Occupational therapy, the Order and the Law
The occupational therapy profession is regulated throughout Canada, and each province has its own professional regulatory body. To practice the profession in Quebec, you must be a member of the Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec (the Order). Under the Professional Code (a Quebec law), the Order is the body mandated to ensure protection of the public by controlling the practice and competence of occupational therapists.
The Law states that any person who wishes to use the title “Occupational Therapist” or to engage in any professional activity restricted to occupational therapists must:
- be licensed by the Order, and
- be entered on the Roll of the Order.
Unless you are entered on the Roll, you do not have the right to use the titles “ergothérapeute” or “Occupational Therapist”, the abbreviation “erg.”, or the initials “O.T.” or “O.T.R.” Nor can you carry out activities reserved under the Professional Code for occupational therapists.
This means you cannot identify yourself as being an occupational therapist until you have obtained the right to practice the profession in Quebec through registration on the Roll of the Order. If you use the title of occupational therapist and you are not a member of the Order, you could be prosecuted for unauthorized use of the title.
Conditions required to obtain a license
- Hold a degree giving access to the license issued by the Order and recognized by the government (Sec. 1.07); or
- Have your degree or training recognized as equivalent in accordance with the Regulation respecting equivalence standards for the issue of a license by the Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec; or
- Hold a legal authorization to practice the profession of occupational therapy outside Quebec (member of a professional order/regulatory body from another Canadian province) under the terms of this regulation;
- Demonstrate a working knowledge of the French language, in accordance with Section 35 of the Charter of the French Language.
The Quebec Charter of the French Language establishes that the official language of the province of Quebec is French.
Obtaining a temporary license
Following recognition of the equivalence, the Order can issue a temporary license valid for a period of 1 year and renewable up to 3 times to a candidate graduating from outside Quebec who is unable to provide proof of knowledge of the French language. For all the details relating to the temporary license and the French language examination from the Office québécois de la langue française, please consult this document.
How to obtain a license to practice in Quebec
There are different ways to obtain a license depending on your situation and objectives :
- I wish to obtain recognition of equivalence in order to practice the profession in Quebec
Note: This path does not lead to obtaining a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy
- I wish to obtain a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy that is recognized by the government as giving access to licensing by the Order
Note: The Order cannot issue a temporary license to someone holding such a degree
- I am legally authorized to practice occupational therapy in a Canadian province (member of a professional order/regulatory body from another Canadian province)
- I wish to practice in another Canadian province