Alberta College of Occupational Therapists Provides Update on Acting Against Racism and Intolerance Progress


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, July 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Alberta College of Occupational Therapists (ACOT) is reaching out to all Occupational Therapists across the province to inform them of the progress of their Acting Against Racism and Intolerance (AARI) efforts and invite them to a series of presentations starting in summer 2023.

“We were driven to take action against racism and intolerance because of the injustice and change happening in the world around us” said Marianne Baird, CEO & Registrar of the College. “Because ACOT has a legislative responsibility to act in the interest of public safety, we formed an AARI Advisory Panel and Committee in 2020 that has been leading our efforts. The Committee is made up of people from our profession with living experiences of racism and intolerance, and we are so grateful for their insight and voice in this conversation.”

ACOT released its AARI Final Report in September 2021, presenting recommendations for improving accountability, policies & practices, learning & development, and sector leadership. Findings showed that 42% of Occupational Therapists experience microaggressions (intentional or unintentional everyday slights, insults, putdowns, invalidations, and offensive behaviors that marginalized people experience in daily interactions) from clients, and 71% experience microaggressions from peers. These findings, along with additional studies in recent years in the healthcare sector, point to the ongoing racism and discrimination in healthcare settings.


Jennifer Lee, President of ACOT’s governing Council, stressed the need for continued change in the profession. “71% of Occupational Therapists in our survey indicated they believe ACOT should be addressing Access, Equity & Inclusion issues. All healthcare providers have a duty to address these systemic racism and discrimination problems to provide a safe environment for both clients and providers. We have already begun implementing items from the AARI Final Report and hope to have all measures integrated by 2030.”

ACOT is calling on all Occupational Therapists to do their part in addressing racism and intolerance, including attending presentations outlining the AARI measures in several locations across Alberta, starting in June 2023. Alberta Health Services recorded the presentation, which is available for all its staff, on 22 June 2023.

The College also plans to work with Indigenous groups and Elders to help guide the work of implementing the AARI measures.

The Alberta College of Occupational Therapists regulates the profession of Occupational Therapy in the province of Alberta. The College is responsible for ensuring the public receives competent and ethical Occupational Therapy services. It is governed by a Council comprised of Occupational Therapists elected by their peers, an ex-officio academic representative selected from the University of Alberta Department of Occupational Therapy, and Public Members appointed by the Alberta government.


  • AARI Report
CONTACT: Marianne Baird Alberta College of Occupational Therapists 780.436.8381 ext. 105 marianne.[email protected] Catherine Keill Keill & Company Inc. 780.690.5283 

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