Application for an Academic Certificate of Registration

Step 1

Click here for the information package if you are a graduate of an optometry school accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) or not (non-ACOE).

Please note (updated October 20, 2017):

  1. 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.
  2. The information packages above address only registration requirements. Once you have completed these registration requirements, the College will update your status in writing and send various forms that you will need to complete.
  3. To practise as an optometrist in Ontario, you need valid professional liability insurance. Applicants must follow up with the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science (UWSO) regarding your professional liability insurance plan coverage.
  4. The member may engage in the practice of optometry only at the School of Optometry of the University of Waterloo or at another university or optometric educational facility in Ontario approved by the Council, or a facility formally associated with the School of Optometry, university or optometric educational facility, as the case may be as per O. Reg. 837/93, s. 1.

Step 2

Once you have thoroughly read the above information package (and successfully completed the pre-registration process if you are an internationally educated applicant), click here for the application form for an Academic Certificate of Registration.

The following flow chart illustrates the process for application for: An Academic Certificate of Registration

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.

  • 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.