Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre

The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre is a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing quality therapeutic services to children suffering from various disorders. The centre was incorporated in the year 1996 to serve children.

Photo of students and Henry Burris during an OCTC visit

It is located in the city of Ottawa in Canada. This centre’s main motto is – “All children deserve a chance to enjoy life, grow, and learn.

About Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre

The services of the centre have been extended to meet the needs of children living in Ottawa. They provide all children with individual attention, care and health care. They offer a special care to children who might not receive the extra support that they require.

This centre also provides children with therapy through various programs such as music, art and dance therapy, as well as cognitive therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Another primary service offered at the centre is through their child care programs, including preschool programs, after school programs, summer programs, after school and ESL programs.

Programs and Services

OCTC helps to shape the future by providing comprehensive bilingual ambulatory services to families with children, youth, and certain adults coping with physical and/or developmental disabilities.

Today our programs serve over 2,400 people who require specialized long-term rehabilitation, education, developmental skill-building, and behaviour management. Details on each of our innovative programs are provided below:

  • Early Childhood Program
  • (ECP) Life Span ProgramAssistive
  • Technology ProgramSpecial
  • Education & Respite Program.
A little patient of OCTC rehabilitation program

Early Childhood Program (ECP)

Intended for children from birth to school entry. These services offer:

  • Four Integrated Rehab Teams are responsible for providing assessment, treatment, consultation, and education from specialists such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, and psychologists. 
  • OCTC Preschool delivers a therapeutic program for children aged two to five who have physical disabilities and complex associated difficulties. 
  • Infant Development is a prevention and early intervention service for infants and young children from birth to age five who have a physical and/or developmental disability or are at risk of a developmental delay.
A parent playing with the kids in OCTC

Life Span Program

This program offers a mix of life span services:

1. Intake Team – Develops the initial contact with the client. The Intake Team provides a single entry point for clients to be registered and then determines which program or service will best serve them.

2. Behavioural Services – Provides a continuum of care for children, youth, and certain adults with developmental disabilities requiring behavioural intervention and their families.

3. Medical Clinics – Provides medical clinics with developmental pediatricians, neurologists, physiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, nurses, and dietitians.

4. School-Aged Youth and Adolescent Services – Provides a team focused on school-aged youth and adolescents. The team includes therapists, social workers, psychologists, recreation and leisure, and transition to adult services.

5. Recreation and Leisure Services -responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating recreation/leisure programming and services to clients and families at OCTC. It works in the context of an interdisciplinary team to create programming that meets OCTC clients’ needs and is a community liaison for recreation and leisure programming in the Ottawa area.

A session of Life span program at the ballpark at OCTC

Assistive Technology Program

Intended for specialty technology services for children up to 19 years of age:

  • Clinic for Augmentative Communication (CAC) – Provides equipment and support to children and youth who have severe difficulty speaking or writing and require augmentative and alternative communication methods. CAC also offers consultations for speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists working with children and youth who use or may need augmentative and alternative communication methods. Parents and other service providers may attend the sessions with the speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist.
  • Seating & Mobility – Provides seating and mobility systems that meet the complex medical, positional, and functional needs of children and youth, allowing them to increase their ability to participate in home, school, and community activities.
  • Technical Services – Promotes and facilitates the use of computers, adaptive equipment, and adapted toys through a lending library, a family resource centre, and computer training workshops. Clients, families, and professionals can borrow items in person or by using the Online Lending Library.

Special Education and Respite Program

These services offer unique, specialized teams for OCTC School, liaison teachers and out-of-home respite:

  • OCTC School – Provides an educational-therapeutic placement for kindergarten and primary-aged children with a primary diagnosis of a physical disability (neuro-motor) and associated complex communication, developmental, and/or learning disabilities.
  • Liaison Teachers – Provide services to children with a primary diagnosis of a physical disability (neuro-motor) and associated learning and developmental disabilities. These services assist board personnel and parents/caregivers with the placement, acceptance, and integration of students into a community school.
  • Out-of-Home Respite β€“ Provides out-of-home, daytime respite options for families of children and youth who are medically fragile and/or technologically dependent. These families also require 24-hour care and meet the Ministry of Child and Youth Services criteria
A group pf children from Special Education and Respite Program at OCTC

Research at OCTC

The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre promotes and encourages research projects. The Research and Review Committee must approve all research proposals involving clients, families, staff, services and/or other aspects of OCTC.

The Research and Review Committee at OCTC is not an ethics committee.

The OCTC Research and Review Committee reviews research applications monthly, with the exclusion of July and August. In exceptional circumstances, a review of proposals can occur during the summer months. Applications received on the 1 st Tuesday of the month will be reviewed during the same month.

Before submission to the Research and Review Committee, ethics approval must be received. The committee will only accept ethics approval from a Tri-Council Policy Statement compliant Research Ethics Board (REB).

Family Advisory Committee (FAC)

Family Advisory Committee Members with Certificates at Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre

The Family Advisory Committee (FAC) is composed of a team of parents representing a cross-section of the OCTC clientele. The FAC provides the management and staff of OCTC with ongoing feedback and a family perspective on how to achieve the best quality of service delivery.

When OCTC staff undertakes an initiative that will have an impact on families, they often approach the FAC for advice to help them understand the family viewpoint. The FAC ensures that the centre’s management is aware of the impact on families when assessing important initiatives and new directions for OCTC.

One FAC initiative in the fall of 2003 was the sponsorship of the First Riders Program and BBQ for families of children who would be entering the OCTC school program and riding a school bus for the first time. This offered families new to the school system an opportunity to meet with families facing similar experiences as well as some parents of older students at the school. Children and parents were able to meet bus drivers who would be driving the children to school.

Last winter, FAC also participated in developing and distributing an information package for families distributed to all OCTC families. The plan is that this package will be reviewed and updated annually to provide families with a valuable information resource to access services at OCTC.

The FAC circulates material to its members over the Internet through a contact list developed each fall and updated periodically throughout the year. Members can choose to provide feedback on issues that are of interest to them. By operating in this way, FAC members have the flexibility to participate at a level which fits for them and their family and takes into account the often hectic schedules of the members. The FAC is currently divided into three working groups, each focused on an identified area of interest to families: communication, transition years, and early childhood education programs.

Community Advisory Committee (COMAC)

OCTC’s Community Advisory Committee (COMAC) was developed to promote involvement within its community, and the children’s rehabilitation system. The committee provides a structured and ongoing forum to identify community concerns and questions relevant to OCTC activities. The COMAC members also participate in and facilitate community input regarding OCTC’s strategic directions, operational priorities, and service plan implementation. The COMAC meets three times a year to continue to increase OCTC’s knowledge of the needs and expectations of their services and programs for their clients and community stakeholders.

The recommendations and reports produced by the COMAC are reviewed by the OCTC Board and the Family Advisory Committee (FAC).

Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

Youth Advisory Committee Members at Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre

The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) of OCTC was developed to provide a forum and voice for young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who have been or presently are clients of OCTC. YAC meets several times a year to provide constructive input on initiatives affecting youth and young adults at OCTC and in the community.

YAC consists of eight committee members nominated for their positions by staff and a chairperson elected by the group. The YAC members represent young people from across the programs at the centre and serve a two-year term. OCTC staff serves on the committee to provide support as needed.


Client and Family Responsibilities

All clients and family members need to:

  • Raise any concerns or ask any questions in a timely fashion regarding the services recommended and/or received through OCTC to the appropriate program team.
  • Treat all other users of OCTC with courtesy and respect.
  • Treat staff and caregivers with courtesy and respect.
  • Develop a partnership with the OCTC team where a treatment or service has been decided upon. This requires open, honest, and timely communication to optimize the benefits to the client’s potential.
  • Respect the treatment centre’s property and regulations.
  • For home visits, create a suitable and safe workplace for the OCTC staff to work with you.

We request:

  1. A smoke and scent-free environment (cigarettes, perfume, and incense).
  2. Clients minimize distractions, such as turning off the TV and radio and securing pets away from the treatment area.
  3. Being prepared for the visit- appropriate dress, questions prepared, etc.
  • For Health & Safety reasons, appointments should be cancelled when the client is sick or, in the case of a home visit, when anyone in your home is sick. Symptoms that require cancellation include fever, diarrhea, “pink eye” (conjunctivitis) until treated, vomiting, coughing, coloured nasal discharge, as well as any infectious diseases such as chickenpox, scabies, and head lice. Cancelled appointments will be rescheduled.
  • Be prepared to be involved in the session.
Photos of the parents in OCTC

Staff Responsibilities

  • Provide care that supports both the client and the family.
  • Relay to clients and family members all information concerning treatment options available.
  • Respect client and family differences, requests, and decisions.
  • Maintain confidentially and ensure privacy always.
  • Ensure that clients and families are appropriately involved in the treatment and care of the client.
  • Modelling and teaching strategies to help the client acquire new skills.
  • Provide the highest quality treatment possible.
  • Provide an appropriate treatment in a timely fashion.
  • Being on-time for all appointments and home visits, call to inform client and family if delayed.
  • Appointments will be rescheduled if the staff is absent.


Kids and adults are participating in volunteer activities for OCTC

The active and valued participation from past and previous volunteers throughout the community has aided in fostering continual awareness, pride, and co-operation in The Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) and its cause. The outstanding involvement and commitment of volunteers help our organization make it possible to achieve its goals best.

πŸ’ͺ Who can volunteer?

OCTC welcomes students, retirees, and peoples from all walks of life as volunteers. Volunteer applicants are matched with volunteer opportunities based on their experience, interest, and availability

πŸ‘©β€πŸ« What volunteer opportunities are available?

Volunteers contribute their knowledge, skills, and time by providing direct service to clients in areas such as the school or preschool or providing support to staff in areas such as health records.

πŸ•– When are the volunteer opportunities?

Most volunteer opportunities are a half-day per week, mostly weekdays. After school, evening, and weekend opportunities are occasionally available.

πŸ“ Where are the volunteer opportunities?

As a multi-site agency, volunteer opportunities are available at sites in Ottawa on Smyth Road, on Thurston Rd, and in Kanata, and across our region in Renfrew and Cornwall, as well as other community locations.

πŸ™‹ How can I volunteer?

Information concerning volunteer opportunities is available by contacting the Coordinator of Volunteer Resources. Our screening process involves an interview, reference checks, and a police records check for all applicants. Before placement, all volunteers receive an orientation to OCTC and their duties.


The 2 main sites of the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) are located on Smyth Road in central Ottawa. All additional services and programming are located in Kanata, East Ottawa, Renfrew and Cornwall.

OCTC Central Ottawa Location – Main Site #1

OCTC Central Ottawa Location – Main Site #2

Max Keeping Tower at CHEO

OCTC Eastern Ottawa Location

OCTC Western Ottawa Location – Kanata

Situated in the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre

OCTC Renfrew County Location – Renfrew

Situated at the back of the Renfrew Victoria Hospital

OCTC Eastern Counties Location – Cornwall

The Children’s Rehab Centre