Personal Supports FAQs

Learner Life Specialists & Personal Counselling

01. What is a Learner Life Specialist (LLS)?

  • LLS’ are OLA staff members, who provide personal support forlearners, to optimize their theirtraining
  • A LLS may be your first point of contact with OLA,  focusing on intake, triage/short term stabilization, and navigation to appropriate resources/supports either within OLA, or external
  • LLS’ also participante in delivering learner wellness initiatives

02. What are the credentials/training of a LLS?

LLS’s have a clinical background, with specific experience in mental health, employing  a variety of modalities including: trauma informed; anti-oppression/anti-racism; short term supportive; CBT/DBT; IPT; strengths and empowering based; single session

03. How does a brief counselling/supportive model work?

  • There is a quick connection with the learner to dentify the issues; and focus on solutions/strength building
  • As needed, there is aquick pivot to navigation/case management to other providers/resources as soon as appropriate
  • LLS’ continue to support the learner through to successful “warm handover” 

04. Is there a limit to the number of sessions?

  • No, although the focus is on short term interventions — per issue
  • No limit to the number of issues that learners can come for

05. I heard that there is a limit of 10 sessions—is that true? What happens after the 10th session?

  • No, that is not true
  • Because we are employing a short-term model, the majority of issues can be managed within approximately 10 sessions per issue
  • We know from review of past utilization, that the majority of learners (and actually most mental health clients) come for 1, and an average of 4-6 sessions/issue.  Very few need referrals beyond that.  
  • If it is mutually agreed upon between learner and LLS that the issue/s will need more than a few sessions, then the work should pivot very quickly to add in navigation/warm handover. In these situations, it is very likely that learners will need support beyond their time as learners, so to minimize treatment disruptions and transitions, the works should focus on appropriate, community, long term resources that can be the constant for learners as they transition on

06. What about learners who need more than 10 sessions, and even long term, regular follow up?

We will NOT just end support with anyone. Our LLS’ will continue to work with you on managing your situation in the moment, while also focusing on referral/transition onto appropriate care — however long that will take.

07. Why the switch to the short term model?

This model is the best way for us to efficiently/effectively deliver services and supports to over 5,500 clients/learners. Based on our utilization information, the majority of issues are resolved in only a few sessions.

08. How does “navigation” (and “warm handover”) work?

  • This is really dependent on LLS’s have protected time to keep very up-to-date, just-in-time networks of resources with a dedicated commitment to our client population
  • That way, LLS’can assess, reach out, pave the way, and direct learners to a specific person/contact. LLS’ then stay connected with the learner during the wait, and until everyone is sure that learner has made a good connection
  • LLS’ can then also act as ongoing liaison between learners and the program

09. What is the wait time for service?

  • Someone will connect with you within 1-2 business days
  • Appointments can usually be booked within 2-3 weeks
  • We are not a crisis service; however, if you have an urgent situation, please contact

10. How long can it take to be transferred onto other services, and what happens while the student is waiting for that?

That really depends on the service. Some could take 6-12 months. We will stay with you until there has been a successful handover.

11. Is there any cost to learners for this service?

No, there is no charge for our services

12. How will students who can’t afford to pay for private services be transferred on?

That’s part of the navigation. We will not abandon you, or just give you a number, or just tell you to go find support on your own.

13. What are the options for funding for students who can’t afford to pay?

There are a number of options for coverage: PHP; OHIP covered; part of institutions/clinics; extended health coverage for students. This is part of the navigation process.

14. Is the service confidential?

Yes, within PHIPPA and FIPPA.

15. How are our records managed?

  • As per PHIPPA and FIPPA requirements (ie, double lock)
  • There is no record of meetings with OLA on Medsis/POWER, MSPR, the program, etc
  • There is only selective access to files, within OLA, with double check mechanisms