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Internationally Educated or a Graduate of an Unaccredited Opticianry School In Canada

This applies to you if you have completed education related to opticianry in Canada or internationally at an institution that has not been accredited by the College of Opticians of Ontario.

You may be eligible for the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) if, as a result of work experience, you possess the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully pass the national examinations.

To determine whether your knowledge and skill level meet the requirements of the core competencies  of the profession, your application and supporting documents will be directed to the Registration Committee for assessment. The Registration Committee will apply the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process to assess the application. PLAR is a process used by the College in order to ensure fair credential and qualification assessment.

To apply to the College for a review of your qualifications, please complete the PLAR Application Form, and submit the following:

  • Notarized copies of your proof of identity and employment eligibility documents;
  • Completed Verification of Dispensing Experience Form;
  • Completed previous Registration Form;
  • A letter from your employer which includes the following:
    • Name of employer
    • Full mailing address of employer
    • Start and end date of employment
    • Your job duties
    • Approximate number of hours of actual dispensing experience (lab work is not eligible)
    • Number of eyeglass and contact lens fittings you have completed
  • Resume detailing your work experience as it relates to opticianry;
  • Transcript of your opticianry-related education and a copy of your degree or diploma. If you completed your education outside of Canada, you are also required to submit a credential assessment report from World Education Services (WES)
  • If your program was not conducted in English or French, proof of language proficiency is required. The College accepts the results of several examinations for language proficiency, in accordance with the Language Proficiency Policy
  • If you have completed any exams related to opticianry, proof of exam completion; and
  • Committee Review Fee.

If you are unable to provide any of the documents outlined above, please explain why in writing. The Committee will review your reasons and may request additional information or documentation. Incomplete applications without a written explanation will not be put before the Committee.

After the initial assessment of the documents you have submitted, you will be asked to undergo an assessment process called a Competency Gap Analysis (CGA). The CGA is a multiple-choice assessment that is based on the National Competencies for Canadian Opticians. The CGA consists of two sections: Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses. For more information on the CGA, visit the website for the National Alliance of Canadian Optician Regulators

When the assessment process is complete, NACOR will provide the College with your CGA results, and your application and results will be reviewed by the Registration Committee. You will be directed to do one of the following:

Regardless of the decision, you will be provided with a letter explaining how the Committee reached its decision about your individual case.

Fair Credential and Qualification Assessment

PLAR was developed in order to ensure that all applications from unaccredited institutions are treated fairly. The following are the PLAR process objectives:

  1. Accessibility – All applicants will have reasonable access to PLAR.
  2. Fairness – PLAR procedures and practices are clear, consistent, objective, timely and equitable to all applicants.
  3. Consistency – Procedures, practices and fees for similar cases are consistent.
  4. Transparency – PLAR procedures and processes are readily available, comprehensive and clear.
  5. Accountability – The College of Opticians of Ontario is responsible for maintaining high quality and integrity of PLAR practices. An appeal process is available for all PLAR decisions.


Registration department or Committee decisions can be appealed to the College’s Registration Appeal Panel (RAP), and further to the Health Professions Review and Appeal Board (HPARB). Applicants choosing to appeal will not be subject to any repercussions from the College.

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