Every individual working in Ontario as an Occupational Therapists MUST be registered with the College BEFORE they commence employment. Failure to register is a significant offence and can, in extreme circumstances, result in disciplinary action and/or fines.
Registration Categories & Basic Requirements
The practice of occupational therapy includes direct service, education, consultation, research, administration and/or sales. Registration with the College qualifies occupational therapists to use the title "Occupational Therapists" or "O.T.", and the designation "OT Reg. (Ont.)". Registration indicates to the public that their occupational therapist has met entry-to-practice requirements, and meets the College's standards of practice and quality assurance requirements. In addition, it provides the public with a means of recourse, should they receive occupational therapy treatment they feel does not meet professional standards.
Specific & Additional Requirements
- General Practising Certificate Requirements
This category applies to individuals who meet all requirements of the College and are able to practice without restriction. To register in this category, applicants must have:
- A Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy obtained in Ontario or an academic qualification considered equivalent by the Registration Committee.
- Successfully completed 1000 hours of fieldwork or clinical practicum as part of the education program.
- Currency/recent practice hours (600 hours within the last 3 years) or have successfully completed a supervised Refresher Program within the last 18 months. Recent graduates (18 months or less) are automatically granted currency. Practice hours include direct service hours, planning and development hours, and administrative hours usually recognized in standard workload measurement systems. Applicants who do not meet currency must provide other evidence, satisfactory to the Registrar, of possessing the current knowledge, skill, judgment and ability. Learn about the Refresher Program (PDF: 45kb) to re-enter into professional practice.
- Successfully completed the certification examination (currently the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists' National Certification Exam is the approved exam).
- Professional Liability insurance that includes a sexual abuse therapy and counseling fund endorsement.
- Provisional Practising Certificate Requirements
This category applies to those individuals who have not as yet met the examination requirements. To register in this category, applicants must have:
- Meet requirements a, b, c, and e for the general practicing certificate;
- Be supervised by a general practicing registrant with at least one year of experience.
- Be registered to write the first available sitting of the exam.
Review the Provisional Practising Certificate of Registration - Responsibilities and Requirements pamphlet (PDF: 227kb) for more information of this certificate.
Registrants within this category must successfully complete the certification examination within the specified timeframes. If the requirements have not been met, or the College has not been notified of their completion within the specified timeline, the certificate automatically expires.
- Temporary Certificate Requirements
This category of certificate is intended for those therapists who are registered in another jurisdiction (i.e., another province or country), but enter the province of Ontario to practice temporarily as a consultant or educator/instructor. To register in this category, applicants must have:
- A valid certificate of registration from another jurisdiction with education and clinical requirements equivalent to those of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario;
- Have an offer of employment that does not exceed four months within a twelve-month period;
- Have a general practicing registrant agree to supervise and be responsible for ensuring the provision of appropriate care for clients attended by the applicant;
- Have professional liability insurance that includes a sexual abuse therapy and counseling fund endorsement.
If applicant is a Canadian citizen a copy of applicant's birth certificate, current passport, or Canadian Citizenship Card is required. If not a Canadian citizen, evidence of landed immigrant status, permanent resident status, or a work permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada is required. Forwarding a photocopy of the document is sufficient. If applicant does not meet this requirement they can still begin the application process.
- Language Fluency
Evidence of reasonable oral and written fluency in English or French is required. This can be demonstrated by one of the following:
- First language is English or French
- Your occupational therapy program was taught in English or French
- You have achieved a College-Accepted Score (PDF: 17kb) on approved written and oral English or French language tests. Official documentation must be sent to the College to verify results.
Applicants must demonstrate adequate entry level knowledge of occupational therapy to practice in Ontario. If registering under the General Practicing Certificate, evidence of successful completion or the exam must be submitted with the application. (e.g., a photocopy the CAOT certificate or exam results).
If registering under the Provisional Practising Certificate, applicant must register with Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) to sit the first available exam. It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure the appropriate steps are taken to meet CAOT's application deadlines. A Provisional Certificate will expire 60 days after the first available exam from the date of registration. Review the Provisional Practising Certificate of Registration - Responsibilities and Requirements pamphlet (PDF: 227kb) for more information of this certificate.
- Professional Liability Insurance
Liability insurance with a sexual abuse therapy and counseling fund endorsement is mandatory for registration. The College has approved the programs offered by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) and the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) as meeting College requirements. The applicant is required to send a copy of their certificate which confirms the purchase of the insurance and includes the policy number and expiry date. Insurance may be purchased elsewhere, however, evidence of the policy content that demonstrates it meets the College's requirement must be sent to the College for review prior to acceptance.
- Currency Hours
Applicants to the College must have recently graduated from an occupational Therapy program; or have practiced within the scope of the profession for a set amount of hours during any portion of the previous three years; or provide evidence, satisfactory to the Registrar, of possessing current knowledge, skill, and ability. The currency requirement for registration is stated in the Registration Regulation and is summarized as follows:
An applicant must have:
- completed 600 hours in the three years preceding the application;
- graduated from an approved Occupational Therapy program in the 18 months prior to date of application
- completed a College approved reentry/Refresher Program in the 18 months prior to the date of application. Learn about the Refresher Program (PDF: 45kb) to re-enter into professional practice.
Work hours include direct service hours, planning and development hours, and administrative hours usually recognized in standard workload measurement systems.