COVID-19 Guidance – Identifying Urgent, Critical and Emergency OT Services

Since our eNews of March 27, the Government of Alberta has announced additional measures relating to the provision of health care services during the pandemic. Albertans are now prohibited from accessing any close contact personal services including non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals.

NOTE: This directive does not apply to health services offered in acute or continuing care, including home care. Please refer to for a list of services that are exempt from these public health orders during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We have been advised by Alberta Health that OTs can continue to provide urgent, critical and emergency care to clients. However, they are not permitted to provide any other close contact service to their clients if it does not constitute urgent, critical or emergency care.

To assist in the determination of urgent/critical OT services, the following questions should be considered:

  • If the OT service is not provided, will the client require services from another health care provider in an urgent care or emergency department setting?
  • Is the client unable to work due to their injury/condition?
  • Is the client seeking services related to a recent surgery, burn, or other condition that will have significant healing/function delays or adverse outcomes if OT services are not provided?
  • Is the client’s condition significantly or severely impairing their ability to complete their activities of daily living?
  • If OT services are not provided, will this cause harm to the client or others (e.g. does the client have an acute mental health issue)?

Virtual delivery of OT services (e.g. through telephone or videoconferencing) can continue at this time, as it does not involve close contact with clients or others. Please refer to ACOT’s Practice Advisory for considerations prior to initiating virtual service delivery.

We will continue to update you with further information, as we receive it from the Government of Alberta, Alberta Health, and the Medical Officer of Health. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Email is the easiest way to contact us.