Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs


The Research on Education Committee Blog

Posted on Sunday, July 28, 2019 - 10:55am by

The Research on Education Committee Blog

The Research on Education Committee (ROE) has been involved in a number of exciting initiatives in recent months. The mandate of the ROE is to suggest priorities in education-related research in Canada, identify gaps in educational research relevant to OT nationally, and provide an advisory role in OT educational research. The committee is also active in advancing the profile and building supportive networks for education-related research in Canada and internationally. A few recent initiatives are listed below:

1. Launch of COTF Educational Research Fund:  An important part of supporting educational research in Canada is developing avenues for funding. The ACOTUP ROE has been working in partnership with COTF to develop a new educational research fund that will support a future Educational Research Grant. Donations to help build the resources for the new Educational Research Fund can be made through the COTF website. The educational research fund will support scholarship directly applicable to the education of occupational therapy students and/or the continuing education of practitioners and support a range of methodological and educational research areas. These could include investigations into a diversity of topics such as: approaches to teaching and learning, continuing professional education, educational technology, fieldwork research, preceptorship, mentorship, communities of practice, academic accommodations, occupation-based education, international education initiatives, simulation-based education, and competency-based education.

2. Research on Education Community of Practice (CoP): The ROE has continued to co-ordinate a national Community of Practice for Occupational Therapy Educational Researchers and Scholars! The Research on Education Community of Practice (CoP) is a group of occupational therapy educators committed to building and sharing evidence on educational strategies and innovations. The CoP meets virtually 3 – 4 times/year and in person during the CAOT conference. University educators, preceptors and students who have an interest in research on education are welcome to join this live meeting of the CoP, where we will share information on recent projects and emerging opportunities.

 3. WFOT Position Statement on Educational Research: The ROE has continued to partner in the development of, and offer input into, a draft of an  international position statement on  educational research in occupational therapy research.  A group of eight educational scholars from across Canada were consulted for input and are being represented at the international    table. The aim is to work collaboratively with representatives from several countries to produce a position statement that reflects global interests and differences in language, definitions, opportunities and challenges related to educational research and scholarship. The aim is to present a draft position statement at the WFOT Council meeting in Hong Kong in March 2020.

4. Accommodations in Fieldwork/Clinical Education Project: A national project into accommodations in Occupational Therapy Fieldwork/Clinical Education is currently underway. ROE and CUFE members from across the country are actively involved and meeting monthly. This project is of relevance to Universities and OT Programs across the country, as the need for student accommodations in fieldwork is on the rise.  The project is in the process of developing surveys for clinical fieldwork educators, fieldwork coordinators and students. After the survey, the aim is to complete focus groups to understand barriers/supports and successful stories of accommodations in fieldwork. To date the research is focused only on OT; however, if funding and human resources allow the project may expand to interprofessional contexts.




Research Committee Blog

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 4:04pm by

There is a lack of knowledge on the scope and range of research undertaken by Occupational Therapy (OT) scholars in Canada. Filling this knowledge gap has significant implications for shaping policy, funding opportunities. To these ends, the ACOTUP research committee, using a national survey, aimed to the following questions: What is the current profile of research activities among OT researchers in Canada? In which areas are researchers making contributions to OT in theory and practice? Which populations participate in OT research, and which methodological approaches are used? Hundred and twenty-one faculty (70% response rate) with an appointment at a Canadian university with an OT Department from all 14 Canadian universities responded to the survey. The research committee is currently analyzing the data and in our next blog we will share with you the results with the intention to increase collaboration among ACOTUP members.

Another activity to increase collaboration and strengthen research capacity is the developing Canadian Network for Trainees Involved in Occupation-Focused Research. The research committee, in communication with the network initiators (Lisa Engel & Flora To-Miles), is currently working together towards meeting the needs of the network members. This network aims (1) to connect research-stream trainees (i.e., thesis based masters; doctorate; post-doctorate fellows) across Canada who self-identify as being interested or involved in occupation-focused research and (2) provide focused learning and sharing opportunities for network members. The network initiators conducted an online open meeting through CAOT on February 13, 2019 with 14 online participants and 7 other trainees emailing to indicate interest in the network but inability to attend the open meeting; the network email list now contains over 40 contacts for individuals. Network initiators identified that aligning with the CAOT will not facilitate an inclusive network, as non-CAOT members will be excluded from activities beyond the open meeting. Therefore, the network initiators have expressed interest in aligning with the ACOTUP research committee to develop an inclusive trainee network.

The future activities that may arise from this network, as identified by open-meeting participants, are: (1) online meetings or written information for network members to share about their research activities and interests with the aim to develop future collaborations; (2) online presentations to address member identified learning needs (e.g., pragmatics of participatory research methods, preparing for early career academic and non-academic employment); and (3) in-person meet-ups, both academic and social in focus, at conferences where multiple network members will be attending (e.g., CAOT, CSOS, AOTA). With an interested network member they are also exploring how best to develop the group to be language inclusive for both Francophone and Anglophone members.

Executive Committee Blog

Posted on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 2:47pm by

2018 was an active year for ACOTUP’s Board of directors (BOD) and its executive committee. Important initiatives that deserve to be highlighted are the operationalization of the 2016-2021 strategic plan and a joint position statement on inclusive education for occupational therapy education for persons with disabilities.

In 2018, ACOTUP BOD finalized the strategies and tactical plan details that would support the three identified strategies;

  • Strengthen and advocate for the Canadian occupational therapy academy;
  • Provide leadership in the preparation of scholarly practitioners for society’s current and future occupational needs;
  • Streamline and focus ACOTUP’s operations to promote scholarly dialogue and action.

Strategies and tactics are largely moved forward through the various committees, including the executive committee and dedicated ACOTUP members. Coordination and monitoring of the strategic plan is under the responsibility of the BOD and the executive director. The organizational chart below illustrates these links.

Another important initiative is the joint position statement from ACOTUP and CAOT which endorses the World Federation of Occupational Therapists’ (WFOT) position statement on inclusive OT education. The joint statement proposes a set of recommendations for Canadian occupational therapists and educators and several initiatives that should be considered to promote inclusive learning environments, including fieldwork. The joint position statement can be accessed here:

Overall, an important mandate of the BOD and the executive committee is to invest time and energy to maintain and establish collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders, such as the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation (COTF), the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists (CSOS) and the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO). Examples of these partnerships can be reflected in the participation of ACOTUP as an observer in a working group examining the training of OT assistants, and participation with ACOTRO and CAOT on the development of a core set of set of competencies. Recognizing the importance and benefits of fieldwork performed across geographic boundaries yet, acknowledging the differences in needs and demands from the 14 programs, the BOD has been supportive of CUFE in identifying how best to optimize out of catchment fees. In 2019, the BOD expects to lead a thorough analysis of the current situation and a proposal that will respect each program’s specific challenges.

The third ACOTUP post is now available! Learn more on the latest activity of ACOTUP Academic Education Committee (AEC).

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 2:58pm by ACOTUP Academic Education Committee (AEC)

The third ACOTUP post is now available ! Learn more on the latest activity of ACOTUP Academic Education Committee (AEC).

Change agent is a key role of occupational therapists. No matter if you work with children or an elderly population, in private practice or in the health car or education system, all OTs must put forward their advocacy skills to induce change. But how do Canadian occupational therapy (OT) university programs ensure that students develop the required set of skills to become effective change agents in class and during fieldwork? The ACOTUP Academic Education Committee (AEC) initiated discussion around this topic and reunited practicing OTs, students and academics.

Want to know what came out of their reflections? Please click on the link below and enjoy reading their short post.

Committee on University Fieldwork Education (CUFE)

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2018 - 11:28am by ACOTUP

CUFE (Committee of University Fieldwork Education) is an ACOTUP committee of managers and coordinators of fieldwork placements for the 14 occupational therapy programs in Canada.  One to three members represent each program based on the composition of the respective fieldwork teams.  Two members act as co-presidents and communicate with the ACOTUP Executive Committee.  The CUFE meets at least twice per year, once during the annual conference, and once by teleconference.

In accordance with its primary mission to promote clinical training within the profession and research, the CUFE's actions are guided by the following themes:

1. Ongoing information-sharing, collaboration and innovation amongst key stakeholders regarding the implementation of quality fieldwork experiences.

2. Facilitate an in-depth review of national fieldwork.

3. Facilitate, coordinate, and implement an ongoing national marketing plan to increase the profile of occupational therapy fieldwork education.

4. Facilitate participation in research related to topics on fieldwork.

On an ongoing basis, members discuss the best strategies to  find fieldwork placement opportunities, help students in their learning, and preceptors/supervisors in their support role, in order to ensure quality clinical training for all future occupational therapists. After one year in use, a survey taken by the majority of programs allows us to conclude that the CFPSS is already a success.

In the last two years, the CUFE has engaged itself in the development and implementation of the Canadian Fieldwork Placement Sharing System (SCPS/CFPSS).  In 2016, the 14 programs created a process  and developed tools  to coordinate inter-university fieldwork requests between programs.  In order to do so, the CUFE wrote a reference document containing the specifics of each program, created a single application form, and sent an information message to partner clinics affected by this change. 

CUFE is also active in research on clinical fieldwork.  Many collective member initiatives have led to a literature and data review regarding clinical fieldwork, the production of papers as well as presentations during the CAOT conference.   This year, during its annual meeting, the CUFE will host for its members a workshop on accommodations for students during their fieldwork.

The  International Fieldwork group is a sub-committee of CUFE  which aims to develop and bring together various projects regarding international fieldwork.

In summary, the CUFE is a dynamic committee composed of engaged and passionate persons, who, by uniting their forces for the service of clinical training, give value to the richness and continued improvement of the fieldwork experience, as much for the students as for those who support them.

Research on Education Committee – March 2018 Update

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 3:46pm by Research on Education Committee

The Research on Education Committee (ROE) has been involved in several exciting activities over the last few months. Consistent with our mandate to suggest priorities in education-related research in Canada, identify the gaps in educational research relevant to OT nationally and provide an advisory role in OT educational research nationally we have focused our efforts on the following 4 activities:

  1. We created a virtual community of practice (COP) of OT educational researchers that is intended to support and promote educational scholarship in occupational therapy. To date there are approximately 33 members in the COP representing faculty from 11 universities. The COP meets approximately 4 times per year through the online platform ADOBE Connect. Topics discussed to date include funding opportunities for educational research, ideas for joint projects and venues for disseminating published research. We are also using the Ryver online platform ( to post documents, resources and ideas for projects and to promote asynchronous communication among the members of the COP. Anyone interested in joining the COP can contact Dr Rosemary Lysaght ( or Ms. Fatima Amari, research assistant (
  2. A review of the literature on the nature and impact of online communities of practice. The overarching question guiding the review is “How have virtual communities of practice been used, created and mobilized to advance educational practices and research? Secondary questions include: What factors help establish and promote a virtual COP? Have these factors been evaluated? Do best practice guidelines exist for online COPs? We hope that this literature will help shape and refine our COP and ensure it is successful in meeting its objectives.
  3. We have had two abstracts accepted for the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) congress in South Africa: the first entitled ‘Profiling and Promoting Educational Research in Occupational Therapy: A Canadian Experience’ (authors: C. Schmitz, Lysaght, R., Lee, M. & A. Thomas) was accepted as a poster and focuses on the activities of the ROE to date, including a summary of the education session held at the CAOT annual conference in PEI in the spring of 2017.  The second is a pre-conference workshop entitled Emerging trends and future directions in occupational therapy educational research. (Presenters: A. Thomas, R. Lysaght, M. Lee, C. Schmitz, A. Carrier, A. Freeman, E.A Kinsella & M. Paterson). The goals of this workshop are to discuss current and future trends in OT educational research and lay the groundwork for a broader range of collaborations.

    We are also pleased that our paper entitled “Expanding the foundation of occupational therapy educational research – A Canadian initiative was accepted for publication in the WFOT bulletin (published online: 21 Feb 2018;

  4. The ROE is pursuing efforts to find funding opportunities for educational research in our profession and is working with our COP to explore the possibilities.