Frequently Asked Questions:  CAOT-North

Q1: What is the difference between CAOT and CAOT-North?

A: CAOT is the national professional association representing the more than 17,000 occupational therapists (OTs), occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) and occupational therapy students who work or study across Canada. As of October 1 2018, CAOT-North is a regional membership chapter for Canada’s three territories, representing OTs in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Briefly, CAOT

  • Fosters a sense of community that strengthens the occupational therapy profession through networking, innovation, knowledge exchange, and caring.
  • Improves access to, and utilization of, occupational therapy by advocating to federal government and health care decision-makers for better recognition of the contribution occupational therapy brings to the health and well-being of Canadians.
  • Advances career opportunities with professional development and practice resources that are current, relevant and affordable.
  • Stewards and safeguards the profession by accrediting occupational therapy programs in Canada and administering the National Occupational Therapy Certification Exam (NOTCE).

The northern chapter adds to what CAOT offers by advocating for the interests of OTs at the regional territorial level and further building a sense of community for OTs working in the North.

Briefly, CAOT-North

  • supplies an organizational framework that allows occupational therapists to focus on practice issues rather than the issues of running a society,
  • provides a “go to” contact for all things related to occupational therapy across the territories,
  • addresses regional occupational therapy practice needs,
  • builds advocacy, representation and increased visibility for the profession, and
  • increases connections among OTs in the territories.

Q2: Why has CAOT established a regional chapter in the North?

A: CAOT was approached by the Association of the Yukon Occupational Therapists (AYOT) and asked to explore how to efficiently and effectively provide support to OTs in the North. Following that initial discussion, several other conversations took place with members of AYOT as well as with CAOT members working in the NWT and Nunavut.  AYOT surveyed their members to further gauge their interest in moving forward with a CAOT regional chapter. Results of these conversations and the survey indicated a strong interest in the formation of a northern chapter.

Many OTs in the North are already members of CAOT and value membership in CAOT. The gap that was identified by northern occupational therapists was that of coordinated regional practice support and representation. With OT numbers in the Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories few and spread out across a large geography (less than 50 across the three territories) and without a territorial regulatory organization in place, there is a heightened need to coordinate support for advancing the profession. Some CAOT members have raised concerns suggesting that CAOT is taking over regional associations. This is not a takeover, but a response to a request to contribute to strengthening the voice of OT across the north and a response to an opportunity to strengthen the OT community in Canada

Q3: Can I choose to be a member of CAOT or CAOT-North separately?

A:  No. The membership being offered through the regional chapter integrates national and territorial benefits into one. Choosing to join CAOT-North automatically means you join CAOT; there is one integrated price to join CAOT and the CAOT northern chapter. If you are a resident of the Yukon, Nunavut or Northwest Territories your choices fare:

- renew your CAOT membership and automatically receive membership in CAOT-North, or

- join CAOT/CAOT-North for the first time. All first-year CAOT members receive a 50% discount.

Q4:  What will I have to pay to join CAOT-North? 

A: When you join CAOT-North you also join CAOT.  The membership is integrated as is the cost of membership. Currently, there are no additional chapter fees. The cost of membership in the first year will follow the regular CAOT membership fee schedule, based on your membership category. Note that there is a special 50% discount for first-year CAOT members. This introductory fee applies to first-time CAOT members, a special offer that is in place across the country.

Q5:  What are the eligibility requirements for CAOT-North membership?

A: To become a CAOT/CAOT-North member, the requirements are:

  • Canadian citizen or established primary residency in Canada;  and
  • Have successfully completed the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination (NOTCE)*;  or
  • Have qualified for full registration (without restrictions) from a Canadian occupational therapy regulatory body.
  • New Grads who have  not yet passed the NOTCE, but plan on writing it within the year, may join CAOT as a  Provisional Associate .  

Given there is not an occupational therapy regulatory body overseeing the Yukon, Northwest Territories or Nunavut, successful completion of the NOTCE is a requirement of membership.

Q6:  Are there other chapters within CAOT?

A: Yes, there are two. The first provincial chapter of CAOT was established in British Columbia (BC) on October 1, 2011.  CAOT-BC is now well established as the regional advocate and practice supporter. CAOT-BC has a dedicated website where you can find more information.

CAOT-Qc was launched October 1 2016. Learnings from the CAOT-BC chapter coupled with the needs of Quebec OTs were used as a model to develop and grow CAOT-Qc. The chapter was launched after concerned OTs in Quebec asked CAOT to consider developing a provincial solution to address their need for a local representational voice.

Both chapters are supported by national staff, regional staff and an advisory committee.

Q7:  What are the member benefits that I will receive with CAOT-North?

A: Because this is an integrated territorial/national membership, you will receive the benefits associated with the national association in addition to unique member benefits being developed to specifically serve the needs of OTs in the North.

CAOT offers a wide range of benefits and services to support you in your practice and to advance excellence in the occupational therapy profession in Canada. These benefits are outlined on, in the membership benefits section. A membership team is based at the national office in Ottawa and is available to answer all of your membership benefit questions: 1(800) 434-CAOT (2268) x223 or x225 or

In addition to all that CAOT has to offer, CAOT-North will provide:

  • Advocacy and representation to the territorial governments, regional health care providers and other relevant stakeholders;
  • Community activities, events and programs to raise public awareness of occupational therapy;
  • Exclusive CAOT-North member communications, watch for developments;
  • Regional leadership, including a regional Managing Director and Advisory Committee; and
  • Opportunity to build a strong community of occupational therapists across the North.

Q8: Am I required to carry CAOT Professional Liability Insurance as a member of CAOT-North?

A: This is not a mandatory requirement of CAOT membership, but is considered best practice, especially as OTs in the North are not regulated and, as such, are directly exposed to civil claims.  Over 90% of CAOT members purchase CAOT Professional Liability Insurance as it is designed specifically for the needs of occupational therapists and is cost-effective and portable.  Legal advice is part of the coverage.

Q9: I’m already a CAOT member.  Do I have to reapply or do anything differently?

A: No, you don’t.  And thank you for being a member!  When you renew your CAOT membership for the membership year, you will automatically become a member of CAOT-North as well.  You do not need to take any steps to make this happen – the process will happen automatically during your renewal process.  You will, however, receive information from CAOT regarding the new regional chapter as we want you to be informed, engaged and excited about your new regional association!

Q10: How can I get involved in CAOT-North activities?

A:  Your involvement is welcomed. Please contact CAOT-North Managing Director, Wade Scoffin, to express your interest.



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