Optometrists and eye care professionals with training from outside of North America (i.e., not accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE)) must complete an assessment from the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada prior to registering in any jurisdiction except Quebec. For registration in Quebec, contact the Ordre des Optométristes du Québec.
Before applying for registration with the College of Optometrists of Ontario, internationally educated professionals who wish to practise optometry in Ontario must complete the following pre-registration process:
- Undergo a credential assessment (assessment of your education) by FORAC.
- Successfully challenge the Internationally Graduated Optometrist Evaluating Examination (IGOEE) offered by Touchstone Institute.
- Contact FORAC directly to begin the pre-registration process. The FORAC credentialing office is only staffed on a part-time basis and best reached by email. They can also be reached by phone at 647-746-2050 or mail:
FORAC Credentialing Service
Sheppard Centre Post Office
4841 Yonge Street – Unit 242
PO Box 43215
Toronto, Ontario M2N 5W0
Additional Registration Details
Once you have successfully completed the pre-registration process, you must challenge an entry-to-practice exam to register with the College of Optometrists of Ontario.
There are two entry-to-practice exams available to applicants wishing to register with the College:
- the Optometry Examining Board of Canada (OEBC) exam; and
- the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO).
Although it is not indicated on the FORAC website, applicants looking to register with the College can challenge either the OEBC or NBEO exam.
Internationally Graduated Optometrist Evaluating Examination (IGOEE)
You must be referred by FORAC to challenge the IGOEE and cannot apply directly to the IGOEE. The College contracted with Touchstone Institute to develop the IGOEE, which was launched in 2015, to enable international students to bypass the International Optometric Bridging Program. In 2018, a separate Therapeutics Assessment was developed to complement the existing exam. Learn more about becoming eligible to challenge the IGOEE from FORAC and from Touchstone Institute.
Advanced Standing Optometry Preparatory Program (ASOPP)
The Advanced Standing Optometry Preparatory Program (ASOPP) has replaced the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry & Vision Science. ASOPP provides an education pathway for individuals who have completed optometry training outside of North America and who wish to obtain a license to practice in Canada. This newly redesigned bridging program is scheduled to begin in April 2022. Learn more about the ASOPP by visiting the University of Waterloo website.
Ocular Health and Therapeutics
Beginning January 1, 2021, the credential assessment process is being updated to better reflect the current Canadian optometry curriculum and scope of practice. This may affect applicants who attend institutions that reside in jurisdictions in which optometrists are not able to independently prescribe drugs without additional graduate education. If you are currently completing a program outside of Canada and the United States and plan on applying to FORAC in the future, please make sure to look into additional education/training in ocular health and therapeutics in your institution’s jurisdiction.
To learn more, access the information package for internationally educated applicants or graduates of a non-ACOE accredited optometry school.