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Welcome all insurers, plan sponsors, benefits consultants, and HR professionals

CCPA has created this page to help you better understand and navigate Canada’s counselling and psychotherapy field. We know the complex landscape can cause confusion and lead to unanswered questions. See below for more information about CCPA’s improved mental health benefit coverage recommendations.

Strong workplace mental health is vital for employee engagement and productivity, and plan sponsors have a pivotal role to play. Health benefits plans are one of the first lines of defence and are integral to an organization’s health and wellness strategy.

While many organizations are adopting flexible work arrangements, most are still in the process of developing and implementing mental health strategies to better meet the needs of their employees post-pandemic.

Plan sponsors have an opportunity to re-define their organizational requirements and ensure that mental health supports reflect their workers’ evolving needs. CCPA is here to support that redefinition process with helpful tools and resources to ensure plan sponsors, benefits consultants and insurers are providing the best mental health and wellness supports possible based on sound research and expert knowledge.

What does mental health cost in the workplace?

Mental health claims for federal public servants made up the largest share of all claims at 55%.1 Private-sector rates also remained high at 30%. According to data from Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association members, disability insurance claims for mental health support increased by 24% in 2020. 2

Insurance companies paid $420 million to support mental health claims, $150 million more than projected.3, 4 In 2021, workers’ mental health-related claims for STD increased 6%, while their duration rose 12%. 5 Mental health problems and illnesses comprise about 30 % of short and long-term disability claims 6 and 70 % of workplace disability costs. 7

Canadians’ mental health is costing plan sponsors and insurers more than ever. If there was a way to help reduce these costs, would you pursue it?

How else does mental health affect workplaces?

One in five people in Canada (about 7.5 million) experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year. 8 Approximately 22% of the working population is estimated to suffer from a mental illness that potentially affects their work productivity. 9

A Feb 2023 Mental Health Research Canada poll reports that 24% of Canadians feel exhausted and burnt out. On top of this, levels of high anxiety and depression have seen little movement since the summer of 2022, each remaining higher than pre-pandemic levels. Before the pandemic, almost 1/5 of Canadians were experiencing anxiety or depression. 10

Research also shows that 60% of employees would leave their current organization for one that offered them better support for their well-being (even if offered less money). 11

How much is enough?

With the escalation in the need for mental health care, employee health benefits have not kept pace with the increased demand. 12 While there have been improvements with many plan sponsors increasing their mental health benefit – some to a large extent, the 2021 median annual maximum coverage currently stands at $750, down 25% from the 2020 maximum of $1,001. 13

The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) recommends that employees receive access to coverage between $3,500 and $4,000 for complete treatment using evidence-based care (i.e., treatment adequate for achieving a therapeutic outcome).14 The CCPA supports this recommended amount as it’s vital for individuals to have the opportunity to complete an entire course of treatment without having to delay service or have to stop to find another therapist due to financial barriers


1 May, K. (2021, December 17). What’s driving depression and mental-health issues in the Public Service? Policy Options. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/november-2021/mental-health-claims-rise-in-public-service/

2 Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. ( (Ed.). (2021). (rep.). The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Facts, 2021 Edition. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

3 Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. ( (Ed.). (2021). (rep.). The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Facts, 2021 Edition. The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

4 Rolfe, K. (2021, August 17). ‘a pandemic after the pandemic’: Insurers Brace for disability claims … A pandemic after the pandemic’: Insurers brace for disability claims ‘deluge’ from mental, physical strain of crisis. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://financialpost.com/fp-work/a-pandemic-after-the-pandemic-insurers-brace-for-disability-claims-deluge-from-mental-physical-strain-of-crisis

5 Mental Health Commission of Canada and Canadian Psychological Association. (2022). Extended  mental health benefits in Canadian workplaces: Employee and employer perspectives [Research report].

6 Mental Health Commission Canada. (n.d.). (rep.). Making the Case for Investing in Mental Health in Canada (pp. 1–30).

7 The Conference Board of Canada. (2022). (publication). Future-Proofing Investments in Workplace Mental Health: Meeting Employees’ Evolving Needs (pp. 1–39). Ottawa, Ontario: The Conference Board of Canada.

8 Mental Health Commission of Canada and Canadian Psychological Association. (2022). Extended mental health benefits in Canadian workplaces: Employee and employer perspectives [Research report].

9 Smetanin, P., Stiff, D., Briante, C., Adair, C.E., Ahmad, S. and Khan, M. The Life and Economic Impact of Major Mental Illnesses in Canada: 2011 to 2041. RiskAnalytica, on behalf of the Mental Health Commission of Canada 2011

10 Health Canada. (2023). (rep.). Understanding the Mental Health of Canadians through COVID-19 and Beyond: Poll #15 (pp. 1–46). Mental Health Research Canada.

11 Glassdoor Team. (2015, October 2). 4 in 5 employees want benefits or perks more than a pay raise; Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey (Q3 2015). Glassdoor Blog. Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/ecs-q3-2015/

12 Mental Health Commission of Canada. (2022). Addressing the access and equity chasm: Reimagining public and privately-insured mental health and substance use service sectors

13 Sun Life. (2020). (rep.). Shaping group benefits: Employer insights that are helping guide the plans of the future (pp. 1–26). Sun Life.

14 Mental Health Commission of Canada and Canadian Psychological Association. (2022). Extended mental health benefits in Canadian workplaces: Employee and employer perspectives [Research report].

Professional Therapy titles explained

Understanding Regulation of Counselling & Psychotherapy in Canada

To learn about what counsellors and psychotherapists do and where they are regulated across Canada, click here: The Profession & Regulation.

You can find a Canadian Certified Counsellor here.

To find Regulated Counselling and Psychotherapy professionals, click the link for the respective college below.

College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario

Ordre Des Psychologues Du Quebec

College of Counselling Therapy Prince Edward Island

The College of Counselling Therapists of New Brunswick

Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists

What titles to include in which provinces?

The landscape of the counselling and psychotherapy profession is rapidly evolving. Regulation is a provincial responsibility in Canada. Despite the use of “psychotherapist” vs “counselling therapist” professional titles by province, these professions share comparable scopes of practice, standards for professional preparation, continuing education requirements and code of ethics and standards of practice.

In unregulated provinces and territories, professional designations such as CCPA’s Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) demonstrate standards of practice criteria similar to the professional titles in regulated provinces.

Below is a chart demonstrating each province’s titles for counselling and psychotherapy professionals. For a complete list of recognized titles in Quebec, click here.

British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut still need to regulate the profession of counselling and psychotherapy. This means that there is no regulatory body in these provinces overseeing the practice of counselling and psychotherapy, and therefore a lack of protection to the public. British Colombia has a provincial association, The British Colombia Association of Clinical Counsellors, which provides a similar voluntary certification to that of the CCPA; the Registered Clinical Counsellor

What does this mean for plan sponsors and Insurance providers?

In these provinces (except for BC), there is no standardized group of providers who: have been vetted through a third party, require Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics, and meet educational and ongoing professional development criteria. This is where CCPA’s Canadian Certified Counsellor comes in.

When it comes to including professional mental health titles under insurance plans, only psychologists and social workers are expected to be covered. By limiting the type of mental health service provider employees can access, plan sponsors are significantly reducing access to care, often unintentionally, due to a lack of understanding of the counselling field in Canada.

Since 1986, the CCPA has offered the Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC). This nationally recognized voluntary professional title parallels the requirements for regulating the professional designations of Registered Psychotherapists in Ontario, Quebec, and Registered/Licensed Counselling Therapists in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.


Our Recommendations:

Inclusion of Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC) in benefits coverage for unregulated provinces

By including CCCs in paramedical mental health coverage, insurers and plan sponsors create more opportunities and access for employees to feel a sense of autonomy over the mental health support received, allowing employees to pick a provider that best meets their needs. This, in turn, will help the employee to feel more satisfied with the benefits offered and more supported in their workplace.

To learn more about our CCC designation visit our certification page here.

Interested in learning about the advantages of including CCCs in insurance plans?

Inclusion of regulated counselling and psychotherapy titles in regulated provinces

The profession is regulated under the title of Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario, Quebec, and Registered or Licensed Counselling Therapist in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. These titles have been around for years, yet unfortunately, the inclusion of them is often missed by plan sponsors and insurance providers – even in the regulated province.

Frequently plans include access exclusively to a Psychologist or Social Worker. This is a good start, but it limits employees’ access to thousands of additional qualified mental health professionals across Canada, including Registered Psychotherapists, Registered Counselling Therapists and Licensed Counselling Therapists.

When plans include the appropriate regulated title based on the employee’s province, plan sponsors and insurers are helping to address the ongoing national issue of extensive wait times for mental health service access.


Interested in learning more about the advantages of including regulated mental health professionals in insurance plans?

Click here to book a meeting with Lindsey Thomson, CCPA’s Director of Public Affairs.

Click below to send me an email.