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May 9, 2024 - Registrants Blog

Staying Current: The New Ongoing Currency Requirement for Registered Opticians 

The healthcare landscape is evolving, and with it, the regulations for healthcare professionals. Changes are coming to Ontario’s Opticianry Act as of July 1st including amendments to the Registration Regulations.  
 
Under the new regulation, all Registered Opticians (ROs) will be required to demonstrate on an ongoing  basis that their knowledge and skills are current and up to date with the introduction of the new ongoing currency requirement. This is a shift and stride towards ensuring that all ROs are actively engaged in the opticianry field and work towards continuous improvement.  

 

What is “currency”?  

"Currency" refers to keeping an optician's skills and knowledge current. To meet this requirement, ROs must complete 500 practice hours over a rolling three-year period. This ensures they continue to practice safely, competently, and ethically, adhering to the profession's latest standards and ethical expectations. 

Currency is important for patients too. When they see an optician listed as "Entitled to Practice" on the College’s public register, they can trust that the optician not only met the initial licensing requirements but is also actively maintaining and applying their skills. 

 

What’s the purpose of the currency requirement? 

The requirement serves multiple purposes: 

  • Ensures the delivery of high-standard opticianry services to the public. 
  • Encourages continuous professional development among opticians. 
  • Upholds the reputation of opticians as skilled, knowledgeable providers. 

This change is another step towards continuous improvement and patient-centric care.  By complying with the requirement, ROs demonstrate their dedication to the field and continue to enhance their professional growth. 

 

What counts as practice hours?  

  • Dispensing eyewear, contact lenses and subnormal vision devices, and related duties (record keeping, lab work, cleaning and disinfecting eyewear, optical appliances tools or equipment), and all other forms of dispensing (in-person, remote, mobile, volunteering) 
  • Teaching opticianry in accredited Canadian programs. 
  • Supervising student opticians and interns. 
  • Managing or quality-assuring opticianry services. 
  • Completing accredited or self-directed continuing education. 
  • Engaging in advanced learning in opticianry or optical sciences. 
  • Presenting continuing education activities. 
     

What doesn't count? 

  • Sales/marketing of eyewear not directly related to patient care. 
  • Non-opticianry roles in a dispensary (IT, human resources). 
  • Supervising staff unrelated to opticianry. 

 
How do opticians report hours? 

ROs must complete 500 practice hours over a rolling three-year period. The practice hours are reported annually during reporting time.  

 

What if opticians don’t meet the required hours? 

If an RO is at risk of not meeting the 500-hour requirement by the end of the second year, the College will notify them and offer these options: 
 

  • Report additional activities for the Registration Committee’s consideration. 
  • Complete a refresher program approved by the Registration Committee to update and enhance their skills. 
     

If an RO doesn’t meet the 500 practice hour requirement after three years, they have these three options: 
  

  • Complete a refresher program, 
  • Transfer to the "Inactive" class which allows opticians to maintain their registration but not engage in active practice. 
  • Resign their registration. 
     

This is designed to ensure that all opticians maintain the high standards required for safe and competent practice, while providing flexibility for those facing challenges in meeting the requirement.  Read the College’s new Currency of Practice Policy to learn more about the currency requirement.  

 

We’re here to help 

The College is here to support ROs in understanding how to navigate these changes. Contact us at registration@collegeofopticians.ca 

 


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