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  • Continuing Education and OE TRACKER FAQs

    1. What are the CE requirements for the current CE cycle?

    The current CE cycle runs from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023. 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.

    2. What is COPE?

    The Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) was created by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) to accredit continuing education on behalf of optometric licensing boards. For more information, visit the COPE website here.

    3. Why am I required to complete COPE-accredited CE?

    After extensive review of the COPE accreditation process, the College is confident that COPE accredited CE would ensure Ontario optometrists are participating in high-quality and meaningful CE:

    • COPE is a recognized accreditation program for optometric CE courses;
    • CE providers are required to meet COPE accreditation criteria, which include:
      • incorporating into CE activities the educational needs (knowledge, competence, or performance) that underlie the professional practice gaps of their learners;
      • generating activities/educational interventions that are designed to change competence, performance, or patient outcomes as described in its mission statement; and
      • analyzing changes in learners (competence, performance, or patient outcomes) achieved as a result of the overall program’s activities/educational interventions;
    • COPE Standards for Commercial Support ensure independence in CE activities; and
    • COPE has been deemed substantially equivalent to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®), which accredits organizations that provide continuing medical education (CME) for physicians. COPE has adopted the ACCME accreditation criteria.

    4. How do I know if a CE course is COPE-accredited?

    A COPE-accredited course must have both:

    1. a valid COPE Course ID number; AND
    2. a valid COPE Activity/Event ID number.

    To confirm whether a CE course is COPE-accredited:

    1. Visit the ARBO website here
    2. Enter the Course Title or COPE ID #
    3. Click Search
    4. If the CE course does not appear in the search results, then it is not COPE-accredited
    5. If the CE course appears in the search results, you must ensure that it meets the following requirements:
      1. It has a COPE Course ID number (red circle in the example below)
      2. It has the “COPE Events approved to present this course” statement and the COPE Event ID number (purple circle in example below)
      3. The COPE Course ID number and the COPE Event ID number match those associated with the CE course you would like to take
    6. Contact ARBO directly for more information.  Pop up box titled COPE Course Search showing where to located COPE ID number

    5. How do I search for COPE-accredited CE?

    To search for COPE-accredited CE:

    1. Visit the ARBO website here.
    2. You may search by any field. For example:
      • You may search by a particular subject, or leave as “Any Subject” and all subjects will appear in the search results
      • There are two different online formats:
        • online_enduring” is defined as: webcast, podcast, video, journal, website, written or other format that provides one-way content to the audience without immediate interaction with the instructor.  There is not just one time on one day to participate in the activity, rather, the participant determines when he/she participates.
        • online_inter” is defined as:  webinar, video conference, teleconference, or other format that allows for immediate interaction and feedback between the audience and the instructor.  Once the event has taken place, learners may no longer participate in that activity.
    1. Ensure the course has a COPE Course ID number AND a COPE Event ID number.

    6. What are other learning opportunities?

    Other learning opportunities give optometrists a wider range of options and the opportunity to make flexible selections that suit their learning needs and practice. Accepted learning opportunities and their CE credit hour calculations are listed on pages 2-3 of the CE policy.

    7. How do I submit COPE-accredited CE to OE TRACKER?

    A participation verification certificate must be issued for COPE-accredited CE activities. Some CE providers send attendance information directly to OE TRACKER. Otherwise, you must submit your own CE certificates (PDF or JPG format) to OE TRACKER. For more information on how to submit to OE TRACKER, visit the College website here.

    8. How do I submit other learning opportunities to OE TRACKER?

    After completing each learning opportunity, you must complete the Other Learning Opportunities Form and submit it to OE TRACKER. A participation verification certificate is NOT required for other learning opportunities, only this form would suffice. For more information on how to submit to OE TRACKER, visit the College website here.

    No more than 20 hours per CE cycle may be obtained through other learning opportunities.

    9. What topics would be reasonably related to ocular disease and management or related to systemic disease?

    Refer to Section B “Ocular Disease” and Section C “Related Systemic Disease” of the COPE Course Categories for examples of topics that would qualify as reasonably related to ocular disease and management or related systemic disease.

    10. Is online CE accepted?

    For the current CE cycle, all CE credits may be obtained online.

    11. Do Sally Letson Symposium, Annual McMaster Inter-Professional Forum for Eye Health and Vision Care, and the University of Toronto Walter Wright Symposium qualify as CE?

    Yes, they would qualify as other learning opportunities; specifically, organized events. You may claim hour-for hour. For example, if you completed a one-hour (60 mins) course, then you may claim one CE credit hour.

    12. I prepared and gave lectures to regulated health professionals. How do I know if they qualify as CE?

    To qualify as other learning opportunities, the lectures must be prepared and given to regulated health professionals for their primary continuing education or regulated health professionals in training education at a Canadian or American accredited school.

    Lectures presented outside of these schools would not qualify as CE.

    If a faculty member prepares and gives lectures to regulated health professionals as part of their appointment, they may claim CE credit hours either for their faculty appointment or lectures prepared and given to regulated health professionals, but not both.

    Each lecture may be counted one time only.

    13. What is a refereed optometric, ophthalmologic, or medical journal?

    A refereed journal has a formal peer review process where articles are reviewed by several other experts in the field (“peers”) before they are published in the journal. A refereed journal is also called a peer-reviewed journal. You can find this information on the journal’s website. For example, the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology (CJO) would qualify as a refereed journal as it publishes original, peer-reviewed ophthalmology and vision science articles.

    14. How do I set up my online OE TRACKER account?

    Contact ARBO to receive your OE TRACKER number and to set up your online account. Be sure to confirm with ARBO that you are a member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario.

    15. Do I have to submit ALL of my CE credit hours to OE TRACKER?

    Yes, you must submit all of your CE credit hours (both COPE-accredited and other learning opportunities) 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 documents to OE TRACKER, you must indicate the number of CE credit hours and whether the CE credits qualify as COPE-accredited or other learning opportunity. For more information on how to submit to OE TRACKER, visit the College website here.

    16. Some CE credits are not marked as COPE or Other Learning. How do I update that?

    All of the CE credits that you are using to meet your mandatory CE requirements must be marked as COPE or Other Learning in OE TRACKER. Submit your request to change or update the COPE and Other Learning categories directly to OE TRACKER at arbo@arbo.org. It will take 2 weeks before the changes are reflected in the account.

    17. Can the College confirm whether I have met my CE requirements?

    The College will not review individual optometrist’s CE credits to confirm whether they have met their CE requirements. Instead, it is the optometrist’s responsibility to claim only credit hours that qualify as CE as per the College’s CE Policy. You must ensure that your CE hours are up to date in your OE TRACKER profile by the end of the current CE cycle.

    The College will perform a deficiency audit at the conclusion of this three-year reporting cycle. The deficiency audit identifies those who fail to meet the CE hour requirement.

    18. Do I have to pay the subscription fee for OE TRACKER?

    For the current CE cycle (January 1, 2021–December 31, 2023), the College will be paying the OE TRACKER subscription fees for all optometrists. Payments made by optometrists for OE TRACKER may not be refundable.

    19. What about new registrants?

    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.

    Newly registered optometrists during the current cycle will be required to complete a prorated number of hours based on their registration year as follows:

    Year of Registration Total Hours COPE Accredited Hours (*) Other Learning Opportunities Hours
    2021 47 34 (14) 13
    2022 24 17 (7) 7
    2023 No requirement No requirement No requirement

    *Number of COPE accredited hours that must be in topics reasonably related to ocular disease and management or related systemic disease

    20. What about non-practising optometrists?

    Both practicing and non-practicing optometrists in Ontario must meet the CE requirements as per the College’s CE Policy.

    21. Can I carry over CE credits to the next CE cycle?

    No, there is no carrying over of CE credits to the next CE cycle.

    22. Do I have to report my CE hours during annual renewal?

    No, you are not required to report your CE hours during annual renewal. OE TRACKER is completely independent of the annual renewal process. If your OE TRACKER hours are not up to date, this will not affect your ability to renew your membership. However, you must ensure that your hours are up to date in your OE TRACKER profile by the end of the current CE cycle.

    23. How many CE credit hours do I get for completing the elearning module, 'Eye Consent – The Optometrist’s Guide to Informed Consent'? Does the College submit the credit hours to OE TRACKER directly?

    Optometrists can complete the module once per CE cycle and will receive one other learning opportunity CE credit hour.

    The College will send the CE credit hours information directly to OE TRACKER quarterly. For example, optometrists who completed the elearning module between January 1 and March 30, 2021 will see their CE credit hour uploaded to their OE TRACKER accounts in April 2021. Optometrists who completed the elearning module between April 1 and June 30, 2021 will see their CE credit hour uploaded to their OE TRACKER accounts in July 2021.

    24. Do I get CE credit hours for completing the mandatory elearning module, 'Professionalism, Ethical Decision Making and the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Patients'?

    No, you will not be able to claim CE credit hours for completing the elearning module.

    25. I am a CE provider. How do I get my coursese accredited/approved?

    The College does not accredit/approve individual CE activities and providers. Instead, it is the optometrist’s responsibility to claim only credit hours that qualify as CE as per the College’s CE Policy.

    If you are a CE provider wishing to get COPE accreditation, click here for information on how to get a course COPE-qualified and click here for information on how to get an activity/event COPE-accredited. A COPE-qualified course presented at a COPE-accredited activity/event would qualify as COPE-accredited CE. Contact ARBO directly for more information.