The current CE cycle runs from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017. The College does not approve/accredit individual CE courses; instead, members are responsible for ensuring that their CE activities fall into the appropriate categories. A link to the current CE policy can be found here. The CE Policy outlines the requirements for what constitutes Category A and what constitutes Category B CE.
Members registered in the first year of the three-year cycle, i.e. 2015, must obtain 47 credit hours (a minimum of 34 Category A credit hours is required; the remaining 13 credit hours may be Category A or B). Members registered in the second year, i.e. 2016, of the three-year cycle must obtain 24 credit hours (a minimum of 17 Category A credit hours is required; the remaining 7 credit hours may be Category A or B). Members registered in the third year, i.e. 2017, of the three-year cycle have no requirements to obtain credit hours for the remainder of the cycle.
You may claim only CE credit hours that have been completed following your initial registration with the College. Accordingly, any CE credits that you have obtained prior to being registered with the College cannot be used to meet the requirements for the current CE cycle.
For the current CE cycle, all CE credits may be obtained online. However, only online CE that is COPE-accredited with an examination/quiz at the end would qualify as Category A. COPE-accredited CE is designated with an official COPE course I.D. number and an official COPE event number.
No, you will not be able to claim CE credit hours for completing the elearning module.
No, there is no carrying over of CE credits to the next CE cycle.
Contact ARBO by phone at (866) 869-6852 to set up your online OE TRACKER account. You will need your OE TRACKER number and will need to inform ARBO that you are a member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario.
Yes, you must submit all of your CE credit hours (both Category A and B) to OE TRACKER. Please do not send your CE certificates to the College as the College will not be keeping records of members’ CE certificates.Yes, you must submit all of your CE credit hours (both Category A and B) to OE TRACKER. Please do not send your CE certificates to the College as the College will not be keeping records of members’ CE certificates.
When submitting your CE certificates to ARBO, you must indicate the number of CE credit hours and whether the CE credits qualify as Category A or B. Some CE providers send attendance information directly to ARBO. Otherwise, you must submit your own documents by:
It will take 3–5 business days before the hours are reflected in the account.
All of the CE credits that you are using to meet your mandatory CE requirements must be marked as Category as A or B in OE TRACKER. To change or update the A and B categories, print out a copy of your OE TRACKER transcript, mark the changes you want made to the A and B categories, and email a scanned copy or a picture of the transcript to email@example.com. It will take 2 weeks before the changes are reflected in the account.
No, there is no minimum requirement for COPE-accredited CE credit hours. For auditing purposes, the College will only consider the total number of Category A credit hours and the total number of Category B credit hours completed for the current CE cycle.
Please note that no more than 35 hours per CE cycle may be obtained through Category A equivalencies.
For the current CE cycle and for the upcoming CE cycle (January 1, 2018–December 31, 2020), the College will be paying the OE TRACKER subscription fees for all members.
Optometrists are permitted to practise in a variety of settings, many of which require them to have a written Independent Contractor Agreement (“Agreement”) in place.
The circumstances in which members do NOT need to have an Agreement are the easiest to determine. You do not need an Agreement if you practise:
Ontario Regulation 119/94 also creates an exception so that optometrists who work in hospitals, government, or universities with others are NOT required to have Agreements.
Members practising in almost every other setting MUST have an Agreement in place, including but not limited to the following situations:
The College recommends that members entering into Agreements include the following wording (taken from (O. Reg. 119/94 under the Optometry Act, subsection 4(5) in their contracts):
The parties hereby acknowledge and agree that the optometrist, ___________ (enter name):
Agreements must include:
Agreements cannot include the following:
The College does not have the capacity to approve members’ Agreements. Members are encouraged to ask their own lawyers to review any Agreement prior to signing to ensure it is in compliance with the regulation.
Disclaimer: The independent contractor provisions under the Optometry Act are not necessarily consistent with Canada Revenue Agency’s definition of “independent contractor,” nor were they intended to be. You should consult an accountant for advice on compliance with the CRA in that regard. This document is not intended to provide legal advice; members should consult with their own lawyers for such advice.
Yes. Informational advertising respects patient choice and is permitted. However, advertised promotions must be truthful and verifiable and must not be misleading or presented in such a manner as to demean the integrity of the profession.
Yes and no. Because travel reward points (e.g., Air Miles) confer only a nominal benefit, they would represent an acceptable incentive that may be offered to patients. Conversely, an incentive involving a trip to Miami would surpass this threshold, constituting a benefit under the conflict-of-interest regulation, and may not be offered to patients.
No. Optometrists may not offer or confer benefits for the referral of patients. This does not apply to “benefits of a nominal value,” which means small items or rebates that are not worth more than a few dollars.
Receipts for spectacles should be itemized to include separate values for frames and lenses, for patient information and as a third-party payor (insurance company) would require. However, optometrists may charge retail pricing for spectacles and are free to set their own prices for frames and lenses.
Yes. A prescription must be given to the patient when two requirements are met:
In this case you would have met both requirements because you conducted the exam and a prescription is clinically indicated for the patient, even if nothing has changed. Therefore, you must give the patient a copy of the prescription at the conclusion of the eye exam.
Yes, but not exclusively. Patients should leave your clinic in possession of their prescriptions. A prescription may be written or printed, and handed to the patient on paper. Alternatively, the prescription may be delivered electronically in PDF format to the patient’s smartphone or connected device, if receipt can be verified in office. Optical prescriptions should only be delivered electronically at the request or preference of patients.
You should insist that the patient take the prescription. If they refuse to accept it, then keep the written, signed, and dated copy of the prescription in the patient’s record and let the patient know they can pick it up at any time. You should note in the record that the patient declined the prescription. You should explain to patients that you’re required to give them a copy of their prescription and that it’s in their interests to keep a copy for their records should they need it to replace broken, stolen, or lost glasses.
No. Because the patient visit didn’t involve refractive considerations, no prescription is indicated.
The patient should be given a copy of the prescription after a major (or comprehensive) eye exam and at interim visits whenever a refraction result suggests the prescription needs changing.
No. Although there might be a refractive result (either small or absent), you must write a prescription only where one is clinically indicated.
Appliance-specific information, including the specifications of contact lenses (or “contact lens prescription”), need only be given upon patient request. Once you’ve established that, in your clinical judgment, the contact lens fitting is complete and the fees related to it have been paid in full, you must release the specifications if the patient requests.