Learn About the New Competencies

As of May 1, 2023, BC occupational therapists are expected to meet the new Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada (COTC). These will replace the Essential Competencies of Practice published in 2011. Like the previous competencies, these reflect a broad range of skills and abilities required of occupational therapists throughout their careers.

The new competencies must be applied and interpreted considering the requirements of the practice context and the client’s particular situation. Two COTBC initiatives will assist BC occupational therapists in understanding how to apply the COTC to their practice:

  1. A Learning Module – available to registrants in their QAP portals this coming November
  2. Doing Better Together Team – a group of BC OTs who are planning activities and resources designed to take a closer look at each of the six domains:
    1. Occupational Therapy Expertise
    2. Communication and Collaboration
    3. Culture, Equity and Justice
    4. Excellence in Practice
    5. Professional Responsibility
    6. Engagement with the Profession

Watch for more information in November.

Questions about the new competencies can be addressed to practice@cotbc.org.

COTBC Welcomes New Deputy Registrar

We are pleased to announce Megan Shields will join the College as our new deputy registrar. Megan will join the College team on October 31, 2022.

Megan moved from rural Ontario to British Columbia to complete her Occupational Therapy Master’s degree in 2012. Since then, she has worked as an occupational therapist in the public and private sectors, primarily in the fields of mental health and return to work. Megan most recently held the roles of Occupational Therapist Clinical Advisor and Program Manager at WorkSafeBC.

As a member of the executive leadership team, the Deputy Registrar works closely with the Registrar/CEO to ensure registration, quality assurance and practice programs are aligned with the strategic directions and mandate of the organization. The Deputy Registrar will also assume the role of overseeing the complaints program and assisting the public and registrants engaged in the complaints process.

Outside of Megan’s role at the College, she anticipates exploring all that Vancouver Island has to offer with her husband and two daughters.

We are excited to have her on board and look forward to registrants and our partners getting to know Megan. Welcome Megan.

COTBC Adopts Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism Standard of Practice

(Above) Sulksun (Shane Pointe), proud member of the Coast Salish Nation and the Musqueam Indian Band, and Knowledge Keeper to all, speaking of the significance of the work and leadership being recognized at the ceremony, with Joe Gallagher (k’wunəmɛn) of Tla’amin Nation, Principal at Qoqoq Consulting Ltd. – Photo by Michael Sean Lee

Eagle flies up so high it looks down and sees all of humanity as one, cannot see our various nations or small differences, Eagle just sees us as one people. When we hold a feather, we remind ourselves of that perspective, and can speak with respect and honesty to each other like the family that we all are.

– Aaron Nelson-Moody / Tawx’sin Yexwulla, Artist


Eleven BC health profession regulatory colleges, including College of Occupational Therapists of BC, have adopted an Indigenous cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism standard of practice. The standard sets clear expectations for how registrants of each college are to provide culturally safe and anti-racist care for Indigenous clients and patients.

In November 2020, the In Plain Sight report by an Independent Reviewer and released in partnership with the Ministry of Health, was published. The report found widespread systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in the BC health care system that Indigenous communities in this province have long reported experiencing in the BC health care system. It also found that requirements for cultural safety and humility and addressing Indigenous-specific racism were not adequately embedded throughout policy and standards. The report recommended that “all health policy-makers, health authorities, health regulatory bodies, health organizations, health facilities, patient care quality review boards and health education programs in B.C. adopt an accreditation standard for achieving Indigenous cultural safety through cultural humility and eliminating Indigenous-specific racism that has been developed in collaboration and cooperation with Indigenous peoples.

The BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) collaboratively developed and launched their Indigenous Cultural Safety, Cultural Humility, and Anti-Racism standard of practice in February 2022. Development of the BCCNM and CPSBC standard included engagement and consultation with Indigenous registrants, Indigenous members of the public, and Indigenous partners and organizations such as the First Nations Health Authority.

Between January 2022 and September 2022, 11 other BC health professions regulatory colleges met to follow up on their commitments to address Indigenous-specific racism in health care and move forward with developing a standard of practice on Indigenous cultural safety, humility, and anti-racism to guide registrants of their colleges. The colleges pledged to collaborate to promote consistency, as recommended in the In Plain Sight report.

Words from the Knowledge Keeper Regarding this Work

“I heard the words of the Hon. Dr. M.E. Turpel-Lafond as did you the luminaries of the universe of health here in British Columbia. I have also witnessed you launch your collective canoe into an ocean of troubled waters with both courage and strength of heart, to bring into balance health care equity for the 150,000 First Nations People and the Citizens of British Columbia who live on our Ancestral Lands. You are doing this by addressing and alleviating the systemic racism within the health care system.

I am proud of you for your industry in this most important history making task and look forward to supporting into the future.”

Sulksun (Shane Pointe)
Musqueam Nation

The Standard

Building on the work of BCCNM and CPSBC, the 11 colleges adapted and approved the standard. The Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism standard of practice is now available, and registrants are expected to familiarize themselves with it.

The colleges1 that have adopted the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism practice standard regulate more than 28,000 registrants. The standard supports the goals of eliminating Indigenous-specific racism and fostering culturally safe practice in BC’s health care system. It acknowledges that Indigenous-specific racism exists in health care and sets expectations for occupational therapy professionals to provide culturally safe and appropriate care to BC’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

This collaborative work was guided by Sulksun (Shane Pointe), proud member of the Coast Salish Nation and the Musqueam Indian Band, and Knowledge Keeper to all, and Joe Gallagher (k’wunəmɛn) of Tla’amin Nation, Principal at Qoqoq Consulting Ltd.

The standard is applicable to all registrants, regardless of their workplace or area of practice.

If you have questions and/or feedback, please contact COTBC at info@cotbc.org.

1 The participating colleges are: the College of Chiropractors of BC, the College of Dietitians of BC, the College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC, the College of Occupational Therapists of BC, the College of Opticians of BC, the College of Optometrists of BC, the College of Pharmacists of BC, the College of Psychologists of BC, the College of Physical Therapists of BC, the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC, and the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC.