An elderly man and a young boy plant flowers in a garden.
An elderly woman smiles at her female OT who holds her hand.
A young girl listens to her female OT.

Working to serve and protect the public interest

COTM's mission is to protect the public by regulating, advocating and advancing safe, ethical and quality occupational therapy practice in Manitoba.
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Notice

Please be advised we will not be monitoring calls & emails on Monday, August 3, 2020 in observance of the Civic Holiday.
We will be available on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. 

As of Friday, March 20, the 120 Maryland St. office is closed however we continue to operate with all staff working from home. We will be answering emails and will be monitoring the phone. If you call the office, please leave your email address as this may be the most efficient way to be back in touch with you.

A Message from COTM Executive Director

Greetings all,

We are coming up to the three-month anniversary of the COTM office transitioning to “working from home”.  This is two months longer than the timeframe we anticipated at the start of this new reality. And now we know that due to the ongoing physical distancing advice of Dr. Roussin, the Manitoba Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, COTM will continue this current arrangement until the fall. We have set a tentative in-office return date of August 31st.

And speaking of transitioning back to “normal life” as we know it - the Government of Manitoba has outlined its plan for restoring services – visit https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/restoring/phase-three.html. This Phase Three Plan goes into effect on June 21, 2020.

Throughout these past few months, we have benefitted from the ready support of our colleagues through the Manitoba Alliance of Health Regulatory Colleges (MAHRC) and the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) and through the education offered freely and regularly by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), the Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation (CNAR) and the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE). Hats off to these organizations which have supported COTM staff’s learning.

We know that many members are on the front-lines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic or trying to find ways to continue client care under the most trying of circumstances.

One of the key challenges COTM has faced in supporting COTM members is that of remaining in our own “swim lane”.  During this uncertain time, we have committed to assisting COTM members to meet their practice requirements. However, the manner in which we provide this support must remain within our mandate as a regulatory organization.

The most confounding issue that has highlighted the parameters and limitations of COTM’s mandate is that of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). COTM has set its PPE requirement as one that is consistent with other clinical practice directives. More specifically, we have not set any additional directives beyond confirming the expectation that members follow provincial and Shared Health guidelines. Our direction: your practice must be evidence-informed, it must be guided by professional decision making that can be described and justified; it must fit your context. Fortunately for OTs in Manitoba, there are organizations which have a member support role, and not a regulatory public protection mandate, which are working hard to support OT practice.

What we also realize is that COTM members may worry that they will not do it correctly if they rely on Shared Health information or their own research. COTM encourages members to use a Risk Assessment process in order to set their own plan for approaching their practice and mitigating risks to their clients, their employees and themselves. When information is confusing and insufficient - and it is difficult to see a clear path - the OT must make a decision on the basis of the best available information. Using a conscious decision-making process can assist. To this end, we suggest a resource developed by the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario: https://www.coto.org/resources/conscious-decision-making-in-occupational-therapy-practice .

COTM recognizes that there is not one definitive definition of the types of PPE, not one clear directive as to when to wear it, not one identifiable way to secure PPE.  This is the challenge faced by many health providers who work outside of the insured health system. You are urged to support organizations like MSOT which is working hard to find the best possible answers to these obstacles on behalf of OTs in Manitoba.

Lastly, I want to thank all those who offered their time to review the draft COTM practice guideline entitled Managing Your Practice – we are aiming for a July release.

Please email your questions to me – I will do my best to provide guidance or direct you to those who can assist you.

Sharon Eadie, O.T. Reg. (MB)
COTM Executive Director