Unauthorized Practice

On occasion, the College receives information about persons who are either fitting and/or dispensing eyeglasses, contact lenses or subnormal vision devices to the public without being legally authorized to do so.  These individuals are called unregulated or unauthorized practitioners and may be placing the public in harm’s way.

What are the risks of receiving care from an unauthorized practitioner?

Individuals who are not registered with the College of Opticians of Ontario do not have the skills, knowledge or qualifications to practice Opticianry in Ontario.  As these practitioners are not regulated they are not bound by the standards of practice as Registered Opticians.

The best way to ensure competent, safe and ethical care is to trust that care to a Registered Optician.

Who is legally authorized to fit and dispense prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses?

Under Ontario law, only opticians, optometrists and physicians/ophthalmologists are legally authorized to fit and dispense prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses to the public.  

Who is legally authorized to determine my prescription?

An authorized prescriber is an:

  • Optometrist
  • Physician
How can I confirm the person fitting and/or dispensing my optical appliance is someone who is legally authorized to do so?
  • Check the optician’s badge: Registered Opticians must wear a badge at all times when practicing.  
  • Check the College’s Public Register, this will provide information about the registration status of opticians, intern opticians and student opticians.  
What do I do if I suspect the unauthorized practice of opticianry?

The College encourages you to report any suspicions of unregulated practice.  To report unauthorized practice please fill out the College’s Unauthorized Practice Form.

What does the College of Opticians of Ontario do once a report is received?

The College investigates these cases and may take legal action against individuals and corporations that permit or encourage unauthorized practice in Ontario, including seeking injunctions or contempt of court orders.


The College has secured the following orders.

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