Code of Conduct and Guidelines

II – 1.1 Purpose and Background

This code and accompanying guidelines were developed within the Department by faculty and students to protect the students’ rights to benefit fully from all academic and clinical programming provided by the Department. In addition to guidelines specific in this code to the Occupational Therapy program, this section and code also includes the following University-wide policies that all students must abide by:

Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters

Code of Student Conduct

Framework to Address Allegations of Research Misconduct

Sexual Education Office: Sexual Assault Information, Counselling, and Emergency Referrals

School of Graduate Studies Leave of Absence Policy

School of Graduate Studies Personal Time Off Policy

II – 1.2 Occupational Therapy Student Code of Conduct

It is assumed that students applying to this program have researched the profession of occupational therapy and made an informed career choice. Acceptance into the program provides students with the opportunity to share in, and learn from, the Departmental Vision to “achieve international leadership in research and education” in Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science. This opportunity shall be regarded as a privilege. The Department informs prospective students of the intensity of the program. Once accepted and registered in this full-time graduate program, students are expected to demonstrate and sustain a corresponding commitment to the program.

Students will exhibit the respectful and ethical professional behaviour throughout all aspects of the program that is required of all health professionals. The demonstration of these behaviours, in combination with academic and fieldwork evaluations, provides a comprehensive profile of the student occupational therapist and his/her preparation for entry into the profession of occupational therapy.

Students will be respectful of the expressed needs of one another and will not take any action that compromises or hinders the learning needs and/or experience of the class as a whole, or any one individual member. To that end, the Department has specific expectations for student behaviour in the areas identified in the Guidelines for: Fully-Engaged Participation, Group Etiquette, Meaningful Communication, and Academic Integrity. Students will make all reasonable attempts to address and rectify any issue that is subject to the Code. The Guidelines list the key issues of concern but should not be considered exhaustive.

II – 1.3 Guidelines for Fully-Engaged Participation, Group Etiquette, Meaningful Communication,  Academic Integrity and Copyright Considerations

Fully-Engaged Participation

In a group setting, one individual can shift the dynamics and have an impact on the other participants. Therefore students must make all reasonable efforts to:

  • Attend all components of the program including classes and fieldwork placements.

Absences not only compromise the learning of the missing student, but may also affect classmates who cannot benefit from that student’s contributions to the learning process. Classmates, instructors and clinical supervisors should be notified as soon as possible when students will miss a class or a day of placement. Refer to the departmental MScOT Fieldwork Resource Manual for attendance requirements in fieldwork courses.

Campus assignment is permanent and students may only attend classes at their assigned campus, with the exception of special events whereby an instructor, Graduate Coordinator, Academic Coordinator, or Department Chair expressly authorizes attendance at a specific campus site.

  • Arrive on time to all components of the program, and remain for the duration of the particular session.

Lateness is never acceptable, however, given that on the rare occasion lateness is unavoidable, spaces at the rear of the classroom should be considered reserved for students arriving late. Class notes and handouts should be placed at the rear of the class for easy retrieval.

  • Participate in all components of the program, as they are able, interacting with others appropriately at all times.

Students should consider “others” to be all-inclusive (i.e., to refer not only to fellow students and faculty, but also clients and their families, clinicians, guests, mentors, staff and supervising therapists).

Students should demonstrate empathy and compassion.

Students should demonstrate an effort to work harmoniously with others in a conscientious and reliable manner (i.e., with other students when working on group projects, with supervising therapists, the client and those involved in the promotion of his/her well-being).

This is an in-person program. Students must be available to attend all program elements (e.g., classes, lectures, labs) in-person.

Meaningful Communication

Student participation can take many forms, including playing a part in shaping the environment around them through his/her communication. Acceptable presentation must be demonstrated by students through:


  • Communication must be professional in all situations: i.e., in class, study or mentor groups, individual meetings with Course Instructors, representing the program on clinical placements, sending individual or mass emails.
  • Class email lists may be used for academic and related program and professional announcements only. Messages with commercial, disruptive or malicious purposes are in violation of this policy. Professors are encouraged to plan and communicate the timing of breaks in each class, to enable students to participate more fully in the classroom sessions without unplanned interruptions


  • Should be shown for the contributions of others by listening when others are speaking, and by responding to each other in turn. In large group settings, this may require the raising of hands.
  • Should be demonstrated through a sensitivity regarding differences in gender, culture, religion, sexual orientation and social background.
  • Should never make fellow students or their opinions feel unwelcome or unsafe. Students are never to engage in bullying, in all its forms, eg; cyber, physical, sexual, verbal or emotional.

Group Etiquette

In the interest of decreasing disruptions for others in the classroom, and in mentor and study groups, students must be considerate of others in the use of:


Students are encouraged to bring their laptops to class for note-taking. However, it would be advisable to identify early in the term whether non-users will be distracted by typing sounds. If this appears to be the case, the class needs to agree on the best way to accommodate, perhaps designating areas for “users” and “non-users”.

Other Equipment

  • Volume/ringers on all computers, cell phones and other personal organizers should be muted.
  • Respectful and appropriate use of the above, or any equipment supplied by the department/university is expected at all times (i.e., audio-visual equipment, OT assessment tools, lab equipment).
  • Photography and filming within a classroom, Faculty office, staff office, or a study group is not permitted without consent of the instructor or staff member.


  • Food and drinks are not allowed in classrooms, but may be permitted at the instructor’s discretion.
  • Food that could trigger allergies or affect others’ learning is absolutely not permitted.
  • Food and drinks are never permitted in labs, including labs in the Medical Sciences Building.

Academic & Professional Integrity

Students’ activities will be characterized by conscientious behaviour as is demanded of professional OT practice. Integrity will be demonstrated through their:

Academic Integrity

  • Expected at all times and in all submissions or presentations of work, oral or written. Governed by the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, which states that all academic dishonesty, including cheating and plagiarism are unacceptable, and subject to penalty. (See Part VI of these regulations: Guideline on Academic Offence of Plagiarism.)
  • If a student is unclear of the parameters of plagiarism, especially for group work, he/she must speak with either the Course Instructor, Faculty Advisor or Graduate Coordinator prior to submission of any work.
  • The University has released guidelines on the use of Artificial Intelligence in learning.

Professional Integrity

  • Students’ involvement in the health care system may put them in positions of power with clients. Students must not take advantage of this to advocate for personal gain, values or beliefs.<,li>
  • Conduct unbecoming to a practising OT may include such things as breach of confidentiality, failure to keep proper client records, or acting in a conflict of interest
  • Whether on the premises or away from the premises of the University, students will never engage in behaviour that causes harm or endangers the safety of others. Specifically, students will never assault a person sexually, verbally or physically. Students shall never engage in vexious conduct that is considered an offense under the University of Toronto’s Policy and Procedures: Sexual Harassment.
  • Students will refrain from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs inappropriately and violating the Criminal Code of Canada.
  • Offenses against persons are also subject to sanctions by the University Code of Student Conduct.
  • Students may be subject to the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy, where the Code of Student Conduct is not entirely appropriate; this may include instances where a student, for some reason, may not engage with supportive resources (e.g., academic accommodation), and the result may be an impact on the health and safety of the student or on others.
  • Students must present themselves appropriately to the situation, both physically and inter-personally.


    • Within the confines of the program, feedback of any nature should be directed to the person for whom it is intended (students, staff, academic and clinical faculty) within a reasonable time-frame.
    • Individual feedback should be offered individually, group feedback in a group format.
    • Should be presented in professional and constructive terms, whether verbal or written, including confidential evaluations.

    Copyright Considerations and Recordings

    This applies to all forms of curriculum delivery in the MScOT program.

    The unauthorised use of any form of device to audiotape, photograph, video-record or otherwise reproduce lectures, course notes or teaching materials provided by instructors is covered by the Canadian Copyright Act and is prohibited. Students must obtain prior written consent to make such a recording. In the case of private use by students with disabilities, the instructor’s consent must not be unreasonably withheld.

    Source: Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation

    Video and Audio Recordings Defined

    The Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy supports reasonable access to recordings where available. If you require recordings due to an accessibility need, you must register with Accessibility Services at St. George or UTM. Please note that recordings are not a substitute for attending class because they do not provide a similar learning experience.

    The MScOT program is accredited as an in-person on-site program, and students are expected to have Fully Engaged Participation in each course and the program in its entirety.

    For the purposes of this policy, ‘recordings’ include video recordings, audio recordings, and photographs (including screen captures).

    General Principles

        • You must obtain instructor permission in all cases where you wish to access, capture and/or transfer course content that has been recorded. NOTE: You are not permitted to provide a recording to a classmate without the instructor’s permission
        • If the permitted recording will capture anyone other the instructor (e.g., guests, students), you must obtain informed consent prior to recording from these individuals. Please contact CTSI for a sample consent form.
        • There may be specific cases where an instructor will rescind the authorization to record, without notice, to comply with a reasonable unforeseen circumstance.Example: guest client requesting privacy during guest lecture
        • It is strictly prohibited and considered a copyright violation to utilize any recordings or presentation materials (e.g., lecture slides) for posting to social media platforms, even within a private social media group.


  • Process for accessing course recordings

    Students are asked to connect directly with their course instructors to access course recordings.
  • Dispute Resolution
    Consult with your course instructor directly. Should the matter continue to be unresolved, make an appointment to speak with the Graduate Coordinator or UTM Academic Coordinator.

    II – 1.4 Consequence of Breaches

    a) A student’s breach of the Code of Student Conduct or the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, beyond reasonable circumstances will result in a verbal reprimand of the offending student from the Instructor, the Supervising Therapist, the Mentor or the Faculty Advisor, as applicable.

    b) If the student further breaches the Code, the Faculty Advisor or the Graduate Coordinator (if the Faculty Advisor has already been involved) will become involved, as necessary, and a formal written reprimand will be placed in the student’s permanent academic file. In addition, the student may be placed on conduct probation for a period not to exceed one year.

    c) If the student violates their conduct probation, the Department will request immediate termination of the student’s registration to the Vice Dean, Students, School of Graduate Studies.

    II – 1.5 Code of Conduct Appeal

    Students may, on occasion, dispute substantive or procedural matters as related to the Code. If the student wishes to appeal at any stage, the procedure is as follows:

    Step One – Informal

    a) In the case of dispute, students must first attempt to resolve the matter with the person of authority who first spoke to him/her about the breach.

    b) Should the matter not be resolved with this person, and should the student wish to pursue the matter, the student must discuss the matter with the Graduate Coordinator, who is also the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC).

    Step Two – Formal

    Should Step One discussions fail to resolve the matter, the student may make a formal appeal in writing to the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC), who is typically also the Graduate Coordinator. This appeal must be submitted to the SAC Chair within 2 weeks from the date of the decision or dispute under appeal. The SAC Chair will determine if the case falls under the jurisdiction of the Graduate Department Academic Appeals Committee. If the appeal falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of OS&OT, the student can request to have an oral hearing before SAC or to provide the Committee with a written submission. They can also request that the student members of SAC not be present at an oral hearing, or not be provided with the written submission. In either case, the Chair of the Department, will not participate at this stage of the appeal. At the conclusion of the hearing and/or review of the written submissions, the SAC Chair will forward the Committee’s recommendation to the Chair of the Department regarding the merits of the appeal. The Department Chair will then render the department-level appeal decision.