How to Apply for a Certificate of Registration
The College has developed comprehensive application packages that provide detailed information regarding the requirements for registration, the timelines for meeting the requirements, and relevant fees.
For applicants who graduated from optometry programs accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), the onus is on the applicant to ensure that the ACOE program is a fully accredited optometry program by contacting ACOE directly. Programs with a preliminary or conditional accreditation are not acceptable for registration with the College.
The Application Process
In general, the application process is as follows:
Meet the Academic Requirement
Applicants must successfully complete a recognized/approved academic program. This includes the program at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science (UWSO), all programs accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), and any program deemed by the College’s Registration Committee to be equivalent to the program at UWSO. All of the ACOE accredited programs are in North America. As noted above, under the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, applicants who are registered with an equivalent Certificate of Registration in another Canadian jurisdiction who apply for registration in Ontario will be asked to provide an official transcript and a notarized copy of their Doctor of Optometry degree certificate as part of the application package.
Submit an Application Form
To complete your application form:
- print or type all of your answers;
- answer all of the questions that pertain to you;
- provide the College with all the requested documents;
- sign your application and have it witnessed only. Please refer to the detailed application package for more information; and
- submit your completed application form, all required documents 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, you will be informed that you are eligible to sit the Ontario Jurisprudence Examination administered by the College.
Write Your Examinations
You need to contact the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC)—formerly Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO)—for an application to sit the OEBC written exam and OSCE, the entry-to-practice exam for the profession:
Optometry Examining Board of Canada
37 Sandiford Drive, Ste. 403
Stouffville ON L4A 7X5
Phone: (905) 642-1373
Detailed information about the format and content of the exam is available on the OEBC website.
After the exam, OEBC will send you two copies of your performance report – one for your records and one to submit directly to the College of Optometrists of Ontario. It is your responsibility to submit this information to the College. As noted above, under the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, applicants who are registered with an equivalent Certificate of Registration in another Canadian jurisdiction who apply for registration in Ontario are not required to complete the CSAO/CEO-ECO exam. However, they are required to provide a Certificate of Standing directly from the Canadian jurisdiction where they are currently registered.
Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination
The College will send you study material for the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination not less than four weeks before the date of your exam. Here is a link to the electronic version of the study material. The exam is administered only by the College and is held six times annually. Two administrations, one in the spring and one in the fall, are accompanied by a one-day seminar. The other 4 administrations are offered at the College offices without the seminar. You will be notified of the dates and locations and will be permitted to register for the date of your choice. Please note that your application for registration is open for a maximum of 24 months, however the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination must be successfully completed within 12 months of your application being received by the College. The dates for the Jurisprudence Exam are on the calendar located on the College website.
Submit Additional Documents
CPIC Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check
One of the requirements of registration as an optometrist in Ontario is that the applicant must not have been found guilty in relation to a criminal offence in any jurisdiction, or an offence under the Criminal Code (Canada), the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada) and the Food and Drugs Act (Canada).
To provide evidence that an applicant has met this requirement, each applicant must provide a CPIC Vulnerable Sector (VS) check as part of the registration process from the respective jurisdiction in Canada in addition to the jurisdiction(s) in which they practised in the past. This process verifies whether an individual has a criminal record, as well as any record suspensions for sexual offences and local police records for information relevant to the VS check. The information that can be legally disclosed is provided to the applicant. The results of a CPIC VS check must be dated within six months of the applicant becoming registered. If the applicant does not become registered within six months of the date the CPIC VS check results were issued by the police, the applicant will be required to submit an updated CPIC VS check.
Citizenship/Permanent Resident Status/authorization to practice
If you are a Canadian citizen, have a photocopy of your Birth Certificate, Canadian Passport or Citizenship Identification Card notarized and submit it with your application form. If you have Permanent Resident Status or authorization to practise optometry under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, have a photocopy of your Permanent Resident Status or authorization notarized and submit it with your application form. This document must be valid in order for your Certificate of Registration to be issued and activated.
Certificate of Standing
If you have ever been licensed or registered to practise optometry or any other regulated health profession anywhere 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. Applicants must ensure that they download the most recent version of the Certificate of Standing form from the College’s website.
Pay the Membership Fee
The membership year runs from January 1 through December 31. New registrants pay a pro-rated fee for the year in which they become registered. An invoice will be sent to new members when they become registered.
The Registration Decision and Appeals
Initially, the Registrar considers each application for registration. If the Registrar is satisfied that all of the registration requirements have been met, the applicant is issued a Certificate of Registration. If the Registrar has doubts about whether or not the applicant meets the requirements for registration, or if the Registrar intends to refuse the application or to attach terms, conditions or limitations to the Certificate of Registration, the application is referred to the Registration Committee. The applicant has the right to submit a written submission for the Committee’s consideration with respect to their application. If the applicant is not satisfied with the Registration Committee’s decision, he or she may request an appeal of the decision before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board in the form of either an oral hearing or a document review. The Board’s decision may be further appealed to the Divisional Court.
Detailed information regarding timelines is included in each application package. Applications for registration are open for a maximum of two years from the date they are received by the College. Most applicants are able to complete the application process in less than one year. The College communicates with applicants throughout the application process, confirming when requirements are met and/or are still outstanding.
Under the Ontario Labour Mobility Act, applicants who are registered with an equivalent Certificate of Registration in another Canadian jurisdiction who apply for registration in Ontario will be asked to provide a notarized copy of their Doctor of Optometry degree certificate as part of the application package for administrative purposes only. They are required to successfully complete the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam and meet all of the administrative requirements for registration including providing a Certificate of Standing directly from the Canadian jurisdiction where they are currently registered. Applicants must ensure that they download the most recent version of the Certificate of Standing form from the College’s website. These applicants are to have practised the profession of optometry to the extent that would be permitted by a general certificate of registration at any time in the three years immediately before the date of that applicant’s application. If the applicant is unable to do so, he/she must meet any further requirement to undertake, obtain or undergo material additional training, experience, examinations or assessments that may be specified by a panel of the Registration Committee.