Spousal Exemption Regulation

The College is pleased to announce that Ontario Regulation 566/20 (Spousal Exemption Regulation), which was submitted to the provincial government in 2014, passed on October 8, 2020.

This regulation change allows optometrists to treat their spouses without the treatment constituting sexual abuse. It does not imply, nor should it be considered a recommendation that optometrists treat their spouse. The regulation only applies to those who qualify as a “spouse” (and not other romantic/sexual relationships) and stipulates that any sexual relationships remain out of the practice setting.

For the purposes of this regulation, “spouse” is clearly outlined in the Code as:

  • A person to whom the optometrist is married, or
  • A person who has lived with the optometrist in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage continuously for at least three years.

The College will be developing guidance in the near future to addresses important considerations when treating family members.