The First Societies

At the time the therapists were moving out of the military hospitals and taking their place in civilian hospitals, they began to realize the need for an organization of their own to assist in the promotion of occupational therapy to the medical profession and to the public. In 1920, the therapists in Manitoba formed "The Canadian Society of Occupational Therapy of Manitoba". This Society became very active, organized a publicity campaign and in June, 1921, called a public meeting in the Parliament Buildings of Manitoba which resulted in a committee of representative citizens being formed to promote occupational therapy. 7 The therapists raised money to finance a Community Workshop which was opened in February, 1922, in the Builders' Exchange in Winnipeg.8 However, because of the decreasing number of therapists in the province, the Society was soon disbanded and it was not until November, 1961, that the Society was reformed as "The Manitoba Society of Occupational Therapists". 9

Any account of the history of the CAOT must make reference to the formation and early activities of The Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT), since the members of this Society founded the CAOT. The OSOT was inaugurated in October, 1920, and was incorporated under Letters Patent in January, 1921. 10 The head office was in Toronto with branches in Hamilton, Kingston, London, and Ottawa, reflecting the localities in Ontario where the majority of therapists were employed. His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario consented to act as the Honorary President.

In April, 1921, the OSOT held a Drawing Room Meeting at Government House in Toronto at which the objects of this new Society were outlined to nearly 300 representative Toronto people. Three of the stated objects have particular significance for the CAOT and the profession: "the formation of a Dominion Society"; "the development of central workshops throughout the Dominion "; and the establishment of "...a Training School for aides, if possible in connection with the University of Toronto").

I.M, Robinson, LLD.,B.A.,OT(C)
Muriel Driver Memorial Lecture 1981