OSOT Announces 20% Reduction in 2020-21 Membership Fees and Advocates for COTO 2020 Fee Reduction
In light of the significant financial impact the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on many Ontario occupational therapists, OSOT's Board of Directors has approved a 20% reduction in membership fees for the 2020-21 membership year commencing October 1, 2020. Members have identified the impacts of the pandemic on their income with concern about their ability to manage their commitments to professional fees including their College registration, OSOT and CAOT memberships and professional liability insurance.
A survey of OSOT membership identified that 60% of respondents have experienced a loss of income since emergency measures have been put in place; roughly 30% reported a significant loss of income. Notwithstanding, health services are re-opening, the process is slow and many continue to feel the impacts of reduced referrals, inability to see as many clients per day, discomfort of clients to attend/participate in therapy, etc. Further, we recognize that the pandemic has impacted family incomes and expenses.
The OSOT Board of DIrectors considered requests of members for fee reduction with a commitment to "do what we can" to support members in recognition of the impacts the pandemic has had and to recognize the ongoing commitment, resilience and flexibility of Ontario occupational therapists to continue to serve and contribute to the fight against COVID-19. While the resources of the Society limit options, a proposal to access unallocated funds for a one-time fee reduction to support members was approved. Carefully weighing risks and benefits, the impacts on the Society's annual budget, can we feel, be accommodated for the one year period.
- The 20% fee reduction will be applied across all paid membership categories. In addition, members who need to will have an option of paying the membership portion of their fees in 3 equal installments.
- We're delighted to relay that OSOT Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) premiums will not increase this year! PLI premiums must be paid in full and are not eligible for the deferred payment option as evidence of full coverage is required by the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario by October.
OSOT Advocates to College of Occupational Therapists for Reduction of 2020 Registration Fees
In light of the pandemic impact on occupational therapists' finances, the Society has advocated to the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) for a one-time reduction of the 2020 COTO Registration Fee. The College Council deliberated this proposal but regretfully determined that a fee reduction was not possible at this time. COTO has deferred their registration deadline to August 31, 2020. Further, they encourage occupational therapists experiencing financial hardship to contact them directly to discuss options. Members are advised to contact Clara Lau, Manager, Registration at firstname.lastname@example.org
Implications for Occupational Therapists
The pandemic has impacted people differently, but many occupational therapists have experienced financial impacts as a result of reduced income or increased costs for child care, transportation, transitions to virtual care or other work related costs. The Society hopes that a 20% fee reduction and the deferred payment options enable members (and new members!) to maintain their commitments to their professional association to assure continued access to membership benefits.
We remain disappointed with the COTO response to this situation.
The Society is aware that a petition has been developed by occupational therapists in the province to lend a breadth of voice to a request for further consideration by the College. While OSOT has not been involved and has elected to send our feedback in a letter, the Society always encourages members to proudly use their voice and to advocate for themselves and their profession.
If interested in learning more or if you wish to sign, the petition can be accessed here