How to Apply for a Certificate of Registration
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. North American and internationally educated graduates can review this section for an overview of the application process. For full details on the registration process, required documents, timelines, and fees, review our registration information package.
Applying for a Certificate of Registration During COVID-19
Please refer to Upcoming Events & Important Dates for the schedule of upcoming online Jurisprudence exams. As the exam is being offered on a rolling basis, not all applicants will receive the information at the same time. The College is currently only accepting applications electronically. To register, email email@example.com to receive a secure link where you can upload the required documents. College staff will follow-up with applicants in the future to validate submitted documents (i.e., notarized degree certificates, valid passports, and Vulnerable Sector checks).
Applications are normally open for a maximum of two years from the date the College receives them, however, this period is being extended to accommodate delays experienced by applicants as a result of COVID-19.
The Application Process
To register with the College you must:
- Meet the academic requirement
- Write the Entry-to-Practice exam
- Submit an online application form (including application fee and supporting documents)
- Write the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam
- Pay the pro-rated, annual membership fee and complete required administrative forms. (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.)
Some steps in this process can happen simultaneously or may precede others depending on time of year and exam schedules. For example, you can submit an application form while writing or prior to writing the Entry-to-Practice exam.
You can also submit many of the required documents as they are available. The following flow charts illustrate the application process for:
Applications are open for a maximum of two years from the date the College receives them, though most are completed in less than a year. The College confirms with applicants when requirements are met and/or are still outstanding.
1. Meet the Academic Requirement
Applicants must successfully complete a recognized/approved academic program. This includes:
- Doctor of Optometry program at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science;
- Any program accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE); or
- Any program deemed by the College’s Registration Committee to be equivalent to the program at the University of Waterloo. Learn more about the application process for international graduates.
If you are registered in another Canadian jurisdiction, you will be asked to provide an official transcript or a notarized copy of your Doctor of Optometry degree certificate, as well as a Certificate of Standing, as part of the application package. Learn more about applying for registration in Ontario when practising in another jurisdiction.
If you graduated from an ACOE-accredited program, you must ensure it is a fully accredited optometry program. Programs with a preliminary or conditional accreditation are not acceptable for registration with the College.
2. Write the Entry-to-Practice Exam
The College currently approves the following entry-to-practice exams:
- the Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry (CACO);
- the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC) written exam and OSCE; or
- National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Exam (all three parts).
Learn more about the Entry-to-Practice exam requirements.
3. Submit an Application Form and Supporting Documents
- Application for a General Certificate of Registration
- Application for an Academic Certificate of Registration
Submit your completed, signed, and witnessed application form, all required supporting documents (see below), and application fee made payable to the College of Optometrists of Ontario. The application fee is $474.60 including 13% HST. This includes the fee for writing the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination.
If your form is complete and the required documentation has been received, the College will confirm you are eligible to write the Ontario Jurisprudence Exam.
Vulnerable Sector Check
As part of the registration process, applicants must submit a Vulnerable Sector (VS) check to ensure they have not been found guilty of any criminal offence in any jurisdiction, or an offence under the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and the Food and Drugs Act. A police record check with VS screening is required as registered optometrists may work with vulnerable person(s) such as minors or elderly patients (i.e., those who are dependent on others, or may be at greater risk than the general population of being harmed by a person in a position of authority.)
Applicants must provide a VS check from:
- their current jurisdiction
- any past jurisdiction(s) where they have practised.
Applicants who live in Toronto:
During COVID-19, the College is providing the consent form for Toronto Police Services Vulnerable Sector Screening by email. This is only applicable to applicants who live in Toronto. Applicants who live in other Ontario jurisdictions must contact their local police service to obtain a VS check.
Learn more about VS checks in this FAQ.
Citizenship/Permanent Resident Status/Authorization to Practise
Canadian citizens: submit a photocopy of a Birth Certificate, Canadian Passport, or Citizenship Identification Card with your application form.
Permanent Resident Status (or those authorized to practise optometry under the Immigration and Refugee and Protection Act): submit a photocopy of your Permanent Resident Status or notarized authorization with your application form. This document must be valid (i.e., not expired) for your Certificate of Registration to be issued and activated.
Certificate of Standing
If you have ever been licensed or registered to practise optometry or any other regulated health profession outside Ontario, arrange for the licensing body where you practised to complete a Certificate of Standing outlining your current status in that jurisdiction. A Certificate of Standing must be dated no more than six months before your Certificate of Registration is issued.
4. Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination
The College administers the Jurisprudence exam six times a year. You must complete the mandatory online Jurisprudence seminar prior to writing the exam. Access the exam study materials and FAQ.
Once you’ve submitted your registration forms and required documents, the College will confirm when you are eligible to write the Jurisprudence exam and notify you of upcoming exam dates.
While an application for registration is open for a maximum of 24 months, the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination must be successfully completed within 12 months of the College receiving your application.
5. Administrative Forms and Membership Fee
Once your application supporting documents have been reviewed and you have written the Jurisprudence exam, the College will contact you about submitting your membership fee and required administrative forms.
The membership year runs from January 1 to December 31; new registrants pay a pro-rated fee the year they register.
Registration Decision and Appeals
The Registrar considers each application and, if satisfied that the registration requirements have been met, issues a Certificate of Registration.
If the applicant does not meet the registration requirements; or if the Registrar refuses or attaches terms, conditions, or limitations to the Certificate of Registration, then the application is referred to the Registration Committee and can provide a written submission for the Committee’s consideration. If the applicant is not satisfied with the Committee’s decision, they may request an appeal before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board as either a hearing or a document review. The Board’s decision may be further appealed to the Divisional Court.