OSOT Honours Christie Brenchley with Honourary Life Membership Award 

The Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists is pleased to announce that Christie Brenchley is the 2022 recipient of the OSOT Honourary Life Membership Award!      

The Society's most valued award recognizes and honours an individual who has rendered distinguished and longstanding service to the profession of occupational therapy or to the Society. We believe that we could not have had a more deserving nomination for the award this year. Christie served as OSOT's Executive Director for 31+ years and contributed vastly to the advancement and recognition of OT as a valued health professional across all fields and sectors of care in Ontario.                          

Get to know Christie:

Christie Brenchley graduated from the University of Toronto in 1977 and worked as an occupational therapist at Holland Bloorview and Lyndhurst Hospital. She sat on the OSOT Board of Directors in 1986 and joined OSOT is 1990 as Executive Director, which she served as for the next 31+ years.

Christie was instrumental in getting occupational therapy included in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 through advocacy, evidence and persistence and supported the profession through the transition to self-regulation in 1993/94. Early on at OSOT, was instrumental in moving away from the “branches” model of governance to a regional representation – thus broadening the voice and participation of members across the province.

Over Christie’s tenure as OSOT Executive Director, she:
  • Introduced a monthly newsletter (originally in print – called “The Link” then moving to digital); established physical office space and grew the OSOT staff team to 5-full-time staff; created hundreds of professional development opportunities through workshops, webinars and the annual conference; increased member benefits to include liability insurance, group benefits, mentoring programs, and too many practice resources to count.
  • Grew the OSOT Membership from a few hundred to over 4,500.
  • Continued to evolve the Society and in the mid-2000’s the Board of Directors began to shift from a management-oriented Board to a governance Board and the development of the first OSOT Strategic Plan.
  • Hired OSOT’s first government relations consultant and engaged in professional promotional campaigns, engaged in strategic partnerships with major organizations in key sectors such as seniors’ health, the auto insurance sector, and rehabilitation.
  • Was a member of many organizations including: Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Professional Associations, Occupational Therapy Ontario Collaborative, En-Age Advisory Council, Strategic Advocacy Team, Ontario Council of University Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences, Coalition of Ontario Regulated Health professional Associations, Rehabilitation Care Alliance, various working groups, task forces, and focus groups.
  • Sat on a 20-member panel in 2019 to provide recommendations to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services on developing the Ontario Autism Program.
  • Received many awards including: Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Toronto in 2012; the Sustained Outstanding Service Contribution Award for excellence in teaching, also from the University of Toronto, in 2014; in 2015 she received the CAOT Award of Merit for significant contributions to the profession; and finally, in 2022, she has been awarded the CAOT Life Membership Award. 
  • Published articles on OT role in primary care, re-entry to professional practice, and contributed to Judith Friedland’s book “Restoring the Spirt: The Beginnings of Occupational Therapy in Canada”.
Christie has been described by her nominators as: “innovative, keen eye for opportunity, engaging, broad thinking, nurturing, advocating on behalf to advance opportunities for occupational therapy, outstanding leadership, energetic, admired, warm and endearing”. The Honourary Life Membership Award was presented at the Awards and Recognition Ceremony, hosted at the 2022 OSOT Conference. Congratulations Christie!