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News From the College


Response to Court Decision

Oct 17, 2019
The College of Optometrists of Ontario and the College of Opticians of Ontario are disappointed that our application for leave to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision in College of Optometrists of Ontario v. Essilor Group Inc., 2019 ONCA 265 to the Supreme Court of Canada was not granted.

Our role as the regulators for the professions of optometry and opticianry is to ensure that Ontarians receive high-quality vision care. We embarked upon this legal action with the sole focus of protecting Ontarians' vision care whether they purchase their eyewear in store or online. As well, Ontario laws require a regulated health professional's involvement in the prescribing and dispensing of corrective lenses, which unfortunately does not always occur with many online retailers.

Our colleges continue to believe that the internet can be an effective tool for providing vision care services. We have protocols in place to support Ontario optometrists and opticians who choose to use the internet to care for their patients. We also regularly review our professional standards of practice to address evolving technologies and innovations in our industry. The College of Optometrists most recently updated its standards in September and the College of Opticians is currently reviewing its standards, with both reviews considering the use of the internet in delivering vision care.

Our vision is an important part of our overall health and we encourage Ontarians to confirm that a licensed provider is involved in their vision care by visiting the public register for the College of Optometrists or the College of Opticians.


Essilor/Clearly Injunction Update

June 7, 2019
The College of Opticians and the College of Optometrists of Ontario have filed an application for leave to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision in College of Optometrists of Ontario v. Essilor Group Inc., 2019 ONCA 265 to the Supreme Court of Canada.


Response to Court Decision

April 4, 2019
In an effort to protect Ontario patients, the College of Opticians of Ontario and the College of Optometrists of Ontario initiated a legal proceeding against Essilor Group of Canada Inc./Clearly. The Colleges sought an injunction that would prohibit Clearly from dispensing prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses online to the Ontario public, without following Ontario legislation. On January 11, 2018, the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario granted the  injunction. Clearly sought an appeal of the decision, which was heard on September 21, 2018.

On April 4, 2019, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released its decision granting Clearly's appeal. To read the full decision please click here.

The College of Opticians of Ontario and the College of Optometrists of Ontario are disappointed with the outcome of this appeal.  We will take time to conduct a more fulsome review of the decision and provide further information at a later date.

In the interim, we want to reiterate that our Colleges firmly believe that the Internet can be an effective tool for providing vision care. We have already established protocols to support how Ontario optometrists and opticians use the Internet to care for their patients and regularly review our professional standards of practice to ensure they are keeping pace with changes in technologies and other innovations.

Our position throughout this legal action has been, and continues to be, squarely focused on ensuring Ontario patients receive appropriate eye health care regardless of where they purchase their eyewear, be that in store or online. Our eye health is an important aspect of our overall health and well-being. Improperly fitted glasses can lead to eyestrain, double vision and headaches. Improperly fitted contact lenses pose an even greater risk and can cause sight-threatening injuries, such as corneal ulcers and infection. Children are at particular risk. Aside from the fact that we know that children with vision problems often suffer from low self-esteem, frustration, poor literacy and headaches, wearing improperly fabricated or dispensed eyewear can lead to permanent vision development issues.

As the regulators for the professions of optometry and opticianry, our role is to ensure that Ontarians receive the utmost standard of eye health care.


Consumer Safety and
Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Dressing up for Halloween? Skip the decorative contact lenses, Health Canada urges

Health Canada reminds Canadians of the risks of decorative contact lenses

No costume is worth the risk! Ensure you are protecting your eyes.

Halloween is upon us, and children and adults alike are planning their costumes, which often include decorative or cosmetic contact lenses in various colours or special effects such as cat eyes, swirls or other designs. While decorative contact lenses can be purchased at any novelty store, they can pose significant eye health risks such as infections, irritations, allergic reactions, cuts or scratches to the cornea, impaired vision, and even blindness, so it's important to use these lenses safely. Not all contact lenses fit all eyes, nor do all materials of lenses work for all eyes, so a consultation with a licensed optician or optometrist is recommended before using any type of contact lenses. If you're thinking about using decorative lenses, it's recommended that you do so with the guidance, direction and fitting by a licensed eye care professional.

In 2016, Health Canada began regulating cosmetic contact lenses as medical devices in an attempt to make them safer for consumers. Under the new legislation, contact lenses must be licensed by Health Canada before they can be sold. To protect your eye health, Health Canada recommends the following guidelines for the use of cosmetic contact lenses:

  • Use only licensed decorative contact lenses, which you can verify by visiting the Health Canada website
  • Properly clean and disinfect your decorative contact lenses as directed in the product instructions.
  • Wash and thoroughly dry your hands before handling and cleaning decorative contact lenses.
  • Never swap or share decorative contact lenses with anyone.
  • Never sleep while wearing decorative contact lenses unless they are extended-wear lenses designed for that purpose.
  • Contact a licensed eye care professional if you have used decorative contact lenses and have health concerns. If you experience any redness, blurred vision, ongoing discharge or sensitivity to light, remove the lenses immediately and contact an eye care professional. If left untreated, these symptoms could lead to blindness. 

Cosmetic contact lenses are not the only risk to eye health this Halloween. Using makeup that's not specifically designed for the area surrounding the eye can pose significant risks. These products can contain chemicals, dyes and other additives that are harmful when used too close to the eye and can cause irritation, infection or visual impairment. Using products such as lip liners or blush that have been used on other parts of your face or body can transfer bacteria to your eyes.

Protect your vision this Halloween by making sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice.


Competition Bureau Article July 26, 2018

The College of Optometrists of Ontario and the College of Opticians of Ontario firmly believe the internet can be an effective tool for dispensing prescription eyewear, enhancing access and convenience in line with patient demands.  Furthermore, the Colleges agree that a free and competitive market for corrective eyewear is in the public interest and are aligned with the Competition Bureau in wanting to ensure that patients have as many options as can be safely provided for in how they access their eye care.  To that end both Colleges have already established protocols for Ontario optometrists and opticians using the internet to safely care for their patients.

Our court action is focused squarely on ensuring Ontario patients receive appropriate eye health care regardless of where they purchase their corrective eyewear, be that online or a physical retail location. There are provincial laws in place in Ontario to protect Ontarians' eye health that require a regulated health professional's involvement in the prescribing and dispensing of corrective lenses. Unfortunately, this is not occurring with the BC-based retailer involved in our claim, which we believe is in violation of the law and putting patients' eye health at risk.

Rest assured, our Colleges are in no way attempting to prevent online ordering or purchasing of eyewear nor will this court action halt patient access to eyewear online. There are many eyewear retailers in Ontario already using the internet to provide their patients with safe, effective, and affordable eyewear, including refills for contact lenses, in accordance with the provincial laws governing eye health care.

Our eye health is an important aspect of our overall health and well-being. Improperly fitted glasses can lead to eyestrain, double vision and headaches. Improperly fitted contact lenses pose an even greater risk and can cause sight-threatening injury, such as corneal ulcers and infection. Children are at particular risk and often suffer from low self-esteem, frustration, poor literacy and headaches and wearing improperly prescribed or dispensed eyewear can lead to permanent vision development issues.

As the regulators for the professions of optometry and opticianry, our role is to ensure the utmost standard of eye health care is upheld for Ontarians and without a licensed individual involved in the process, there is no mechanism by which the Colleges can ensure that any standard of care is provided at all.

As patients we expect and require health professionals to be involved in all other facets of health care, from the prescribing and dispensing of drugs to hearing aids.  Why should your eye health be held to a lower standard?

A copy of the article can be found here


Annual Report 2018

The 2018 Annual Report is now available for
viewing and downloading in PDF format.


Upcoming Council Meetings

2 Day meeting - October 7-8, 2019

pdf Oct 7-8 - Agenda PDF
pdf Oct 7-8 - Public Meeting package ZIP

Monday, December 2 and 3, 2019


Reserve a Seat, Register for Webinar, or Request a Meeting Package

Location:  College of Opticians of Ontario, 90 Adelaide Street West, Suite 300, Toronto, ON

All are welcome to attend College Council meetings either in person or via webinar. The agenda and meeting materials will be available the week before a meeting. If you would like to attend, please let us know at mail@coptont.org.


Feedback

The College is seeking feedback from the public on by-law amendments concerning changes to the public register. To participate in the survey, click here. The survey will be on the website until April 23rd.


Bill 87: How does it affect you?

On May 30, 2017, Bill 87, the Protecting Patients Act, received royal assent by the Ontario government and significantly amended the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).

click here for complete details.


New Registration Policies

At its May 30, 2016 meeting, Council approved two new registration policies. The Non-Practising Status Policy addresses members who are not practising but who wish to maintain their registration with the College. The Non-Practising Status Policy can be reviewed here. If you wish to change your status to non-practising, complete an Undertaking Form and submit it to the College.

The Retiring or Resigning Policy provides guidance to members who wish to retire or resign their certificate of registration. The Retiring or Resigning from the College Policy can be reviewed here. If you wish to resign your certificate of registration, please complete a Resignation Form and submit it to the College. If you wish to retire from the profession, please complete a Retirement Form and submit it to the College.

If you have any questions or require further information on either registration policy, please contact the College’s registration team at registration@coptont.org.


ANSI Standard Z80.1- 2015 Available to all Ontario Opticians

An updated ANSI Dress Standard is now being made available by the College to all members at no charge. In adherence to the College’s mandate to reduce its environmental impact and to be mindful of operational costs, the College is providing all optician members with one copy of the ANSI Standard Z80.1-2010 free of charge electronically via email.

Please click here for instructions on how to access your free electronic copy.


Jurisprudence Tool Update

The purpose of the Jurisprudence tool is to help registered opticians acquire knowledge about the laws, standards, and guidelines that affect opticianry in Ontario. As part of the College's Quality Assurance (QA) program, all registered opticians must successfully complete Chapter 1: Professional Boundaries and Sexual Abuse Prevention of the tool every three years.

The College of Opticians is pleased to advise that a second chapter of the Jurisprudence Tool is now available for opticians on our website. Chapter 2: Record Keeping, Confidentiality and Privacy is optional, and members are not required to submit proof of completion to the College.

Members may wish to use Chapter 2: Record Keeping, Confidentiality and Privacy toward their self- directed Quality Assurance requirements. Once a member completes the module, they can download a completion certificate that they may use as proof of 2 hours of self-directed continuing education, once every three years. To do so, members must record the activity on Form 3 of their Professional Portfolio and ensure a learning goal is created that is connected to this activity.

The Jurisprudence Tool consists of a handbook and an online multiple choice test.


Adverse Event Report

Canadian eye care regulators are collecting data for a study that reviews the number of adverse incidences for patients that use the services of a regulated eye care professional as well as those patients who have sought their eyewear through unregulated sources. This report is not a punitive exercise but rather an attempt at gathering current data regarding risk of harm. This form is not a vehicle to report misconduct or unauthorized practice. If you wish to file a formal complaint or to report unauthorized practice, please visit the complaints process page. The Adverse Event Report can be found here.


Duty to Report – Suspected Cases of Child Abuse

The Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) recognizes that the public, including professionals who work with children, must promptly report any suspicions that a child is or may be in need of protection directly to a children’s aid society. This is referred to as one’s “duty to report”.

The CFSA states that people working closely with children have a special awareness of the signs of child abuse or neglect, and a particular responsibility to report their suspicions. Under the Act, persons who perform professional or official duties with respect to children include health care professionals (e.g., physicians, respiratory therapists, opticians), teachers and social workers, among others.

Professionals should never hesitate to report suspected child abuse or neglect. It is their legal duty to make a report to a children’s aid society where they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection.

Please click here to view the full correspondence from the Ministry of Child and Youth Services.


Court affirms professional standards can govern refraction, refuses to endorse optician's business model

In a decision released in January 2015, the Ontario Superior Court affirmed the enforceability of professional standards governing refraction. The matter was brought to the Court by an Ontario optician, who wanted the Court to declare that his business model was compliant with Ontario laws governing eye care professionals. In denying the optician's application, the Court affirmed that regulatory bodies can enforce professional standards, such as the College of Opticians of Ontario's standards for refraction. These standards do not have to be made through government-approved regulations. The College of Opticians acted as an intervenor in this case, providing assistance to the Court regarding the standards of practice for opticianry in Ontario. Click here to read the full communication from the College as well as the Court's decision


Mandatory Reinstatement – Members Dispensing Under Delegation

In April of 2014, the College of Optometrists of Ontario amended its Professional Misconduct Regulation. There are several significant changes that help in fostering a greater degree of inter-professional collaboration. In particular, optometrists are no longer prohibited from hiring opticians, and optometrists are no longer prohibited from practising in association with opticians as long as they remain independent.

In view of these changes, the College of Opticians would like to inform its suspended members who are working either with or for an optometrist or medical doctor, that they must apply for reinstatement with the College of Opticians if they wish to continue dispensing prescription eye wear.

Please click here to view the full correspondence from the College.

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