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Notice: The Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada (2021) are now in effect.

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Contact  1-800-890-6570   info@coto.org
 

Registration Requirements

You may not begin working* as an occupational therapist or calling yourself an occupational therapist until you are registered with the College and have received written confirmation and a registration number.

*Working as an occupational therapist includes participating in orientation or training at the workplace.

Registration Requirements

The requirements for becoming an occupational therapist in Ontario are:

1. Education

A Bachelor of Science degree or Master of Science in Occupational Therapy obtained in Ontario or an academic qualification considered equivalent by the College's Registration Committee.

If you were educated outside of Canada, your education is reviewed by the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) to ensure that it is substantially equivalent to the content of an Ontario occupational therapy program.

2. Clinical Practicum

Successful completion of 1000 hours of fieldwork or clinical practicum as part of the education program.

3. Currency

  • Graduation from an approved occupational therapy program within the past 18 months, or
  • 600 hours of occupational therapy practice within the past 3 years, or
  • Successful completion a College approved Refresher Program within the last 18 months.

4. Examination

Successful completion of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists' National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination.

5. Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance with a sexual abuse therapy and counseling fund endorsement is mandatory for registration with the College. The requirements for professional liability insurance are set out in Part 19 of the College bylaws.

6. Suitability to Practise

The College must be satisfied that you will practice occupational therapy safely and ethically. This requirement includes submission of a current Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check - visit our VS Check webpage for full details.

7. Language Fluency

Must be able to speak and write either English or French with reasonable fluency.

Individuals whose first language is not English or French, or whose occupational therapy education was not in English or French, must provide evidence of fluency.

8. Work Eligibility

Must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, or be authorized under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001 to engage in work as an occupational therapist.


What if I don't meet the requirements?

If you do not meet one of more of the above requirements, your application may be referred to the College’s Registration Committee. After considering your application and submissions, the Registration Committee will make one of the following decisions:

  1.  issue a certificate of registration
  2.  issue a certificate of registration with terms, conditions and limitations
  3.  issue a certificate of registration after completing specified training or additional exams
  4. refuse to issue a certificate of registration.  

If you disagree with a decision of the Registration Committee, you have the right to appeal the decision to the Health Professional Appeal and Review Board (HPARB). HPARB is an independent review board established under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA).

If you wish to appeal the decision, you must write to HPARB and to the Registration Committee within 30 days of receiving the Committee’s decision.  You can ask for a hearing (you and a College representative appear in person to present evidence to HPARB) or a review (HPARB members review written submissions from  you and the College).

HPARB may be notified at the address below. For more information about HPARB, visit hparb.on.ca

Health Boards Secretariat
Health Professions Appeal and Review Board
151 Bloor St. West, 9th Floor
Toronto, ON M5S 2T5  

HPARB decisions can be appealed further to the Divisional Court of Ontario.


Registration Categories

General Registration

General registration is issued to applicants who meet all of the registration requirements. General registrants are able to practice without restriction.

Provisional Registration

Provisional registration may be issued to applicants who are waiting to write the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE).

To be eligible for provisional registration, applicants must meet all other registration requirements and must:

  • be registered for the next available sitting of the NOTCE
  • have an offer of employment where they will be supervised by an occupational therapist who has held general registration for at least one year
  • submit a completed Provisional Registration Supervision Agreement  (English | French)
  • successfully complete the examination within the specified timeframe.

Learn more about provisional registration

Temporary Registration

Temporary registration is intended for occupational therapists who are registered in another province or country, but need to practice in Ontario on a temporary basis. 

To register in this category, applicants must:

  • Hold valid registration in a jurisdiction with education and clinical requirements equivalent to those of the Ontario
  • Meet the language fluency, suitability to practise, professional liability and work eligibility requirements
  • Have an offer of employment that does not exceed four months within a twelve-month period
  • Submit a completed Supervision Acknowledgement Form (an occupational therapist who has had general registration for at least one year must agree to supervise and be responsible for ensuring the provision of appropriate care for clients).