Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)

Search for Occupational Projection Summaries (2019-2028)

The current COPS projections were completed in 2019, well before the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in exceptional and abrupt economic and labour market disruptions in Canada as well as abroad. However, the focus of the COPS projections is on long-term trends in occupational labour markets, not on short-term developments. At the moment, these long-term trends are not expected to be affected markedly by the COVID-19 outbreak as its impacts are generally foreseen to be temporary.

Note: The projections were developed for 293 occupational groupings that cover the entire workforce, using the 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC). For additional information on these groupings, please visit the COPS Occupational Groupings' Definition. For more information about the methodology used to assess each occupation, please click here.

Search Result : Occupational therapists & Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment (3143)

Occupational Outlook
SHORTAGE: This occupational group is expected to face labour shortage conditions over the period of 2019-2028 at the national level. The section below contains more detailed information regarding the outlook for this occupational group.
Occupations in this Group
  • Occupational therapists (3143)
  • Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment (3144)
Skill Type
Health occupations
Skill Level
Occupations usually require university education.
Employment in 2018
26,800
Median Age of workers in 2018
39.1 years old
Estimated Median Age of Retirement in 2018
66 years old

In order to determine the expected outlook of an occupation, the magnitude of the difference between the projected total numbers of new job seekers and job openings over the whole projection period (2019-2028) is analyzed in conjunction with an assessment of labour market conditions in recent years. The intention is to determine if recent labour market conditions (surplus, balance or shortage) are expected to persist or change over the period 2019-2028. For instance, if the analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings (a shortage of workers) in an occupational group in recent years, the projections are used to assess if this situation will continue over the projection period or if the occupation will move towards balanced conditions.

Over the 2016-2018 period, employment in this occupational group increased at a faster pace than the average of all occupations. The unemployment rate fell to 1.7% in 2018, well below the national average of 5.8% but only somewhat below the historical average for this occupational group. However, although the number of unemployed workers per job vacancy fell alongside the unemployment rate, there remained well over one available worker per vacancy throughout the period, indicating that a lack of available workers is unlikely to have limited employment growth. Finally, the proportion of employees doing overtime work declined to reach low historical levels, sitting below the national average of about 20%. Hence, analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was sufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group.

Over the period 2019-2028, the number of job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) for Occupational therapists & Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment are expected to total 11,800, while the number of job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) is expected to total 9,600 .

Although this occupational group has had a balanced market in recent years, projected job openings are expected to be substantially higher than job seekers, creating a shortage of workers over the 2019-2028 period. Job openings are projected to arise primarily from job creation. Population growth and the rising share of older people will have an important impact on job creation in this occupational group. Indeed, occupational therapists play a key role in helping people managing various diseases, physical limitations or other difficulties in order to help them to accomplish daily tasks. The accepted norms of increasing ergonomic settings at work and at home will continue feeding the demand for these workers. Seniors are also more likely to rely on these professional services since it generally becomes more difficult to remain self-sufficient at a later age. Thus, employment growth for therapy and assessment professionals is expected to be high, similar to those of other health professionals and be among the strongest of all occupations. More than 20% of all job openings are projected to arise from retirements. Yet, pressures arising from these departures are expected to be among the lowest of all occupations, because workers in this occupational are generally younger than average and tend to retire at a later age. Despite this, retirements are also expected to leave vacancies adding pressures to labour demand. With regard to labour supply, due to the highly specialized nature of this occupation, school leavers are expected to account for the vast majority of job seekers. However, an appreciable number of workers are expected to seek opportunities in other occupations, notably in management occupations in the health sector and other occupations related to therapy.

Projection of Cumulative Job Openings and Job Seekers over the Period of 2019-2028

This table contains data related to Projected Job Openings.
Level Share
Expansion Demand: 8,000 68%
Retirements: 2,500 21%
Other Replacement Demand: 600 5%
Emigration: 700 6%
Projected Job Openings: 11,800 100%
This table contains data related to Projected Job Seekers.
Level Share
School Leavers: 12,900 134%
Immigration: 900 9%
Other: -4,100 -43%
Projected Job Seekers: 9,600 100%
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