Glossary of Terms

Term

Meaning

1000 Hours of Verified Dispensing Experience

To practice opticianry unsupervised, legislation requires that you complete 1000 hours of verified dispensing experience. Verified experience means a Registered Optician, optometrist or physician has confirmed that they personally supervised your dispensing.

During the 1000 hours you are required to complete the following:

  • A minimum of 250 eyeglass fits, of which 100 are multifocal fits and 25 are high myopic or hyperopic fits.
  • A minimum of 20 contact lens fits, of which 5 are rigid gas permeable lenses.
Accredited

Accredited educational institutions have undergone a program assessment to ensure their Opticianry programs are providing the academic knowledge and practical skills which have been determined to meet the standards of the profession required for entry to practice.

Accredited programs are available at the educational institutions listed below:

  • Georgian College
  • Seneca College
  • Collège La Cité
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)
  • Douglas College
  • Stenberg College
  • Oulton College
  • College Communautaire de Nouveau Brunswick
Allegations

Unproven statements indicating that a person or a corporation has done something wrong.

Assessment Process (PLAR)

This procedure consists of a written component as well as an interview. It is used by the Committee to determine the knowledge and skill level in opticianry as well as identify any gaps the applicant may have. 

For assessment costs, please refer to the fee guide. 

Conditions or TCLs (Terms, Conditions and Limitations)

The College may impose conditions on a Registered Optician's right to practice. Terms, conditions or limitations are constraints or restrictions applied to an optician's registration. They generally state that a registrant can practice opticianry, except for what has been specified in the term, condition or limitation.

Controlled Act of Dispensing

The preparation, adaptation and delivery of eye glasses, contact lenses and subnormal vision devices.

Discipline

An optician may be referred to the College's Discipline Committee if there are allegations of professional misconduct, proprietary misconduct, or incompetence against them. The Discipline Committee has the authority to revoke, suspend, or limit a registrant's professional practice, impose a fine, and/or reprimand the optician.

Employment Eligibility

Determined by: Canada Immigration and Citizenship (CIC).

If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, please provide a notarized copy of one of the following:

  • Canadian Passport
  • Canadian Birth Certificate
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate
  • Permanent Resident Card

If you are not a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident, please provide one of the following as proof of your work eligibility:

  • Valid Work Permit*
  • Valid Study Permit**

If you do not possess any of the documents listed above but have other means by which to provide proof of your employment eligibility, please contact the College.

 * Work permits which restrict the individual from working in a health profession will not be accepted.

** A study permit will only be accepted for individuals who are applying for a Student Certificate of Registration.

Entitled to Practice

Opticians in Ontario who have been authorized to provide opticianry services or care to the public, with or without terms, conditions or limitations.

Entry-to-Practice Competencies

Entry-to-practice competencies for opticianry outlines skills and standards required of graduates from an opticianry program. These standards must be met in order to enter the profession and competently practice opticianry in Ontario.  The document also assists opticianry educators in the development of program that meet the changing demands of modern practice.

Incapacitated

Defined under the Health Professions Procedural Code (schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act) as:

"suffering from a physical or mental disorder that makes it desirable in the interest of the public that the member's certificate of registration be subject to terms, conditions or limitations, or that the member no longer be permitted to practice." (Section 1(1)).

Incompetence

Defined under the Health Professions Procedural Code (schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act) as:

"a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment of a nature or to an extent that demonstrates that the member is unfit to continue to practice or that the member's practice should be restricted" (section 52(1)).

ICRC

The Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee of the College.

Interim Order

Can be made by College committees in circumstances that pose a significant and immediate risk to patients. Interim orders are rare. An example of an interim order is,  the Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC) can make an interim order to suspend or limit an optician's practice at any time after it receives a complaint or appoints an investigator to investigate a registrant's professional conduct.

Intern Optician

Is a graduate from an Opticianry program approved by the College, or a person who has applied to become a Registered Optician but is in the process of completing additional training or a specified examination(s). The individual holds an Intern Certificate of Registration with the College. Intern opticians may only dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses and subnormal vision devices under the supervision or direction of a Registered Optician, optometrist or physician who is physically present at the time and place that the dispensing occurs.

Member

A person that is registered with the College as an Optician, Student Optician or Intern Optician.

Also referred to as a Registrant.

NACOR

National Alliance of Canadian Optician Regulators.

Non-Payment of Fees

See term Suspended – Non-payment of fees.

Not Entitled to Practice

Opticians who are not entitled to practice cannot provide opticianry services or care to the public.

Here are some reasons as to why an optician may not be entitled to practice:

  • On a break from practice (e.g. parental leave) 
  • Permanently left practice (e.g. retired or resigned)
  • Forced to stop practice (e.g. as a result of a disciplinary suspension or revocation).

If someone is not entitled to practice, the reason why is stated on their profile.

Notarized

Documents which have been confirmed to be copies of originals by a Notary Public.

In Ontario not every legal professional is a Notary Public. Only those individuals who hold the title Notary Public are legally permitted to notarize documents.

Opticians

Are health professionals trained to supply, prepare and dispense optical appliances, interpret prescriptions prepared by physicians and optometrists, and fit, adjust and adapt optical appliances. In Ontario, the College of Opticians of Ontario regulates Opticians.

In some Canadian jurisdictions, opticians are called Ophthalmic Dispensers.

Optometrists

Are health professionals trained to assess the eye and visual system, sensory and ocular motor disorders and dysfunctions of the eye and the visual system and diagnose refractive disorders. An optometrist can prescribe and dispense corrective devices. In Ontario Optometrists are regulated by the College of Optometrists of Ontario.

Ophthalmologists

Are medical doctors who specialize in eye and vision care. They can diagnose and treat eye disease, provide eye exams, prescribe corrective lenses, prescribe and administer medication and perform surgery. In Ontario, ophthalmologists are regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Oral Caution

Delivered to the registrant in person by a panel of the College's Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC), if there is significant concern regarding an optician's conduct or practice. If not addressed, the optician's conduct or practice could directly impact patient care, safety and public interest.

Passport Style Photo

Once every five years you are required to provide a passport style photograph for your badge identification with your application/renewal for your Certificate of Registration.

The photograph must meet the following requirements:

  • Taken in colour against a white background, and be a true likeness to yourself
  • Taken within six months of the application date
  • Clear, sharp and in focus, showing a full front view of your head and shoulders, with the eyes unobstructed or clearly visible through prescription eyeglasses
  • If submitting the photo by mail, the photo must be signed on the back
Peer and Practice Assessor

A Registered Optician in good standing with the College who conducts on-site practice assessments of the knowledge, skill and judgement of selected opticians in the field. Following the practice assessment, an objective report is produced for the consideration of the Quality Assurance Committee.

PLAR

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition.

A process that allows an applicant who has not completed their education from an accredited Opticianry program to have their knowledge and skills assessed. The results of this assessment will determine whether they are eligible for registration with the College.

Professional Liability Insurance

Is a requirement for every health professional in Ontario. All opticians performing the controlled act of dispensing must possess a policy in the amount of no less than $1,000,000.

You can become personally insured against professional liability either by obtaining your own policy, or being provided with personal insurance through your employer. If you are insured through your employer, you must be insured for every location in which you practice.

Proof of Citizenship

If you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, please provide a notarized copy of one of the following:

  • Canadian Passport
  • Canadian Birth Certificate
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate
  • Permanent Resident Card

If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, please provide one of the following as proof of your work eligibility:

  • Valid Work Permit*
  • Valid Study Permit**

* Please note that work permits that restrict the individual from working in a health profession will not be accepted.

** Please note the study permit will only be accepted for individuals who are applying for a Student Certificate of Registration.

Professional Misconduct

Opticians must adhere to accepted ethical and professional standards of conduct. Generally, professional misconduct is an act or omission that is in breach of these professional standards of conduct. The Opticianry Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act  (RHPA) detail exactly what is considered professional misconduct.

Proof of Graduation

A letter from the educational institution confirming graduation from the program.

Proof of Identity

Acceptable documents include:

  • Driver's license
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate*

 If you do not possess any of the documents listed above, but have other means by which to provide proof of your identity, please contact the College.

* If your name has changed from the name on your birth certificate, please provide a Change of Name Certificate or Marriage Certificate along with your Birth Certificate.

Remediation

The College's Inquiries, Complaints & Reports Committee (ICRC) may direct registrants to complete a remediation program if there is a serious care or conduct concern which requires an optician to upgrade his or her skills. 

When the ICRC directs members to complete remediation, this is also known as a specified continuing education and remediation program (SCERP).

SCERP

is a Specified Continuing Education and Remediation Program that a registrant may be required by a panel of the Inquiries Complaints and Reports Committee to complete following the investigation of a complaint or consideration of a report. SCERPS are educational in nature and are meant to assist opticians  address a concerns or practice issue that was identified by the panel.

Sexual Abuse

Defined under the Health Professions Procedural Code (schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act) as: "a) sexual intercourse or other forms of physical sexual relations between the health professional and the patient; (b) touching of a sexual nature; and (c) behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature." (Section 1(3)).

Student Optician

Is an individual enrolled in an accredited Ontario Opticianry program who holds a Certificate of Registration with the College. Student opticians may dispense eyeglasses, contact lenses and subnormal vision devices under the supervision or direction of a Registered Optician, optometrist or physician who is physically present at the time and place that the dispensing occurs.

Suspended

An optician whose Certificate of Registration has been suspended is not entitled to practice. The suspension may be administrative (see term Suspended - Non-Payment of Fees) or the result of an order by the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee or the Discipline Committee of the College.

Suspended – Non-payment of fees

Opticians in this category are not entitled to practice opticianry. A suspension for non-payment of fees is considered an administrative suspension. An example of this would be an optician who did not pay a fee owing to the College, such as their annual registration fee.

This category can include opticians who are:

  • On a break from practice (e.g. parental leave) 
  • Permanently left practice (e.g. retired or resigned)
TCL

Terms, Conditions and limitations. The College may impose conditions on a Registered Optician's right to practice. Terms, conditions or limitations are constraints or restrictions applied to an optician's registration. They generally state that a registrant can practice opticianry, except for what has been specified in the term, condition or limitation.

Unauthorized Practice

A person who has been practicing opticianry:

  • Without a current Certificate of Registration authorizing the person to do so
  • Without being properly delegated to do so by an Ontario-registered optician
  • and/or a person who has been holding themselves out as an optician in violation of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 or the Opticianry Act, 1991
Undertaking 

A binding and enforceable promise from an optician to the College. An optician may enter into an undertaking to practice opticianry with conditions, or not practice at all, when there is an identified concern about practice.


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