Technology for Occupation and Participation


Technology, whether rehabilitative, adaptive, occupation-related, or as a means to assess or deliver therapy, is a constant in occupational therapy practice. Applications of technology are advancing quickly in all areas of practice. Technology can include products, services, and environments and there is a progressive blurring of these divisions as electronic aids to daily living, ubiquitous technologies, and environmental control are becoming more commonplace. Technology can support individuals of all ages, abilities, and settings to engage in meaningful occupations, and are therefore important to the health and well-being of Canadians. Understanding the use, benefits, limitations, research and practice evidence, provision and policy context with respect to technology is critical to occupational therapy practice now and in the future. Enhancing competency and capacity in practice with advancing technology is a necessity for specialists, and considering the pervasiveness of technology will be a necessity for all occupational therapists.


The CAOT Practice Network,
Technology for Occupation and Participation, has several proposed overarching objectives which include the following:


  1. To build a community of engaged occupational therapists with diverse knowledge and skills with respect to technology who support each other in learning and advancing practice;
  2. To facilitate awareness about and interest in the latest research in technology that can support occupational performance and participation;
  3. To build capacity in critically examining provision practices in technology, evaluating and advocating for new technologies that can benefit clients, caregivers, clinicians and the health care system;
  4. To build capacity and take action in developing and implementing policies and practices involving technology that can support occupational justice;
  5. To support interdisciplinary collaboration and practices through outreach and engagement with other professions working in the technology field;
  6. To respond to occupational therapists’ and the public’s needs regarding knowledge, research evidence, and best practices with respect to technology’s role in enabling occupation and participation
  7. To foster awareness, build capacity, and support research related to evaluating OT and participation outcomes with technology oriented interventions.
  8. To build a community of occupational therapists who may be interested in advancing OT practice in new and emerging directions, creating new roles for occupational therapists in product and environmental design that will be useful to clients, caregivers, other occupational therapists, and the general public.


The activities of the network will depend on its specific membership needs.

Some example activities may include:

  1. Leading the development of the CAOT Role Paper for OTs in Technology
  2. Share information and create accessible resources regarding funding for technology in Canada.
  3. Building capacity through training on how to carry out rapid reviews or developing practice guidelines, with the membership to create at least 1 product per year.
  4. Creating a repository of outcome measures that can be used with technology interventions in OT research and practice that supports creation of real-world evidence.
  5. Creating a mentorship network that can operate through video calls.
  6. Setting up bimonthly video calls for members to share local projects, resources, research or practice evidence or discuss events that they have attended that may be of interest to the network.
  7. Through social media and the CAOT Practice Network website, highlight practice and research contributions of CAOT members working in the field of technology to support public awareness of OT.

Upcoming meetings:

Friday, Feb 14, 2020, 12-1pm (Eastern time)

Canadian Occupational Therapists at the WHO GReAT Consultation: Presentations on Access to Assistive Technology: Global, national, and regional perspectives

On August 22 and 23, 2019 the World Health Organization convened the GReAT Consultation in Geneva, which brought together academics, practitioners, policymakers, and assistive technology users to present and discuss international perspectives on access to assistive technology. The contents of the discussions will guide preparation of a global report documenting the need, demand and supply of assistive technology globally; exemplary practices; and recommendations to improve access to assistive technology. In this webinar, Emma Smith, Rosalie Wang, and Natasha Altin will highlight research that they presented at the event and discuss implications of their global, national, and regional research for occupational therapists and for assistive technology policies and practices in Canada and beyond.


Emma M. Smith, PhD, Reg. OT (BC)

Emma is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Assisting Living and Learning (ALL) Institute at Maynooth University in Ireland. Her research focuses on policy and systems change to improve access to assistive technologies for marginalized populations at a national and global level.

“Assistive technology reporting status in United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) reports by States Parties”

 “Measuring met and unmet assistive technology needs at the national level: Comparing national database collection tools across eight case countries”


Rosalie H. Wang, PhD, Reg. OT (Ont.)

Rosalie is an Assistant Professor at the OS and OT Department at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on user-centred design of technology to enable seniors to carry out valued daily activities and on the development of robotics for the upper limb rehabilitation after stroke. She co-leads a national project on enhancing equitable access to assistive technologies in Canada.

 “Understanding and advancing Canadian policies for equitable access to assistive technology”


Natasha Altin, PhD(c)

Natasha is completing her PhD in Public Health at the University of Toronto. Natasha’s research focuses on understanding how assistive technology provision services can be improved to enable older adults with low vision to age well. 

 “Improving access to assistive technology in Northern Canada: Analysis of access to Assistive Technology using WHO’s GATE initiative”

Knowledge Sharing Circle: What’s out there that you think Occupational Therapists should know about?

 Friday, Mar 20, 12-1pm (Eastern time)

 This knowledge sharing circle is a time for us to gather and share what is out there that they think other occupational therapists should know about. It can be a new technology, a creative way of using technology, a new process of making a technology, an innovative practice or policy in your area, a new clinical or research tool, research that is going on, research findings, or new job opportunities.  There may be opportunities during this time to form collaborations in practice and/or research to advance assistive technology in Canada.


Practice Network Meeting at the CAOT Conference

Friday, May 8, 9:35am-10:25am

CAOT Conference, Saskatoon

Gallery B

With increasing pervasiveness of technology, enhancing competency and capacity in practice is a necessity for occupational therapists. In this forum, we will discuss recent and future activities of the National CAOT Practice Network focused on technology for occupation and participation.

Contact Network Co-Chairs if you are interested in participating in the CAOT Practice Network: Technology for Occupation and Participation.

Network Co-Chairs Contact Information

Rosalie Wang, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.)      

Emma Smith, BA (Hons), PhD (c), OT, ATP/SMS


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