Canada’s community of occupational therapists work all over the country – from the most densely populated urban centres to the most remote communities in the north. Many occupational therapists have immigrated to Canada to pursue opportunities that would not have been available to them in their country of origin. Read about and hear their stories. Please note subtitles in a number of languages are available by clicking the subtitle button at the upper left side of the screen.
Country of origin: Great Britain
When Marion Hutton moved to British Columbia from Great Britain, the new graduate of occupational therapy had no intention of working in the profession. She had come to Canada to learn to ski.
After receiving an offer of a full-time job at the hospital at which she was volunteering, Marion decided to begin the process to become a credentialed Occupational Therapist in Canada. One year later, Marion had completed the process. She first had to prove she had graduated from a school that met standards required for working in Canada. Then she sat the written CAOT exam, which is offered twice annually.
Marion now owns an occupational therapy company in Yellowknife and is enjoying the variety of work offered in a northern setting.
Country of Origin: Belgium
Aude Eymery studied and earned her degree in occupational therapy in Brussels, Belgium before immigrating to Quebec. To work as an occupational therapist in the province, Aude completed occupational therapy courses at Université Laval over 18 months. She found the dual processes of becoming a permanent resident and meeting the standards to work as an occupational therapist to be long and arduous.
The efforts have paid off. Aude considers occupational therapy to be more developed and regulated in Canada. In fact, she says there are methods of evaluation and intervention, and a level of detail and quality, that are not found in Europe.
Today, Aude works as an occupational therapist at the Centre de réadaptation InterVal de Trois-Rivières. She enjoys the responsibilities she has been given and the professionalism of the team she works with.
Country of origin: South Korea
For Jin Younge, the journey to earning her credentials as an occupational therapist in Canada was sometimes frustrating but worthwhile.
When Jin initially contacted CAOT to transfer her skills to Canada, she qualified to come take the national occupational therapy certification examination right away. The occupational therapy program she had completed in South Korea was recognized by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT).
Following her exam, Jin began a long process to meet required language standards, including passing the spoken language test, which for her required perseverance. She finally passed the examination on her 10th try. Once successful, Jin obtained her licence from the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia.
Today, Jin is working at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital in Vancouver. She enjoys working closely with an inter-professional team and with the residents of the rehabilitation centre.
Country of Origin: Australia
Julie Hirschmanner has one major piece of advice for people wanting to become occupational therapists in Canada: know what documentation to bring and get copies of everything.
When Julie moved to Calgary from Australia in 2007, she had already begun the process of obtaining her credentials in Canada. After consulting the CAOT Web site, Julie knew to bring her transcripts, her course descriptions, and other valuable documents with her to Canada. Julie started studying for the national occupational therapy certification examination as soon as she arrived, and when she passed, she began looking for work immediately. She recommends that people apply for as many jobs as possible.
Julie is now providing occupational therapy services and enjoys working with her clients.
Country of origin: Brazil
When Sylvia Prazias moved to Canada 18 years ago, she knew she wanted to work as an occupational therapist and that she should take the national occupational therapy certification examination as quickly as possible. To that end, she almost immediately began the process to become a registered occupational therapist in Ontario. Pending the results of the certification exam, Sylvia worked with a provisional registration.
Before moving to Canada, Sylvia had completed post-graduate studies in the United States. That experience, together with English lessons, helped her pass the spoken language test required for a work permit in Canada.
Today, Sylvia works in a hospital and enjoys the variety this setting brings to her job. She describes her work as an occupational therapist in Canada as fulfilling and has only had positive experiences working in this country.
Country of origin: South Korea
When Sung Ho Yung first came to Canada, he knew only one person. The transition to a new country was challenging, but exciting.
For Sung, the process of becoming eligible to work in Canada as an occupational therapist was quite different than it was in South Korea. He found the focus of Canadian occupational therapy is more on theory and anatomy rather than practical application. He wishes he had more information on the required testing, qualifications and educational background before coming to Canada. He also wishes he had more spoken English skills before arriving. Despite these hurdles, Sung met requirements to work in Canada and became registered as an occupational therapist.
Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Sung works closely with patients in their homes, and helps them become independent in their own setting. He appreciates the client-centred approach to occupational therapy in Canada.