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NOC Code: NOC Code: 3143 Occupation: Occupational Therapists
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Occupational therapists develop individual and group programs with people affected by illness, injury, developmental disorders, emotional or psychological problems and ageing to maintain, restore or increase their ability to care for themselves and to engage in work, school or leisure. They also develop and implement health promotion programs with individuals, community groups and employers. They are employed in health care facilities, schools, and by private and social services agencies, or they may be self-employed. Occupational therapists develop individual and group programs with people affected by illness, injury, developmental disorders, emotional or psychological problems and ageing to maintain, restore or increase their ability to care for themselves and to engage in work, school or leisure. They also develop and implement health promotion programs with individuals, community groups and employers. They are employed in health care facilities, schools, and by private and social services agencies, or they may be self-employed.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3 4
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3 4
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3 4
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read brief email from co-workers and colleagues about a variety of topics. (1)
  • Read labels on specialized equipment and garments to check size and instructions. (1)
  • Read medical supply magazines and buyers' guides to learn about new equipment and supplies. (2)
  • Read letters that provide or request information about clients. For example, read letters from employers which provide information about clients' job tasks and Workers' Compensation Boards that inquire about clients' assessments and treatments. (2)
  • Read newsletters produced by the employer to keep abreast of upcoming events and organizational changes. (2)
  • Read lengthy test and assessment instrument administration manuals. Read about the methodologies used to develop the tests, the tests' psychometric properties, how to administer and score the tests and how to interpret the results. (3)
  • Read articles in trade publications to stay up-to-date on topics of interest. For example, read articles on obstacles encountered when using aids to daily living. (3)
  • Read manuals and textbooks to learn about infrequently needed treatments. For example, read procedures for splinting an elbow and splinting an entire arm to protect burned body areas. (3)
  • Read and interpret provincial and federal legislation relating to the field of occupational therapy and assess its application to the practice. (4)
  • Read research articles in professional journals to keep abreast of new developments in products, theory and practice. For example, read articles on the role of the parasympathetic nervous system in children with disturbances in sensory processing. Read articles to learn about evidence-based practices such as care alternatives for bariatric clients. Occupational therapists are required to understand and critically evaluate the scientific subject matter in these articles so that they can develop proposals, programs and program evaluation plans and support their practice through the adaptation of researched interventions. (4)
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Writing
  • Write short email to arrange meetings, inform other team members about clients' status and to request assessments and treatments for clients. (1)
  • Write on a whiteboard to communicate with clients who are hearing impaired or have communication barriers. (1)
  • Write short summaries following appointments with clients. Record details of assessments or treatments provided, improvements or new problems noted and any other observations that seem pertinent. Comments may be organized using reporting forms or word processing templates. (2)
  • Write letters to community stakeholders and suppliers. For example, write letters to Workers' Compensation Boards to provide information about clients' treatment or equipment needs. Write to suppliers to enquire about the availability and specifications for equipment or adaptive clothing to meet clients' needs. (2)
  • Write descriptions of clients' conditions and needs on standard forms. For example, write general descriptions of clients' medical histories, assessment results, problems and goals on initial assessment forms. When requesting funding for modifications to clients' homes, provide detailed descriptions of clients' functional difficulties and the building modifications required to address them. (3)
  • Write detailed client assessment reports at various stages of clients' cases. For example, write reports about initial assessments, annual reports during treatment and final reports after treatments. Occupational therapists also write about their developmental histories, assessment results, recommendations, treatments undertaken or planned and changes observed. The reports are meant for other professionals and non-professionals involved with the clients, such as family members and support staff. (4)
  • Write best-practices reports and guidelines for province-wide use by occupational therapists, selecting and synthesizing varied information from specialized catalogues, databases and websites. (4)
  • Write research proposals for review and approval by various committees and funding bodies. For example, propose research to evaluate self-care instruments or treatment programs. Provide sufficient detail to enable these committees to determine the acceptability of the proposed research. (4)
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Document Use
  • Locate data on labels, such as the frequency of use of clients' medication, as part of the assessment of daily routines in home care visits. (1)
  • Locate data in tables. For example, review specifications of equipment to select appropriate matches for client needs. (2)
  • Examine assembly drawings to make minor adjustments to therapy equipment, aids to daily living and office equipment. (2)
  • Complete administrative forms such as travel claim, sick leave and workload measurement. (2)
  • Enter data into tables. For example, enter test results, activities and progress of clients and client groups into tables. (2)
  • Examine the accuracy of clients' drawings of geometric shapes when administering and scoring tests of visual-motor abilities. (3)
  • Interpret scale drawings and sometimes extract measurements. For example, review scale drawings of proposed modifications to living spaces to assess their adequacy for adaptive equipment. (3)
  • Examine tabular data in journal articles and reports. For example, scan tables of statistical data such as psychometric properties for new tests. Look at reliability and validity coefficients to be aware of the accuracy of assessment instruments. Also review tables with information on the technical adequacy of a wide variety of assessment instruments used to measure outcomes in the treatment of strokes. For each of several criteria, review ratings represented by symbols for the varying degrees of technical adequacy of each instrument. Using this information to determine the overall adequacy of each instrument requires knowledge of the assessment criteria and the compensatory relationships that can exist among them. (3)
  • Consult images such as radiographs, magnetic resonance imaging tests and videofluoroscopy tests to obtain information on clients' conditions. For example, examine videofluoroscopy results to identify problems with the passage of certain foods from the mouth to the esophagus for clients with swallowing difficulties. (3)
  • Complete forms requiring the entry of detailed information about parts of the human body. For example, note particular damage to clients' joints on drawings or enter forty precise measurements for clients' hands when completing order forms for specialized gloves. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Obtain information on medical conditions, treatment practices and assistive devices by using search engines, navigating to varied sites and bookmarking sites that are most useful. (2)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, do simple programming of assistive technologies for clients. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, enter and update scheduling information and create formulas for entering and updating budget information. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, create, edit and format documents such as letters, client reports and informational handouts. Use common formatting features and generate tables to organize information such as schedules or budgets. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, access information such as their previous and most recent test results in clients' files. (2)
  • Use other computer and software applications. For example, play videogames with children as part of treatment plans. Use distance education software such as LiveClassroom to enable consultation with colleagues regarding client treatment. (2)
  • Exchange email with co-workers, colleagues, clients, employers, care givers, suppliers and others. Spell check messages, include hyperlinks, attach documents, create address books, assemble distribution lists and assign message priorities. Because they interact with a wide circle of professionals and community members, most occupational therapists regard email as a critical communication channel. (3)
  • Use presentation software such as PowerPoint to prepare slide shows. Create tables, import pictures and use formatting features such as slide styles and design templates. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Exchange information about clients with co-workers, colleagues, employers and family members. For example, advise other multi-disciplinary team members about clients' progress, request copies of clients' job descriptions from employers and talk to family members about on-going therapy. At all times, ensure that patients' privacy rights are respected. (1)
  • Communicate with clients about their conditions and treatment plans. Conduct interviews with clients to obtain data for measurement methodologies. Establish relationships with clients to engage them in their progress. For example, coach stroke victims to help them regain their confidence to drive. Occupational therapists may need to overcome clients' reluctance to undertake treatment and adapt to the communication difficulties of hearing-impaired or brain-injured clients. (2)
  • Speak with supervisors to request permission to attend professional development activities. (2)
  • Facilitate client activities, workshops and present information to small groups of clients and co-workers. For example, facilitate discussions among seniors about activity plans and accompany them on outings. Lead workshops to help clients master relaxation techniques. Present the results of studies or surveys to co-workers. (2)
  • Present information on clients' conditions, treatments and progress at case conferences and problem solving meetings with other multi-disciplinary team members. Consider suggestions offered by other team members and may collaboratively develop client treatments. Clear communication is important to ensure all team members know what is expected of them and keep treatment plans on track. (3)
  • Speak with clients or their representatives such as parents or adult children about treatments and prognoses. Provide information on the implications of conditions, including limitations. In some cases, negotiate solutions to resolve conflicts about treatments. Use plain language and concrete examples to convey the purpose, techniques and effectiveness of proposed treatments. Communicate well to obtain agreement or adherence to recommended treatment plans. (3)
  • Facilitate and contribute to discussions among large groups of stakeholders to develop collaborative solutions for client groups. For example, facilitate meetings with mental-health professionals, community group representatives and municipal officials to develop employment opportunities for client groups with mental health illnesses. (3)
  • Exchange detailed treatment information with other specialists such as doctors, nurses and physiotherapists. For example, ask plastic surgeons about splinting requests in clients' files and discuss the degrees of flexion and extension needed to optimize surgery outcomes. Occupational therapists may need to defend and justify their use of treatments to other professionals, citing research literature or their own experience, or negotiate to reach consensus on treatments. (3)
  • Make formal presentations. For example, present research findings or new approaches to treatment to groups of colleagues at work or audiences at conferences. Make presentations to decisional bodies such as municipal councils and school boards to advocate better accessibility to resources for client groups. (3)
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Money Math
  • Verify that clients have received the correct change in cash transactions when assessing banking skills. (1)
  • Calculate goods and services taxes when writing cheques for work-related books, courses or workshops. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Create a variety of activity and treatment schedules. For example, schedule several months of daily therapy activities for clients. Ensure that the schedules alternate daily exercises as needed and increase the intensity of exercises slowly over time. (1)
  • Prepare budgets for research proposals. Forecast costs such as stipends for participants and printing of test materials. (2)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Add sub-test scores to calculate total scores. (1)
  • Measure body dimensions and distances needed to turn wheelchairs using tapes and rulers. (1)
  • Use job-specific measuring tools and techniques. For example, use goniometers to measure joint rotation and range of bodily movement in degrees. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare measures of client functioning. For example, compare test results to normative data to determine current levels of functioning. Compare current and previous levels of functioning to determine progress. (2)
  • Calculate averages, such as clients' average number of pressure sores before and after treatments, and the average time it takes them to walk fixed distances before and after treatments. (2)
  • Collect and analyze data for a wide variety of client and client environment assessments. For example, use the Enabler instrument, a strict methodology combining interviews and observation to assess functional limitations and the presence of physical environmental barriers for client groups and calculate a housing accessibility score. (3)
  • Calculate statistics such as the coefficients of variation to determine clients' constancy of effort across repetitions of exercises by calculating the average times that clients can hold up fixed weights and the standard deviations of these times. (4)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Make time and space estimates. For example, estimate the time it will take for clients to perform tasks to enable scheduling of treatments. Estimate clients' treatment and recovery times. Estimate the space needed for wheelchairs, mechanical lifts and workers in homecare settings. (1)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Occupational therapists organize their own schedules of appointments and administrative tasks under the general direction of their program or unit managers. They coordinate their treatment schedules with other members of medical or therapeutic teams in hospitals and clinics. Their daily routine is occasionally broken for emergencies or requests for assistance by other team members. (2)
  • Occupational therapists may advise management about treatment programs, facility designs, equipment purchases and the appropriateness of policies or procedures. They demonstrate, assign and monitor task performance by aides, coordinating with other team members to ensure the best use is made of the aides' time. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Decide on the nature, frequency and venue of treatment programs. Select treatments based on assessment results, treatment priority guidelines, evidence of efficacy and experience with varied clients. Decisions about frequency and venue require balancing many factors such as clients' comfort, economic resources and schedules. (3)
  • Decide when to stop delivering particular types of treatment. Consider clients' progress to date, their probable future progress, the need for other forms of intervention and their comparative benefits. Decisions can be revised, but too many changes can upset clients and slow their progress. (3)
  • Decide to recommend that clients are ready to return to work. Consider multiple sources of information including the physical and cognitive demands of clients' jobs, assessed functional capacities, and ergonomic analyses of physical environments. Delaying return to work can result in legal proceedings with insurance companies, while premature return can result in setbacks. (3)
  • Decide which psychometric tests or assessments of activities of daily living to use with clients to support their formulation of treatment plans. Considerable judgment is required to determine the extent to which instruments can provide valid and reliable information. Consider the practical aspects of assessment such as time, effort and amount of training required to administer the instruments. Instruments that yield inaccurate results can lead to the formulation of treatments that are ill-suited to clients' conditions. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Standard approaches cannot be used to enable the performance of daily living tasks when clients have special needs. For example, occupational therapists may habituate elderly arthritic clients to the safe use of footstools to access household appliances and cupboards. (2)
  • Encounter clients who are antagonistic or refuse treatment. Seek information about clients' motivations, attempt alternative treatments and consult with other therapy team members. (2)
  • Ongoing treatment plans cannot be continued when clients exhibit signs of new difficulties or do not progress as originally forecasted. Gather data on the new symptoms and brainstorm new treatment approaches with other therapy team members. (3)
  • Standard technical aids cannot be used with clients who have special needs. For example, adapt generic foot splints for patients who are missing toes, adapt backboards when bathtub benches prove to be ineffective or obtain button-less dresses for female clients who cannot dress themselves. (3)
  • Encounter colleagues and co-workers who are reluctant to contribute to developing or adopting best practices for shared populations of clients. Promote understanding of best practices, identify areas of mutual interest and discuss the benefits to clients of adopting a common definition of best practices. (4)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about client conditions, environments, abilities and reactions to therapy from clients, co-workers, colleagues and clients' families, friends, employers, service providers and doctors. Run assessment tests and collect and analyze data using established methodologies. Use the information gathered to determine treatment approaches to propose and adopt. (3)
  • Find information about new treatments, evidence-based practices and rare medical conditions by questioning colleagues and co-workers, reading textbooks and journal articles and searching the Internet. Use the information collected to better understand the implications of clients' conditions and to decide which treatment approaches to adopt. (3)
  • Work on major research projects that affect professional practices. Use library catalogues, databases and websites to conduct comprehensive literature reviews. Search through hundreds of sources, including websites, textbooks, abstracts and journal articles to identify and review in detail hundreds of articles on particular topics. Synthesize the information in reports and guidelines for province-wide use by other occupational therapists. (4)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the urgency of clients' cases when planning their daily treatment schedules. Use and adapt general protocols on treatment priorities and consider clients' conditions and treatment needs. (2)
  • Evaluate the utility and functionality of assistive devices and treatment aids recommended to clients. Consider clients' safety, the nature and severity of impairments, the probability of improvements in their functioning, the cost of the aids and the ease of obtaining them. Client preferences for colour, style or place of manufacture may also be criteria. Ensuring that the most effective aids and assistive devices are used is a key part of the therapy. (2)
  • Evaluate the accessibility and safety of clients' homes. While safety is the primary concern, also consider the extent of modifications needed, associated costs, clients' ability to pay for modifications and the probability of clients' obtaining financial support for the modifications. For those wishing to remain in their homes indefinitely, consider current and future levels of functioning and support networks. (3)
  • Evaluate clients' rehabilitation potential. For example, occupational therapists assess clients' current levels of physical and cognitive functioning, identify and assess barriers to progress, and establish prognoses based on the interaction between clients' capabilities and the number and types of barriers they face. They may provide their assessments to insurance companies and Workers' Compensation Boards when clients' continuing employment is in question. (3)
  • Evaluate clients' progress in treatment programs. Use information from formal assessments, observation of their behaviours, treatment guidelines and personal experience to judge if treatment goals are being met. Explain and justify evaluations and therapeutic values when other professionals disagree. (3)
  • Evaluate clients' ability to work and live independently. Consider how well clients carry out a variety of tasks and assess supports available in their homes or workplaces. Gather and analyze information from observations, formal assessments and consultations with other professionals, clients' family and staff. The occupational therapists' opinions are significant factors in treatment and discharge planning. (3)
  • Evaluate the relative effectiveness of different therapeutic treatments and the adequacy of available information. Consider professional theory, current best-practice guidelines, clients' conditions and their immediate and longer-range goals. Question other occupational therapists about their experiences with different treatments. Lack of information and practical experience may hinder the evaluation of some types of therapies. (3)
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