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

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Competency Assessment

Each year, some registrants are randomly selected to participate in a competency assessment. Registrants may also be directed by the Quality Assurance (QA) Committee to complete a competency assessment.

Competency Assessment is how the College assesses the practice of its registrants. If the assessment finds gaps in a registrant's knowledge, skills, and judgment, the College provides coaching, tools, and resources to help the registrants meet the Competencies and Standards for Practice.

The Competency Assessment continues to evolve to:

  • More accurately identify occupational therapists requiring further assessment of competence
  • Efficiently use College and registrant resources
  • Increase engagement of occupational therapists
  • Demonstrate the College’s dedication to continued improvement of processes and programs

Competency Assessment Process

Risk-Based Selection

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

Sampling method: % of occupational therapists selected from each risk category.

These risk indicators and categories are:

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 self-assessment, the risk indicators include:

  • Rating 8 or less competencies on the clinical self-assessment, or rating 5 or less competencies on the non-clinical assessment with all others being not applicable
  • 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.

All registrants, however, will be selected to participate, throughout their careers, regardless of grouping.

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

Note: The risk indicators and groupings do not indicate any judgment about an occupational therapist’s practice or abilities. The risk indicators simply provide a first grouping to determine which registrants should be assessed sooner than others. 

Peer and Practice Assessment 

In this process, a registrant’s practice is assessed by a College-trained peer assessor using a virtual platform. The registrant is asked behaviour-based questions about the Competencies and Standards for Practice. Registrants in clinical practice will also participate in a clinical record review. Before participating, registrants are provided with an introductory letter and a Guide that details the process.

Registrants who participate in Competency Assessment are encouraged to provide feedback on their resulting report, and on their experience with the process.


After participating in a Peer and Practice assessment, the Quality Assurance Committee decides 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 take action such as:

  • Reviewing the Competencies and/or the Standards for Practice
  • Writing a reflective paper
  • Obtaining a mentor and meeting with them regularly

Registrants are required to demonstrate that they have engaged in a learning process and made improvements in their practice for their own personal and professional growth.