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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.

Outcome

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.