Panellist Profile: Kathy Corbett, Registrar and CEO, College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia

TOPIC: SUBSTANTIAL EQUIVALENCE – Reducing Barriers for International Applicants

Kathy Corbett is Registrar and CEO of the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (“COTBC”). The COTBC is the regulatory body for the self-governing profession of occupational therapy. The College currently governs over 1,900 registrants, and continues to grow in membership every year.

A challenge on which government has placed increasing emphasis in recent years is the need for professional regulators to increase worker mobility. Domestically, this has manifested through the AIT and the Labour Mobility Act. For international applicants, this has manifested through a focus by regulators on whether internationally trained applicants have qualifications and experience which are substantially equivalent to what regulators require of applicants trained domestically.

Ms. Corbett will speak about challenges and solutions to to assessing internationally trained applicants. Ms. Corbett is the lead on a harmonization project carried on collaboratively by the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations. The project is aimed at developing a common assessment approach by occupational therapy regulators across Canada for recognizing qualifications and competence-based assessments for internationally educated occupational therapists. The project has already completed two phases, including developing a framework for assessing substantial equivalence of internationally educated applicants, updating essential practice competencies, and developing credential assessment and competency-based assessment tools.  Phase three includes ensuring certification examinations reflect revised essential competencies, and pilot-testing both the Professional Specific Credentialing Assessment (PSCA) and the Competency Assessment Tool (CAT).

All self-governing regulatory bodies face the challenges of developing approaches and tools for assessing foreign-trained applicants. Come listen and participate in a discussion with Ms. Corbett and other panellists about how to move towards competence-based assessments.  As part of this discussion, Lisa C. Fong and Angela Westmacott will comment on potential issues arising before the BC Health Professions Review Board, despite achieving competence-based assessments.