Continuing Education

The current three-year CE cycle runs from January 1, 2021 until  December 31, 2023. All CE hours must be completed during this period; CE hours cannot be carried over.

All members, both practising and non-practising, are required to engage in the Quality Assurance (QA) Program’s Continuing Education (CE) component. This ensures members remain current with changes in technology, scope and standards of practice, and other relevant issues. The philosophy behind the CE component is one of lifelong learning. Every member of the College has a responsibility to formulate a personal plan for completing continuing education on a regular basis.

The College’s CE component operates on a three-year cycle. The requirements that must be met by members in the current CE cycle (January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023) are detailed in the College’s CE Policy below:

CE AUDIT 

Following the conclusion of each three-year CE cycle, the College performs two audit processes:

  1. the CE Deficiency Audit to identify members who failed to meet the published CE hour requirements; and
  2. the Random CE Audit in which the College verifies the reporting accuracy of randomly selected members.

Members found to be deficient in CE hours will be required to participate in a Practice Assessment in accordance with O. Reg. 837/93: Registration, at their own cost according to the College’s Schedule of Fees and Penalties.

OE TRACKER

OE TRACKER is a system hosted by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) which the College uses to capture and store continuing education data for Optometrists in Ontario. All members are assigned an OE TRACKER number and must ensure all their CE hours are reported in the system by the end of each three-year cycle. Click here for more information about OE TRACKER.

OTHER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FORM

To report Other Learning Opportunities CE hours that meet the criteria outlined in the 2021-23 CE Policy to OE TRACKER, Optometrists must complete a “Continuing Education: Other Learning Opportunities Form” which can be downloaded here.

Related FAQs

  • The current CE cycle runs from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023. The College does not approve/accredit individual CE courses; instead, members are responsible for ensuring that their CE activities fall into the appropriate categories. A link to the current CE policy can be found here.

  • The Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) was created by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) to accredit continuing education on behalf of optometric licensing boards. For more information, visit the COPE website here.

  • After extensive review of the COPE accreditation process, the College is confident that COPE accredited CE would ensure Ontario optometrists are participating in high-quality and meaningful CE:

    • COPE is a recognized accreditation program for optometric CE courses;
    • CE providers are required to meet COPE accreditation criteria, which include:
      • incorporating into CE activities the educational needs (knowledge, competence, or performance) that underlie the professional practice gaps of their learners;
      • generating activities/educational interventions that are designed to change competence, performance, or patient outcomes as described in its mission statement; and
      • analyzing changes in learners (competence, performance, or patient outcomes) achieved as a result of the overall program’s activities/educational interventions;
    • COPE Standards for Commercial Support ensure independence in CE activities; and
    • COPE has been deemed substantially equivalent to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®), which accredits organizations that provide continuing medical education (CME) for physicians. COPE has adopted the ACCME accreditation criteria.
  • A COPE-accredited course must have both:

    1. a valid COPE Course ID number; AND
    2. a valid COPE Activity/Event ID number.

    To confirm whether a CE course is COPE-accredited:

    1. Visit the ARBO website here
    2. Enter the Course Title or COPE ID #
    3. Click Search
    4. If the CE course does not appear in the search results, then it is not COPE-accredited
    5. If the CE course appears in the search results, you must ensure that it meets the following requirements:
      1. It has a COPE Course ID number (red circle in the example below)
      2. It has the “COPE Events approved to present this course” statement and the COPE Event ID number (purple circle in example below)
      3. The COPE Course ID number and the COPE Event ID number match those associated with the CE course you would like to take
    6. Contact ARBO directly for more information. 

  • To search for COPE-accredited CE:

    1. Visit the ARBO website here.
    2. You may search by any field. For example:
      • You may search by a particular subject, or leave as “Any Subject” and all subjects will appear in the search results
      • There are two different online formats:
        • online_enduring” is defined as: webcast, podcast, video, journal, website, written or other format that provides one-way content to the audience without immediate interaction with the instructor.  There is not just one time on one day to participate in the activity, rather, the participant determines when he/she participates.
        • online_inter” is defined as:  webinar, video conference, teleconference, or other format that allows for immediate interaction and feedback between the audience and the instructor.  Once the event has taken place, learners may no longer participate in that activity.
    3. Ensure the course has a COPE Course ID number AND a COPE Event ID number.
  • Other learning opportunities give optometrists a wider range of options and the opportunity to make flexible selections that suit their learning needs and practice. Accepted learning opportunities and their CE credit hour calculations are listed on pages 2-3 of the CE policy.

  • A participation verification certificate must be issued for COPE-accredited CE activities. Some CE providers send attendance information directly to OE TRACKER. Otherwise, you must submit your own CE certificates (PDF or JPG format) to OE TRACKER. For more information on how to submit to OE TRACKER, visit the College website here.

  • After completing each learning opportunity, you must complete the Other Learning Opportunities Form and submit it to OE TRACKER. A participation verification certificate is NOT required for other learning opportunities, only this form would suffice. For more information on how to submit to OE TRACKER, visit the College website here.

    No more than 20 hours per CE cycle may be obtained through other learning opportunities.

  • Refer to Section B “Ocular Disease” and Section C “Related Systemic Disease” of the COPE Course Categories for examples of topics that would qualify as reasonably related to ocular disease and management or related systemic disease.

  • For the current CE cycle, all CE credits may be obtained online.

  • Yes, they would qualify as other learning opportunities; specifically, organized events. You may claim hour-for hour. For example, if you completed a one-hour (60 mins) course, then you may claim one CE credit hour.

  • To qualify as other learning opportunities, the lectures must be prepared and given to regulated health professionals for their primary continuing education or regulated health professionals in training education at a Canadian or American accredited school.

    Lectures presented outside of these schools would not qualify as CE.

    If a faculty member prepares and gives lectures to regulated health professionals as part of their appointment, they may claim CE credit hours either for their faculty appointment or lectures prepared and given to regulated health professionals, but not both.

    Each lecture may be counted one time only.

  • A refereed journal has a formal peer review process where articles are reviewed by several other experts in the field (“peers”) before they are published in the journal. A refereed journal is also called a peer-reviewed journal. You can find this information on the journal’s website. For example, the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology (CJO) would qualify as a refereed journal as it publishes original, peer-reviewed ophthalmology and vision science articles.

  • Contact ARBO to receive your OE TRACKER number and to set up your online account. Be sure to confirm with ARBO that you are a member of the College of Optometrists of Ontario.

  • Yes, you must submit all of your CE credit hours (both COPE-accredited and other learning opportunities) to OE TRACKER. Please do not send your CE certificates to the College as the College will not be keeping records of members’ CE certificates.

    When submitting your documents to OE TRACKER, you must indicate the number of CE credit hours and whether the CE credits qualify as COPE-accredited or other learning opportunity. For more information on how to submit to OE TRACKER, visit the College website here.

  • All of the CE credits that you are using to meet your mandatory CE requirements must be marked as COPE or Other Learning in OE TRACKER. Submit your request to change or update the COPE and Other Learning categories directly to OE TRACKER at arbo@arbo.org. It will take 2 weeks before the changes are reflected in the account.

  • The College will not review individual optometrist’s CE credits to confirm whether they have met their CE requirements. Instead, it is the optometrist’s responsibility to claim only credit hours that qualify as CE as per the College’s CE Policy. You must ensure that your CE hours are up to date in your OE TRACKER profile by the end of the current CE cycle.

    The College will perform a deficiency audit at the conclusion of this three-year reporting cycle. The deficiency audit identifies those who fail to meet the CE hour requirement.

  • For the current CE cycle (January 1, 2021–December 31, 2023), the College will be paying the OE TRACKER subscription fees for all optometrists. Payments made by optometrists for OE TRACKER may not be refundable.

  • You may claim only CE credit hours that have been completed following your initial registration with the College. Accordingly, any CE credits that you have obtained prior to being registered with the College cannot be used to meet the requirements for the current CE cycle.

    Newly registered optometrists during the current cycle will be required to complete a prorated number of hours based on their registration year as follows:

    Year of RegistrationTotal HoursCOPE Accredited Hours (*)Other Learning Opportunities Hours
    20214734 (14)13
    20222417 (7)7
    2023No requirementNo requirementNo requirement

    *Number of COPE accredited hours that must be in topics reasonably related to ocular disease and management or related systemic disease

  • Both practicing and non-practicing optometrists in Ontario must meet the CE requirements as per the College’s CE Policy.

  • No, there is no carrying over of CE credits to the next CE cycle.

  • No, you are not required to report your CE hours during annual renewal. OE TRACKER is completely independent of the annual renewal process. If your OE TRACKER hours are not up to date, this will not affect your ability to renew your membership. However, you must ensure that your hours are up to date in your OE TRACKER profile by the end of the current CE cycle.

  • Optometrists can complete the module once per CE cycle and will receive one other learning opportunity CE credit hour.

    The College will send the CE credit hours information directly to OE TRACKER quarterly. For example, optometrists who completed the elearning module between January 1 and March 30, 2021 will see their CE credit hour uploaded to their OE TRACKER accounts in April 2021. Optometrists who completed the elearning module between April 1 and June 30, 2021 will see their CE credit hour uploaded to their OE TRACKER accounts in July 2021.

  • No, you will not be able to claim CE credit hours for completing the elearning module.

  • The College does not accredit/approve individual CE activities and providers. Instead, it is the optometrist’s responsibility to claim only credit hours that qualify as CE as per the College’s CE Policy.

    If you are a CE provider wishing to get COPE accreditation, click here for information on how to get a course COPE-qualified and click here for information on how to get an activity/event COPE-accredited. A COPE-qualified course presented at a COPE-accredited activity/event would qualify as COPE-accredited CE. Contact ARBO directly for more information.