Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: What is the difference between CAOT and CAOT-BC?

A: CAOT is the national professional association representing occupational therapists across Canada. CAOT represents occupational therapists on national issues, for example, an extended health insurance lobby, influencing public policy and developing partnerships with national groups. CAOT-BC is the provincial chapter of CAOT and will represent occupational therapists at the provincial level, for example, local lobbying efforts, working with the provincial government and local occupational therapy employers and funders.

Q: Why is there a provincial chapter of CAOT in BC?

 A:When BCSOT decided that it was going to close its doors in the spring/summer 2011, there was much discussion between the provincial association (BCSOT) and the national association (CAOT). Following consultation with the provincial OT community there were clear themes that emerged: continued provincial representation/voice for occupational therapy was required, could a national and provincial model be considered and finally, cost needed to kept affordable.

 Q: When did this shift to an integrated national and provincial model occur?

 A: In the fall of 2011, the CAOT board members approved a plan presented by the transition team that it would adopt an integrated national and provincial model, and so CAOT-BC was born as the first provincial chapter of CAOT.

 Q: Why did the CAOT board decide to move to this integrated model?

 A: The CAOT board recognized that provincial representation of occupational therapists is essential to the profession. As such, it made a bold decision to adopt a new, integrated model with the province of BC. This new model will maximize use of existing resources, use existing CAOT infrastructure, remove operational activities for the province and overall become a very efficient way to set up provincial chapter that can focus on provincial efforts to represent, promote and engage occupational therapists in British Columbia. As CAOT is a national organization it does not specifically provide these provincial efforts. The mission of CAOT-BC is to be the voice of occupational therapists in British Columbia.

 Q: Are there other provincial chapters of CAOT?

 A: Not at this time. BC is the first provincial chapter of CAOT, however, this model is under consideration by other provinces.

 Q: Do other provinces have required membership of both the regulatory and professional association?

 A: Of the 10 provinces, 5 have required dual membership (SK, QC, NB, NS, NL).

 Q: What has CAOT-BC been working on in the past year that is province specific?

 A: CAOT-BC is currently involved in local advocacy and representation efforts in the areas of driver’s assessment/rehabilitation, dysphagia, pediatrics, private practice as well as recent government lobbying efforts regarding rehabilitation services in the public sector. None of these activities would have been taken on by CAOT at the national level.

 Q: What does it cost to be a member of CAOT-BC and why does it cost more than other provinces?

 A: The cost is $75. This cost has been carefully considered, and membership will cover the costs of providing additional services that are uniquely provided to BC members. There will be one, combined fee for membership which represents a 29% increase in the CAOT fee and 25% of the cost of what therapists used to pay for provincial representation. As this cost is to cover services that are specific to BC, the fees are only charged to members in BC.

 Q: Can I choose to be a member of CAOT or CAOT-BC separately?

 A: No. Under this new model of integrated national and provincial representation, if you are from British Columbia you will automatically be a member of both CAOT and CAOT-BC when you join.

 Q: Where can I learn more about the history of CAOT-BC and what it is doing today?

 A: There is an article in the May 2012 OT Now titled “CAOT-BC: A new model of provincial occupational therapy representation for British Columbia” that reviews the history of CAOT-BC. Monthly OTalk updates are sent to each CAOT-BC member and finally, to stay current in between monthly newsletters, we encourage you to read and subscribe to the CAOT-BC blog.

 Q: How can I get involved in CAOT-BC activities?

 A: There are many ways that you can become involved in CAOT-BC. There are a variety of groups that you can become a part of, for example, the Advisory Committee or one of the many special interest groups and practice networks that meet regularly by teleconference. Please contact CAOT-BC to discuss your interest areas further.

Q: I have a professional issue, how can CAOT-BC help?

Keeping your professional association updated with issues that affect occupational therapists in British Columbia is very important. Contact Giovanna Boniface, Managing Director to discuss your concern(s).

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