Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada 2021

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It’s Here - The Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada

The goal was to develop a single set of competencies that would clarify occupational therapy as a profession in Canada, ultimately advancing safe, effective, and ethical patient care.

With guidance from occupational therapists and key stakeholders across Canada and through the collaborative work of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations, and the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs, we now have the Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada

Moving from multiple to one competency document has been a significant achievement and integrates important aspects of the profession – education, regulation, examination, and accreditation.

What are Competencies 

The competencies are standards that occupational therapists must meet in their practice. The Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada are grouped thematically into six domains, each representing an important aspect of occupational therapy practice. Each domain contains a description and several competency statements outlining what is expected of every Occupational Therapist. Indicators provide additional clarification as to intent and expectations.

The competencies reflect the broad range of skills and abilities required of all occupational therapists in Canada throughout their careers. They address all practice settings, roles, and client populations. The competencies are applied and interpreted within the context of the occupational therapist’s practice and the client’s situation.

The competencies may look familiar as many of today’s competencies continue to be relevant. We are excited about the introduction of a new domain that acknowledges the presence and impact of systemic racism in Canada. It was challenging but important to develop competencies that promote anti-racist, anti-ableist, and anti-oppressive behaviour. These competencies represent an early and critical step toward dismantling the structures that privilege some people over others.

The competencies will be implemented over the next few years. COTNS is currently planning on implementation of this document in 2022. Specific details in the upcoming months will outline this process.  Stay tuned.