Upcoming Changes to the Registration Regulation & Examination Regulation -Effective July 1, 2024

The Ontario Government has approved changes to two regulations under the Opticianry Act, 1991

These changes will come into force on July 1, 2024. Read on for a summary of the key changes for each impacted group.

Registered Opticians

New Ongoing Currency Requirement: Under the new regulation, all Registered Opticians will be required to demonstrate on an ongoing and regular basis that their knowledge and skills are current and up to date. This is referred to as “currency”, which has been defined under the College’s new Currency Policy as 500 practice hours over any 3-year period. Registered Opticians who do not demonstrate at least 500 practice hours over a 3 year period will have the option of transferring to the newly created Inactive class, complete a refresher program, or resign their registration. 

Inactive Class: A new Inactive class of registration will become available on July 1, 2024. This registration class will be available to opticians who are not currently practising. Registrants in this class will pay a reduced annual fee and their status on the public register will be displayed as “Inactive”. Registrants in this class may not engage in dispensing or identify themselves as a registered optician. Inactive opticians who wish to return to practice may do so by requesting a status change and meeting the requirements set out in the Reinstatement and Changing from Inactive to Active Practice Policy. 

Opticians who are out of practice for 3 or more years: Under the new regulation, there will be important consequences for opticians who have not practised for 3 or more years: 

Suspended Opticians: Registered Opticians who have not renewed their certificate are administratively suspended. Under the new regulation, if an optician does not reinstate their certificate within 3 years from the date of suspension, their certificate will be automatically revoked. This means that the optician will no longer be registered with the College in any way. Opticians who are revoked cannot reinstate their certificate of registration; in order to return to practice, they must re-apply to the College as a new optician and meet the registration requirements in place at that time, including rewriting the licensing examinations. Opticians who do not intend to practice but who wish to avoid revocation may wish to consider joining the Inactive class. For more information, please see the Reinstatement and Changing from Inactive to Active Practice Policy.

Non-practising Opticians: Registered Opticians who have renewed their certificate but signed an undertaking not to practice will need to demonstrate currency in order to maintain their Registered Optician certificate. Opticians who do not meet the currency requirements may wish to consider joining the Inactive Class. For more information, please see the Currency Policy.

More Flexible Administrative Requirements: Under the new regulation, certain administrative requirements will be moved out of the regulation and into by-law or policy. This will give the College greater flexibility over things like:

  • The annual renewal deadline
  • Requirements relating to professional liability insurance 
  • Details relating to badges, decals and photographs, etc.

Intern Opticians

Supervision: Intern Opticians will be permitted to dispense under the supervision or direction of Registered Optometrists and Registered Physicians, in addition to Registered Opticians.

Annual Renewal: Intern Opticians will no longer need to renew their certificate of registration on an annual basis. Rather, certificates will remain valid for up to three years, or until the Intern is issued a certificate in another class of registration. 

Examination Attempts: Intern Opticians will continue to have three attempts (or three years) to pass the National Examinations, after which they must complete upgrading measures before attempting the exams again. As of July 1, 2024, Intern Opticians who fail the exams a fourth time will be required to complete a fresh opticianry program before being eligible to attempt the exams again. 

Students and Entry-to-Practice Requirements

Education : The College will now have the ability to directly approve Canadian opticianry education programs for the purposes of meeting registration requirements. Previously, only those colleges listed as a schedule to the Regulation were considered as “approved” and all other programs could only qualify as equivalent.

Practicum: The College will now have the ability to define, through policy, the practical experience components that will be necessary to meet entry-to-practice requirements. A Practicum Policy was approved by the College in June 2023 and will come into effect on July 1, 2024. For now, the policy mirrors the practical experience requirements in the current regulation. In the coming months, the College will be working with education programs and other system partners to review the current requirements and plan future changes. 

Student Registration: Effective July 1, 2024, the Registered Student class of registration will be eliminated. This registration class, which is currently optional and rarely used, was determined to no longer be necessary in light of COO-recognized identification provided by approved opticianry education programs. All certificates of registration in the Student class will be automatically cancelled as of July 1, 2024. 

PLAR Eligibility: Eligibility for applicants to access the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process will be expanded under the new regulation to include graduates of any unaccredited opticianry program outside of Ontario. 

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