Open Access Research article

Wait times for publicly funded addiction and problem gambling treatment agencies in Ontario, Canada

Rachael V Pascoe1*, Brian Rush2 and Nooshin Khobzi Rotondi3

Author Affiliations

1 Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, 246 Bloor Street W, Toronto, ON M5S 1 V4, Canada

2 Social and Epidemiological Research Department, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2S1, Canada

3 Department of Psychology, HIV Prevention Lab, Ryerson University, Jorgenson Hall, 8th Floor, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 2 K3, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:483  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-483

Published: 19 November 2013



This study describes the definitions of wait times and intake processes used by drug and problem gambling treatment agencies in Ontario, Canada, as well as the various strategies employed to ameliorate client backlog.


An online survey was developed and distributed to 203 publicly-funded, provincial substance use and problem gambling treatment agencies from June to August, 2011. All aspects of the intake process were covered in the survey.


Based on 139 responses, six different wait time periods were identified. Additional analyses were completed by type of service offered. Suggestions for effective interventions to shorten wait times and recommendations for future research are provided.


The results of this study highlight a need for standardized definitions of wait times across substance use and problem gambling treatment services.

Drug use; Problem gambling; Wait times; Intake