About Occupational Therapy

What is ‘Occupation’?

‘Occupation’ includes all the tasks and activities people perform during the course of their everyday lives, including self-care, leisure activities, and work/productivity.


The Role of Occupational Therapy


Occupational therapy promotes health and wellbeing through occupation. It is about helping people utilize their strengths and resources to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from performing the tasks and activities that give purpose to their lives.


Occupational therapy helps people face challenges that are the result of a condition, illness or injury, which impact physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Because each person’s lifestyle and characteristics are unique, so too is each person’s occupational therapy experience. 


In broad terms, an occupational therapist will:

• Use meaningful occupations to help a person regain, improve or maintain abilities or skills

• Help people and their families learn new ways of doing things and build on their strengths and abilities

• Adapt the environment to make it possible for people to engage in activities and reduce the risk of injury


Occupational therapists partner with the person – sometimes with the family and community as well – and use a process of assessment, intervention and evaluation.


Occupational Therapy in Canada


In Canada, occupational therapists are university-educated professionals. Click here for information on specific training requirements and areas of study.


Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings and may specialize in specific age groups, or in specific health conditions. Click here to learn about areas of practice for occupational therapists.


There are currently about 13,000 Occupational Therapists registered in Canada, with approximately 520 registered in Manitoba. For more information about occupational therapy in Canada, see the Workforce Trends of Occupational Therapists in Canada, published by the Canadian Institute of Health Information.