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 inital 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 additionas 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.
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.
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.