If you are applying for general or provisional registration, and you have graduated from an occupational therapy program outside of Canada, you are required to complete the Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS) process as the first step for registration in Ontario. Please note, applicants who are currently registered in Canada and applying through the labour mobility provisions do not complete SEAS and should review Applicants Registered in Another Province.
SEAS will determine whether your educational qualifications and competencies are substantially equivalent to an Ontario-educated occupational therapist (OT). The Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) administers SEAS as a service provider to the College. To learn more, visit http://www.acotro-acore.org/seas/getting-started.
SEAS is the first step in the registration process for internationally educated applicants. Once you receive a disposition report from ACOTRO you must:
1. complete the online application,
2. pay the application fee,
3. submit all required documentation to the College,
4. pass the exam, and,
5. pay the annual registration fee.
You may not begin working* as an OT until you are registered with the College and have received written confirmation and a registration number. *Working as an OT includes participating in orientation or training at the workplace.
View the College process map.
How Do I Meet the Requirements?
Education & Clinical Practicum
You will meet the education and clinical practicum requirement by completing SEAS and receiving a disposition report that indicates your education and competencies are substantially equivalent to a Canadian-educated OT.
Read more about education and clinical practicum requirement
If your disposition report indicates that your education and competencies are not substantial equivalent to a Canadian-educated OT, your application will be referred to the College Registration Committee.
Currency - Evidence of Practice
Recent graduation or recent occupational therapy practice provides evidence that you are current
SEAS has five components:
1. Academic Credential Assessment (ACA)
2. Curriculum and Fieldwork Review
3. SEAS Language Assessment
4. Jurisprudence Knowledge Assessment Test (JKAT)
5. Competency Assessment Interview
To apply to SEAS, please visit http://www.acotro-acore.org/seas/getting-started.
in the knowledge, skills and judgement needed to provide safe, effective and ethical care. If you have graduated in the past 18 months, you will meet the currency requirement.
If you graduated more than 18 months ago you will need to provide evidence of 600 hours of occupational therapy practice in the past three years
or complete a College approved refresher program. A record of employment or letter from an employer are acceptable evidence of currency.
Approved Refresher Program
The College has two refresher programs: the Clinical Re-Entry Program and the Non-Clinical Re-Entry Program.
To begin a refresher program, you must
be an applicant of the College.
provide a detailed account of your occupational therapy history for the past 10 years, including dates of employment, hours worked per week, volunteer work and/or continuing education courses completed within the scope of occupational therapy using the Additional Currency Data Sheet.
Read more about the approved refresher program
If you have not practised occupational therapy in the last 10 years you will be required to pass the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination prior to initiating a refresher program.
Once we receive your completed application and Additional Currency Data Sheet, we will review your documentation and inform you, in writing, about how to proceed with the refresher program.
Once you have successfully completed the refresher program, you will be considered current for 18 months, and will be eligible to proceed with registration. For more information please refer to the following links:
Clinical Re-Entry Program
Non-Clinical Re-Entry Program
The National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (‘the exam’) is administered by the Canadian Association of Occupation Therapists (CAOT). The exam is held twice a year, once in July and once in November.
Eligibility to Write
You will not be able to write the exam until it is confirmed by the College that you meet the education requirement
Confirmation that you are able to write the exam will be sent to CAOT from the College at your request
Read more about eligibility
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance with a sexual abuse therapy and counseling fund endorsement is mandatory for registration
You have a maximum of three attempts to pass the exam. No further attempts will be permitted.
Cost to Attempt the Exam
$555 + HST.
If you require accommodation when writing the exam, please contact CAOT directly.
If you experience ill health during the exam and continue to write the exam, or believe that there were administrative issues on the examination day that significantly impaired your performance, you can appeal to CAOT on the basis of extenuating circumstances.
Appeals must be made directly to CAOT and consist of a letter, supporting documentation and an administrative fee of $50.00.
Appeals MUST be received in the CAOT office no later than 14 days after the exam day. Appeals are NOT considered once the exam results have been issued to the candidates.
If an appeal is granted, you must notify the College and provide the appropriate documentation.
For more information about the exam, including policies and resources, please visit the CAOT website.
with the College. The requirements for professional liability insurance are set out in Part 19 of the College bylaws
. The College is not affiliated with and does not endorse any insurance provider.
Read more about professional liability insurance
The College has confirmed that the insurance coverage offered (as of October 1, 2015) by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) and Aon Healthcare Advantage meets the College requirements. You are required to send a copy of your insurance certificate which confirms the purchase of the insurance and includes the policy number and expiry date.
Insurance may be purchased elsewhere, however, evidence that it meets the College's requirements must be sent to the College for review prior to acceptance.
The purpose of the good conduct requirement includes the protection of the public, the maintenance of high ethical standards, and the maintenance of public confidence in the profession.
Read more about good conduct
You will be required to answer a series of questions on the application about your conduct. Conduct questions pertain to:
- occupational therapy practice;
- practice of other professions;
- bail conditions or restrictions; and,
- any other relevant conduct.
Beginning April 1, 2017, applicants must submit a Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check as part of their application for registration for with the College – this also applies to current applicants who have not been issued registration by April 1, 2017. The College uses the results of the VS Check to verify information pertaining to offences; bail conditions or restrictions; and any other relevant conduct.
Please note, if you do not register within six months of the date the results were issued by the police, you will be required to submit an updated VS Check. Please see the following section of our website for full details: https://www.coto.org/memberservices/applicants/vulnerable-sector-checks
If you hold (or have held) a license or registration to practice occupational therapy outside of Ontario you need to complete a Regulatory History Form. Please forward the form to the appropriate organization and have them complete it and return it directly to the College.
If the Registrar believes that any of your previous conduct will impact your ability to practice occupational therapy safely and ethically, your application will be referred to the Registration Committee for a conduct review. For more information on the conduct review process please refer to the Good Conduct policy.
You will meet that language fluency requirement if:
our first language is English or French; or
the language of your occupational therapy program instruction is English or French; or
you have achieved an acceptable score on a College accepted test, please refer to our Language Fluency Requirement Policy for approved tests and accepted scores.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
International English Language Testing System Academic (IELTS AC)
If you are a Canadian citizen a copy of your birth certificate, current passport, or Canadian Citizenship Card is required. If you are not a Canadian citizen, evidence of landed immigrant status, permanent residency, or employment authorization under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001
is required. Forwarding a photocopy of the document is sufficient. If you do not currently meet this requirement, you may still begin the application process.
Additional Information & Resources
There are a number of resources for internationally educated health care professionals in Ontario. Many are offered at no cost. The College encourages you to access the available resources.
Orientation to the Canadian Health Care System, Culture and Context
This course is designed for internationally educated health professionals who are seeking registration in a regulated health profession in Canada. The course provides individuals with an understanding of the Canadian health care system, what Canadian patients expect from their health care providers, and how to communicate with patients and caregivers. Participants have an opportunity to interact with other internationally educated health care professionals in a supportive learning environment. For more information, please click here.
Orientation to Regulation of Professions in Ontario
The Ontario Regulators for Access Consortium (ORAC) offers an online orientation module to introduce internationally educated professionals to the structure, function, and context of regulation of professions in Ontario. This orientation helps in creating an action plan for becoming registered.
Understanding the Canadian Health Care System
This course will provide the opportunity to become familiar with the Canadian health care system, context and culture. The course focuses on the federal and provincial governments’ involvement in health care, cultural competence, communications, patient centered practice and safety, ethics, working with other health care professionals, and the importance of professionalism and lifelong learning. For more information please visit the IEHP Canada website.
Internationally Trained Professionals Program at Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre
This program offers three-month mentorship-volunteer placements for internationally trained professionals. Please visit the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre website for more information.
Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation (OTepp) Program
The College encourages participation in the OTepp program once your education has been formally assessed to determine if you meet the education requirement for practice in Ontario. OTepp is collaboration between the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists and the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. OTepp has developed curriculum and other supports to assist internationally educated OTs as they seek to transition into practice in Canada. The OTepp Certificate Program is recognized as a formal undergraduate certificate program of McMaster University. The current certificate program has been approved by the College’s Registration Committee as an approved refresher program.
For more information, please visit the OTepp website by clicking on the link below:
Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation Project (OTepp)
Living and Working in Canada
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Global Experience Ontario
Health Force Ontario
Occupation-Specific Language Training