McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

School of Rehabilitation Science receives $1.3M to continue innovative training program

Published: May 27, 2010
From left: Susan Denburg, associate vice-president, academic, and associate dean, education; Leah Dix, assistant professor at the School of Rehabilitation Sciences and Ontario project manager for the OTepp program; Chisanga Puta-Chekwe, deputy minister of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration; and Mary Law, associate dean, rehabilitation science

The School of Rehabilitation Science has received more than $1.3 million in provincial funding to continue a program that supports internationally educated occupational therapists as they transition into practice in Canada.

Following the success of an 18-month pilot project, the School of Rehabilitation Science has launched the Ontario Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation Project (OTepp), as well as a national version of the program in partnership with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT).  The latter initiative received $2.1 million to facilitate the pan-Canadian application of the program.

The innovative training initiatives, which run until 2012, are funded by the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Program.

The provincial program provides face-to-face learning opportunities for OTepp participants in Ontario. It also acts as a trial for the national project, allowing investigators to develop new learning resources which then get tested on the national cohort.

To date, OTepp’s curriculum has been offered through traditional and distance education courses, which use a problem-based learning model to help new Canadians enter the profession and prepare for the national certification exam.

With the expansion of the program, McMaster will continue to provide oversight of the project in partnership with CAOT and the universities of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ottawa.

"What’s exciting about this project is that we’re actually fanning it out across the country," said Sue Baptiste, principal investigator for the Ontario OTepp program and co-principal investigator for the national program. "That to me is a wonderful opportunity. I’ve been dreaming about this for about 10 or 15 years now. To think that it’s actually happening is just overwhelming from a personal prospective. But from a professional need, it’s absolutely critical."

Since the launch of the pilot project in 2008, 86 internationally trained occupational therapists have participated in OTepp. The project grew out of an informal initiative developed more than a decade ago by Baptiste and Mary Law, associate dean of the School of Rehabilitation Science.

Research conducted by Baptiste has shown that occupational therapists who train abroad are more likely to pass their Canadian certification exams when they are supported and mentored.

Registration for the academic curriculum in preparation for the November 2010 national exam begins on May 17, 2010 and will remain open until June 21, 2010.

For more information, visit the OTepp website.

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