said technology would give us all kinds of wonderful

leisure, make everything more efficient. But technology is really just tools;

you know, hammers and nails. It’s the culture that determines how the

technology is used.

             And in this culture, I think even in situations in which an employer is

understanding and tells employees that the working day ends when the

working day ends, I think there are lot of employees, because of this

compulsive spending, the compulsive consumerism, who feel that they’ll




"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                 14


somehow be able to preserve their well-being if they make their work day

24 hours long.

             So between those employers who insist on that kind of “productivity”

and those employees who can’t help their compulsion, modern technology

has meant that they take the office home with them, impinging even further

on being an autonomous human being, on having a private life.

             There’s some interesting statistics from this study.                                                                           The survey

demonstrated that one in five of the people surveyed mentioned fatigue,

difficulty sleeping, headaches and anxiety problems, those last three at 18

per cent; 25 per cent of workers had health problems; 16 confessed that

they’ve increased their consumption of alcohol or illegal substances.

             All of this intrusion into privacy and the loss of the separate human

individual is resulting in serious pathology including physical pathology,

including substance abuse and in the end, there will be a bitter harvest.

We can’t have people living in circumstances like that forever. Sooner or

later, the entire thing will crumble.

             BOYD NEIL: Jean, I suspect from your experience, as director of an

EAP, that you agree with Dr. Wolkoff?

             JEAN HERVIEUX: Absolutely. We always talk about responsibility,

both from the employer and the employee side. Obviously we have to be


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                 15


more conscious of the impact that these tools have on ourselves. But the

employers, again, have to meet the challenge and educate and help their

employees draw the line between the personal life and the work life.

             There is a pharmaceutical company that implemented the program

where people were cut off from doing e-mail communications outside of

certain periods in the week or in the weekend.

             You know, there are ways to come up with programs and methods to

control these issues, but it takes the employer to communicate better and it

also takes the employee to want to do it.

             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. We’ll now take questions from the media

addressed to the panellists. Remember, you can type in the question box

on the lower left-hand side of the screen; or if you’re on the conference

call, the operator will direct you.

             Are there any questions?

             OPERATOR: We have one question on the phone line.

             BOYD NEIL: Go ahead.

             OPERATOR: From Wallace Immen, from Globe and Mail. Please

go ahead.

             WALLACE IMMEN: Yes, hello. I wanted to find out whether you

could comment on the increasing amounts of stress that’s being caused by


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

« Bien que Groupe CNW ait fait tous les efforts possibles pour produire cet audioscript, la société ne peut affirmer ou garantir qu’il ne contient aucune erreur.
Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
accidentellement ou corrélativement à l’utilisation de ce texte ou toute erreur qu’il contiendrait. »
                                                                                 16


technology?                     Do you have any sense from the survey of, you know,

compared to the past, I mean, what the pace of change is?

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Basically, what the survey is saying is that for

29 per cent of the people who are using those devices, they’re going to

have an increase in stress. This is basically what it's saying.

             WALLACE IMMEN: Yes.

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Now as the level of stress increases since

many years, yes, it’s obvious. Now is it only because of technological

devices?                 I wouldn’t think so.                              There are a lot of reasons why it has

increased. This is one of the reasons why the stress level has increased.

             BOYD NEIL: There’s a question from the web participants. Mike

Oliveiri at CP asks: "If half of all Canadians say they know someone who

is or has been affected by a mental illness, but 94 per cent say they have

no mental illness, is it possible that people cannot accurately identify

mental illness and/or are not seeing it in themselves?"

             Perhaps Dr. Wolkoff could address that issue?

             Dr. IRVIN WOLKOFF: It is absolutely the case that people are not

recognizing or acknowledging mental illness in themselves.                                                                                      Partly, it’s

because of the stigmatization of mental illness. For a lot of people, it’s like

admitting that they’re flawed or somehow inadequate.


"Though CNW Group has used commercially reasonable efforts to produce this transcript, it does not represent or warrant that this transcript is error-
free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

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                                                                                 17


             Another problem is that if you fall victim to a major depressive

episode, say, or an anxiety disorder, one of the symptoms of the disorder

is precisely a loss of the awareness of one's mental state. Somebody

who’s in the grips of a depressive episode may feel that this is all

happening because they’re bad, they’re inadequate.

             So, such an individual would not identify and seek treatment for their

mental illness because their subjective sense is that this is just the

outcome of not being good enough.

             So, you know, as ever, I think the more we can talk about mental

illness as something that afflicts huge numbers of people and it doesn’t

imply weakness, the better.

             The World Health Organization has predicted that over the next

20 years, depression – not all mental illness, not depression anxiety, but

just depression – will be the second-largest health burden on earth;

number two, after cardio vascular disease.

             That’s the attitude people need to have, that we’re in the midst of a

mounting epidemic of this stuff and it doesn’t mean that you’re not doing

well enough. It means that society is not doing well enough by you to help

you keep things together.

             BOYD NEIL: Are there any other comments?


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                                                                                 18


             JEAN HERVIEUX: Perhaps, from an EAP perspective, there needs

to be improvement on the business side of things not only to educate but

to help people identify the early signs of things. So prevention is a huge

issue; and again, by identifying the symptoms, by educating people on how

to identify symptoms with a colleague or with ourselves, then you can use

EAPs to relieve that pressure when it happens.

             You were mentioning stigma, obviously one of the key issues about

this is the fear that EAPs are not confidential. In the workplace, people

would think, well if I talk about it to someone, it’s going to come back to our

company because our company is paying for that.

             And essentially not. It is very confidential, the information under all

of the confidentiality laws and under professional orders, that information

remains with the professionals. But on the other hand, you have to use it.

             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. Are there any other questions?

             OPERATOR: There are no questions on the phone line at this time.

             BOYD NEIL: There's a question from the webcast. "What does

presenteeism cost an average company’s bottom line?"

             Alain, do you have any idea on this?

             ALAIN THAUVETTE:                                         Presenteeism is something that we are

starting to analyze. So we have no statistics at this stage to say how much


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free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

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                                                                                 19


presenteeism is costing, but there are studies right now, this is something

that is new. This is something that starts to be analyzed and the studies,

I’m sure, are going to come up with the bottom line at some point; but at

this stage, we don't have that specific number.

             BOYD NEIL: Can you define presenteeism for people?

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Well, presenteeism is being at work while not

being able to produce at work. So instead of being absent from work, of

not going to work, you decide to go to work even though you’re not going

to be able to be productive enough to work.

             Dr. IRVIN WOLKOFF: Can I make an observation?

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Of course.

             Dr. IRVIN WOLKOFF: Part of the cost of presenteeism, in terms of

mental illness, has to do with depression anxiety.

             For a number of years, depression was considered to be curable

and the view has changed.                                              It’s not curable.                          It’s possible to induce

remissions, to make the symptoms go away, but it’s a chronic illness.

             Untreated depression results in changes in the brain.                                                                              There’s a

brain area called the hippocampus, which is also involved in the acquisition

of memory, that appears to have a critical role in regulating mood. And the

longer an individual remains depressed and the larger the number of


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free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

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                                                                                 20


depressive                   episodes                 an         individual                goes            through,                the         more             the

hippocampus actually shrinks. Modern functional imaging techniques have

made it possible to see this.

             So you know, part of the cost of “presenteeism” is that the employee

who is present while ill is therefore not getting any kind of effective

treatment and in the end is likely to suffer more frequent depression, more

severe depression as the expression of the shrinkage of the hippocampus.

             There is a sort of hidden cost of presenteeism. You break your

employee and the cost to the corporation, the cost to society the individual

lives in, let alone social circle of family, can be catastrophic.

             BOYD NEIL: Thank you.

             JEAN HERVIEUX: Can I add something?

             BOYD NEIL: Of course.

             JEAN HERVIEUX: In terms of people that are sick, 38 per cent –

that’s what the survey says – 38 per cent will take days off. That leaves

62 per cent that will stay at work even if they are sick. So obviously the

impact of this is affecting the productivity and the mood and the presence

at work.

             So essentially, if you have 62 per cent of the people that are staying

at work when they’re sick, you will have presenteeism.


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may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

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                                                                                 21


             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. Any other questions?

             There’s a question from Deirdre Healey, at Hamilton Spectator.

"Has stress in the workplace continued to rise over the last five years or

are we making progress?"

             Dr. Wolkoff?

             Dr. IRVIN WOLKOFF: I can only answer impressionistically but I

don’t think it’s done anything but go straight up.

             One of the things that’s happened to our civilization over time is that

it’s gone from dealing with real meat-and-potatoes issues to concepts.

Bureaucrats, corporate executives love to substitute a conceptual view of

life because real life is messy. It’s atoms in collision. It’s people doing

unpredictable things. A theoretical life can be manipulated like a series of

equations.

             As this theoretical life has developed alongside of a less wealthy

society, the theory has been used to produce the signs, the manifestations

of productivity. I don't think there’s been a real increase in productivity.

But the stuff that looks to a shareholder like productivity goes up. The

result of that, schemes and dreams and plans and they don't have

anything to do with wellbeing of human individuals. They have to do with a

desperate attempt to increase share prices and any cost.


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free. CNW Group will not be responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, loss of profits or other damages or liabilities which
may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

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Groupe CNW ne peut être tenue responsable de pertes ou profits, responsabilités ou dommages causés par ou découlant directement, indirectement,
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                                                                                 22


             So my guess is – I don't have statistics to bear this out – but my

guess is that in the past five years, the stress in the workplace has gotten

worse, not better. And I’m afraid that notwithstanding the existence of

EAPs and so on, until basic attitudes begin to change I think stress is

going to increase in the workplace and I think that’s how the WHO can be

pretty confident in predicting that depression will be the world’s number-

two health burden.

             It’s happening all over the place.

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Now we don't have any statistics in terms of

stress in the workplace, if it has increased in the last five years.                                                                                           But

there’s one thing that we know for sure. It's that as an insurer, what we

see is that the disability cause, more and more it’s because of mental

health problems. So basically right now it’s around 40 per cent of the

disability cost that we have, that is because mental health problems.

             Is it because only what’s going on at work? It might be a reason.

But also the personal life. This has caused, the personal life of people has

increased the level of their stress.

             BOYD NEIL: So let me clarify: 40 per cent of your disability claims

have a mental health root. Is that correct?

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Yes.


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may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

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                                                                                 23


             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. Jean, have you seen any increase in the

use of EAP programs as a result of mental health or any other measures in

the workplace that you can address this question?

             JEAN HERVIEUX: The impact on EAP is not always visible either. I

think one of the key question that comes up is, as an employer working in

partnership with insurers and EAP providers, do I measure properly what’s

happening in my sales, in my work environment? And do I put a lot of

effort in educating and informing my people of the things that can happen

to them and how to prevent them and how to be healthier both at work and

at home.

             And again, it comes down to, and there’s a huge trend right now for

employers to integrate all the phases of wellness into the workplace; but

there’s a lot of room to go.

             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. Any other questions?

             Yes, we have another question from the webcast, from Mike Oliveiri

at CP. "Did you find any surprises in the results? Was anyone surprised

by any numbers that they saw?"

             Dr. IRVIN WOLKOFF: Well, I was surprised and delighted by one in

particular. Again, back to the climate, you know, doctors are kind of not

your favourite guys anymore these days. Governments in Canada have


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may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

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                                                                                 24


made sure of that over the last 20 years. So I was surprised and delighted

to note that significantly more people will appeal to their family doctor than

will appeal to another professional or an EAP.

             And I don't know, but I suspect what that reflects is that there’s still

this sense, even in the midst of our tattered and torn healthcare system,

that when it comes to doctor/patient relationships, people still have some

sense that their family doctor occupies a special position, that your family

doctor can do a digital rectal exam on you and can talk to you about

matters that are every bit as private and intimate.

             That said, I hope it continues. But since there are a million and half

Ontarians with no family physician and since psychiatrists are in

catastrophically short supply, I’m hoping people will transfer some of that

trust to their EAP or to other therapeutic personnel.

             ALAIN THAUVETTE:                                      I was actually surprised by the number of

enterprises who use the EAP. For example, for enterprises of 200 and

more employees, 81 of them have an EAP program. So I don't know what

were the figures 10 years ago, but I’m pretty sure that there’s been quite

an increase since the last 10 years.

             This is something that happily surprised me.




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may arise out of or result from any use made of this transcript or any error contained therein."

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                                                                                 25


             BOYD NEIL: So it probably reflects the recognition by employers

that there are problems in the workplace...

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Absolutely.

             BOYD NEIL: ... and something needs to be done about it.

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: I think that the communication aspect of the

EAP still has to be improved because, as was mentioned previously, it’s

not every employee who are using EAP. More employees should be using

them but at least the thing is in place; so it’s a matter of communicating it.

             BOYD NEIL: Jean, did anything surprise you?

             JEAN HERVIEUX: The flip side of Alain’s coin here is the fact that if

you have 81 per cent of employers with more than 200 employees that

have EAPs and we say that 50 per cent, in general, have EAPs, it says a

lot about the small employer and the small employer can get EAP for their

employees and it’s a matter of looking for it.

             But I think it’s important that they realize that there’s an opportunity

for them to offer something to their people that will help them deal with

their issues.

             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. Other questions? Yes, there’s another

question from Joe Horniak(phon) at Benefits and Pension Monitor. "It’s

suggested that only 8 to 10 per cent of employees actually use EAPs


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                                                                                 26


despite the growing prevalence of them. How do we increase the uptake

in their usage?"

             I guess Jean’s the logical place to start for an answer.

             JEAN HERVIEUX: Well, the obvious one is again, coming back to

education and information. The interesting result from the survey is that in

businesses where there’s more than 200 employees, the usage rate’s at

33 per cent.                         So what do they do different than smaller or larger

companies? Because at 1,000 employees and more, it drops down again.

             So essentially, what do they do better than the other businesses in

terms of communicating, reinforcing, educating the value of not just EAPs

but wellness in general, what do they do for their employees that helps

raise the profile of the services that could make them better physically and

mentally?

             BOYD NEIL:                           So just to clarify the number of employers with

employees between 200 and 1,000, there’s a 33-per-cent usage rate for

EAPs...

             JEAN HERVIEUX: Yes, from the survey.

             BOYD NEIL:                            From the                     survey.                Above 1,000, that number

reduces...

             JEAN HERVIEUX: To under 20 per cent.


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                                                                                 27


             BOYD NEIL: ... to 20 per cent.

             ALAIN THAUVETTE:                                            Maybe I can suggest something. At

Desjardins, for example, I don't know what’s the usage of EAP; but

basically what we’ve created is an environment where people can go to

EAP. So we have a lot of training sessions or promotional things that we

give to our employees, either for their lifestyle, either for their health, either

for their satisfaction at work. We have early intervention programs with our

people. So I think this is the kind of thing that will increase the use of EAP.

             If you put an EAP standing alone and not communicating it or doing

nothing around it, I think it’s going to be harder for people to use EAP. But

if you create an environment where EAP is a part of the program, I think

that people are going to use it more.

             BOYD NEIL:                           Thank you.                      Other question, I believe, from the

webcast. Deirdre Healey again, from Hamilton Spectator. "You mentioned

financial pressure as a reason for stress and a reason for employees to

stay working when they are suffering from mental illness. But what about

the job performance. What role does it play in mental health?"

             Dr. IRVIN WOLKOFF:                                        I’m not sure about the last part of your

question, Deirdre, but I’ll give it my best shot.




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                                                                                 28


             I think that there’s no question, I mean, any individual who’s

suffering from a diagnosable mental illness will not be able to maintain

their level of job performance.

             In really all psychiatric diagnoses, the emphasis is not exclusively on

how an individual feels but on how they are able to function. So to qualify

for say, for example, the diagnosis of major depressive disorder, you have

to have had a significant disruption in how you go about doing things for at

least a couple of weeks.

             So there’s no question that individual productivity will drop in

somebody who has a depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder.

             I think it’s also fair to speculate that someone who’s not diagnosable

but is nonetheless under chronic stress will also perform less well than an

individual who isn't.

             The role that, if I interpret your question to mean what role does the

job play in the development of these illnesses? It’s pretty straightforward.

Workers today are exposed to a learning program in which they learn

helplessness. So that because nothing they do really makes a significant

difference, you know, there’s no rewards for performing above standard,

etcetera, etcetera, workers will eventually realize that they, the human

being in there, doesn’t really count for much, that the work is sort of a ritual


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                                                                                 29


and eventually that things they don't like about the work, you know,

excessive demands, inadequate pay and so on, aren’t going to move no

matter what the worker does.

             Learned helplessness is one model of depression. So in a lot of

corporations, I think, this element is built right into the job.

             Unless you have wonderful genetic endowment and a series of

perfect relationships in early life that give you incredible ego strength. You

know, if you want to get depressed these days, one of the best ways to do

it is get a job and work at it the way you think they want you to.

             BOYD NEIL: Thank you. Other questions? Are there any questions

on the conference call?

             OPERATOR: No, there are no questions at this time.

             BOYD NEIL: Okay. Another question then: "Given these results,

what advice do you have for companies to improve their presenteeism

problem?"

             Alain?

             ALAIN THAUVETTE: Well, basically the advice that I would give

would be to communicate the EAP program that companies have. This is

the way, basically, presenteeism is something that the employees can feel,

I think that the manager of the employee can feel it at some point. But the


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                                                                                 30


deep feeling is within the employees and the best person to resolve the

presenteeism problem is probably the employees.

             And you probably need help, so if the company has programs like

EAPs, I think that the communication of those programs will make that the

employees will go to those programs and that will help the presenteeism

problem.

             BOYD NEIL: We have time for one final question, if there is one. If

not, then this brings this webcast to a close. I want to thank everyone for

attending.

             If anyone from the media would like a further one-on-one interview

with any one of the panellists, I would ask that you call Lisa Naccarato at

416-413-4614.

             Also, if there are any questions that were left unanswered and

you’ve left an e-mail address or you leave an e-mail address, a response

will be provided to you by e-mail.

             Thank you very much.

                                                                                      ****




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