Reporting Obligations

Overview

The College of Opticians of Ontario regulates the practice of opticianry to protect the public interest. While the College does not regulate businesses or eyewear dispensaries, it nevertheless serves an important role in ensuring that the dispensing of prescription eyewear is carried out in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Opticianry Act, and related legislation and regulations.

Under Ontario law, only a registered member of the College of Opticians of Ontario, the College of Optometrists of Ontario, or the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is authorized to dispense prescription eyewear, contact lenses, or subnormal vision devices (Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, s. 27(2)(9)).

Individuals who employ opticians or who own or operate a business that sells or dispenses eyewear must familiarize themselves with their legal obligations under the Regulated Health Professions Act, the Opticianry Act, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, and all related legislation and regulations. Please visit the Legislation page to review.

All individuals who employ opticians or operate an eyewear-related business, should contact a qualified legal professional for advice regarding their legal obligations.


Mandatory & Self-reporting

All regulated health professionals in Ontario, including opticians, are required by law to report certain information to the appropriate agency, whether it be the College of Opticians of Ontario, another health regulatory college, or another agency or regulator. See below for a list of the common types of mandatory and self-reports that opticians must make. The list is not exhaustive and should not be considered legal advice.

Many of these reporting obligations also apply to employers and persons or entities that operate facilities where regulated health professionals work. If you are an optician that owns or operates a business or employs other health professionals, you may have more than one reporting obligation with respect to the same information. For more information about reporting obligations for employers and business owners/facility operators click here.

The purpose of mandatory and self-reports is to ensure that the College has the information it needs to fulfill its public protection mandate and ensure that opticians are practicing safely. The College reviews every report that it receives and assesses what steps should be taken. This may include initiating a formal investigation where appropriate.

The failure by an optician to make a mandatory or self-report may result in serious fines and/or disciplinary action by the College.

If you have a concern that does not fall within any of the reporting obligations listed below, you may still report it to the College or make a complaint. Click here to learn more about making a complaint, or contact the College.


Mandatory Reporting Obligations

Mandatory Reporting of Sexual Abuse

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Who must make a report?

Opticians and anyone who operates a facility where opticians or other regulated health professionals work, including opticians who own or operate a business where other regulated health professionals work.

 

What has to be reported?

A belief, based on reasonable grounds, that another optician or any other regulated health professional sexually abused* a patient**.

The report must include:

  • The name of the member filing the report;
  • The name of the health professional who is the subject of the report;
  • The name of the patient who may have been sexually abused, but only if that patient provides written consent; and
  • An explanation of the alleged sexual abuse.

*Sexual Abuse: Under the legislation, sexual abuse of a patient occurs whenever a health professional:

  • Has physical sexual relations with a patient
  • Touches a patient in a sexual manner
  • Behaves in a sexual way toward a patient (e.g. kissing or hugging in a sexual way)
  • Makes sexual remarks toward a patient  (e.g. sexually suggestive comments or jokes)

**Patient: The definition of "patient" is not exhaustive, but includes at a minimum anyone, including a spouse or intimate partner, that the regulated health professional has a direct interaction with and where any of the following conditions are met:

  • The regulated health professional provides a health care service to the individual and charges or receives payment for that service, whether directly or through a third party
  • The regulated health professional contributes to the individual's health record or file
  • The individual consents to a health care service recommended by the regulated health professional
  • The regulated health professional prescribes a drug for which a prescription is needed to the individual

An individual that meets this definition remains a "patient" for one year after the practitioner/patient relationship is terminated.

Despite the foregoing, however, an individual will not be considered a patient where all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • There is, at the time the health care service was provided, a sexual relationship between the regulated health professional and the individual;
  • The regulated health professional provided the health care service to the individual in emergency circumstances, or the service was minor in nature; and
  • The regulated health professional took reasonable steps to transfer care to another regulated health professional, where such opportunity existed.

Please refer to the Sexual abuse prevention guidelines for more information.

 

When to make the report

The report must be made within 30 days. If, however, the health professional has reason to believe that the member may continue to sexually abuse patients, the report must be filed as soon as possible.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the college that regulates the health professional in question.

If you wish to make a mandatory report to the College of Opticians, please click here.

 

Other Information

The failure by an optician to file a report may result in a fine of up to $50,000 and/or disciplinary action by the college.

The failure by a facility operator to report sexual abuse of a patient may result in a fine of up to $50,000 for an individual or up to $200,000 for a corporation.

Incompetence or Incapacity – Facility Operators

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Who must make a report?

Anyone, including an optician, who operates a facility where regulated health professionals work.

 

What has to be reported?

A belief based on reasonable grounds that an optician or other regulated health professional who practices at the facility is incompetent or incapacitated.

A health professional is considered to be "incompetent" where his or her professional care of a patient displays a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment of a nature or to an extent that demonstrates that the health professional is unfit to continue to practice or should have his or her practice restricted.

A health professional is considered to be "incapacitated" when he or she suffers from a physical or mental disorder that makes it desirable in the interest of the public that his or her certificate of registration be subject to terms, conditions or limitations, or that the health professional no longer be permitted to practice.

The report must include:

  • The name of the person filing the report
  • The name of the health professional who is the subject of the report
  • The explanation of the alleged incompetence or incapacity
  • If the allegations relate to a particular patient, the name of the patient

 

When to make the report

The report must be made within 30 days. If, however, the facility operator has reason to believe that the health professional's incompetence or incapacity is likely to expose patients to harm or injury, then the report must be made as soon as possible.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the appropriate health regulatory college.

If you wish to make a mandatory report to the College of Opticians, please click here.

 

Other Information

The failure of a facility operator to report incompetence or incapacity may result in a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence or up to $50,000 for a second offence. If the facility operator is a corporation, the resulting fine may be up to $50,000 for a first offence, and up to $200,000 for a second offence.

Incompetence or Incapacity – Opticians

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

Opticians are required under their general duty of professionalism and ethics to make a report when they have reasonable grounds to believe that an optician or another regulated health professional is incompetent or incapacitated.

A health professional is considered to be "incompetent" where his or her professional care of a patient displays a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment of a nature or to an extent that demonstrates that the health professional is unfit to continue to practice or should have his or her practice restricted.

A health professional is considered to be "incapacitated" when he or she suffers from a physical or mental disorder that makes it desirable in the interest of the public that his or her certificate of registration be subject to terms, conditions or limitations, or that the health professional no longer be permitted to practice.

 

When to make the report

As soon as reasonably practicable.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the appropriate health regulatory college.

Discipline or Termination of Employment

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Who must make a report?

Anyone, including an optician, who employs opticians or other regulated health professionals.

 

What has to be reported?

You must report the following occurrences:

  • You fire your employee because of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity
  • You revoke, suspend or impose restrictions on the privileges of your employee because of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity
  • You dissolve a partnership, health professional corporation or association because of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity
  • An employee, partner or associate voluntarily resigns or restricts their practice, and you suspect that this action is related to the person's professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, or the voluntary resignation or restriction takes place during the course of an investigation into allegations of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity

A health professional is considered to be "incompetent" where his or her professional care of a patient displays a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment of a nature or to an extent that demonstrates that the health professional is unfit to continue to practice or should have his or her practice restricted.

A health professional is considered to be "incapacitated" when he or she suffers from a physical or mental disorder that makes it desirable in the interest of the public that his or her certificate of registration be subject to terms, conditions or limitations, or that the health professional no longer be permitted to practice.

 

When to make the report

The report must be made within 30 days.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the appropriate health regulatory college.

If you wish to make a mandatory report to the College of Opticians, please click here.

Unauthorized Practice

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

Under the Standards of Practice for Opticians, Opticians are required to report any incident of unauthorized practice to the College. Unauthorized practice is defined as dispensing eyeglasses, contact lenses or sub-normal vision devices without being a registered member of the College of Opticians, the College of Optometrists, or the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

 

When to make the report

As soon as reasonably practicable.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the College of Opticians.

To report unauthorized practice, please use the Unauthorized Practise Form.

Privacy Breaches

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Who must make a report?

Health Information Custodians, including health care practitioners or persons who operate a group practice of health care practitioners.

 

Who does the report get made to?

To one or more of the following parties:

  • The affected individual
  • The College
  • The Information and Privacy Commissioner

 

What has to be reported?
  • A report must be made to the affected individual where there has been a theft, loss or unauthorized use or disclosure of that individual's personal health information. The report must include:
    • Notification of the theft, loss, or unauthorized use or disclosure.
    • A statement that the individual is entitled to make a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.
  • A report must be made to the Information and Privacy Commissioner if the following occurs with respect to personal health information in the custody of a Health Information Custodian:
    • Use or disclosure without authority
    • Stolen information
    • Further use or disclosure without authority after a breach
    • Pattern of similar breaches
    • Disciplinary action against a college member
    • Disciplinary action against a non-member
    • Significant breaches

For more information on reporting to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, click here.

  • A report must be made to the appropriate health regulatory college if any of the following occurs:
    • If you discipline, suspend or fire a health professional because of a privacy breach
    • If you suspend, restrict or end your association with a health professional because of a privacy breach
    • If your employee resigns and you have reasonable grounds to believe the resignation was related to a privacy breach by the employee.
    • If your agent's employment is terminated or suspended, or the agent is subject to disciplinary action as a result of a privacy breach
    • Your agent resigns and you have reasonable grounds to believe the resignation was related to a privacy breach by the agent.

 

When to make the report

Reports to affected individuals and to the Information and Privacy Commissioner must be made as soon as reasonably possible.

Reports to health regulatory college must be made within 30 days.

Child Abuse or Neglect

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Who must make a report?

Anyone, including a person who performs professional or official duties with respect to children.

 

What has to be reported?

A suspicion, based on reasonable grounds, that a child has been abused, is at risk of being abused, or is otherwise in need of protection.

 

When to make the report

Immediately

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the appropriate agency of the Children's Aid Society.


Mandatory Self-reporting Obligations

Professional Misconduct, Incompetence or Incapacity

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

If there has been a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence, incapacity or a similar issue made against you by a body that governs a profession inside or outside of Ontario.

Your report must include:

  • The nature of, and a description of the finding
  • The date the finding was made against you
  • The name and location of the body that made the finding against you
  • The status of any appeal initiated respecting the finding

Please note that your report must not include any information that violates a publication ban.

 

When to make the report

As soon as reasonably practicable after you receive notice of the finding made against you, or after there have been any changes in the status of the finding as a result of an appeal.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the College of Opticians.

Professional Negligence or Malpractice

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

If there has been a finding of professional negligence or malpractice made against you.

Your report must include:

  • The nature of, and a description of the finding
  • The date the finding was made against you
  • The name and location of the court that made the finding against you
  • The status of any appeal initiated respecting the finding

Please note that your report must not include any information that violates a publication ban.

 

When to make the report

As soon as reasonably practicable after you receive notice of the finding made against you, or after there have been any changes in the status of the finding as a result of an appeal.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the College of Opticians.

Charges

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

If you have been charged with an offence.

Your report must include:

  • The nature of, and a description of the charge
  • The date the charge was laid against you
  • The name and location of the court in which the charge was laid
  • The status of any proceedings with respect to the charge

Please note that your report must not include any information that violates a publication ban.

 

When to make the report

As soon as reasonably practicable after you receive notice of the charge, or after there is any change in the status of the charge.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the College of Opticians.

Bail Conditions or Other Restrictions

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

If a court or other lawful authority has imposed conditions or restrictions (such as bail conditions) on you.

Your report must include:

  • The details of any bail conditions or other restrictions imposed on you or agreed to by you in relation to a charge
  • The name and location of the court in which the bail conditions or restrictions were imposed on you or agreed to by you

Please note that your report must not include any information that violates a publication ban.

 

When to make the report

As soon as reasonably practicable after you receive notice of the bail conditions or restrictions, or after there is any change to the bail conditions or restrictions.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the College of Opticians.

Findings of Guilt

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

If you have been found guilty of an offence.

Your report must include:

  • The nature of, and a description of the offence
  • The date you were found guilty of the offence
  • The name and location of the court that found you guilty of the offence
  • The status of any appeal initiated respecting the finding of guilt

Please note that your report must not include any information that violates a publication ban.

 

When to make the report

As soon as reasonably practicable after you receive notice of the finding of guilt, or after there have been any changes as the result of an appeal.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the College of Opticians.

Other Licenses or Registrations

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

If you are registered with any other body that governs a profession inside or outside of Ontario.

Your report must include:

  • The name and location of the governing body
  • Your registration or license number
  • The date you first became registered or licensed.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the College of Opticians.

Changes of Information

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Who must make a report?

Opticians

 

What has to be reported?

Changes to any of the following information:

  • Your name
  • The address and telephone number of your primary residence in Ontario, or if you do not reside in Ontario, the address and telephone number of your primary residence
  • Your business address(es) or business telephone number(s)
  • Your business email address(es) or any other email address previously provided by you to the College

 

When to make the report

Within 30 days.

 

How to make the report

The report must be made to the Registrar of the College of Opticians.


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