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Sector Compensation

Without an increase in wages, the sector will continue to lose valuable staff

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Recruiting & Retaining Healthcare Professionals

Low salaries in the mental health and addiction sector are leading to higher staff turnover, understaffing, burnout, longer wait times and higher client-to-staff ratios.

An AMHO analysis of job postings found an average 30% pay gap for addiction counsellors, addiction therapists, therapists, support workers, psychotherapists, case managers, and overnight attendants at community-based organizations when compared to similar positions at hospitals. Staff from community mental health and addictions are leaving to work in sectors that provide better compensation.

  • The Results of Below-Average Compensation
    Without base funding for organizations to address health human resources challenges, Ontarians will continue to turn to shelters, emergency departments and hospitals which are overwhelmed and under-resourced.

    Insufficient access to mental health and addictions services can lead to:

      • Increased medical leaves from work and/or job loss
      • Strained and broken family and social relationships
      • More cases of drug poisoning and suicides
      • Added stress on hospitals and emergency departments
      • Increased use of emergency shelters
      • Greater burden on the correctional services system
  • The Impact
    With more annualized funding, organizations can expand the provision of services with appropriate staffing levels. In turn, this will reduce wait lists and improve access to appropriate levels of care.
    Lower Wait Times for Services

    Increased funding will improve access to services with the highest demand and address wait times based on local needs, including hiring new staff to expand access to care.

    Eliminate the Sector Compensation Gap

    Funding increases will allow our members to pay a more competitive wage to hire and retain more trained and experienced staff to improve service delivery and reduce wait lists.

    Improve Treatment Outcomes

    Most importantly, increased funding will mean that Ontarians will receive appropriate mental health and addiction care closer to home.

  • Mental Health and Addictions HHR Report

    The Ontario Community Mental Health and Addictions Health Human Resources Review collected vital data pertaining to human resources indicators and compensation levels within the community mental health and addictions (MHA) sector. Members from AMHO, Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO), and Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario (CMHA–ON) participated in this survey in 2023. We have heard from members that they are experiencing challenges retaining staff due to low compensation, high workloads, and burnout; challenges recruiting new staff due to low compensation; and the need to lower qualification standards and experience requirements to recruit new staff.


    The data collected validated the concerns raised by our members. There are significant wage disparities between MHA and other sectors like acute care and schools, with the gaps widening for more senior roles. The turnover rate in the community MHA sector is 20%, which is significantly greater compared to other health sectors, and nearly on par with sectors with historically high turnover rates like manufacturing and retail. Turnover challenges are coupled with a high vacancy rate of 10%, which is anticipated to continue to worsen given current turnover rates. Further, there are many roles in the community MHA sector that pay less than the regional living wage, which can cause frontline staff to need to work a second job or rely on their families and partners to make ends meet. Additional data and information can be found in the Ontario Community Mental Health and Addictions Health Human Resources Review: Key Findings document.

  • Community Health Compensation Report

    A coalition of 10 community health associations from the mental health and addictions, primary care, long-term care and home and community care sectors, collected HHR data from our members in 2023, such as compensation for 79 roles, turnover and vacancy rates. The data demonstrated an over $2 billion wage gap for roles in the community health sector compared to their equivalents in other sectors like acute care and schools. 94% of community health organizations identified low compensation as the single greatest challenge for recruitment and retention. Despite the rising cost of living and a competitive health care job market, staff in the community health sector experienced an average actual salary increase of 1.53% in 2023.


    Without action, a key foundation of our health care system is at risk, with the potential to see diminished access to essential services in the community, increased strain on already overburdened hospitals and emergency departments, elevated health care costs, and care that is too hard and slow to access for millions of individuals and their families.


    Further data and information can be found in the Ontario Community Health Compensation Market Salary Review Report  and Ontario Community Health Compensation Market Salary Review Executive Summary.


How AMHO Helps

AMHO has worked on health human resources (HHR) to secure more funding to bridge the compensation gap and ensure AMHO members can compensate their staff fairly.

AMHO’s membership relies on the organization to gather and provide information on HHR which they can use to improve their compensation and staffing levels.
Informative webinars regarding compensation and HHR best practices for improvement
Support and reporting on government policy changes
Raising public and government awareness of the mental health and addiction crisis in Ontario
“Without mental health, there can be no true physical health.” Dr. Brock Chisholm Canadian Psychiatrist First Director-General of the World Health Organization
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