20 minutes or less – CarFit in Canada

20 minutes or less is all it takes to get someone to realise the benefit of the CarFit Program. In those 20 minutes participants (volunteers or older adults) have that “a-ha” moment, realising how 12 points can really make a difference in someone’s comfort level behind the wheel.photo 3

The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) are currently on our second year of expansion of the CarFit program in Canada. Within those two years, we have held four major training events, where we built capacity by training both coordinators to take the program to the next level and technicians to deliver the critical “a-ha” moment. With the help of our partner, AOTA’s Elin Shold-Davis, we have been able not only to expand in nearly every province, but have Canadian CarFit Instructors – the highest level of proficiency in the CarFit program. Our Instructors are each planning their own training sessions to build more capacity across our vast country. These dedicated Instructors share a passion for driver safety and believe in the value of helping people feel comfortable and safe behind the wheel.

Canadian Automotive Association (CAA) has readily seized the potential of this program and the unique opportunity to partner with us, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), for the implementation and dissemination of CarFit. A partnership between CAOT and CAA is a critical path as it allows us access to older drivers and dedicated staff members. CAA Staff connect help us plan the events, connect with older drivers and get media to the event. Local partner know their communities, where to host it, when to do it and how best to attract the media. At our last event in Manitoba, our CAA hosts provided us with a parking lot, a class room and connected us to over seven different media outlets. IMG_6497Our message was simple: “Mobility is a right”. The dedication from these partners allows us to have larger events and connect to the key players in the community to promote the program and get people excited about CarFit.

As we move forward this year, we will be introducing the French program AutoAjuste. We are hosting a small scale event on July 4th 2015 to test the translated material and ensure that we have everything readied for the official launch in the fall in Quebec. The French program ensures that we can meet the needs of all Canadians and provide them access to important information delivered in 20 minutes or less or, as we will be saying it, «en moins de vingt minutes »

By Nick McCarthy and Julie Lapointe, CAOT

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