Advocacy

Serving the profession since 1926, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) is the professional organization that gives voice to the more than 16,000 occupational therapists who work or study in Canada. With our national office located in Ottawa and regional chapters in British Columbia and Quebec, CAOT engages in advocacy initiatives that position our professional community to better serve Canadians. Working closely with federal, provincial and international affiliates and partners, CAOT promotes occupational therapy and advances leadership within the profession by addressing priorities and plans that are guided by its membership.

Areas of Advocacy

CAOT assesses and assigns advocacy resources based on these factors:

  • the issue’s relevance to the strategic priorities of the association
  • the time and resources necessary to effectively represent our members
  • the feasibility that our involvement will contribute to the process or outcome of the issue while advancing our profession

CAOT’s current areas of advocacy:

  • Inclusion of occupational therapy as part of extended health benefits in public and private insurance plans,
  • Increase the complement of occupational therapists in federally administered health programs and specific departments such as National Defence and Veterans Affairs,
  • Engage with government to influence legislation and policy in areas including health care funding, taxation and disability tax credit benefits certification, and
  • Promote the role of occupational therapy in addressing health concerns such as falls prevention, older driver safety, quality end-of-life care and the national mental health strategy.

Advocacy Activities

CAOT makes progress on identified areas of advocacy through preparatory work, collaboration, outreach and member involvement.  This involves:

  • identifying CAOT’s position on the issues to be addressed
  • determining how to communicate CAOT beliefs and opinions in a way that is relevant to the activity’s objectives and the intended audience’s priorities
  • preparing key messages on CAOT position statements, reports and other publications
  • consulting with members and consumers of occupational therapy services 

CAOT Position Statements: Position statements are developed and communicated to increase knowledge and raise awareness about occupational therapy amongst decision makers.

CAOT’s current advocacy activity:

  • Meet with government officials (Ministers, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Secretaries) Members of the House of Commons and Senate
  • Appear before House and Senate Standing Committees
  • Prepare Briefs to Standing Committees
  • Present at stakeholder engagement sessions to provide the occupational therapy perspective
  • Attend and present at non-occupational therapy conferences such as CIHI, CIMVHR or relevant trade shows such as Shoppers Drug Mart to promote the profession of occupational therapy
  • Host “Lobby Day” receptions at the federal or provincial chapter level, to immerse political influencers in occupational therapy issues

Advocacy Partners

By contributing to national coalitions and task forces, CAOT represents the interest of occupational therapists and their clients to the larger community.  Formal and informal alliances help to strengthen a collective, national voice and to influence health care at all levels of government.

Meet CAOT’s advocacy partners.  

Resources

Occupational Therapy Month (OT Month).  Each October, CAOT members participate in activities that raise public awareness of the profession.

2016 OT Month resource: