One in Five Workers in the GTHA Currently Have a Mental Health Issue

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - April 18, 2016) - Today, CivicAction launched its first health-related initiative by focusing on mental health in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) workplace. As part of the initiative, the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA) provided in-depth analysis into the mental health issues in the GTHA labour force using its cutting-edge agent-based modelling platform, Prosperity at Risk (PaR).

Speaking at CivicAction's launch, CANCEA's President Paul Smetanin notes that "Discussions of health in the early 20th century centred around cardiovascular disease. By mid-century, you couldn't talk about being a cancer survivor, and now there is a pride about it. Discussions about health in the 21st century will focus on mental health and accepting that while it is a part of our everyday life, it is something that is highly addressable."

Mental Illness in the GTHA

It is estimated that over 1.5 million people currently in the GTHA labour force (approximately 1 in 2) have experienced a mental health issue in their lifetime. Of those, 680,000 people (or 21% of the GTHA labour force) are estimated to currently have a mental health issue; while the remaining 995,000 (or 31% of the GTHA labour force) are people who previously experienced one. Each mental health issue's symptoms and prevalence can vary considerably depending on an individual's age, sex, and risk factor exposure.

Economic Impact of Mental Health Issues in the GTHA

The economic impact of mental health issues in the GTHA labour force is significant. Over the next 10 years, mental health issues in the GTHA labour force could result in an average annual loss of productivity of $1.7 billion, or approximately 0.5% of the GDP of the GTHA.

GTHA Mental Health Risk Factors

Part of the driving factors of mental health issues in the GTHA labour force are the challenges that these individuals face living and working every day. For example:

  • Shelter Affordability: Our preliminary analysis looking into housing affordability estimates that at least 1.2 million households in Ontario (approximately one quarter) spending just over 60% of their discretionary income on shelter costs.
  • Informal Care: The unpaid support provided by family and friends to people with mental health issues. CANCEA estimated that in the GTHA over the next 10 years, labour force participants will provide 444 million hours of informal caregiving to individuals with dementia alone; amounting to a total economic cost to the GTHA of $30.4 billion over the next 10 years, or about 2% of the GDP output of the GTHA.
  • Child Care: The price of child care for one child in the GTHA is estimated to be $20,000 per year on average, higher than any other region of the country.

For more information on CANCEA's analysis, please click here


CANCEA is a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research organization that is dedicated to objective, independent and evidence based analysis. They have a long history of providing holistic and collaborative understanding of the short and long term risks and returns behind policy decisions and prosperity.

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Contact Information:

Paul Smetanin
President and CEO
Phone: 416.567.9040

Mental Health in the Workplace