How to Apply

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 registration@collegeoptom.on.ca 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:

  1. Meet the academic requirement
  2. Write the Entry-to-Practice exam
  3. Submit an online application form (including application fee and supporting documents)
  4. Write the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam
  5. 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:

General Certificate Button
Academic Certificate Button

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:

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 

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.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

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.

Toronto applicants: contact Hanan Jibry to receive the consent form by email. Visit the Toronto Police Services website for more information about submitting the consent form and applicable fees.

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.

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.

  • Submit a completed Application for a Certificate of Registration, all required documents and a cheque for the application fee made payable to the College of Optometrists of Ontario. You will be registered for the immediate next administration of the Jurisprudence Exam unless you contact the College and let us know that you would like to challenge the exam at a later administration.

  • Successful completion of the online seminar is required before you can be confirmed to challenge the online exam.

  • The exam is now being offered online only. Exam dates are listed here.

  • Jurisprudence results are reported within 4 weeks of each exam administration. Results are reported on a pass/fail basis.

  • If you fail the exam, you must arrange to take it again at another administration and pay the applicable fee. It is a requirement of registration that an applicant successfully complete the Jurisprudence examination within one year (12 months) of applying for registration. If you do not pass the exam within this timeframe you may submit a new application for registration and pay the applicable fee.

  • The College will accept an application before you graduate from an approved program provided you include a letter from the institution confirming your expected graduation date. Once you have graduated, you must provide the College with a notarized copy of your degree certificate.

  • Yes. An applicant must successfully complete the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam within one year (12 months) of applying for registration.

  • The VS check is a process that verifies whether an individual has a criminal record, as well as any record suspensions (formerly pardons) for sexual offences and local police records for information relevant to the VS check. The information that can be legally disclosed is provided to the applicant.

  • 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.
  • Contact your local police department or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police regarding the process and fees involved in obtaining a VS check.

  • Please check with your local police department or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police regarding the submission of fingerprints.

  • Yes. The VS check must be requested under your current name as well as any former or maiden names.

  • The results of the VS check must be dated no earlier than six months before the date you become registered. For example, if you complete all of the requirements for registration on September 1, the results of your VS check must be dated on or after March 1 of that same year. If you provide a VS check and then take longer than six months to complete the other requirements for registration, you will be required to submit an updated VS check to complete your application for registration.

  • The results of the VS check must be submitted to the College directly from the police or in the sealed envelope provided to you by the police.