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Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists at Sunnybrook are committed to the extensive role they play in the education of future occupational therapists. A basic tenet of occupational therapy is life-long learning and professional development/continuing education is a key focus of the Sunnybrook service.

Program structure

Sunnybrook has a program management organizational model, including seven major programs. There are approximately 50 FTE filled by the occupational therapy group in a variety of roles, including occupational therapist clinicians, occupational therapist assistants and an advanced practice occupational therapist. Occupational therapists are represented in all Sunnybrook programs and practice spans all ages (babies to the very aged), and a breadth of contexts (in-patient acute care, ambulatory out-patient, community outreach, long-term care). Interprofessional collaboration is an essential framework to the model of care provided.

Occupational therapy education

In Canada the academic requirement for entry-level practice is a Master of science in occupational therapy (M.Sc. OT). The curriculum includes at least 1,000 fieldwork hours, as mandated by the World Federation of Occupational Therapy. Prior to practice, one must also pass the national certification exam, sponsored by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). Occupational therapy is a regulated health care profession in Ontario. To practice in Ontario, one must be a registrant of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO).

At Sunnybrook our primary educational affiliation is with the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto.

Sunnybrook occupational therapists are actively involved as educators. Examples include: preceptor for clinical fieldwork placement, supervisor for student research project, small group facilitator, lecturer, lab demonstrator, mentorship group leader. Therapists also have the opportunity to participate in and support curriculum development. Many Sunnybrook occupational therapists also hold status appointments with the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy.

M.Sc.OT student fieldwork structure

Visit the University of Toronto website for specific details of curriculum and fieldwork. The following is a sample table of the typical fieldwork schedule.

Placement description


Introduction to fieldwork: students identify client issues, observe occupational therapy interventions and practice generic assessment skills

Two weeks in October of first year

Fieldwork I: focus on the development of generic assessment skills and application of theoretical knowledge to clinical setting

Six weeks April - June of first year

Fieldwork II: focus on developing skill in advanced assessments, consolidating academic learning with clinical learning, and increasing independence in working with clients

Seven weeks October - December of second year

Fieldwork III: focus on administering and interpreting assessments, treatment planning, programming and evaluation. Beginning to use a consultative approach

Seven weeks April - June of second year

Fieldwork IV: Final placement, providing opportunities for consolidation of all previous academic and fieldwork learning

Eight weeks June - August of second year

Occupational therapy students who are not studying at the University of Toronto are considered out-of-catchment students. Timing and length of out-of-catchment placements varies according to the learning institution that the student is attending. While Sunnybrook welcomes students from other university programs, all fieldwork placements are coordinated through the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Please ask the fieldwork coordinator at your learning institution to contact the University of Toronto directly, on your behalf.

Occupational therapist assistant (OTA) students timing and length of clinical placements varies according to the learning institution that the student is attending.

Assessment of students

Assessment forms, specific to their learning institution, are brought by the students to Sunnybrook and completed by both the OT or OTA student and the preceptors.

Occupational therapy professional practice and education is led by Isabella Cheng, professional and education leader, phone: 416-480-6100, x 3047. The site coordinator for clinical fieldwork placements at the Holland Centre is: Filomena DeMedeiros, phone: 416-967-8610. Administrative support for occupational therapy is provided by Mildred D'silva, Phone: 416-480-6100, x 4417

More info about occupational therapy, courses and conferences

The Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists is the provincial professional association and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists is the national professional association. For information specific to occupational science refer to the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists.

Contact information

Bayview and Holland Campuses

Professional & Education Leader
Isabella Cheng
Phone: 416-480-6100, ext. 3047
Email: isabella.cheng

Site coordinator for clinical fieldwork placements, Holland Centre
Filomena DeMedeiros
Phone: 416-967-8610
Email: filomena.demedeiros

Administrative support
Mildred D'silva
Phone: 416-480-6100, ext. 4417
Email: mildred.dsilva

St. John’s Rehab Campus

Professional / Collaborative Practice Leader – OT
Siobhan Donaghy
Phone: 416-226-6780 ext. 7220
Email: Siobhan.Donaghy

Administrative Support
Fern Steinberg
Phone: 416-226-6780, ext. 6311
Email: Fern.Steinberg