Information for Employers and Business Owners/Operators
The College offers the following FAQ to assist individuals who employ opticians, or who own and/or operate an eyewear store or dispensary, or who may be considering doing so:
Who is authorized to dispense prescription eyewear in Ontario?
Only opticians, optometrists and medical doctors are legally authorized to dispense prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses or subnormal vision devises in Ontario.
Do I have to be an optician/optometrist/doctor in order own or operate an eyewear store or dispensary?
No, anyone can own or operate a store or dispensary that sells eyewear.
Can I operate my store/dispensary without involving an optician/optometrist/doctor?
Yes, however it is important to be aware that in order to DISPENSE prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, the legislation requires that an optician, optometrist or medical doctor (ophthalmologist) be involved. You are not precluded from selling eyeglass frames or non-prescription eyewear (for example, non-prescription sunglasses) without the involvement of an authorized regulated health professional.
How do I know whether my employee or business partner or associate is authorized to practice as an optician in Ontario?
The College maintains a public register that provides information regarding all registrants of the College of Opticians of Ontario. The public register indicates whether a registrant is entitled to practice in Ontario, whether there are any terms, conditions, or limitations on the registrant's certificate of registration, and whether the registrant is subject to any allegations or previous findings of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity. Click here to access the College's Public Register.
What legal obligations do I have as someone who employs opticians or who owns or operates an eyewear store or dispensary?
All individuals who employ opticians or operate an eyewear-related business, or who intend to do so, should contact a qualified legal professional for advice regarding their legal duties and obligations. The following list of obligations is not exhaustive and is intended for information purposes only:
- Mandatory Reporting: The Regulated Health Professions Act requires those who employ a health professional or who operate a health facility to make a report to the College where there is reason to believe the registrant engaged in professional misconduct, is incompetent or incapacitated, or may have sexually abused a patient. For more information on the mandatory reporting obligations of employers and facility operators click here. To make a mandatory report click here.
- Advertising: In accordance with the General Regulation under the Opticianry Act, 1991, advertisements relating to an optician's practice or place of practice cannot contain:
- Anything that is false or misleading;
- Anything that, because of its nature, cannot be verified;
- A claim of specialization, if the registrant does not hold a specialty certificate issued by the College; or
- The registrant's name or photograph, or other likeness, in an advertisement that implies, or could be reasonably interpreted to imply, that the professional expertise of the registrant is relevant to the subject matter of the advertisement if, in fact, it is not.