Debbie Laliberte Rudman, PhD

Distinguished University Professor

Room 2537, EC
519 661-2111 x88965
Research Gate
Google Scholar


  • PhD (University of Toronto)
  • MSc (Western University)
  • BSc (OT) (University of Toronto)

Graduate Program Supervision

  • Health & Rehabilitation Sciences MSc | PhD

Research In Profile

Professor Debbie Laliberte Rudman's scholarship aims to contribute theoretically, substantively and methodologically to the development of occupational science and occupational therapy as critically-informed, transformative, and socially responsive disciplines. She applies critically-oriented qualitative approaches to examine how everyday occupations and identities of individuals and collectives, particularly of groups who experience social and economic marginalization, are situated within socio-cultural, political, economic, and historical conditions. This work attends to the socio-political and discursive shaping of social issues, occupational possibilities, and occupational inequities, such as long-term unemployment, the extension of working lives, and precarious aging. This work seeks to raise awareness of the implications of policy and discursive re-configurations for how social and occupational issues come to be addressed and negotiated by individuals and through everyday occupations, services and systems. She is committed to enacting participatory and collaborative approaches that mark out directions forward in expanding occupational possibilities and reducing inequities.

Featured Publications and Projects

Chapters and Reports

  • Laliberte Rudman, D., Aldrich, R. & Kiepek, N. (2022). Evolving understandings of occupation. In M. Egan & G. Restall (eds). Promoting occupational participation: Collaborative relationship-focused occupational therapy (pp.11-30). Ottawa: Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.
  • Laliberte Rudman, D. (2021). Informing social occupational therapy: Unpacking the ‘social’ using critical social theory. In R.E. Lopes & A. P. Malfitano (Eds.), Social occupational therapy (pp.143-150). Elsevier.
  • Laliberte Rudman, D. (2016). Risk, retirement and the ‘duty to age well’: Shaping productive aging citizens in Canadian newsprint media. In Polzer, J. & Power, E. (Eds.), Neoliberal Governance and Health: Duties, risks and vulnerabilities (pp.108-131). McGill-Queens University Press

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Laliberte Rudman, D. (2021). Mobilizing occupation for social transformation: Radical resistance, disruption, and re-configuration. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 88(2), 96-107.
  • Laliberte Rudman, D. & Aldrich, R. (2021, March, early online). Producing precarity: The individualization of later life unemployment within employment support provision. Journal of Aging Studies.
  • Laliberte Rudman, D., Pollard, N., Craig, C., Kantartzis, S., Piskur, B., Simó Algado, S., van Bruggen, H., & Schiller, S. (2019). Contributing to social transformation through occupation: Experiences from a think tank. Journal of Occupational Science, 26(2), 316–322.
  • Laliberte Rudman, D. & Aldrich, A. (2017). Discerning the social in individual stories of occupation through critical narrative inquiry. Journal of Occupational Science, 24(4), 470-481

Visit Google Scholar for a comprehensive list of publications.

Current Grants and Research Projects

  • Laliberte Rudman, D., Aldrich, R., Hand, C., McGrath, C., Huot, S., Valente, T. & Kim, A. (2022-2026). Re-conceptualizing third places: Countering social isolation in lives without workplaces. SSHRC Insight Grant, $245,000.
  • Laliberte Rudman, D. & Aldrich, R. (2022). Social isolation, third places and precarious employment circumstances. SSHRC Knowledge Syntheses, $29,870.
  • Marshall, C., Oudshoorn, A., Forchuk, C., Laliberte Rudman, D., Wathen, N. et al. (2022-2026). CIHR, $730,000.
  • McGrath, C., Laliberte Rudman, D. Hand, C., Sukhai, B. et al (2020-2023). Enacting critical participatory action research with older adults with low vision: A focus on community mobility. SSHRC Insight Grant, $220,000.
  • Hand, C., Kloseck, M., McGrath, C., Laliberte Rudman, D., Gilliand C. et al. (2018-2022). Exploring and promoting older adults’ inclusion in neighbourhoods. SSHRC Insight Grant, $235,000

Featured Graduate Student Projects

Exploring gender inequity through occupation: A critical decolonizing ethnography in Tanzania

  • Huff, Stephanie (2020). PhD, Health & Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Program, Occupational Science field.

A participatory videomaking project with children with disabilities in rural India: Working towards inclusive research

  • Benjamin-Thomas, T. (2019). PhD, Health & Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Program, Occupational Science field.

Advancing social transformation through occupation

  • Farias, L. (2017). PhD, Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, Graduate Program, Occupational Science field.

‘I am not disabled. It’s my environment that makes me disabled’: A critical ethnography of age-related vision loss in older adulthood

  • McGrath, C. (2015). PhD, Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, Health & Aging field.

Critically exploring the challenges of successful integration for French-speaking newcomers from visible minority groups within London, Ontario’s Francophone minority community

  • Huot, S. (2011). PhD, Health & Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Program, Occupational Science field.

Visit Scholarship@Western for a list of completed student theses and dissertations in the repository.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Professor Debbie Laliberte Rudman is currently accepting both MSc and PhD students, particularly those interested in the discipline of occupational science, critical qualitative methodologies, and the study of occupational inequities and social transformation. Current projects occurring in the Critical Occupational Science laboratory are focused on intersections of place, occupation, social inclusion/exclusion in the lives of precarious workers and older adults.

For more information please email professor Laliberte Rudman at

Additional Information

Academic Appointments and Research Affiliations

  • Associate Director, School of Occupational Therapy
  • Adjunct Fellow, Critical Qualitative Health Research Center, University of Toronto


  • Muriel Driver Lectureship, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, October 2020
  • Keynote lecture, Danish Occupational Therapy Educators, August 2019
  • Keynote lecture, Japanese Society for the Study of Occupation, Dec. 2018
  • Keynote lecture, The OTther Symposium, South Africa, May 2018
  • Keynote lecture, Occupational Science Europe, Sept. 2017
  • Keynote lecture, University of Sao Paulo, 11th Occupational Therapy Symposium, May 2017
  • Caroline Thompson Memorial Lecture, University of Madison-Wisconsin, Sept. 2016
  • Nicole Ebacher Memorial Lecture, Université Laval, May 2016

Professional Activities

  • Member, Executive Committee, Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion, 2019-2022
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Occupational Science, 2017-present
  • Member, International Editorial Board, Brazilian Journal of Occupational Therapy, November, 2017 – present
  • Organizing group member, International Social Transformation through Occupation Network, 2016-present