OPA would like to acknowledge the Hamilton District Education Committee for sharing their planning guide which has greatly informed the development of this District Toolkit.

Use this guide as a checklist as you plan and implement professional development opportunities in your district.

As per the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario: “As professionals, you have an obligation to keep your knowledge and skills up to date.”

Please note: All district courses, webinars or events that include a fee must process registration through OPA’s site.

As per OPA policy, an OPA district course is when ALL of the following are true:

The district is involved in the organizing of the course

All or a portion of the revenue goes to the district

Member fees are discounted by at least 20% from non-member fees

See Appendix A for full details.



Discuss and research current practice topics and areas of interest for your members. Ask yourselves:
  • What are the needs of the patient populations in the district?
  • What are the latest tools, techniques, and best practices in the assessment and treatment of these patient populations?
  • Will the topic being explored be immediately applied in practice?
  • Is the knowledge or skills learned relevant to the general population? Specific population? Or a population that is rarely encountered by the profession?
Find course ideas by searching CPA (Embodia) and OPA course listings.  Reviewing recent conferences held by CPA, Divisions and OPA can also provide ideas of current topics and potential speakers. Read about members’ perspectives on searching for a course  in this blog post published by the Physiotherapy Alberta College and Association.

Choosing an Instructor(s):

Compile a list of possible instructors that have the knowledge, expertise and credibility to teach on the topic. Contact OPA, other District leaders for help as we all have networks that can help you in finding potential instructors.Contact the instructor and determine their availability, fees, and any travel and accommodation they would need. Explain the conditions for offering an OPA course and ensure they are in agreement with those conditions.

Choosing a Date:

Availability of Host Location

Instructor’s Availability

Other Potential Competing Events (e.g. InterACTION)

Ensure that you leave enough time for OPA registration to be set up and for OPA to promote the event. Notify Sara Pulins, Manager, Marketing & Communications atleast three months in advance.


When choosing a facility, estimate the number of participants and any other guests, the type of space required and any equipment needed (including AV). When contacting potential facilities, consider the following:

What are the costs?

How many people can it accommodate?

Any AV equipment or other equipment available?

Costs associated with equipment use?

Will WIFI be provided?

Is it accessible?

Is catering available, and if so, is there a preferred vendor?

Outside food permitted? Food available nearby?

What time(s) is the space available?

How much notice is needed to book the facility?

Any parking? Cost?

Public transit options?

Any need for security on site? Costs for this?

Is there a contact person available the day of?


All registration for district courses is set up and processed through OPA’s store. Email Sara Pulins all course details and it will be live in five days.


Districts have built long-term relationships with various sponsors over the years. Contact previous sponsors first and invite them as a valued sponsor in the past to participate in your event. Offering an initial “discount” for a limited time can help in securing sponsors early in the planning.

Check off two items (or more!) at the same time – invite a catering/food company to sponsor the district’s upcoming course. Contact local food companies (or other companies that align with the planning objectives) to offer them an exchange.  Create a promotional package that allows the sponsor to view what the district is offering in exchange for the sponsorship.

All sponsorships should be aligned with OPA policies on sponsorship. Contact Diane Unção prior to creating a sponsorship package and/or offering one or with any other questions related to sponsorship.

Below are two types of sponsorship packages that are consistent with OPA pricing:
Lunch Sponsor – Exclusive – $695 + HST
  • Logo with link to your website on OPA’s online Course Listing
  • Logo with link to your District website page
  • Sponsor name and link in your district’s e-blast sent to X number of members (depends on district)
  • Signage in lunch area during lunch
  • Three social media posts on your districts’ social media platforms
E-Blast Sponsor- $250 + HST
  • Sponsor name and link in your district’s e-blast sent to X number of members (depends on district)
  • Logo with link to your website on OPA’s online Course Listing


Before preparing the budget, it’s important to identify all key expenses. It’s also important to set the goals for the course as well as the targets including how many member and non-member registrations you will need to cover your costs and make a profit (if this is one of the intended goals).

Fees should be set based on the market range for a similar course with a minimum 20% difference before tax between the member and non-member rate. Determine in advance who is eligible to take the course (e.g. students, non-PTs, PTAs etc.). The instructor will be able to assist with this, but note that the less exclusive the list, the greater the opportunity to increase your registration numbers.

Costs of courses can be greatly reduced and therefore more attractive for potential participants if you choose not to offer a larger meal (e.g. lunch). This is quite acceptable for many participants, as long as the district provides reasonable options to access food and time to do so.


  • Facility rental
  • Audiovisual equipment and other equipment (e.g. laptop)
  • Instructor’s fee
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Other supplies


Read Appendix A for the communication platforms and deadlines for OPA’s promotion of district courses. Districts are also encouraged to promote the courses through their networks and on their district social media platforms.



Obtain permission prior, or as soon as registrants arrive to take pictures and /or videos during the course. Send a model release form to attendees prior to the course and also have hard copies available for attendees to sign.

Assign someone to take pictures and/or video during the course and post these to your districts’ social media platforms. OPA will do it’s best to share any district course posts.  Appendix C is a sample model release form.



Plan to make all course materials electronically available to participants. If there are hard copies required, order supplies accordingly and keep all receipts so you can reconcile your expenses at the end of the course. Supplies may include name tags, pens, notebooks, and folders.


Write an article or request one of the participants for OPA’s Recent News blog. Submit the article in point form and we will help you write it. Include a summary of the course, including participant feedback, highlights, networking opportunities and the topic’s relevance to the Ontario physiotherapy community. Recent News posts are shared with all members in OPA’s Updates sent via email bi-weekly.


Letter of Agreement/Contract

Prepare a letter of agreement/contract for the instructor and facility (if not provided by the facility). The instructor contract needs to include:





Billing instructions

Service description

Statement of relationship

Responsibility of each party

Workshop timeline

Deadline termination/cancellation conditions

Intellectual property rights, and any confidentiality clauses

Picture of PT and PTA working


Deadlines to receive materials should be made clear to the instructor and a condition of the contract.


If you are planning to offer a virtual course, please be in touch with OPA staff as soon as possible to discuss the logistics.

OPA has a web-based platform that districts can access, but there may be additional expenses associated with this and additional planning/preparation.


Create a paper survey form to hand out to participants at the end of the course. People are less likely to fill out online surveys and more likely to give feedback right on the spot.

See Appendix D for a sample course evaluation form.


OPA holds an insurance policy that covers District Courses for things like slip and fall. Contact Diane Unção for our policy if needed to secure the facility where the course is being held. If there will be hands on practice occurring with, and amongst participants, they should sign a waiver/release of liability form.

See an example of this in Appendix E.