CAOT-BC Public Awareness Campaign
In 2015, CAOT-BC began working with The Pace Group on our public awareness campaign. The aim of this project is to build awareness about our profession to the public, media and government and raise the profile of occupational therapy in BC.
Campaign activity is organized in a three phase approach:
Phase 1: Development of Key Message & Collection of OT Success Stories
Success stories that highlight the unique contributions of OTs and demonstrate the value of OT were gathered for use in Phase 2 of the campaign.
Phase 2: Government & Media Relations
This phase included a meeting between CAOT-BC and the Premier’s office as well as a media relations “tour” of 7 large cities to meet with MLAs and participate in media opportunities (television, newspaper, radio). Giovanna Boniface was the the key contact for the tour, however, local occupational therapists were encouraged to participate by sharing stories and attending meetings along with CAOT-BC.
An advocacy training webinar was held on June 18, 2015 supporting occupational therapists to attend MLA meetings. An MLA letter-writing campaign was also part of this phase.
Here are the highlights of the Government, Media & Public Relations Activities:
- Managing Director Giovanna Boniface attended an MLA day hosted by the Canadian Society of Association Executives (BC) in Victoria on May 11, 2015;
- Media release about the need for more occupational therapists in BC circulated on May 11, 2015
- CAOT-BC was interviewed on CKNW News Talk 980 on May 17, 2015
- News article published on AM730 on May 17, 2015
- Letter of the day- published in the Vancouver Sun on May 19, 2015
- Interview on Global TV on May 23, 2015
- CBC interview on the topic of standing desks in response to a New Westminster school adding them to the classrooms on June 8, 2015
- Breakfast Television interview for Brain Injury Awareness Month- June 18, 2015
- Letter to the editor published in The Prince George Citizen
- Meeting with Greater Victoria MLAs to promote the value of occupational therapy and the need to increase access to services
- Talk to an OT events at five (5) Shoppers Home Health locations across the province during OT month 2015
- Meeting with Minister of Health, Honorable Terry Lake during Occupational Therapy month (October 2015)
- Meeting with Ministry of Advanced Education representatives (October 2015)
- Meeting with Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, Honorable Michelle Stilwell (October 2015)
- Meeting with Ministry of Advanced Education and Ministry of Health staff presenting results of private sector workforce study (December 2015)
- Meeting with MP Mark Warawa (Official Opposition Critic for Seniors) to discuss how occupational therapy can contribute to the health and well-being of seniors
- Letter to the editor, responding to the recent changes to the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, published by the Penticton Western News on March 29, 2016
- Letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun, responding to the editorial “Appalling seniors care must be addressed” (April 6, 2016)
- Invited guest, Home Medical Equipment Dealer Association of BC (HMEDA-BC) Annual General Meeting, highlighting collaborative work on initiatives of mutual interest
- Participation in the Rural & Remote Recruitment and Retention Initiatives Project, Wester & Northern Health Human Resources Forum
- Meeting with Minister of Children and Family Development, Stephanie Cadieux
- Presentation to Select Standing Committee on Health (July 7, 2016)
- Meeting with Dr. Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health on Seniors
- Meeting with Judy Darcy, MLA, Opposition Spokesperson for Health and Deputy Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Health. Discussion topics included workforce planning, improving access to OT for British Columbians and OT contribution the health and well-being of seniors.
Phase 3: Government Relations - Day at the Legislature
The Day at the Legislature took place on May12th, 2016. The day included a meeting with Minister Cadieux, a tour of BC legislature, introductions to the house by Minister of Health Terry Lake, a lunch meeting with MLA Dr. Darryl Plecas and a CAOT-BC open house attended by 20-25 MLAs or their representatives.
The purpose of this day was to awareness of occupational therapy, speak to the distinct contribution of occupational therapy to the health care system as well as discuss workforce needs.
A sincere thanks to all the CAOT-BC member volunteers to contributed to the day at the legislature, and throughout this 18-month campaign.
CAOT-BC will build on the campaign and continue with public awareness and government relations activities over the long-term in order to raise the profile of the profession so that it is understood that occupational therapy is vital to the healthcare system.
If you would like to volunteer in campaign efforts, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org