In this section, you will find information that concerns your practice including policies and guidelines, how to manage your registration, and updates about continuing education. You will also find the most up-to-date version of the Optometric Practice Reference (OPR), the practice-standards guide for Ontario optometrists.
Does the College provide any legal or accounting advice regarding incorporation for members?
No. The College does not provide legal or accounting advice. The College recommends that members consult a lawyer or accountant for advice regarding incorporation.
Who can be shareholders in an Optometry Professional Corporation (OPC)
Only optometrists who are registered in Ontario and members of the College may be shareholders in an Optometry Professional Corporation (OPC). This applies both to voting and non-voting shares. Holding/numbered companies may not own or be shareholders in an OPC. Family members cannot be shareholders in an OPC, unless they are also optometrists and licensed in Ontario (NB: currently only dentists and physicians are allowed to have family members as shareholders in their professional corporations).
Does the Corporation Profile Report need to be certified?
No. The corporation profile report does not need to be certified and may be obtained from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. For additional assistance, contact the MGCS’s Companies Branch Help Line at 416-314-8880 or toll-free at 1-800-361-3223 or online at www.mgs.gov.on.ca.
How long will it take to issue my certificate of authorization?
If all application requirements have been met, the processing time for both new and renewal certificates of authorization is approximately one to three weeks.
Will the College back-date a certificate of authorization?
No. The effective date of the certificate will be the date a completed application is reviewed and approved by the College.
Are the names and addresses of shareholders public information on the College website?
Yes. This is in accordance with Section 23(2)3. of the Health Professions Procedural Code. Accordingly, members are recommended to use their practice address as their Registered Corporate Address.
The renewal date of my certificate has passed. What should I do?
Submit your renewal application immediately with the appropriate payment, including late payment fee. If the College has not received a renewal application by the renewal date, it will issue a notice of revocation to the Optometry Professional Corporation, which gives the corporation 60 days to submit a completed renewal application. If the renewal application is not received or is incomplete by the imposed revocation date, the certificate of authorization will be revoked. No further extensions will be provided.
Is my Certificate of Authorization still valid when my corporation amalgamates?
Upon amalgamation with another corporation, an optometry professional corporation ceases to exist as an entity separate from the newly amalgamated corporation, and its certificate of authorization becomes invalid on the date of amalgamation.
The amalgamated corporation must apply for and obtain a new certificate of authorization before it may practise as a professional corporation. The amalgamated corporation must meet all of the eligibility conditions and requirements for issuance of a certificate of authorization.
What is meant by “a copy of every certificate endorsed under the Business Incorporations Act”?
If changes, such as a name change, have been made to the corporation since incorporation or the last renewal and articles of amendment were filed with the Ministry, then a copy of the articles of amendment must be submitted with the renewal application. For renewal applications, do not submit the original articles of incorporation copies or originals of certificate of authorization originally sent by the College.
Can my practice name that is advertised to the public (e.g., on signage, website, prescriptions, etc.) be different than the name of my OPC?
Yes. While the Business Corporation Act specifies how OPCs must be named, the choice of practice name is comparatively more flexible. Practice names must comply with advertising standards and may differ from the name of your OPC.
I am a member with non-practising status. Can I be a shareholder in an OPC?
Yes, you can.
Can I be a partner in an optical retail business with non-optometrist partners (e.g., with an optician or a family member)?
Yes, however optometrists must not provide optometric services (either diagnostic or dispensing) under an optical business with non-optometrist partners. Under the Optometry Act, optometrists are prohibited from sharing fees related to the practice of optometry with non-members (the only exception being physicians), therefore practising optometry within this type of arrangement is not allowed.
Optometrists wishing to practise with such a corporation must do so as independent contractors.
Reminder: The College does not provide legal or accounting advice to members. Questions such as this one should be directed to the appropriate professional for advice.
Who needs an Independent Contractor Agreement?
Optometrists are permitted to practise in a variety of settings, many of which require them to have a written Independent Contractor Agreement (“Agreement”) in place.
The circumstances in which members do NOT need to have an Agreement are the easiest to determine. You do not need an Agreement if you practise:
– on your own
– with another member of the College who is engaged in the practice of the profession
– with an Ontario-registered physician who is engaged in the practice of medicine
Ontario Regulation 119/94 also creates an exception so that optometrists who work in hospitals, government, or universities with others are NOT required to have Agreements.
Members practising in almost every other setting MUST have an Agreement in place, including but not limited to the following situations:
– Members who practise at an optical store, even if it is only once a week
– Members engaged in practice with corporations that coordinate mobile eye clinics
– Members engaged in practice with an optometrist, group of optometrists, or corporation owned
by optometrists, where some or all of the optometrists are not licensed to practise in Ontario
– Members engaged in practice with an optometrist or a physician who is strictly acting as a
manager and not seeing patients
– Members who are practising in association with a surgical centre (and are not employed by
an ophthalmologist performing the surgeries)
How do I know if my Agreement is in compliance with the College regulation? Is the College able to review it for me?
The College recommends that members entering into Agreements include the following wording (taken from (O. Reg. 119/94 under the Optometry Act, subsection 4(5) in their contracts):
The parties hereby acknowledge and agree that the optometrist, ___________ (enter name):
a. shall control the professional services provided to a patient;
b. shall control who he or she may accept as a patient;
c. shall provide every patient or his or her authorized representative with a copy of his or
d. shall set the fee charged or collected in respect of any professional service;
e. shall control the maintenance, custody and access to the records required to be kept in respect
of the practice of the profession;
f. shall have access, along with his or her staff, to the premises where the member practises and to
the books and records related to his or her practice, at any time of the day or night; and
g. shall ensure that any advertising relating to the professional services provided by the member meets the requirements set out in regulations made under the Act. O. Reg. 24/14, s. 1.
Agreements must include:
– Terms for reasonable rent for office space and equipment that is paid regularly and is not based on volume of business or fees generated by the optometrist
Agreements cannot include the following:
– Terms requiring the transfer of patient records to non-optometrists (i.e., opticians/corporations)
upon termination of any agreement
– Terms that require sharing of fees (as fee sharing is expressly prohibited by the regulation)
– Terms whereby the optical/corporation controls the following:
– schedule/types of appointments
– vacation/days off
– how patients receive the copy of their prescriptions
– a requirement to disclose revenues/volume of business
The College does not have the capacity to approve members’ Agreements. The independent contractor provisions under the Optometry Act are not necessarily consistent with Canada Revenue Agency’s definition of “independent contractor,” nor were they intended to be. You should consult an accountant for advice on compliance with the CRA in that regard. This document is not intended to provide legal advice; members are encouraged to ask their own lawyers to review any Agreement prior to signing to ensure it is in compliance with the regulation.
May our clinic advertise discounts/sales/promotions to the public (e.g., 50% off all frames until July 1, or 25% off the purchase of a second pair of spectacles)?
Yes. Informational advertising respects patient choice and is permitted. However, advertised promotions must be truthful and verifiable and must not be misleading or presented in such a manner as to demean the integrity of the profession.
May our clinic offer incentives to patients (e.g., Air Miles, or a raffle for a trip to Miami)?
Yes and no. Because travel reward points (e.g., Air Miles) confer only a nominal benefit, they would represent an acceptable incentive that may be offered to patients. Conversely, an incentive involving a trip to Miami would surpass this threshold, constituting a benefit under the conflict-of-interest regulation, and may not be offered to patients.
May our clinic advertise and/or offer discounts to patients who refer family members or friends?
No. Optometrists may not offer or confer benefits for the referral of patients. This does not apply to “benefits of a nominal value,” which means small items or rebates that are not worth more than a few dollars.
May our receipts itemize a single dollar value for spectacles (frame and lenses together) or should our receipts itemize prices for frames and lenses separately?
Receipts for spectacles should be itemized to include separate values for frames and lenses, for patient information and as a third-party payor (insurance company) would require. However, optometrists may charge retail pricing for spectacles and are free to set their own prices for frames and lenses.
If a patient has an eye exam and there’s no change in prescription, must I give the patient a copy of the prescription?
Yes. A prescription must be given to the patient when two requirements are met:
– you have assessed the patient’s eyes; AND
– a prescription is clinically indicated for the patient
In this case you would have met both requirements because you conducted the exam and a prescription is clinically indicated for the patient, even if nothing has changed. Therefore, you must give the patient a copy of the prescription at the conclusion of the eye exam.
If a patient refuses the prescription, what must I do? For example, the patient might have already decided to buy glasses at my office, or might not want new glasses if the prescription hasn’t changed.
You should insist that the patient take the prescription. If they refuse to accept it, then keep the written, signed, and dated copy of the prescription in the patient’s record and let the patient know they can pick it up at any time. You should note in the record that the patient declined the prescription. You should explain to patients that you’re required to give them a copy of their prescription and that it’s in their interests to keep a copy for their records should they need it to replace broken, stolen, or lost glasses.
If a patient shows up for an emergency exam with complaints of sudden onset floaters in one eye, and no refractive measurement is investigated at the visit, must I give the patient a copy of the prescription?
No. Because the patient visit didn’t involve refractive considerations, no prescription is indicated.
If a patient receives regular binocular vision therapy at our clinic, and refractive status is investigated only periodically, when must I give the patient a copy of the prescription?
The patient should be given a copy of the prescription after a major (or comprehensive) eye exam and at interim visits whenever a refraction result suggests the prescription needs changing.
If a patient has an eye exam and no correction is needed, must I give the patient a copy of a prescription?
No. Although there might be a refractive result (either small or absent), you must write a prescription only where one is clinically indicated.
When must I release contact lens specifications?
Appliance-specific information, including the specifications of contact lenses (or “contact lens prescription”), need only be given upon patient request. Once you’ve established that, in your clinical judgment, the contact lens fitting is complete and the fees related to it have been paid in full, you must release the specifications if the patient requests.