The following section provides a summary of Association of Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO) polices that applicants will encounter throughout the Substantial Equivalency Assessment System (SEAS).

Timeline Expectations & Extensions

This policy sets out the time frame for completing the SEAS process, as well as the considerations and process for granting extensions.


Applicants are expected to complete the SEAS process within one year, determined by a defined start date and completion date.

  • Start date: is determined upon receipt of a completed SEAS application form, Academic Credential Assessment Report from World Education Services, and payment of initial application fee.
  • Completion date: is the date the final assessment decision was made by the Determination Committee or designate.


ACOTRO recognizes that extenuating circumstances may affect an applicant’s ability to complete SEAS within the one-year time frame. As such, an extension may be granted for up to one year. A maximum of two extensions may be granted in extenuating circumstances, for a total maximum timeline of three years. Applicants who do not complete the required SEAS activities within the extension period will not be able to continue in the SEAS program.

To request an extension, you must pay the extension request fee, complete the ACOTRO Request for Extension form, and submit it at least seven days prior to the expiration date.

Application Fees

This policy addresses the fees that apply to the application process overall, as well as to requests for rescheduling, extensions, and cancellations.

Schedules & Payments

All SEAS applicants will be charged a common set of fees divided into three scheduled payments, set out in the ACOTRO Applicant Fee Schedule. The schedule includes an initial application fee (payable with submission of SEAS application), followed by a second fee (payable after completion of Academic Credential Assessment), and a third fee (charged upon scheduling of the Competency Assessment). Any changes to fees will be announced six months prior to taking effect.

Note: All fees will be paid in Canadian dollars, and GST/HST tax will be added when applicable.

Refunds for Withdrawal from the SEAS Program

The initial application and second installment fees are non-refundable.

However, if after paying the third installment you wish to withdraw from the SEAS process, ACOTRO will refund 75% of the third installment if the written request for withdrawal is received more than 7 days prior to the scheduled Competency Assessment (CA).

If received between 7 days and 72 hours before the scheduled CA, a refund of 50% will be granted.

If received fewer than 72 hours before the scheduled CA, no refund will be afforded.

All refunds will be provided in Canadian dollars.

Rescheduling Fees

Applicants who wish to reschedule their CA after having paid their third installment fees must submit a written request to reschedule more than 7 days in advance of the scheduled CA.

If the request is received between 7 days and 24 hours before the CA, a rescheduling fee of 30% of the third installment will be charged. The rescheduling fee must be paid before rescheduling the CA.

Requests received fewer than 24 hours before the CA will be charged a rescheduling fee of 50% of the third installment. The rescheduling fee must be paid before rescheduling the CA.

Applicants who arrive to the CA more than 60 minutes late or fail to present their required identification will be denied access to the assessment and charged a withdrawal fee of the full third installment.

Extension & Reconsideration Fees

Applicants who request an extension of the SEAS process will be charged a fee, payable upon submission of their ACOTRO Request for Extension form. Administrative fees are also charged to applicants requesting reconsideration of their final determination.

Admin Fees

ACOTRO reserves the right to charge reasonable fees to cover the administrative costs involved in providing copies of records to applicants who request them. These costs are detailed in the ACOTRO Applicant Fee Schedule.

Identification (ID) Requirements

This policy sets out reasonable measures for authenticating the identity of SEAS applicants.

ID Requirements & Types

Applicants must provide a legible copy of two current and valid identification documents (ID), one of which must be a primary ID.

  • Primary ID: contains the applicant’s name, date of birth, signature, an affixed photo, and has not expired.
  • Secondary ID: contains the applicant’s name, date of birth, and has not expired.

Examples of valid primary and secondary ID include:

  • driver’s license
  • foreign government-issued ID
  • government-issued ID
  • government-issued work ID
  • military ID
  • passport
  • permanent resident Visa or green card
  • provincial health card
  • social insurance number card (Canada)
  • social security card (US)

Note: If during the SEAS process your ID expires, you must present valid ID to proceed. All ID received by ACOTRO will remain part of the permanent applicant record.

Declaration of Identity & Name Changes

If an applicant’s name has changed and appears differently on any of their educational institution documentation, they must provide proof of name change through a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or other relevant court-ordered document.

Applicants must complete a declaration of identity at the time of registration, attesting the validity of the information they have submitted. Submitting false information may result in removal from the SEAS program.

Competency Assessment (CA) & Jurisprudence Knowledge Assessment Test (JKAT)

To sit for the CA, you must first present your assessor with primary ID (original or certified copy) that matches the primary ID that SEAS has on file for you.

To sit for the JKAT, you must first meet the conditions of accessing the JKAT through the remote proctor.

Failure to provide valid identification at the time of testing will result in a cancellation of your test. You will be offered an opportunity to reschedule the assessment, but no refund will be provided.

Requests for Accommodations

Under the applicable human rights legislation in Canada, individuals are protected from discrimination on certain prohibited grounds and may be entitled to reasonable accommodations to support the completion of the SEAS process. This policy stipulates ACOTRO’s duty to provide that accommodation. Requests for accommodation may be made under this policy.


Discrimination means a distinction (intentional or not) based on a protected ground, which (a) has the effect of imposing burdens, obligations, or disadvantages on such individual or group not imposed upon others, or (b) withholds or limits access to opportunities, benefits, and advantages available to other members of society.

Protected grounds refers to the following personal characteristics: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status, religion, or disability.

Undue hardship refers to any accommodation that would jeopardize the integrity, validity, or security of the assessment process.

Disability refers to (a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation, or disfigurement caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog, other animal, wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or device. (b) A learning disability or dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language. (c) A mental disorder, condition of mental impairment, or a developmental disability.

Accommodation Policies & Procedures

  • ACOTRO will provide accommodations, up to the point of undue hardship, during the Competency Assessment (CA) and Jurisprudence Knowledge Assessment Test (JKAT), based on protected grounds, in accordance with human rights legislation.
  • Accommodation requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure equal opportunity for individuals to fully demonstrate their knowledge and competence without altering the nature of the assessment. Applicants are encouraged to provide as much information as they are comfortable with to facilitate the process.
  • ACOTRO will consider each case after carefully reviewing the submitted documentation; however, submitting a request will not guarantee accommodation.
  • All written requests for accommodation must be submitted to ACOTRO on a Request for Accommodation form at least 45 days before the confirmed assessment dates, along with supporting documentation.
  • The cost of the accommodations will be borne by ACOTRO.

Verification of Condition

For accommodation requests on religious, cultural, or spiritual grounds, applicants must provide written verification signed by a religious, cultural, or spiritual leader who has personal knowledge of the applicant and the requested accommodations.

For accommodation requests on the basis of disability, applicants must provide written verification of their condition, signed by a health care provider, educational specialist, or other appropriate professional who has expertise in the area of the disability and has evaluated/treated the applicant within the previous three years. The verification must include the following:

  • confirmation of a health condition by an educational specialist or health practitioner (as defined above)
  • the limitations or needs associated with the disability
  • details of circumstances and dates under which accommodations were previously granted
  • recommendations by the assessing professional for appropriate accommodation by ACOTRO

Granting Accommodation

ACOTRO takes great measures to ensure that granted accommodations won’t adversely affect the integrity, validity, or security of assessments. The granting process is summarized as follows:

  • Once the accommodation request and supporting documentation have been received, ACOTRO will take no more than six weeks to review the request and to approve or deny it. ACOTRO will request additional documentation if required.
  • Upon decision, a notice confirming or denying the request for accommodation will be sent to the applicant. If the applicant is granted accommodation, the confirmation notice will provide the details of the accommodation. Details of the accommodation will also be provided to the assessor or test administrator.
  • Applicants may request a reconsideration of any accommodation decision on the basis of new information or documentation.

Safeguarding of Information

To safeguard confidentiality, the SEAS manager will withhold from the assessor/test administrator details of the reason for the accommodation that do not affect the assessor’s ability to provide the accommodation.

ACOTRO shall not release any information regarding an applicant’s disability, diagnosis, or medical condition without the applicant’s written consent, unless required by law. Where it is necessary, ACOTRO will obtain written consent from the applicant prior to disclosing the information.

Requests for Reconsideration

This policy describes the process the SEAS program follows when an applicant requests reconsideration of the outcome of their final determination. The policy is summarized as follows:

  • Applicants may only seek a reconsideration of decisions made by the Determination Committee.
  • Applicants may not request reconsideration regarding the results of any individual SEAS assessments or how the assessments were conducted.
  • Applicants may not request reconsideration based on the content of cases, questions, and items for any SEAS assessments.
  • Applicants may not request reconsideration after failing the Competency Assessment (CA) twice.

Process for Requesting Reconsideration

  • Applicants must submit requests for reconsideration using the ACOTRO Request for Reconsideration form, within 30 days of receiving their SEAS Determination Report.
  • Applicants can provide additional information to support their request for reconsideration, such as results from a second CA attempt. This information must be provided at the time of submitting the Request for Reconsideration form.
  • Applicants will be charged a reconsideration fee, as set out in the ACOTRO Applicant Fee Schedule.
  • Requests for reconsideration will be considered by a Determination Committee panel, within a time frame that considers the panel’s availability and the applicant’s submission of additional information.
  • Panel members will comprise only those members of the Determination Committee who did not preside over the original determination.
  • Decisions of the Determination Committee panel are final.

Extenuating Circumstances

ACOTRO recognizes that illness and extenuating circumstances may affect the applicant’s participation in the Competency Assessment (CA). The information below outlines the standards and process that may be initiated by applicants who believe that personal or administrative circumstances affected their CA result.

1. Applicants who experienced extenuating circumstances during the CA may submit a request for another attempt at the CA (“Request”).

2. The outcome of the Request will not include overturning a fail to a pass.

3. Process for submitting a Request due to ill health or personal circumstances:

  • If the applicant is aware of a medical or personal circumstance prior to the exam, the applicant is responsible for contacting SEAS to reschedule the CA.  Withdrawal, cancellation, and rescheduling fees are applicable as per ACOTRO Fees Policy.
  • Applicants who experienced ill health or personal circumstance during the CA and complete the CA on the scheduled date may submit a Request.
    • In the event the comprehensive review of the Request indicates the circumstances would have reasonably affected the applicant’s result, the CA will not be scored, and the applicant will be able to re-take the CA.  The unscored CA will not be counted as an attempt.
  • If a re-take of the CA has been permitted, the applicant must pay the re-take administration fee, and the CA assessment fee prior to rescheduling the re-take.

4. Process for submitting a Request due to administrative issue:

  • Applicants who believe that there were administrative issues on the day of the CA that impaired their performance may submit a Request.
    • In the event the comprehensive review of the Request indicates that the issue would have reasonably impaired the applicant’s result, the CA will be scored. 
    • If the overall score on the CA is less than 90%, the applicant will be able to re-take the CA and the CA affected by the administrative issue will not be counted as an attempt.
  • If a CA re-take has been permitted, the applicant is exempt from paying the re-take administrative fee and the CA assessment fee.

“Administrative issues” are errors or omissions that deviate significantly from SEAS standards or procedures and negatively impact the applicant’s final determination.

5. Procedure:

  • Applicants who submit a Request must submit a letter and supporting documentation, within 10 calendar days of the CA and prior to receiving the result of their CA, as follows:
    • Ill health – medical report detailing the nature of the ill health and signed by a registered health professional familiar with the circumstances.
    • Personal circumstances – documentation supporting the circumstances (e.g., bereavement).
    • Administrative issue – Administrative Issue Request Form and documentation (if available).