November 30 marked the first anniversary of the report on Indigenous-specific racism in BC’s health-care system In Plain Sight, an independent review led by Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
On that day, Turpel-Lafond released a statement highlighting some areas of progress made to date. She urged that these developments be used as motivation to address recommendations that have seen little to no movement. Occupational therapists are encouraged to read the original In Plain Sight report as well as her recent statement.
COTBC remains committed to taking action to address the what the report describes as widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people, including stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice. For example, following the ceremony and signing of the Joint Statement of Apology and Commitments to Action, College staff and/or Board members have:
- Both hosted and/or participated in multiple learning sessions and workshops to build knowledge and competencies to best undertake this work.
- Liaised with an Indigenous consultant for feedback on draft content for a Cultural Safety and Humility section on our website. Revisions are currently underway.
- Continued to collaborate with other BC Health Regulators to identify opportunities to share, partner, or build off each other’s work, in an effort to support timely and consistent action.
- Commissioned a local Indigenous artist who has started the design of a series of custom digital artwork pieces for the College.
- Initiated planning for an event to meet with occupational therapists who self-identified as Indigenous at this year’s registration renewal and provided their consent to be contacted by the College.
The College will continue to keep you informed of progress on our commitment in upcoming newsletters and other communications. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
Thank you to the four occupational therapists who allowed their names to stand for election to the Board of Directors. We also thank all the occupational therapists who voted in the recent election.
We welcome Jennifer Glasgow back to the Board of Directors, along with two new Board members, Tysen LeBlond and Philipp Santiago. Their terms begin on February 1, 2022. They will join the other Board members including appointed public representatives Mary O’Callaghan, Gayle Nye and Ian Wanke, and elected registrants Debbie Ruggiero, Carin Plischke and Jeff Boniface.
Congratulations Jennifer, Tysen and Philipp.
A big thank you to the outgoing Board members Catherine Wu and Joy Parsons, elected registrants who complete their terms on January 31, 2022. Catherine Wu served on the registration committee and then moved to participate on the inquiry committee. Joy participated on the governance panel, the registration committee and served as Chair of the Board for two years. We know board members balance many roles in their day-to-day lives and we appreciate their dedicated service to the College’s public protection work. We thank you and wish all the best to Catherine and Joy.
For many people, the winter season can be a time of joy and celebration. For others, fewer daylight hours and the demands of the holidays can leave them feeling deeply tired, lonely, overwhelmed, or irritable. This year, those feelings may be compounded by other stressors such as the impacts of the pandemic, local weather events, and travel limitations. As health care providers, it can be tempting to ‘push down’ these feelings so that we can get on with providing services for our clients.
At the College, we recognize these are extraordinary times and that people may be struggling. We encourage you to take some time to reflect on how you are doing this year and think about ways to proactively take care of yourself.
For some, this may include focusing on getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, engaging in mindfulness or relaxation practices, getting some exercise, or seeking out safe social activities.
For others, this may also mean reaching out for help and advice – whether from your medical practitioner, employment assistance program, or other trusted source.
If you notice a colleague seeming not quite like themselves this season, please check in with them. By taking care of yourself and supporting your colleagues to do the same, you are taking important steps to meet your professional obligations to be able to provide good care for others.
The College’s Practice Team is also available as a resource and can be reached at email@example.com.
We wish you good health!
At a recent BC Public Advisory Network meeting, staff from nine different Colleges met with members of the public to discuss the topic of informed consent. While registrants must meet their College’s Practice Standards that set out the requirements for obtaining informed consent, it was helpful to hear the client’s unique perspective. Public advisors were asked what they expect from health care professionals when it comes to informed consent. Following are highlights from the discussion on public expectations:
- Explicitly express that treatment requires their consent. Not everyone is aware that consent is needed.
- Be cautious about using family members to translate when obtaining consent for higher risk interventions, sometimes the translation isn’t accurate.
- Watch out for literacy issues if written text is being used. Consider adding diagrams. Offer pre-reading material if available.
- There are opportunities for discrimination when obtaining consent. If practitioners assume that the client cannot understand the description of the treatment, language used may not be clear, truthful, or complete.
- Do not make assumptions about the choices or preferences of the client.
- Invite the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the client.
- Be empathetic and considerate of the client’s lived experience.
- Have evidence to back up treatment suggestions. Some clients will have done online research and will expect a conversation about pros and cons of treatment options.
- Ask the client to repeat back their understanding of the treatment to ensure that the information has been understood. Reaffirm consent.
When asked why consent is important to the public, the responses were powerful:
“It’s important to take the time to get consent properly, if you have a good process, it builds trust.”
When providing consent, “… we are putting our health and wellness in the hands of a practitioner. It is our right to do so with the best possible information.”
Interested in learning more about the public advisors’ perspectives? Read the full BC-PAN meeting summary.
The College is pleased to announce the release of the Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada, a single set of competencies that clarifies occupational therapy as a profession in Canada to advance safe, effective, and ethical patient care. It is an important milestone for the profession as this document will ultimately replace four competency documents used in Canada.
The Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada was developed with guidance from occupational therapists and stakeholders across Canada and steered through a tripartite collaboration of the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations, the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs, and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.
Implementing the new competencies will take time. A timeline for rollout over the next year is being established. There is considerable work to do internally at COTBC to move forward on integrating the new competencies into our regulatory programs. A sound implementation plan will determine an effective date for the new competencies.
The College has partnered with the other OT regulators in Canada to develop an e-learning module anticipated for launch soon to help registrants familiarize themselves with the competencies and understand how to apply them to their practice.
Why is this new set of competencies important?
The new Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada reflect the broad range of skills and abilities required of all occupational therapists in Canada at every stage of their career. They also serve to guide various profession quality assurance processes such as provincial regulatory activities, accreditation of educational programs, entry-level examinations, and continuing professional development. The goal of the competencies is to reduce confusion, ensure consistency, and avoid duplication.
What should BC-registered occupational therapists do with the new competencies?
Occupational therapists in BC should stay informed and understand how to apply the new competencies into their practice. The College will provide more information about the timeline for the rollout in BC. Our goal is to ensure we have done all we can to support registrants to learn about and know when they will be accountable to the new Competencies for Occupational Therapists in Canada.
Inquiries or requests for information may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition Program.