Quality Assurance FAQ

Below are answers to common questions related to the College's Quality Assurance (QA) Program.

If your question is not answered here, please feel welcome to contact the Professional Practice department by email to qa@collegeofopticians.ca or by phone to 416-368-3616 ext. 204/205.

 

GENERAL

Where can I find accredited Continuing Education activities?

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Please click here to be directed to the page where you can view the full list of activities accredited by the COO by clicking the large green button displaying “List of COO Accredited Activities”.


Where can I find a list of Continuing Education providers in Ontario?

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Please click here to be directed to the page where you can download this list by clicking the large green button displaying “List of Continuing Education Providers”.


I am a newly registered optician who registered partway through the year. Am I exempt from the program?

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No. You are still required to complete the Quality Assurance (QA) Competency Enhancement tools (Professional Portfolio – Self-assessment, Continuing Education (CE) hours, and Jurisprudence Chapter One: Professional Boundaries and Sexual Abuse Prevention).

Depending on the date you were registered, you may not have to complete all 16 CE hours. Please refer to the prorated CE requirements below to determine how many CE hours you are required to complete in your first year of registration. 

Date Registered Accredited CE Required Non-accredited CE Required
January 1 - March 31 12 hours (100%) - 4 EG, 4 CL, 4 PG 4 hours (100%)
April 1 - June 30 9 hours (75%) - 3 EG, 3 CL, 3 PG 3 hours (75%)
July 1 - September 30 6 hours (50%) - 2 EG, 2 CL, 2 PG 2 hours (50%)
October 1 - December 31 3 hours (25%) - 1 EG, 1 CL, 1 PG 1 hour (25%)

This schedule applies to the first calendar year of registration only. Starting in your second year of registration, you will be required to complete all 16 hours of continuing education.

In addition, newly registered opticians are required to complete Jurisprudence Chapter One: Professional Boundaries and Sexual Abuse Prevention within 12 months of registration and then once every 3 years. 


I have just re-instated my registration as a Registered Optician (RO); am I exempt from the program?

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No. You are still required to complete the QA Competency Enhancement tools (Professional Portfolio – Self-assessment, Continuing Education (CE) hours, and Jurisprudence Chapter One: Professional Boundaries and Sexual Abuse Prevention). You are required to complete these tools within your first calendar year of reinstatement, regardless of when in the year you reinstated.


I am nearing retirement; can I be exempt from the program?

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No. Without exception, all opticians must comply with the QA Program. The College must be able to assure the public that all registered opticians are competent and engage in ongoing learning and professional development. 


I am planning to go on a leave of absence; am I exempt from QA requirements and completing a Portfolio?

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No. All opticians who are registered with the College, practicing or not, must complete the full Professional Portfolio.


What is a Deficient Portfolio Fee and why have I been charged with it?

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A deficient portfolio fee is associated with a professional portfolio which is deficient accredited hours. This fee is in place to accommodate for the additional time and resources used to assess the professional portfolio. This fee must be paid in full to renew your registration annually.


What happens if I am randomly selected to participate in the Competency Review and Evaluation (CRE) process and I do not submit my Professional Portfolio by the due date?

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Registrants who submit their Professional Portfolio after the due date indicated will be charged a late fee of $50.00 +HST.


What happens if my portfolio is assessed by the Quality Assurance Committee?

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The QA Committee reviews incomplete portfolios. If you have not completed all the required components of your Professional Portfolio, the QA Committee will determine what remediation you will need to complete. In addition, if you submit a Professional Portfolio which is deficient in accredited hours, there will be a deficiency fee of $100 +HST applied. 


 

PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO

Am I required to complete a Professional Portfolio every year?

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Yes. All registered opticians (those who have paid their registration fee and hold a certificate of registration with the College) must complete a Professional Portfolio annually. 


What are the Professional Portfolio requirements? 

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•    Competency Self-Assessment
•    Professional Development including accredited and non-accredited continuing education activities
•    Jurisprudence Chapter One: Professional Boundaries and Sexual Abuse Prevention


Am I required to do complete the Self-Assessment every year?

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Yes. The self-assessment is an annual requirement of the professional portfolio and can be completed directly online under the Quality Assurance section of your Registrant Portal. 


How many CE hours must I complete?

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The annual continuing education requirements are:
•    4 accredited Eyeglass (EG) hours
•    4 accredited Contact Lens (CL) hours
•    4 accredited Professional Growth (PG) hours
•    4 non-accredited, self-directed hours

NOTE: Opticians with refracting status are required to complete an additional 2 accredited hours pertaining to refraction (RF).


Can I use expired accredited Continuing Education hours? 

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Expired accredited CE activities are those that are beyond the accreditation period and cannot be used to fulfill your accredited hour categories; however, you can use the time spend on each activity towards your self-directed hours.


What is the difference between Professional Growth (PG) hours and self-directed hours?

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Accredited continuing education activities are those that have been reviewed by the QA Committee to ensure that the content is optician-specific and containing an acceptable amount of eyeglass, contact lens, refracting, or professional growth content. PG is one of the 3 accredited categories (the others being EG and CL), whereas self-directed hours are non-accredited. You can use excess accredited hours towards your self-directed category, but cannot use excess self-directed hours towards the accredited PG category.


What counts as self-directed hours?

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Self-directed hours are unaccredited CE activities that can be described as any activity that supports learning, reinforces current practice, and/or provides new knowledge and/or skill. For examples, please review page 5-6 in the Professional Portfolio Guide.


Why can I no longer use self-directed hours towards the Professional Growth category?

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In 2020, the COO allowed registrants to complete any combination of self-directed hours and PG hours totaling 8 in order to aid with the transition of the new category (PG) for 2020. The COO stated that as of 2021, all registrants need to have 4 PG hours and 4 self-directed hours. 


Am I required to complete hours specific to refraction?

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Only opticians with refraction designation are required to complete 2 additional CE hours specific to refraction.


 

REGISTRANT PORTAL

What is my user ID?

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Your user ID is unique to you. If you have forgotten your unique ID, please click on the “forgot username” link. Please do not try to guess your login information as the system will lock you out after several failed attempts.


Am I required to report accredited continuing education activities through the Registrant Portal?

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Beginning in 2020, it is now mandatory for all registrants to report their accredited CE activities in the Registrant Portal every year by December 31st.


Can my self-assessment and self-directed hours be reported through the Registrant Portal?

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Yes. As of November 2020, registrants are now able to report all components of the Professional Portfolio in the Registrant Portal. Beginning in 2021, all registrants must complete their self-assessment, self-directed hours, and accredited CE hours in the Registrant Portal by December 31st.


How do I upload certificates?

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Complete instructions on how to report your accredited hours and upload your Certificates of Completion are available here. You will need to first report your accredited courses (“Add New Course”) before uploading/attaching the certificate as proof.


What type of file can I upload?

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PDF, JPEG, .DOC, .DOCX are all acceptable file types; however, picture files may be too large to attach (max file size is 980kbs). If you receive an error message about your file being too large to upload, we recommend obtaining the PDF copy of the certificate from the CE Provider.


Can I email or fax my completion certificates?

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No. Your completion certificates must be uploaded to the Quality Assurance section of your Registrant Portal. If you are having difficulty completing this, there are tutorials and instructions here on our website. If you continue to have difficulty, please e-mail or call the Professional Practice department at 416-368-3616 or 1-800-990-9793 ext. 204/205 or email qa@collegeofopticians.ca. 


Can you search a course by name?

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Accredited courses can be located by number only. It is typically located on the completion certificate given by the CE provider. There is a complete list of courses located on our website here if you need to find a course’s accreditation number.


What if I cannot locate a CE course?

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Often the reason you are not seeing the course is that it may be expired (beyond the accreditation period) or not accredited. Please contact the provider of the activity.


Can I change the category of an activity once it has been entered?

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Yes. If an activity has been accredited in multiple categories (e.g., EG/CL/RF) then you may choose any of these categories from the category drop-down menu (select the “Upload Certificate/Update Category” button to change the category of a course you’ve already reported). If you have an issue changing the CE category, or have made an error when entering information, please contact the QA department by phone 416-368-3616 ext 204 or by email to qa@collegeofopticians.ca. 


What if I am having technical issues with the Registrant Portal?

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Please email qa@collegeofopticians.ca with the course number (if applicable), your RO number, and a brief description of the issue you are experiencing.


 

JURISPRUDENCE

How often must Jurisprudence be completed?

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Jurisprudence Chapter One: Professional Boundaries and Sexual Abuse Prevention must be completed within 12 months of registration and then once every 3 years. The remaining chapters are optional and can be completed once every 3 years. All jurisprudence chapters are accredited as Professional Growth activities.


How do I log into Jurisprudence?

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A link to the Jurisprudence Tool can be found in the Quality Assurance section of the Registrant Portal under the Jurisprudence tab or accessed directly by clicking here.


How do I know what my username is for my Jurisprudence account?

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Your jurisprudence portal username is the email address you have provided to the College. If you have updated your email address, you may need to contact the College and have the email address associated with the Jurisprudence Tool updated. If you are having difficulty logging in, please contact the College by phone 416-368-3616 ext. 204, 205, or 231 or by email qa@collegeofopticians.ca. 


 


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