Over 13% of Canadians have a disability. Disabilities can make it difficult for people to flourish in their daily lives. People with a disability might struggle with getting around, self-care, employment, and leisure activities.
Occupational therapy can improve certain aspects of life for people with disabilities. But occupational therapists also work with children, corporations, and people with temporary injuries. People of all ages and all walks of life can benefit from this type of therapy.
Here's everything you need to know about the cost of occupational therapy in Canada.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy aims to improve the quality and functionality of everyday activities. Occupational therapists (OTs) work in a variety of settings, including:
- Hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes
- Halfway houses, groups homes, and community centres
- Rehabilitation and mental health facilities
- Worker's compensation boards and employment offices
- Correctional facilities
- Schools, universities, and colleges
- Insurance companies
- Large corporations
- Government health programs
OTs also work in private practices and offer home care. Because occupational therapy spans many industries, OTs can provide many different services. Some examples of occupational therapy services include:
- Helping people adjust to wheelchairs
- Modifying homes or vehicles for people with disabilities
- Adapting everyday objects for different needs
- Advising corporations about the health and safety of workstations
- Educating the community, teachers, and employers about disabilities
- Working with the government to create healthier communities
- Helping people develop fine and gross motor skills through daily activities
- Improving people's coping strategies after an accident or illness
This is a small sample of the many hats that an occupational therapist might wear. Occupational therapy can help those who experience:
- Birth defects or injuries
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
- Developmental delays
- Chronic illnesses
- Mental health disorders
- Learning and sensory disorders
- Amputations and severe limb injuries
- Stroke or heart attack
- Behavioural issues
- Cancer, diabetes, and cerebral palsy
- Alzheimer's disease
Occupational therapists can also choose to specialize their services. Some OTs work exclusively with children and teens, while others work with seniors. And large corporations often hire OTs to make accommodations to the workplace.
How Much Does Occupational Therapy Cost in Canada?
There are over 19,000 occupational therapists working across Canada. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cost of services because there are so many OTs in different sectors.
Visiting a private occupational therapy practice is a common way to receive services. Private OTs often charge for professional time, travel time, and cancellation fees. There is no pricing standard, so private practices set their own costs.
Let's look at some estimates and specific examples across our provinces. We'll also cover publicly provided occupational therapy and insurance coverage.
With 2,294 occupational therapists working in Alberta, you'll have no problem finding a provider. The average cost per hour ranges from $100 to $120 at a private practice.
Smile Therapy, located in Calgary, offers occupational therapy for children. A 30-minute consultation is complimentary for all patients. Follow-up appointments cost $120/hour or $70/half hour.
Families can also opt for sessions with a therapy assistant to reduce costs. Therapy with an assistant averages $70/hour or $40/half hour. The clinic works with FSCD Alberta and some private health insurance plans.
You'll find 722 occupational therapists working across every industry in Manitoba. Initial sessions average between $150 and $200 for an assessment. Follow-up sessions can run from $50 to over $400 per hour.
At Children's Therapy Collective in Winnipeg, the initial consultation is free. An in-home assessment costs $140, or you can choose the virtual option for $125/hour. Follow-up appointments vary in price according to length and delivery method.
- 60-minute in-home appointment = $110
- 45-minute in-home appointment = $100
- 30-minute in-home appointment = $85
- 60-minute virtual appointment = $100
- 45-minute virtual appointment = $85
- 30-minute virtual appointment = $70
Families living outside of Winnipeg can take advantage of the virtual services. The practitioner can also meet at the client's home or another agreed-upon place. The clinic works with private insurance plans.
Many of New Brunswick's 402 occupational therapists are self-employed. The larger cities of Moncton, Saint John, and Fredericton have a few larger private practices. But most OTs don't advertise online, so you'll have to contact them directly to learn about their fees.
Progressive Occupational Therapy in Moncton offers a variety of services. For example, hand rehabilitation treatment costs $80 per hour. But the initial evaluation and first treatment is $100/hour.
They also provide ergonomic assessments in the workplace with reports. The price is $350 for the service, with an additional $110/hour travel fee.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Over 200 occupational therapists work in Newfoundland and Labrador. The average rate hovers around $140 per hour across the province but finding an OT may be challenging.
Luckily, Physio & Co has four locations across Newfoundland! You'll find them in St. John's, Bay Bulls, Torbay, and Placentia. They work with Blue Cross, Great-West Life, Sunlife, Johnsons and Manulife insurance.
The initial assessment is a steep $390 for 60 minutes. Follow-up sessions cost $116/hour, and appointments without an assessment are $130/hour. They also offer the Psychosocial Risk Factors Intervention Program (PRFI) for $1,638.
Nova Scotia has 590 occupational therapists working across the province. The average cost per session is around $120 for 50 minutes.
Lesley Hartman & Associates offers occupational therapy in Halifax. Occupational therapy sessions cost $125/hour. The clinic also provides DBT counselling at $150/hour.
Cancellation fees are the full cost of the session, without 24 hours' notice. The clinic works with some private health insurance plans but does not offer direct billing. They do provide comprehensive receipts for reimbursement.
Ontario has the highest number of OTs in Canada, with over 6,300 practitioners. The average costs per session range from $105 to $130. But there are numerous funding options for every type of patient in Ontario.
Achieve Therapy Centre in Ottawa offers a variety of OT services. In-person sessions cost $120/hour, while virtual sessions are $115 for 45 minutes or $80 for 30 minutes. A $500 assessment is required before starting the therapy sessions.
You'll find a large number of OTs in the Toronto area, working with both children and adults. Davis Occupational Services works with adults and offers sessions at $140/hour and $80/half hour. An initial assessment costs $140, and travel fees are $0.50/km outside the GTA.
Quebec offers the second-largest choice in OTs with over 5,700 practitioners. The average costs in Quebec are around $120/hour but prices can increase in metro areas.
Clinique CMI is a large private practice in Saint-Laurent. An initial physical assessment is $85, with follow-up sessions at $85. The session times can range between 25 and 45 minutes.
Mental health assessments are $100, with follow-up sessions at $85. They also offer adapted transportation evaluation for $125. You'll also find a range of individualized services at Clinique CMI.
Over 380 occupational therapists work in Saskatchewan. The average rates across the province are about $120/hour. SGI clients can use their insurance to get sessions at $52 after an initial assessment of $100.
Bright Horizons in Regina offers assessments and treatments for $130/hour. School or home visits are also $130/session, but travel costs vary and are extra. The centre works with some private insurances, and cancellation costs are 50% of the session rate.
Outcomes Therapy is also based in Regina, offering occupational therapy for children. An initial 30-minute consultation is $65, and follow-up treatments are $125/hour. This centre also does school and daycare visits for $375 for 2 hours.
You'll find over 2,500 OTs working in British Columbia. Average provincial rates run from $100 to $225 per hour.
Mountainview Health in Surrey offers occupational therapy sessions for $115/hour. They work with private health insurance companies and worker's compensation boards.
For children, Little Bird in Vancouver offers holistic occupational therapy. Assessments at the centre take about three hours and cost $120/hour. On-going sessions occur weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly and rates vary.
Do Provincial Plans Cover the Cost of Occupational Therapy?
Many provincial health care plans cover the cost of occupational therapy in specific settings. The following circumstances are covered in each province:
- Alberta: hospitals and public rehab centres
- Manitoba: hospitals and personal care home residents
- New Brunswick: hospitals
- Newfoundland and Labrador: hospitals
- Nova Scotia: hospitals through a doctor's referral
- Ontario: hospitals, rehab centres, Family Health Teams, community centres, and Local Health Integration Networks
- Quebec: hospitals, rehab centres, community care centres, residential facilities
- Saskatchewan: hospitals, special care homes, private clinics with Saskatchewan Health Authority contracts
- British Columbia: hospitals, community care centres, rehab centres, publicly funded care facilities
Your auto insurance might also include occupational therapy in the event of a crash. Worker's compensation boards may cover the costs of work-related injuries. Finally, Veteran Affairs can cover occupational therapy for armed forces members.
Occupational Therapy and You
When considering private practices, the cost of occupational therapy in Canada can be expensive. But there are other ways to access this beneficial service.
Research your provincial health coverage terms to see if you're eligible for public services. It can also be helpful to purchase additional health insurance if you need a little extra help. Extended private insurance often covers services like occupational therapy.
Get a free health insurance quote from Insurdinary. It can make the difference between struggling and thriving in your daily life. We try to be as thorough as possible. Be sure to check our disclaimer about the figures we've provided.