Volunteer showcase

There is an opportunity for everyone to get involved with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists in a way that is meaningful to you: from moderating a session at CAOT’s conference to running for the Board of Directors, writing exam questions or meeting the public at a tradeshow. 

Laura Bulk- Chair of the CAOT-BC Advisory Committee 

I am a chronic volunteer – I just can not help it. Surely most of us have heard that when you volunteer you get more out of it than those you serve – this is certainly true for me as a member of the CAOT-BC Advisory Committee (AC). When I first applied to join the AC in 2014, I did so because I have a passion for OT and because I admire the individuals involved in CAOT-BC and hoped for opportunities to interact with the incredible OT’s from across BC. The AC has not disappointed! Volunteering with CAOT-BC I have had the chance to interact with and learn from OT’s representing:

  • residential and acute care, research, pediatrics, and private practice,
  • all five health regions in BC, and diverse geographic urban/rural locations, and
  • the University of British Columbia and British Columbians at the University of Alberta.

Our motivated team is effective because of our diverse member representation and passion for OT, and because we have built relationships within the committee and with CAOT-BC members.

Being part of the AC (as Chair since 2016) has been formative in my professional development. I have been supported in advocating for the value of OT by attending networking events at the BC Legislature, participating in government consultations, attending events and tradeshows, meeting with interdisciplinary colleagues, contributing to the development of resources/information for the public and for OT’s, and on and on.

I am grateful to each of the AC members with and from whom I've learned so much.”

Marc Rouleau- CAOT-Qc Advisory Committee

“Why get involved as a volunteer in CAOT? The reasons are numerous. It could stem from the desire to contribute to the development and recognition of the profession, to improve the practice, to have a concrete impact for sustaining occupational therapists in our wide range of fields and be proud of what we accomplish together, to give back to our network, to be involved with the next generation of OTs, to have an opportunity to share in order to develop collaborative efforts between different regions to enrich, innovate and promote our profession. The above mentioned reasons are some of many for which the advisory committee members of CAOT-Qc got involved with the organization as volunteers. 

CAOT-Qc is an associative movement that has, as part of its mission, the promotion of the profession and to sustain its members through diverse activities. As part of the committee we have the privilege to try to facilitate the information sharing and to participate in the coordination and planning on actions that respond to provincial issues related to occupational therapy in order to support our professionals and advocate for the profession. 


 Getting involved as a volunteer, we were able to not only work in the realization of our common goals but we have had and continue to have the chance to meet and work with dedicated, educated, creative and passionate occupational therapists . We have all grown as a result of it.” 

Maura Dulong- Certification Examination Committee Chair

“I began as a member of the CEC in 2011 when a colleague from my province was leaving the group. The opportunity came at a time when I was looking for a new purpose beyond my day to day clinical practice. Volunteering with the committee has given me opportunities to get outside of New Brunswick, use my clinical expertise, collaborate with colleagues, learn about the exam process and gain knowledge about how individuals are prepared for the profession. While our meetings can be challenging and exhausting, there is a collective positive energy and purpose that keeps me wanting to continue to participate. Most importantly volunteering with CAOT has provided me with new friendships and connections that will last beyond my involvement on the committee. I guess it is the reason I have extended my participation for so long!

The CAOT certification exam committee (CEC) ensures that the national OT exam is current, reliable, and valid. The CEC consists of front line OTs and academics. The committee meets twice a year. My current role with the CEC is chair elect.

What has evolved in my time on the CEC is increased communication with the national regulatory organization: Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) as well as the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs (ACOTUP). This collaboration continues as we embark on a project with our partners to develop a single document (from 3 competence documents) that reflects the competence of occupational therapists in Canada. Through my volunteering with the CEC I have the opportunity to be involved in this groundbreaking goal.”

Watch an interview with Maura about her experience: 

Angelena Gartner-OTA/PTA Joint Accreditation Committee and CarFit Technician

“Hello there! My name is Angelena and I am an occupational and physical therapist assistant in Saskatchewan. I am a volunteer member of the OTA/PTA Joint Accreditation Committee (JAC). I joined the committee in May 2017, just a year after finishing my program. My role on the committee is as a “recent OTA/PTA graduate”. I help the JAC committee review programs and have a vote on whether I agree that a program should be accredited, or not, based on whether the program follows the Accreditation Standards. I also have the opportunity to be a primary reviewer on different accreditation reviews or progress reports from the programs. This committee benefits the OT field because therapists can have a better understanding of what their OTA’s are learning in school and also have a good understanding of the background of the person they may be hiring. This has been a really exciting opportunity and has given me connections all over Canada with occupational therapists and physical therapists. It has broadened my knowledge and allowed me to use my OTA/PTA knowledge through a different lens. From this volunteer experience, it has also brought other opportunities my way such as being a part of the OTA/PTA Vision Steering Stakeholder Study, inspired me to volunteer more, the opportunity to share my experience with CAOT and the chance to develop and refine my critical thinking skills. There are many ways to become involved with the JAC committee, as a therapist or OTA/PTA, and I highly recommend you look into this exceptional volunteer opportunity!?”

“Hello, Angelena reporting again. Along with my volunteer work with the JAC, I am also a volunteer, trained CarFit Technician! CarFit is run in partnership with CAA and is an event that targets older drivers and how they “fit” in their cars. However, after learning about this event I highly encourage EVERYONE to go get their “car fit” checked! At the first station, the driver goes through a checklist with two trained technicians. This is where the “fit” is reviewed. The final station is run by an OT or an OTA. The OT is not there to address dangerous driving or to make recommendations about driving abilities, but there to support the fit of the car to the person. Recommendations for different equipment such as, a cushion for seat height can be recommended if necessary. Most CAA stores have the adaptive equipment on hand. The final station can ONLY be run by an OT and/or an OTA. Some Car Fit events won’t even run without a volunteer OT or OTA. It is such a cool experience and you get to meet many different faces in the community. Our mayor even came out to the event held in our city! A couple of us from our Therapies Department volunteered together and we viewed the day as a team bonding event! The day was so much fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat!  I learned a lot about how I fit within my own vehicle and have since made adjustments. We all lead busy, busy lives but when you volunteer your skills and abilities for the betterment of your community or the betterment of our rehab field, it is an unbelievable rewarding experience. Get out there and get volunteering!”

Danielle Hogan – past Chair of the Certification Examination Committee (CEC).

“Such a phenomenal committee, such a wealth of experience there.”
“I’m actually making a difference…I loved being part of it.”
“Although I’d love to stay on, it’s nice to rejuvenate these committees with new members and get fresh new eyes on the exam – which is fantastic.”

Read Danielle Hogan’s volunteer story

Rose Martini – French Associate Editor of CJOT

I’m proud that I’m part of the team whose mission it is to improve the quality of a Canadian occupational therapy journal.”
“I find it very inspiring and I also find it very satisfying to see the results of the work, like when you see the manuscript published or the metrics of the journal going up. “
“Volunteering with CJOT has been, and continues to be, a wonderful, satisfying experience for me that I’d love to wish upon others.”

Read Rose Martini’s volunteer story

Isabelle Matte – Representative on the Certification Examination Committee 

“Moi je crois comme membre de l’association qu’il faut qu’on s’investisse pour la faire rayonner!”
J’ai rencontré des gens sur le comité, développé des liens d’amitié et des contacts précieux.”

Read Isabelle Matte’s volunteer story (available in French only)

Andrea McNeill – past Chair CAOT-BC Advisory Committee

“It’s been a wonderful journey. It promotes and builds confidence in the individual as well as the organization as whole.”
“Volunteering makes me feel fulfilled, very connected and supported and really happy to be involved in contributing in this profession and growing it.”

Read Andrea McNeill’s volunteer story

Sandra Hobson – CAOT Representative on the Joint Accreditation Committee (JAC)

“It’s very collegial and collaborative; it’s a very positive committee to serve on...I’m really enjoying it.”
“The work is all worth it because it’s enjoyable and it’s important. You feel that you’re contributing, that you’re making a difference, assuring potential students and their parents that the OTA/PTA programs are really good quality programs. “

Read Sandra Hobson’s volunteer story

Thank you to the CAOT members who shared their volunteer story with us.

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Thank you to Catherine Backman, Paulette Guitard, Denise DuBois and Mary Forhan for participating in this membership video.

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