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

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What to Expect From Your Occupational Therapist (OT)

What to expect from your occupational therapist

When you seek the services of an occupational therapist (OT), you can expect to receive safe, ethical, quality care from a qualified professional who is registered (licensed) with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.

Occupational therapists are accountable to the College for the quality of care they provide and for their professional conduct.

Every occupational therapist practising in Ontario must meet the College's requirements for entry into the profession. The College’s programs and standards support quality and safety in the delivery of occupational therapy.

Only individuals who are registered with the College are able to call themselves occupational therapists and practise occupational therapy in Ontario.

What to ask your occupational therapist

Any occupational therapist should ask you a series of questions to understand your needs and goals. It’s just as important for your questions to be answered, so that you have the information needed to make good decisions about your health and care. Consider asking or confirming the following:

  1. What should I expect on my first visit?
  2. Do you have any specific training in treating my condition/situation?
  3. How long will my appointment be?
  4. How many appointments will I need to improve my function/abilities?
  5. How will you help me get back to my everyday life? What is the reasoning behind the plan or approach?
  6. What kind of results have you achieved in similar situations?
  7. What can I be doing outside occupational therapy to improve? What other health care professionals could be involved?
  8. What are my alternatives to occupational therapy?
  9. What can I do to learn more about my condition/situation?
  10. How much will it cost? And how will I need to pay?

Accepted standards of care

Accepted standards are established and in place so you can be assured that your occupational therapist is dealing with you in a safe, competent and ethical way.

All the College Standards for Practice are available online.

The College supports the public’s right to safe, competent and ethical care by occupational therapists.
Everyone registered to practice in Ontario must follow the established standards for the profession.

These are the clear expectations for all members of the profession, covering everything from assessments to record keeping. The College also sets out the essential competencies (knowledge, skills and judgement) that occupational therapists need in order to practice. Along with those abilities, occupational therapists must also maintain professional ethics to put the needs of the patient/client above all else.

The College holds all registered occupational therapists accountable for their conduct and practice.

If you have a questions, please contact our Practice Resource Service: or 416.214.1177 or 1.800.890.6570, ext. 240.

Your rights as a client

As a client, you have rights around care, clarity, choice, consent, costs, confidentiality and complaints. 

In Ontario, the health care legislation and the standards of the regulatory colleges that govern these professions serve your interests by giving you essential rights.

Care: Occupational therapists and other regulated health care professionals have a duty to provide safe, competent and ethical care.

That means you can expect them to draw on and stay current with a high level of skills and knowledge, consider your well-being first, respect your choices and work with integrity. Part of good care means you have a chance to discuss your goals and feelings, and what you can achieve with occupational therapy.

Clarity: You have the right to ask your occupational therapist any questions about your condition, progress and courses of action, and receive explanations in plain language.

Choice: You are in charge of your health, and always have the right to get a second opinion.

Consent: As part of choice, your occupational therapist is obliged to ensure your informed consent. That means you have to understand what will happen next, its benefits or risks and options, and agree or not.

Costs: You have the right to know exactly what you’re paying for, and your occupational therapist should explain any fees or billings.

Confidentiality: Your personal health information should remain private, shared only for the purposes of providing care to you.

Complaints: The College exists to safeguard the public. That gives you a way to raise concerns and formally complain about any aspect of the care you get from an occupational therapist.

The College’s Practice Resource Service can also answer questions about what you should expect from an occupational therapist.

Please contact or call 416.214.1177 or 1.800.890.6570, ext. 240.

How to share concerns or make a complaint

There are people to answer questions and provide assistance and processes in place if you have concerns about the conduct or practice of your occupational therapist.

Learn more about sharing concerns or making a complaint or contact the College at 416.214.1177/1.800.890.6570 x234 or send an email to

Additional Resources

Watch Videos 

Public Register: Find an Occupational Therapist

  • To confirm that an occupational therapist (OT) is registered, or to locate an Ontario occupational therapist, check our public register: Find an Occupational Therapist.

Practice Resource Service

Our Practice Resource Service is here to support you with your occupational therapy practice issues and questions. Whether you are an occupational therapist or a member of the general public, your privacy is important to us.