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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
 

Virtual Services

Virtual services refer to using information and communication technologies to provide occupational therapy services when clients and occupational therapists (OTs) are not together in-person.

Virtual services (also known as telepractice, remote service, online or virtual care) can include phone calls, video conferencing, or other technology-assisted formats.

Occupational therapists providing virtual services are encouraged to review and follow the College's Virtual Services guidance document.

Considerations when providing virtual services to clients in Ontario

It is expected that occupational therapists providing virtual services to clients in Ontario follow the rules of the province where they are regulated.

The occupational therapist should:

  • Notify the client of the location from which they are providing the service.
  • Only practice within the limits of the certification of registration and competencies in the province where they are registered.
  • Ensure their liability insurance provides coverage for virtual activities.
  • Ensure they have adequate information about resources in the location where the client resides.
  • Discuss any additional risks and benefits of receiving virtual services.
  • Have a contingency plan should virtual services be no longer appropriate.

Occupational therapists registered in Ontario providing virtual services

To clients in other provinces

Occupational therapists should contact the regulator in the province where the client resides to confirm whether registration or any other processes are required.

To clients outside Canada

Occupational therapists are encouraged to contact the regulatory authority in the country where the client resides to see what is needed to practice in that jurisdiction.

While staying outside of Ontario

Occupational therapists must maintain their registration with COTO and may only provide virtual services to clients who are located in Ontario.

Occupational therapists should contact the regulatory authority of the region they are residing to confirm any rules and requirements that will need to be followed in that jurisdiction.

Out-of-province occupational therapists providing virtual services to clients in Ontario

Effective since June 1, 2021 occupational therapists no longer require temporary registration in Ontario when only providing virtual services.

  • COTO's position is that virtual occupational therapy service delivery occurs in the province where the occupational therapist is registered, rather than where the client resides.
  • This means the occupational therapist must follow the rules and regulations of the province where they are registered. 

The rules for in-person services are unchanged. If you are providing in-person services to a client residing in Ontario, you must obtain temporary or general registration in Ontario.

What if a client has concerns about the occupational therapy services they received?

Occupational therapists must abide by regulatory Code of Ethics and applicable professional standards and guidance in the province where they are regulated.

If a client has concerns about the services they received, they can file a complaint with the regulatory organization where the occupational therapist is registered.

List of provincial occupational therapy regulators