Licensing / Registration

Certification and Registration Requirements

To work in British Columbia, all occupational therapists must be registered with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC), the provincial governing body responsible for the practice of occupational therapy in the province.

If you graduated from an occupational therapy program outside of Canada (regardless of whether or not you are Canadian), and you intend to apply to register in Canada, here is what you need to know:

As of May 1, 2015, all internationally educated occupational therapists will begin their registration process with the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) before applying to a provincial regulator. All applicants will be required to apply to ACOTRO's Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS). SEAS will determine whether or not an applicant's education and competencies are substantially equivalent to those of a Canadian-educated occupational therapist.

Once you are deemed substantially equivalent, ACOTRO will grant you eligibility to write the National Occupational Therapy Certification Examination, and ask you to contact the COTBC to continue the registration process.


National Occupational Therapy Certificate Examination

Applicants must successfully complete a national examination administered by the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) to finalize their registration with the COTBC. If you have not completed the examination, you are eligible to apply for registration with the college in the "provisional" category, if you:

  • can provide verification of your eligibility to sit the exam, and
  • are registered for the next available sitting.

The COTBC accepts the letter provided by ACOTRO called "Statement of Candidacy to Write the Exam" as proof of eligibility. Please contact ACOTRO directly, prior to initiating your application, to arrange to have this letter issued.

Provisional Registration

As a provisional registrant you may legally work as an occupational therapist in BC. Provisional registrants must practice under the general supervision of an occupational therapist registered with COTBC with full registration. General supervision must be in place until the provisional registrant has met all requirements for full registration.
Provisional registrants must ensure that the supervising OT complete the Employer Acknowledgement Form and return the signed original to the college.

Once you have successfully completed the national examination, you must submit verification of successful completion to the college. Upon providing this documentation to the college, your registration status will be changed to full registration with no conditions.

Application Approval

The Registration Committee must meet to approve all applications for registration. The committee meets once a month to approve applications. Be sure your application is complete, including all signatures, forms, and required documentation. This will ensure the timely processing of your application.

Download or view our Occupational Therapists brochure for licensing and immigration information for Occupational Therapists.