Optometrists who wish to practise in Ontario are required to register with the College. To register, you must meet the requirements set by the College. In this section, you’ll find information about the registration process for both North American and internationally educated graduates.

Registration

If you wish to apply for registration in Ontario and require accommodation for special needs, or would like to communicate in French, the College would be pleased to accommodate you. Contact the College by email or by phone at 416-479-9295 or toll-free at (833) 402-4819.

Si vous désirez appliquer pour obtenir un permis en vue d’être autorisé à exercer l’optométrie en Ontario, ou vous avez des besoins spéciaux ou aimeriez communiquer en français, le Collège se fera un plaisir de vous accommoder. Contactez nous par couriel ou tel 416-479-9295 ou sans frais au (833) 402-4819.

The following flow charts illustrate the application process for:

General Certificate Button
Academic Certificate Button

To help applicants with the process, here is a list of all the documents required for registration, including acceptable variations, and a list of College fees

Applicants are encouraged to contact the College to determine if there are acceptable registration requirements. For example, there may be acceptable variations in the documents required for Registration. Please feel free to contact the College at:

65 St. Clair Avenue East, Suite 900, Toronto, ON M4T 2Y3

Main  416-479-9295

Toll-Free  (833) 402-4819

registration@collegeoptom.ca

All required supporting documents, or their acceptable variations, are retained by the College unless the applicant wishes to terminate the application process at which time the documents are returned to the applicant and no copies are kept at the College.

If you wish to practise optometry in Ontario you must hold a General Certificate of Registration issued by the College of Optometrists of Ontario. If you have a full-time faculty appointment at a university or in an optometric educational facility in the Province of Ontario approved by the College of Optometrists of Ontario and you are required to practise optometry in the course of your employment, you must be a member of the College and may apply for an Academic Certificate of Registration.

The Registration Regulation sets out the requirements for the issuance of a Certificate of Registration.

Initially, the Registrar considers each application for registration. If the Registrar is satisfied that all of the registration requirements have been met, the applicant is issued a Certificate of Registration. If the Registrar has doubts about whether or not the applicant meets the requirements for registration, or if the Registrar intends to refuse the application or to attach terms, conditions or limitations to the Certificate of Registration, the application is referred to the Registration Committee. The applicant has the right to submit a written submission for the Committee’s consideration with respect to their application.

If the applicant is not satisfied with the Registration Committee’s decision, he or she may request an appeal of the decision before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board in the form of either an oral hearing or a document review. The Board’s decision may be further appealed to the Divisional Court.

Timelines

Detailed information regarding timelines is included in each application package. Applications for registration are open for two years from the date they are received by the College. Most applicants are able to complete the application process in less than one year. The College communicates in detail with applicants throughout the application process, confirming when requirements are met and/or are still outstanding at each step of the process. It may take up to 10 business days to finalize registration following receipt of the pro-rated membership fee as well as all required administrative forms.

Related FAQs

  • Applications for registration are open for a maximum of two years from the date they are received by the College. Most applicants are able to complete the application process and become registered with the College in less than one year.

  • Applications for registration are valid for a maximum of two years (24 months) from the date the application is received by the College. The two-year application period automatically ends when you have successfully completed the requirements for registration. The two-year timeline is provided only to give applicants adequate time to complete the registration requirements, not to allow successful applicants to delay the date they register. It is important to note that, regardless of the two-year application period, the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination must be successfully completed within 12 months of applying for registration.

  • A notarized copy of a document or photograph is one that has been reviewed by a Notary Public who has stamped the copy or photograph with his/her seal and then signed and dated it. A notarized copy is a legal copy of your original document.

  • Applicants who are registered to practise in another Canadian jurisdiction must submit a Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing. It may be submitted at any time during the application process, unless the applicant is applying under labour mobility provisions, in which case it must be submitted either with the application or shortly thereafter. However, it must be dated within six months of the applicant becoming registered. If you take more than six months to become registered after submitting a Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing, an updated Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing will be required to complete your application.

  • No. A Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing must be sent to the College directly from the issuing body (the regulator) and must be dated no more than six months before your Certificate of Registration is issued and activated

  • You may apply for your billing number after your Certificate of Registration is issued and activated.

  • If the Registration Committee implements a new policy that affects applicants for registration, an individual who has already submitted an application for registration will be informed of the change and would generally be permitted to complete their application under the policies that were in effect at the time their application was submitted, or under the new policies, whichever is least onerous. However, if there is a change to the Registration Regulation that affects applicants for registration, it will apply to all applicants regardless when they submitted their application form.

  • For applicants who graduated from optometry programs accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), the onus is on the applicant to ensure that the ACOE program is a fully accredited optometry program by contacting ACOE directly. Programs with a preliminary or conditional accreditation are not acceptable for registration with the College.

  • No. After completing the registration requirements, you will need to complete various administrative tasks such as filling out College forms and sourcing professional liability insurance, which is a requirement of our by-laws. A variety of insurance companies sell this insurance. The OAO also offers a professional liability insurance plan to its members. Accordingly, you need to build in enough time before you can start working as an optometrist in Ontario.

  • An applicant for registration is referred for a practice assessment or practice evaluation if it has been more than three years since they successfully completed the entry-to-practice examination. In some cases, an applicant may have to undergo both processes to ensure they are competent to practise optometry in Ontario in accordance with the standards of practice.

    The College receives many applications from optometrists working in jurisdictions outside of Canada. In the case of international applicants:
    • Applicants from jurisdictions with similar standards of practice as Ontario undergo a
    practice assessment.
    • Applicants from jurisdictions where standards of practice are not similar to those in Ontario undergo a practice evaluation.

    The Registration Committee is often unable to determine an applicant’s competence using the results of a practice assessment alone. Therefore, to avoid having an applicant incur the costs and additional time associated with two processes, it is recommended that the applicant undergo a practice evaluation at the onset.

    If the applicant is found to have deficiencies, the Registration Committee may make recommendations for the applicant to meet the standards of practice set in Ontario.