Please excuse myself for this response but I have to make this. I am not an OT applicant but I've got to pick apart this message because this post is quite timely right when results are out and frankly are scaring other people about their acceptance for which they worked very hard to get today. First and foremost, I can't fathom the fact that you joined this forum 2 hours ago just to make this point of yours. I'm sure you must have came across this forum when you were applying yourself to OT schools. Anyhow that is extraneous to my following points. The job market in Toronto is saturated and frankly wherever you go, especially in a busy city, it is always going to be saturated. Please don't frighten new students just because the supposed market is saturated. I am currently in my final stretch to become a PA, and I've had many people told me about the job market prospects being saturated, but that doesn't mean I should not become what I wanted to become. Getting a job is tough, it's multifactorial- economy, your skills, personality, and how well you come across during an interview 2 years from now or whenever. I just want people who are accepted to day to UofT or wherever to know that don't be scared of what the market will be like 2 years from now. There will always be a job opening somewhere, although for some it may be close to home, for others they may have to make some sacrifices and move there, and that's something you have to be willing to do if the situation demands it.
I currently go to a PA program in USA, am from originally in toronto. We practice many of our skills in lab with models and not on humans. We are practically thrown into the placement with only experience largely on models, and very little on humans, but yet we turn out fine. It does take time to adapt, but the programs that are accredited for OT, i'm sure follow a certain requirement of what is to be taught. I get that the expansion part of class size can be an issue, and whether you may be open about it or not, it feels to me like you got placed at UTM whenever you were accepted and you don't get to have the classroom interaction because you are primarily watching live-streamed lectures. I quote "The format is live videos of lecturers from St George campus with occasional classes taking place at UTM. Class discussion are made much more difficult and honestly with this many people (and the technological barriers), it is not a very conducive learning environment.", and i feel this is one of your hurting points about this program and I agree with you, if you are in a master's program, and you have to watch recorded / live stream lectures, it sucks. There is no standard classroom interaction that those at St. George can get. But that isn't a reason to tell someone not to go to their school of choice, esp if it was UofT or whichever. The onus then becomes on you to be able to adapt to situation and variables outside your control - like where you got placed, and ask the questions you need outside of class. It's not ideal but its as best you can do, i mean i'm sure you must be doing that, and I have no doubt that there must be some sort of option available to ask faculty members at UofT.
The matter of focus on theory and research, what each program focuses on will vary i guess from school to school and that is something that isn't in your control and there will be no perfect program that focuses on skills and less on theory and research. Being of UofT undergraduate student at one point in time, I can say there is more emphasis on research and theory but that's UofT in general by nature. But it's still not a reason for those individuals today who worked hard to get 100 or however many spots out of 1000+ applications to give up on their choice. The whole issue about health / mental reasons and taking leave is important and something that all programs around the world especially the professional level need to work on. The programs are so tight packed and paced that there isn't much room for a break for the students in the program. I myself went through 2 cases where I had pneumonia and both times I was told, "being sick isn't an excuse to not write the exam", and the program i'm in, we move module wise, so everyone's got to pass before the next module starts. It sucks, and they need to be better on these aspects, its ridiculous! For that, I am absolutely with you, they need to be more understanding about some accommodation for whatever issues we are facing.
As for the placements, honestly, it sucks that they ship you out to Brampton or Markham, but honestly it's not that far away from Toronto. Unfortunately, insurance prices are sky high in Toronto, and having a car is a huge financial burden, so I cannot speak for everyone, but having a car is practically needed especially for programs like this and practically anywhere you go in USA. I drive 65 miles to my placement, and it absolutely sucks, but I don't view that as an obstacle to not going into the program I'm in, nor would I hesitate to choose the school I go to, despite all its flaws.
I applaud you for speaking up and raising awareness about the flaws of the program at UofT, and frankly I don't even know if you're in the program, and it's hard for me to ignore that you made an account 2 hours ago just to make this post. As a critical mind, I hypothesize, what if you are on the waitlist for this program? After all, we are all just anonymous usernames on a thread. The same could be said about me, but I have no bias towards deterring those who got in today from choosing the program and school they wanted to go to before today.
Conflict of interest would be that I have very close friends who read your post and now all of a sudden, the program they were so excited and hoping to get an acceptance from this whole cycle, are now suddenly doubting because of one post on a forum. To those who read this and are potentially waitlisted, accepted or rejected (and are planning to apply to this school in focus), don't let one person's experience or view change what you wanted to do or go. I can honestly write a lot about the program I go to, but you have to understand there will be flaws and pros at every school. For some, such factors mentioned above are so pivotal it changes their opinion about where they want to go or what they want to do, but for others like me, I adapt with what I can, accept the non-perfect situation and make best of what I can with it. At the end of the 2 years, you still have a career despite what the job market may be, and have at least enough training to do the job you need to do, you may not get extensive training but that's where the learning takes place, once you are out there on your first job.
Congratulations to all those who are accepted and don't lose hope for those who are waitlisted or have been rejected, I myself had to try three times before getting into the program and school I wanted.