College Council met on Wednesday, April 6, 2017. Here are some highlights:
Optometry Examining Board of Canada
Council heard a presentation from representatives of the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC) (formerly CEO-ECO). Tami Hynes, Chief Executive Officer of OEBC, and Dr. Carolyn Acorn, Chair, gave an overview of OEBC’s history, governance structure, and strategic goals. They also spoke about the new OEBC entry-to-practice exam, which consists of a written component and an OSCE (objective, structured, clinical exam). The exam will be administered for the first time this spring; they believe it will offer applicants a more comprehensive and standardized assessment of their skills.
Treasurer’s Report: College Produces Operating Surplus for 2016
College auditors Radvany Jurina Cleary Associates LLP visited Council to present the 2016 audited financial statements. The College ended the year with a modest operating surplus. Once approved, the statements will be published on our website and in our 2016 annual report.
Circulation: A Proposal to Appoint All Public Members to the Discipline Committee
Council approved circulation of a proposed amendment to the College by-laws that would appoint all public members to the Discipline Committee. This proposal is a result of an increasing number of referrals to the Discipline Committee and the consequent difficulty in assembling panels.
The circulation is available on our website. Your feedback, as always, is encouraged and valued.
New Policy: Practising Members with Insufficient Practice Hours
The Quality Assurance Committee has drafted a new policy for practising members who fail to provide at least 750 hours of direct optometric care to patients in Canada in any given three-year period. The new policy requires that members who have provided less than 750 hours of optometric care to patients in Canada be required to complete a practice assessment at their own cost, while members who have provided zero hours will be required to complete a practice evaluation at their own cost and comply with any orders of the Quality Assurance Committee. The purpose of this policy is to establish a fair process for optometrists that also protects the public by ensuring members’ skills are current and up to date.
Approved for Submission: Changes to the Registration Regulation
After reviewing feedback from January’s stakeholder consultation, Council approved for submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care a number of changes to the Registration Regulation. If approved by the Ministry, these changes would add a good character clause and a non-practising status provision. They would also change certain registration requirements for the Academic Certificate of Registration.
Update on Bill 87, Protecting Patients Act
College Registrar Dr. Paula Garshowitz gave an update on Bill 87, which was introduced last year by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to enhance patient protection and prevent the sexual abuse of patients by health-care practitioners. The bill proposes significant changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Health Professions Procedural Code. Many of these changes arise from recommendations made by the Sexual Abuse Task Force, and others relate to transparency and increased powers of the Minister. Dr. Garshowitz also outlined some suggestions by the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges (FHRCO) that will help to implement the proposals and ensure the provisions have their intended effect.
The next Council meeting will be held on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at the College office, 65 St. Clair Ave. E., Suite 900, Toronto. Council meetings are open to the public, and members are welcome to attend.