New Professional Misconduct Regulation, Including Conflict-of-Interest Provisions, Effective April 15 2014

The College is pleased to announce government approval of a new Professional Misconduct Regulation, including modernized conflict-of-interest provisions. This new regulation will come into effect on April 15, 2014. The current regulation, Ontario Regulation 859/93, made under the Optometry Act, 1991, S.O. 1991 c.35, and Ontario Regulation 550, made under the Drug and Pharmacies Regulations Act, R.S.O. 1990 c. H. 4, will be revoked on that date.

The College first submitted proposed amendments to the regulation in 2005, followed by several revisions since that time. Member and stakeholder input has been valuable in arriving at a new regulation that modernizes optometric practice while ensuring that the public continues to have access to safe, high-quality optometric care. College Council is proud of this achievement, which better serves the public of Ontario and the profession.

For a copy of the press release, click here.

For a link to the new regulation, click here.

To view the web-based presentation with audio explanation of the guidelines session, click here.

The following are highlights of the new regulation

Independent Contractor

Optometrists will now be allowed to practise in association with opticians, corporations, or others, as long as they remain independent. A written agreement is required that acknowledges the optometrist’s independence, including with respect to the following:

  • The provision of services, including who they may accept as a patient
  • The fees charged
  • Access to the office and patient records
  • Advertising

Note that optometrists may only enter into an employment arrangement with another optometrist or with a physician.


Optometrists will have more flexibility in advertising and promoting their practices. Previous prohibitions with respect to the advertising of brand names and advertising with non-members have been removed. Testimonials and superlatives in advertising are still prohibited.

Practice Names

Most of the restrictions on what a member may name their practice have been lifted. Practice names must comply with the provisions under Section 22 of the new regulation relating to advertising; for example, the rule that practice names may not contain superlatives.

Prescription Release: Members will be required to provide a copy of the prescription for eyewear without request from the patient. This provides patients with greater choice of regulated dispensing professional.

Other notable changes

  • Members may now practise in more than three locations as long as the College is notified of all locations.
  • Optometrists will now have more flexibility in how they charge patients for professional goods and services. The requirement to disclose the laboratory cost of materials to patients has been removed, however invoices must still itemize fees for professional services and ophthalmic appliances.
  • Members are now allowed to have a financial interest in optical stores or surgical centres (as examples) as long as optometrists disclose their ownership when referring a patient to the store or centre.

In coming weeks, the College will provide members with important information about the application of the regulation. Look for a web-based seminar that will explain the details of the regulation, as well as interactive opportunities for members to ask their questions and have them answered.