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OTTAWA — New documents show the Canadian military found recruiting new psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers an uphill battle because the government’s top pay scale wasn’t high enough in some parts of the country.

A briefing note, prepared for former defence minister Rob Nicholson at the height of last year’s suicide crisis, shows National Defence scrambled to fill dozens of vacant mental health positions.

In 2002, just after the country entered the Afghan war, the military set a goal of having 454 uniformed, civilian and contract staff to treat soldiers with addictions, depression, post traumatic stress and other problems.

It has never met that quota, even today.

There were 434 professionals on the books as of February 2015 and defence officials say the shortfall reflects the normal number of vacancies expected in any organization.

The briefing note says the recruiting search was stymied in all clinical categories when potential candidates refused jobs because the government’s top pay rate was not competitive in some markets.

The Canadian Press

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