History of OTepp


The School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University first received funding from the Government of Ontario in April 2008 to develop an examination and practice preparation program for internationally educated occupational therapists (IEOTs). The initial project titled the Occupational Therapy Examination Preparation Project for Internationally Educated Occupational Therapists (OTepp) allowed for the development of academic curriculum that was approved by the McMaster University Senate as an undergraduate certificate on June 3, 2009.

Two cohorts of IEOTs participated in the curriculum and subsequent evaluation of the project. Valuable learning emerged including early indicators that success in OTepp resulted in success on the national occupational therapy certification examination. Yet, it was also clear that additions to the originally proposed project offering were required to better support IEOTs' transition to Canadian occupational therapy practice.

In October 2009, the project was delighted to receive renewal funding from the Government of Ontario's Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration to enable continuation of the OTepp project. In addition, that same year the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists received national funding from the Government of Canada Foreign Credential Recognition Program to partner with the School of Rehabilitation Science. This enabled delivery of a national OTepp program based on the early demonstrated successes of the provincial pilot project. The curriculum was improved and additional modules were offered (Exam Preparation, Mentorship and Work Readiness) to better address the diverse needs of IEOTs. The project was renamed the Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation Project to reflect the more multi-faceted approach offered within the renewal funding. Approval was granted for an unfunded extension that enabled OTepp to continue to July 31, 2013.

In 2014, OTepp transitioned from a research project to a completely self-sustaining program under the School of Rehabilitation at McMaster University. After running for 15 years, OTepp offered its last courses in 2022.

OTepp sincerely thanks the Government of Ontario's Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and the Government of Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Program for their financial support throughout the life of the project. OTepp would also like to acknowledge the tremendous support provided by CAOT through the funding period.

We also thank the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University, our instructors and preceptors who supported IEOTs in their transition to practice.  Many OTepp graduates were able to provide practicum opportunities for new participants.

Lastly, to all students who contributed to a rich learning experience for their peers: thank you for your dedication and participation.  The profession of occupational therapy in Canada is better for having you in its ranks!

Electronic copies of the following reports may be requested:

  • OTepp National Report
  • OTepp Practicum Scan
  • OTepp Provincial Final Report

Advisory Committees

During the funding period of 2010-2013, three advisory committees provided invaluable support and expertise to the OTepp project.   The members provided prospective from government, regulatory organizations, OT associations, IEOTs, and public and private employers.

OTepp BC Advisory Members

  • Judy Adam, Clinical Practice Leader, Fraser Health
  • Prida Arteche, IEOT, Carelife Fleetwood & Morgan Place
  • Tracy Berry, Director & Occupational Therapist, Turning Point Rehabilitation Consulting Inc.
  • Heather Boersma, Program Manager, Therapy Professions, BC Ministry of Health
  • Giovanna Boniface, Managing Director, CAOT-BC
  • Kim Calsaferri, Mental Health Manager for Rehabilitation, Client and Family Services, Vancouver Coaster Health
  • Irene Cheung, BC Practicum Coordinator, OTepp
  • Kathy Corbett, Registrar, College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia
  • Leah Dix, OTepp Program Manager
  • Michael Lee, BC Curriculum Lead, OTepp
  • Elizabeth Steggles, CAOT-OTepp Liaison

OTepp Ontario Advisory Members

  • Members of the OTepp McMaster team - Sue Baptiste, Shaminder Dhillon, Leah Dix, Nancy Lidstone, Colleen McGrath, Pat McMahon, Elizabeth Steggles
  • Christie Brenchley, Executive Director of the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists
  • Barb Cawley, VP Client Services of VHA Home HealthCare and VHA Rehab Solutions
  • Debbie Hebert, Coporate Professional Leader and Clinical Educator- OT, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network
  • Elinor Larney, Deputy Registrar, College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario
  • Jane Lumayag Gunayon, IEOT
  • Michael Sabayle, IEOT
  • Anna Tang, Occupational Therapist, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Former Exam Prep Coordinator
  • Lori Whelan, Occupational Therapist, Clinical Practice and Education Leader, St.Michael's Hospital, Toronto

OTepp National Advisory Members

  • Sue Baptiste, Program Director, OTepp
  • Margaret Ann Campbell-Rempel, University of Manitoba
  • Kathy Corbett, representative for the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations
  • Leah Dix, OTepp Program Manager
  • Michèle Hébert, PhD, OT (ON), Associate Professor, University of Ottawa
  • Jane Lumayag Gunayon, IEOT
  • Michael Lee, BC Curriculum Lead, OTepp
  • Jill Rihela, representative for OT employers, Fraser Health
  • Cori Schmitz, University of Alberta
  • Elizabeth Steggles, CAOT-OTepp Liaison
  • Claudia von Zweck, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists


Last modified: Monday, 3 October 2022, 2:16 PM