How to Apply for a Certificate of Registration
The following is a brief overview of the application process. For full details on the registration process, required documents, timelines, and fees, review our registration information package.
Some steps in this process can happen simultaneously or may precede others depending on time of year and exam schedules. For example, you can submit an application form while writing or prior to writing the Entry-to-Practice exam.
Applications are open for a maximum of two years from the date the College receives them, though most are completed in less than a year. The College confirms with applicants when requirements are met and/or are still outstanding. It may take up to 10 business days to finalize registration following receipt of the pro-rated membership fee as well as all required administrative forms.
The Application Process
To register with the College you must:
- Meet the academic requirement
- a) Write the Entry-to-Practice exam
b) Submit an application form (including application fee and supporting documents)
- Write the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam
- Pay the pro-rated, annual membership fee and complete required administrative forms
1. Meet the Academic Requirement
Applicants must successfully complete a recognized/approved academic program. This includes:
- Doctor of Optometry program at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science;
- Any program accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE); or
- Any program deemed by the College’s Registration Committee to be equivalent to the program at the University of Waterloo. Learn more about the application process for international graduates.
If you are registered in another Canadian jurisdiction, you will be asked to provide an official transcript and a notarized copy of your Doctor of Optometry degree certificate, as well as a Certificate of Standing, as part of the application package.
If you graduated from a ACOE-accredited program, you must ensure it is a fully accredited optometry program. Programs with a preliminary or conditional accreditation are not acceptable for registration with the College.
2. a) Write the Entry-to-Practice Exam
The College currently approves the following entry-to-practice exams:
- the Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry (CACO);
- the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC) written exam and OSCE; or
- National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Exam (all three parts).
Learn more about the Entry-to-Practice exam requirements.
b) Submit an Application Form
Submit your completed, signed, and witnessed application form, all required supporting documents (see below), and a cheque for the application fee made payable to the College of Optometrists of Ontario. The application fee is $474.60 including 13% HST. This includes the fee for writing the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination.
If your form is complete and the required documentation has been received, the College will confirm you are eligible to write the Ontario Jurisprudence Exam.
a) Vulnerable Sector Check
To register as an optometrist in Ontario, you cannot be found guilty of a criminal offence in any jurisdiction, or of an offence under the Criminal Code (Canada), the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada) and the Food and Drugs Act (Canada).
Applicants must submit a Vulnerable Sector (VS) background check for Ontario, as well as any other jurisdiction(s) where they practised in the past. Contact your local police to get a VS check. As per the Toronto Police Service, Toronto applicants must also obtain a consent form from the College.
The VS check must be dated within six months of becoming registered with the College. If you do not register within six months of the VS check, you will have to submit an updated check.
b) Citizenship/Permanent Resident Status/Authorization to Practise
Canadian citizens: submit a photocopy of a Birth Certificate, Canadian Passport, or Citizenship Identification Card with your application form.
Permanent Resident Status (or those authorized to practise optometry under the Immigration and Refugee and Protection Act): submit a photocopy of your Permanent Resident Status or notarized authorization with your application form. This document must be valid (i.e., not expired) for your Certificate of Registration to be issued and activated.
c) Certificate of Standing
If you have ever been licensed or registered to practise optometry or any other regulated health profession outside Ontario, arrange for the licensing body where you practised to complete a Certificate of Standing outlining your current status in that jurisdiction. A Certificate of Standing must be dated no more than six months before your Certificate of Registration is issued.
3. Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination
The College administers the Jurisprudence exam six times a year. You must complete the mandatory online Jurisprudence seminar prior to writing the exam. Access the exam study materials and FAQ.
Once you’ve submitted your registration forms and required documents, the College will confirm when you are eligible to write the Jurisprudence exam and notifty you of upcoming exam dates.
While an application for registration is open for a maximum of 24 months, the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination must be successfully completed within 12 months of the College receiving your application.
4. Pay the Membership Fee
Once your paperwork has been reviewed and you have written the Jurisprudence exam, the College will contact you about submitting your membership fee and required administrative forms.
The membership year runs from January 1 to December 31; new registrants pay a pro-rated fee the year they register.
Registration Decision and Appeals
The Registrar considers each application and, if satisfied that the registration requirements have been met, issues a Certificate of Registration.
If the applicant does not meet the registration requirements; or if the Registrar refuses or attaches terms, conditions, or limitations to the Certificate of Registration, then the application is referred to the Registration Committee and can provide a written submission for the Committee’s consideration. If the applicant is not satisfied with the Committee’s decision, they may request an appeal before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board as either a hearing or a document review. The Board’s decision may be further appealed to the Divisional Court.