• COVID-19 & Optometry Care
    Information for patients and optometrists:
    Read More
  • Registration FAQ


    Approximately how long will the whole registration process take?

    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 and become registered with the College in less than one year.

    How long is my application for registration valid?

    Applications for registration are valid for a maximum of two years (24 months) from the date the application is received by the College. The two-year application period automatically ends when you have successfully completed the requirements for registration. The two-year timeline is provided only to give applicants adequate time to complete the registration requirements, not to allow successful applicants to delay the date they register. It is important to note that, regardless of the two-year application period, the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination must be successfully completed within 12 months of applying for registration.

    Who can I ask to notarize my documents? Is a signature enough on the back of my photograph?

    A notarized copy of a document or photograph is one that has been reviewed by a Notary Public who has stamped the copy or photograph with his/her seal and then signed and dated it. A notarized copy is a legal copy of your original document.

    When should I submit my Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing?

    Applicants who are registered to practise in another Canadian jurisdiction must submit a Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing. It may be submitted at any time during the application process, unless the applicant is applying under labour mobility provisions, in which case it must be submitted either with the application or shortly thereafter. However, it must be dated within six months of the applicant becoming registered. If you take more than six months to become registered after submitting a Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing, an updated Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing will be required to complete your application.

    Is it possible to have my "good standing" status checked online by the College?

    No. A Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing must be sent to the College directly from the issuing body (the regulator) and must be dated no more than six months before your Certificate of Registration is issued and activated.

    When should I apply for my OHIP billing number?

    You may apply for your billing number after your Certificate of Registration is issued and activated.

    What happens if the requirements for registration change after I've submitted my application?

    If the Registration Committee implements a new policy that affects applicants for registration, an individual who has already submitted an application for registration will be informed of the change and would generally be permitted to complete their application under the policies that were in effect at the time their application was submitted, or under the new policies, whichever is least onerous. However, if there is a change to the Registration Regulation that affects applicants for registration, it will apply to all applicants regardless when they submitted their application form.

    What type of ACOE programs are accepted by the College?

    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.

    If I complete all of the registration requirements, can I expect to start working immediately as an optometrist in Ontario?

    No. After completing the registration requirements, you will need to complete various administrative tasks such as filling out College forms and sourcing professional liability insurance, which is a requirement of our by-laws. A variety of insurance companies sell this insurance. The OAO also offers a professional liability insurance plan to its members. Accordingly, you need to build in enough time before you can start working as an optometrist in Ontario.

    When is a practice assessment or evaluation conducted by the Registration Committee?

    An applicant for registration is referred for a practice assessment or practice evaluation if it has been more than three years since they successfully completed the entry-to-practice examination. In some cases, an applicant may have to undergo both processes to ensure they are competent to practise optometry in Ontario in accordance with the standards of practice.

    The College receives many applications from optometrists working in jurisdictions outside of Canada. In the case of international applicants:

    • Applicants from jurisdictions with similar standards of practice as Ontario undergo a practice assessment.
    • Applicants from jurisdictions where standards of practice are not similar to those in Ontario undergo a practice evaluation.

    The Registration Committee is often unable to determine an applicant’s competence using the results of a practice assessment alone. Therefore, to avoid having an applicant incur the costs and additional time associated with two processes, it is recommended that the applicant undergo a practice evaluation at the onset.

    If the applicant is found to have deficiencies, the Registration Committee may make recommendations for the applicant to meet the standards of practice set in Ontario.

    Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam

    How do I register for the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam?

    Submit a completed Application for a Certificate of Registration, all required documents and a cheque for the application fee made payable to the College of Optometrists of Ontario. You will be registered for the immediate next administration of the Jurisprudence Exam unless you contact the College and let us know that you would like to challenge the exam at a later administration.

    Where and how often is the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam administered?

    The exam is now being offered online only. Exam dates are listed on the College website calendar.

    Do I have to complete the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence seminar?

    Successful completion of the online seminar is required before you can be confirmed to challenge the online exam.

    How long does it take to get the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam results?

    Jurisprudence results are reported within 4 weeks of each exam administration. Results are reported on a pass/fail basis.

    What happens if I fail the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam?

    If you fail the exam, you must arrange to take it again at another administration and pay the applicable fee. It is a requirement of registration that an applicant successfully complete the Jurisprudence examination within one year (12 months) of applying for registration. If you do not pass the exam within this timeframe you may submit a new application for registration and pay the applicable fee.

    Can I take the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam before I graduate from my optometry program?

    The College will accept an application before you graduate from an approved program provided you include a letter from the institution confirming your expected graduation date. Once you have graduated, you must provide the College with a notarized copy of your degree certificate.

    I passed Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam three years ago but did not get registered with the College, do I have to take it again?

    Yes. An applicant must successfully complete the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam within one year (12 months) of applying for registration.

    Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check

    What is a Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check?

    The VS check is a process that verifies whether an individual has a criminal record, as well as any record suspensions (formerly pardons) 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.

    Why do I have to get a VS check?

    As part of the registration process, applicants must submit a Vulnerable Sector (VS) check to ensure they have not been found guilty of any criminal offence in any jurisdiction, or an offence under the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and the Food and Drugs Act. A police record check with VS screening is required as registered optometrists may work with vulnerable person(s) such as minors or elderly patients (i.e., those who are dependent on others, or may be at greater risk than the general population of being harmed by a person in a position of authority.)

    Applicants must provide a VS check from:

    • their current jurisdiction
    • any past jurisdiction(s) where they have practised.

    Where do I go to get the VS check done? How much will it cost and how long will it take?

    Contact your local police department or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police regarding the process and fees involved in obtaining a VS check.

    Do I need to submit my fingerprints for the VS check?

    Please check with your local police department or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police regarding the submission of fingerprints.

    Can I get a VS check if my name has changed?

    Yes. The VS check must be requested under your current name as well as any former or maiden names.

    How recent should the VS check be?

    The results of the VS check must be dated no earlier than six months before the date you become registered. For example, if you complete all of the requirements for registration on September 1, the results of your VS check must be dated on or after March 1 of that same year. If you provide a VS check and then take longer than six months to complete the other requirements for registration, you will be required to submit an updated VS check to complete your application for registration.

    How do I submit the results of the VS check?

    The results of the VS check must be submitted to the College directly from the police or in the sealed envelope provided to you by the police.