Courses and Curriculum

The OIEPB Program curriculum is designed to provide educational opportunities for physical therapists educated outside of Canada to develop the additional knowledge, skills and clinical reasoning required to meet Canadian entry-to-practice standards and succeed in the Canadian workplace. The Bridging Program provides an opportunity to refresh skills in preparation for the Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE), gain support from a network of peers and mentors, experience the Canadian healthcare workplace first-hand, and gain assistance in job and career planning.

The OIEPB Program offers two main streams: the Comprehensive Bridging Program and the Modular Program. Applicants must meet set requirements and pass the Admission Assessment in February to gain entry to the Comprehensive Bridging Program. The Modular Program offers short courses and workshops that may fill specific gaps in the journey to registration as a physical therapist in Canada.

Comprehensive Bridging Program

The Comprehensive Bridging Program runs once a year from mid-April to mid-February. To enable greater flexibility for all applicants and greater opportunity for IEPTs who live outside the Greater Toronto Area to join the program, the curriculum is delivered as a mix of online learning opportunities and onsite practice. Eight onsite sessions at the Rehabilitation Sciences Building, St. George Campus, University of Toronto, Canada; online learning events occur every Tuesday afternoon; online interaction, assignments and resource provide the continuous learning opportunities across the whole program. The program pace is fast and the workload is intense. Applicants should expect to devote at least 20 hours each week to online assignments and interaction.

Two clinical internships, in September and January, provide the opportunity to practice hands-on care of clients in the Canadian healthcare system, build professional networks and experience, and understand the context of care in Canada.

Through online and onsite discussions with peers, faculty and mentors, participants build self-confidence, feel the support of a community of peers, and practice the practical and professional skills needed to succeed in the Physiotherapy Competency Exam and in the Canadian workplace.

Four important features of the Comprehensive Bridging Program include:

  • Opportunity to refresh skills and integrate clinical reasoning to the Canadian context.
  • Mentorship by practicing physical therapists.
  • Exposure to the Canadian healthcare workplace through two Clinical Internships.
  • Support in the Transition to the Workplace through assistance with resume and interview preparation, and practice of professional behaviours.

Comprehensive Bridging Program Important Dates

OIEPB Comprehensive Bridging Program Important Dates Date 
Information Session (free, optional event) TBA
Application Deadline (admissions are competitive, apply now) January 12, 2018 by 12pm EST
Admission Assessment I February 24, 2018
Admission Assessment II February 25, 2018
Admission Assessment III (will be held if numbers of applicants exceed Admission Assessment I & II  capacity) February 23, 2018
Comprehensive Bridging Program Start: Online TBA
Comprehensive Bridging Program Start: Onsite in Toronto TBA

* Please note if the number of applicants reaches the maximum class size before the deadline date, you will be placed on a waitlist. Apply now as this program is popular and competitive.

Comprehensive Bridging Program Curriculum

Through review and application of online resources, interaction with peers and facilitators in the online learning environment and onsite practical sessions, learners will have the opportunity to deepen their own knowledge and skills and integrate their perspectives into the Canadian healthcare context. The focus during onsite sessions will be practice and integration of practical and interpersonal skills using the lab and classroom facilities at the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, including high-fidelity simulation mannequins for practice of high-risk skills in a safe learning environment. Our aim is to create an open, supportive learning environment for all IEPTs, to recognize and value the strengths of each individual, and to assist each individual to identify and address their own needs in preparation for the Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE) and the Canadian healthcare workplace.

Term One: PT Framework and Integration of Fundamentals

The focus in Term One is to refresh and rebuild fundamental physical therapy knowledge and skills across the breadth of physical therapy practice. Learners will renew and integrate clinical reasoning and practical skills in cardiorespiratory, neuromusculoskeletal, and neurological physical therapy practice, including application to patients with complex needs across the continuum of care (acute, rehab and community). Learners will have the opportunity to practice communication skills (written, verbal, non-verbal) and explore ways to build a positive therapeutic and interprofessional relationships, emphasizing person-centred, interprofessional care. Critical skills in exam preparation strategies and professional skills in preparation for Clinical Internship I will be a focus. At all points, an evidence-based, clinical reasoning, self-reflective approach to learning and practice will be emphasized.

Term Two: Multisystem and Specialty Focus

The focus in Term Two is to continue to refresh physical therapy clinical reasoning and skills as applied to specialized practice areas (e.g., paediatrics, oncology, amputation, burns, etc.) and more complex patients with multisystem needs. Learners will be challenged further to deepen their clinical reasoning skills, advanced communication and practical skills, professional behaviours and responsibilities, and abilities in self-reflective practice, as applied to case scenarios of greater complexity. Further emphasis will be placed on exam-preparation skills and professional communication in preparation for Clinical Internship II and the transition to the workplace. Learners will complete Term Two with strategies for entering the workplace, a Professional Portfolio as required by the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, and skills in lifelong reflective practice, all critical assets for entering the Canadian workforce as a strong contributor to any healthcare team.

Clinical Internship I (September – October)

This is a four-week rare opportunity to practice hands-on skills and professionalism in a Canadian physiotherapy practice setting, under the guidance of a registered Physical Therapist. This intensive placement allows learners to put into practice person-centred care in an interprofessional team, and to understand the realities of the Canadian healthcare setting. Learners are encouraged to seek a placement in an practice area in which they require the largest amount of practice.

Clinical Internship II (January – February)

This five-week internship allows learners the opportunity to further consolidate clinical practice skills, and refine communication and professional behaviours. Under the guidance of a registered Physical Therapist, learners will be expected to manage a greater proportion of a caseload than in Clinical Internship I, and be ready to interact as an autonomous healthcare professional within the healthcare team. Both Clinical Internships are important opportunities to build a professional network, reputation, and connections to the Canadian healthcare workplace.

Please note:

  • The Comprehensive Bridging Program does not teach basic physical therapy knowledge or skills. Learners are expected to have current and functional knowledge of anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, diseases and disorders, measurement principles, basic assessment skills, basic record keeping skills and knowledge of electrotherapy modalities.
  • The Comprehensive Bridging Program values and builds on the physical therapy knowledge and skills developed in the entry-to-practice education outside Canada and work experience as a physical therapist.
  • The Comprehensive Bridging Program emphasizes taking a thinking approach to both clinical reasoning and the identification of personal needs and gaps in skills and knowledge. This is a new approach for many of our learners as it may be a shift from their previous educational experiences. Our aim is to create an open, supportive learning environment for all learners and to recognize and value the strengths of each individual.
  • Not all credentialing gaps identified by the CAPR are addressed in the Comprehensive Bridging Program. Some IEPTs may be required to complete additional courses. OIEPB does not provide courses specifically in the following areas: Psychology, Economics, Psychiatry and Psychological Disorders, Sociology, and Statistics.
  • The Comprehensive Bridging Program does not guarantee registration with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario nor post-registration employment. It does offer opportunities, structure, and support to enhance knowledge, professional and communication skills, and networking opportunities to develop skills that can greatly assist you in becoming registered.

 Modular Program

In addition to Comprehensive Bridging Program, OIEPB offers stand-alone courses and workshops that can be taken by internationally educated physical therapists in different parts of their journey. Some courses are also open to Canadian-educated physical therapists and MScPT graduates.

Physiotherapy Practice within the Canadian Health Care Context is a facilitator-led, fully online, 6 week course which can fill a gap in the Knowledge of the Practice of Physiotherapy within the Canadian Healthcare System as identified by the CAPR. This course can be taken from anywhere in the world, even if credentialing by the CAPR is not yet complete. The course is a pre-requisite to taking the Comprehensive Bridging Program, and must be completed prior to starting the program. For more details about the program and the admission requirements please visit the Physiotherapy Practice within the Canadian Health Care Context page.

Exam Skills Preparation Workshops offer specific skills and practice in preparation for both the written and practical components of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE). These single-day and half-day courses can offer good insight into study strategies, exam-taking practice, and identification of personal strengths and gaps. We recommend that you apply early as these courses fill quickly.

Refresher Courses are an opportunity to refresh skills in particular topic areas: Cardiorespiratory, Neurological, and Neuromusculoskeletal Physical Therapy Practice. These courses are offered as a mix of online an onsite learning: 4-6 weeks of facilitated online learning plus 1-2 weekend workshops onsite at 500 University Avenue, Toronto, ON Canada. Refresher Courses are open to all physical therapists registered with a Canadian regulatory College and to internationally educated physical therapists who are preparing for the Physiotherapy Competency Exam. Please see each course page for further details.