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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
 
Mar 22, 2021

Q&A: Risk Categories and Quality Assurance

You asked us: I have been practicing for over 25 years and am concerned that this is considered a “risk category” for Quality Assurance selection.

Can you please explain this?

Our answer: When redeveloping the new selection process for participation in the College’s Quality Assurance program, a subject-matter expert was retained to develop an evidence-informed and right-touch approach.  This consultant, through expertise and research review, developed the final 18 risk indicators, 1 of which is the isolation risk of being many years (more than 25) since graduation.  The justification for this risk came from a researched concept called “competency drift” which explains that as professionals move further away from their education and training, risks can arise.  This also includes the disengagement or “professional burnout” that can happen when working over many years, impacted by other system factors such as workload, lack of respect, etc. 

The purpose of the Quality Assurance program is to ensure that occupational therapists are practicing safely, competently, and ethically while mitigating risks in their practice.  This includes maintaining the knowledge, skills and judgement required for the work they are doing.  In the profession of occupational therapy remaining current often comes from engaging in professional development, following regulatory changes and requirements, completing research or quality improvement activities, taking on new work roles and responsibilities, and leading and teaching others.  These factors are considered in the Quality Assurance program.

While the College recognizes that the idea of “years since graduation” as a risk area may be concerning to some registrants, it is important to keep this in context:

  • Being in any risk category does not mean that you will be selected for Quality Assurance more often.  It just may mean you are selected sooner than someone with less risks, as a higher proportion of registrants are selected from higher risk areas. Once you are selected and go through the program, you will not be selected again for several years.  All registrants, including those with no risk areas, will eventually be selected to participate. 
  • This new and innovative approach to selection based on identified risks is in the pilot phase.  Should the College determine through evaluation and testing that any of the 18 risk areas, including “more than 25 years since graduation,” is not a risk for the practicing occupational therapists in Ontario, these categories may be adjusted.

 

For more information about the identified risk areas, please see the list under Competency Assessment.