Council met virtually on December 4, 2020 for the last scheduled meeting of the year, where President Dr. Patrick Quaid thanked two outgoing members for their service:
- Dr. Chris Nicol, who has been part of the College Council for 15 years and has served in a variety of roles, including President, Vice-President, and Interim Registrar.
- Dr. Marta Witer, who has served on numerous committees, most recently on the Strategic Planning Committee, which saw the development of the College’s new three-year strategic plan.
In addition, Council approved several key items that inform College work, including the new Continuing Education (CE) Policy, a fund to support the Internationally Graduated Optometrist Evaluating Examination (IGOEE), and approving the 2021 College Budget.
The next three-year CE cycle runs from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023. Council approved a new CE Policy that amends the types of CE and hours required.
Optometrists are still required to complete 70 CE credit hours in every three-year cycle, however, the breakdown of those hours has changed as follows:
- 50 hours of Category A (20 hours of which must be lecture-based in topics reasonably related to oculate disease and management or related systemic disease)
- 20 hours of Category A or B CE activities
- 50 hours of COPE-accredited (20 of which must be in topics reasonably related to ocular disease and management or related systemic disease); optometrists may claim 30 COPE-equivalent hours during the cycle a Fellowship or Diplomate is awarded
- 20 hours of COPE-accredited or other learning opportunity, which give optometrist a wider range of options and the opportunity to make flexible selections that suite their learning needs and practice.
Council also approved a fund to help sustain the Internationally Graduated Optometrist Evaluating Examination (IGOEE). The IGOEE was implemented in 2015 and serves as the evaluating exam for internationally educated optometrists. Those who perform well on the IGOEE can bypass the bridging program, which is being discontinued by the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. In the absence of the bridging program, the IGOEE provides a path to registration for internationally graduated students, however, Touchstone Institute can only maintain the IGOEE on a cost-recovery basis and registration has been declining.
This fund will be only accessible to Touchstone Institute if candidate registrations fall below the required break-even number, for as long as the IGOEE is administered, and it will be re-evaluated on an annual basis.
Upcoming council Meetings
Council will be holding an Annual General Meeting on January 22, 2021 to hold the Executive Committee elections and approve the 2021 committee appointments. Council has four additional scheduled meetings for 2021:
- March 26
- June 18
- September 17
- December 10