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Competency Assessment

About the competency assessment process

Occupational therapists are selected on an ongoing basis to take part in a competency assessment.  During the process, OTs confirm and are able to describe how they incorporate the Competencies and Standards into their daily practice.

The process has opportunity to demonstrate competent practice using self-reflective activities and through a peer interview. Both strengths and areas for development are identified using a respectful and fair approach. All aspects of the process are focused on professional growth and development. 

Who is selected and how?

Groups of registrants are selected to participate on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Selection is done using a randomized risk-based approach.  

Registrants are notified electronically about their participation, then choose a date to participate. Materials to help prepare for the assessment are provided. Registrants are also encouraged to reach out to the program and speak to someone directly if they have any questions about the process.

Purpose of competency assessment

The purpose of the competency assessment is:

  • to confirm occupational therapists’ knowledge and performance to ensure they are meeting the Competencies and Standards for Practice.
  • to support registrants’ who are improving their practice by providing coaching, tools and resources, and feedback.
  • to assist registrants to improve their skills so they can provide safe, effective, ethical care.

Curious or have a question?

Registrants are always welcome to contact a member of the Quality Assurance team to talk about the competency assessment process.

Contact [email protected].

Registrant feedback

Forty-five registrants recently completed the competency assessment and gave us permission to share their feedback.

Read what they had to say about their experience.

Request a Deferral 

We know life happens — registrants who feel unable to participate at the time of selection may submit a request to defer.

Risk-Based Selection

As an alternative to simply randomly selecting registrants to participate in a learning focused competency assessment, the College partnered with a psychometrist to see if there are factors that may identify higher-risk occupational therapy practice. The competency assessment would be prioritized for these registrants, although a portion of random selection would still happen. 

Literature supports the factors below in healthcare providers; however, the College is in the process of collecting and analyzing data to see if these relate to occupational therapy practice in Ontario. This is only a starting point. We are also considering other dynamic ways to support occupational therapists in continued competency and learning.        

The risk indicators and groupings described in this section do not indicate any judgment about an occupational therapist’s practice or abilities.

Using registrant-provided information about practice, geography, employment, and quality assurance, these 18 potential risk indicators across 3 risk categories are identified:

Practice Risks (10)

  • High number of employers (at one time)
  • Temporary primary employment
  • Casual primary employment
  • Low practice hours (per week)
  • Limited currency
  • Shift from non-clinical to clinical practice
  • Suitability to practice (for example: finding/facing misconduct, incompetence, or incapacity)
  • Practice includes medically delegated acts
  • Clients of different age ranges across settings
  • Different types of practice settings at one time
 

Isolation Risks (3)

  • Many years since graduation (more than 25 years)
  • Casual status at primary employer
  • Self-employment/solo practice
 

Quality Assurance Behavioural Risks (5)

Based on the registrant’s most recent Annual Learning Plan, the risk indicators include:

  • Not rating some competencies
  • Not setting any competency priorities
  • Stating no need for any professional development on any competency
  • Giving more than 90% of competencies the same rating
  • Giving all competencies the same priority

When selected for Competency Assessment, the above indicators and categories are combined to create risk groupings:

  • No indicators in any category: 0
  • Any number of indicators in ONE of: Practice, Quality, or Isolation: Group 1
  • Any number of indicators in TWO of: Practice, Quality, or Isolation: Group 2
  • Any number of indicators in ALL of: Practice, Quality, and Isolation: Group 3

For example, if an occupational therapist’s practice includes medically delegated acts (a practice risk) and they are self-employed (an isolation risk), they are in group 2. 

When selecting registrants to participate in Competency Assessment, more are chosen from Group 2 and 3.

Selecting registrants to participate in competency assessment is a legal requirement of the College and supports public protection.

Outcome

After participating in a competency assessment, the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) receives and views the assessment and considers whether a registrant is practicing competently and meeting the Competencies and Standards for Practice.

If a registrant is identified as demonstrating gaps in knowledge, skill or judgement, the Quality Assurance Committee may issue a decision that directs the registrant to do a follow up learning activity.

  1. Take no action.

    QAC has no concerns about the occupational therapist’s practice and the process is concluded.

  2. Take no action but provide a recommendation.

    QAC has no concerns about the occupational therapist’s practice but may identify an opportunity to strengthen knowledge by recommending a document review. This recommendation is voluntary, and the process is concluded.

  3. Order a Specified Continuing Education or Remediation Program (SCERP).
  4. QAC has some concerns about gaps in the occupational therapist’s knowledge, skills, or judgment and additional training or education on specific competencies is required. Additional follow up learning is directed. For example, review a specific Standard and write a short reflective paper. Registrants demonstrate that they have engaged in a learning process and made improvements in their practice for their own personal and professional growth.

We welcome feedback on the process and registrants are invited to complete a survey or contact the manager of the program directly.