Steps in the Registration Process

1.   Establish academic eligibility

Completion of an accredited Canadian Occupational Therapy program satisfies this requirement.

Evidence required:

2.   Application for registration

Complete an online application form and submit supporting documentation (see below).  The application form is a legal document. You must answer all sections completely and accurately.  Please read this page before starting an application form.  Unless indicated, all supporting documentation may be uploaded electronically.

Evidence Required:

3.   Compile required documentation

Applicants for registration must be able to demonstrate that they meet the following registration requirements:

a.   Proof of Identity

The name you provide on your application from will be the name that is entered on the College register, and must be the same name by which your clients and colleagues will know you. Your registration card, certificate, and tax receipt and all correspondence from the College will all be issued in this name.

Evidence Required:

b.   Eligibility to work in Canada

In order to be employed as an occupational therapist in Nova Scotia, you must have legal authorization to work in Canada.  Only Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, and individuals with Canadian work permits have the right to work in Canada.

Evidence Required:

c.   Demonstration of professional liability insurance

Every occupational therapist practising in Nova Scotia must have professional liability insurance coverage to a minimum of $5,000,000.00 with a legal expenses endorsement for investigation of complaints by a regulatory body prior to engaging in the practice of occupational therapy.

Professional liability insurance for OTs can be purchased through CAOT, if you are a member of CAOT.  See the CAOT website for more information.  You may also purchase Professional liability insurance directly through an insurer such as AON Healthcare Advantage.

Many of the hospitals and health care agencies that employ occupational therapists purchase insurance that covers their employees while they are working for that agency. This type of insurance does not cover any services the OT provides as a volunteer or outside this practice setting.  You must ensure that this coverage includes a legal expenses endorsement for investigation of complaints by a regulatory body prior to engaging in the practice of occupational therapy.

Evidence Required:

d.   Demonstration of good conduct

The College has an obligation to protect the public and needs to be satisfied that you do not pose a danger to clients.  You are required to declare any of the following:

Evidence Required:

e.   Currency hours

It is important that you practise occupational therapy in order to maintain your skills, and keep up-to-date with recent change in practice.  Applicants require 1200 hours in the past 5 years or 600 hours in the past 3 years.  This requirement is met if you have graduated from an occupational therapy program in the past 18 months.

Evidence Required:

f.   Payment of  fees

The annual registration fee is  $490.00  and the application fee for Canadian educated new applicants is $100.  The fee may be pro-rated should you wish to practise for 3 months or less in a given registration year (June - May).  Payment may be made by cheque, EFT (, credit card, or money order, payable to the COTNS, in Canadian funds. 

4.   Membership with the Nova Scotia Society of Occupational Therapists

The Occupational Therapists Act Section 27(2) requires that all registrants with the College pay the membership fees of the Nova Scotia Society of Occupational Therapists within one month of their initial registration and subsequently on the Societies renewal date; however, the College has determined that it does not have the legislative authority to enforce membership with the Society.  While the College recommends applicants and registrants maintain membership with the Society, the College will not deny or suspend registration for those applicants and registrants that choose not to pay the annual fee to the Society.  Please see this letter for further details.

Evidence Required:

5.   Successfully complete the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE)

The National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE) is a mandatory requirement of registration with the College. The examination ensures that all individuals entering the profession of occupational therapy have met a minimum standard in the written application of academic knowledge and professional behavior. This exam is administered by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). You must apply to CAOT to write the NOTCE.  Applicants requiring accommodations must submit a request in writing to CAOT; please see CAOT's Accommodation Policy for details.

There are resources to help you prepare to write the exam:

Applicants are eligible to practise under supervision, while waiting to successfully complete the NOTCE, for a maximum period of one year.  Applicants must provide evidence that they are scheduled to write the next sitting of the NOTCE.  Please review the document Provisional Practising Certificate of Registration for more information.

Evidence Required:

Completed Applications may require 10 business days to be processed.


You cannot begin working as an occupational therapist in Nova Scotia until you have received notice from the College that your application has been approved.