Internationally Educated Occupational Therapists

If you are considering a move to Canada to practice occupational therapy, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) has information you need to understand the requirements and eligibility. Internationally Educated Occupational Therapists (IEOTs) are an important part of the health care workforce in Canada.

To become an occupational therapist (OT) in Canada:

  • IEOTs must meet specific licensing requirements before they are allowed practise in Canada. These requirements are set out by the regulatory organizations in each of Canada’s ten provinces who have the responsibility to protect the public. Each province has its own occupational therapy regulations, eligibility rules and language skill requirements. OTs practicing in Canada’s three territories – the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut – are not currently regulated as a health profession.
  • IEOT applicants must first have their credentials assessed before they can apply to be registered provincially and receive a license to practice. A collective called the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) is the first step in this registration process. IEOTs apply to ACOTRO’s Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS). This assessment will determine whether the applicant’s education and competencies are substantially equivalent to those of a Canada-educated occupational therapist. 
    The ACOTRO website provides all the information on the SEAS process
  • Once the IEOT applicant meets the SEAS requirements and is deemed substantially equivalent, ACOTRO will grant eligibility for the IEOT to write the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (the NOTCE) and ask IEOTs to contact the provincial regulator in the province in which they wish to practice.
    Provincial regulatory organizations

  • The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) administers the NOTCE and has all the resources and information IEOTs need to get prepared and be successful. All the provinces in Canada, with the exception of Quebec, require successful completion of the national exam.
    National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination

Resources for internationally educated occupational therapy graduates

Working in Canada

Other IEOT resources: