Era II - Neo Professional Era (1920s-1930s)

When the war was over, the Ward Aids were demobilized and were moved into mental health facilities, tuberculosis sanatoriums, and workshops in the community settings.

Early occupational therapists recognized the need to establish an identity and some cohesion amongst themselves. They organized to promote occupational therapy to the medical profession and to the public. The Ontario Society of Occupational Therapy was inaugurated in October 1920. It was incorporated under Letters Patent in 1921 as the first professional association of occupational therapists in Canada. The head office of the Society was in Toronto, with branches in Hamilton, Kingston, London and Ottawa. His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario consented to act as the Honourary President. The Objects of the first Society were outlined at the first Drawing Room Meeting on October 4, 1921 at which there were 300 delegates. The objects were;

  1. To study occupations for various forms of handicaps.

  2. To advance occupation as a therapeutic measure.

  3. To disseminate knowledge on the subject.

A second Drawing Room Meeting of the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapy was held in 1925. Two hundred and fifty occupational therapists and guests attended. An urgent need for more therapists was discussed and as a result the first university program at the University of Toronto was initiated in 1926.

In 1926, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy (CAOT) was founded and in 1932, CAOT launched the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy.
During the 1930s, Occupational Therapy progressed by including the vocational training, industrial therapy programs, and clinical workshops. These programs were set up to assist newly discharged patients to help them readjust and develop tolerance to work.

Specializations developed in the areas of tuberculosis, paediatrics, and psychiatry.