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Optometrists FAQ


Registration & Jurisprudence Exam

1. Does the College accept the NBEO?

Yes, we accept successful completion of the NBEO (I, II, III) as equivalent to the OEBC.

2. How long are Registration Applications valid?

Registration Applications are valid for one year from the date the application is received by the College office.

3. If an application is withdrawn, is any portion of the fee refundable?

No portion of the fee is refundable.

4. What if the requirements change after my application is submitted?

Registration Applications will be reviewed under the regulations in effect at the date the application is received by the College.

5. Can an application be notarized outside of BC?

Yes you may have your application notarized outside of BC by a lawyer, notary public or other commissioner for taking oaths. Please ensure that any notarized documents are signed, dated and stamped with the seal of the lawyer, notary public, or other commissioner.

6. When should a letter of good standing be submitted?

Letters of Good Standing must be dated no more than 30 days before the Certificate of Registration is issued.

7. I can’t complete the Criminal Record Check online. How do I proceed?

If you are unable to satisfy the criteria for using Electronic Identification Verification as per the Ministry’s website, you will be required to complete a Manual Identification Verification (MIV) process. Please print out the Consent Form provided by the online system, carefully review and sign the form and send it to the College office, along with a copy of one piece of valid government issued identification, one secondary identification document.

8. What do “OT” and “TMOD” mean?

OT – refers to Ocular Therapeutics is a component of the CACO/CSAO/OEBC. TMOD – refers to Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease is a component of the NBEO.

9. Can I take the Jurisprudence Exam prior to finishing my OD program?

No, you must meet all Registration requirements before writing the Jurisprudence Exam.

10. Can I write the Jurisprudence Exam at some other time?

If you are an optometrist, in special circumstances this can be arranged. Please contact the College for more details.

11. Where and how often is the Jurisprudence Exam administered?

The Jurisprudence Exam is administered online every quarter if number warrant –  in March, June, September, and December.

12. Do I have to attend the College’s Orientation Session?

Yes, attending the College’s Orientation session is mandatory.

13. How long does it take to get the Jurisprudence Exam results?

Considering that the Jurisprudence Exam is now being administered online, the results will be available right after completing the exam.

14. How do I obtain a letter of good standing?

In order to obtain a letter of good standing you must submit a cheque in the amount of $50 Canadian dollars to the College office, as well as a letter specifying your request and who you would like it sent to. Note: There is a College policy in place that states that the issuance of a Letter of Good Standing may take up to 20 business days to process.

Optometric Corporation

1. How do I form an optometric corporation?

Follow the instructions on the How to Form an Optometric Corporation page. Then complete the Authorization Form to Prepare an Optometric Corporation and fax, email, or mail it to the College office. You will receive an approval letter along with incorporation instructions within 20 business days of your request.

2. Can my optometric corporation name be anything of my choosing?

Your requested optometric corporation name must include either “Dr.” or “O.D.”, your first and last name, and end with “Optometric Corporation.” E.g., “Dr. John Doe, Optometric Corporation” or “John Doe O.D., Optometric Corporation”

3. Can I provide optometric services once I obtain name approval?

No. Optometric services can only be provided upon receipt of a BC Optometric Corporation permit issued by the College.

4. When is my optometric corporation permit issued?

If your incorporation documents are deemed acceptable and meet all the terms and conditions set out in the HPA and Bylaws , a BC optometric corporation permit will be issued to you.

5. How do I set up a Trust/Trustee as a shareholder?

Please refer to Section 43 of the Health Professions Act to ensure your trusteeship is in accordance with what is outlined, complete the Trust Undertakings form and forward it to the College office, along with the other incorporation documents.

How to Form an Optometric Corporation

Step 1

Complete the Authorization Form to Prepare an Optometric Corporation and apply to the College with your proposed name, which must end with “Optometric Corporation” e.g., “Dr. John Doe, Optometric Corporation” or “John Doe O.D., Optometric Corporation”

Step 2

Once the College approves the name, apply to the Registrar of Companies (via your lawyer) to register as a professional corporation.

Step 3

After you have successfully registered as a professional corporation with the Registrar of Companies, submit the following documents to the College:

  • Copy of the Certificate Incorporation
  • Copy of the Notice of Articles and the Articles of the Corporation
  • Copy of the current Register of Directors of the Corporation
  • Copy of the current Central Securities Register of Shareholders of the Corporation

Please note that the articles do not have any provision for different classes of shares or rights and restrictions for the shares. These will normally be determined by you together with advice from your accountant and lawyer. These articles will be sufficient if you have only one class of common shares with no special rights and restrictions. Paragraphs 3.6, 3.7 and 13.4 in the attached proforma Articles of Association must be included in your Articles. Unless your Articles have these clauses or ones similar to them, your corporation documents will not be approved as an optometric corporation. Please review these sections closely and if you have any questions please look at Sections 40 to 50 of the Health Profession Act.

Step 4

If all the documents received are deemed acceptable, the College will issue you a permit to practice as a professional corporation. Download PDF

CPR Certification

1. What level of CPR certification should I have?

As a health care provider you should be taking/renewing CPR LEVEL C with AED

2. How often do I have to renew my CPR certification?

Section 73(3) of the College Bylaws states that “Full registrants must complete a CPR certification course at least once every three years and must hold a certification that is no more than three years old when renewing their registration under section 63”.

3. Do I need to report my CPR certification to the College?

Please self-report/self-record your CPR certification on your College profile, under ‘Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification’. This can be done by logging on to your College profile under Registrant Login, selecting ‘View My Profile’, and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Click ‘edit’ and proceed to input your CPR certification and expiry dates.

Continuing Education (CE)

1. How many CE hours am I required to complete each year?

As per the College Policies—Continuing Education Requirements – Annual CE Requirements: Therapeutic qualified, non-therapeutic qualified and non-practising registrants must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education credits each registration year (November 1st – October 31st). No more than 10 of the 20 hours of continuing education may be on subjects other than ocular health.

2. Where can I find “approved” continuing education courses?

Please refer to the College Policies

3. How do I self-record/self-report my CE hours?

OE TRACKER captures and stores continuing education attendance data for optometrists. The information is retained in the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) database and can be accessed by you and your licensing board.

  • To Set up Your OE TRACKER Account. (Click here)
  • To Login to your OE Tracker account. (Click here)
  • To Use Your Mobile App to Track Your CE Credits. (Click here)
  1. 1. Click on “OE TRACKER Login”
  2. 2. Enter your Username and Password to log in to your account.
  3. 3. From your OE TRACKER home page choose “Submit credits into OE Tracker from CE Certificates”

4. What if I am unable to self-record/self-report online?

Please complete a Continuing Education Record form, sign it, and submit it to the College office. Once you pay the administration fee the College will update your CE profile on your behalf.

It is important for optometrists to collect and file all CE certificates for the courses attended through the year, as evidence for the Registration Renewal/Continuing Education (CE) Audit occurring at the end of each year.

5. When does the CE period start and end for renewal purposes?

The continuing education period begins November 1 of each year, and goes until October 31 of the following year.

6. How do I obtain CE activity approval?

The College of Optometrists of BC (the “College”) has established the following process for the approval of continuing education (CE) activities, which are not COPE approved. Step 1: Submit CE Administrator Application Step 2: Activity planning Step 3: Administrator submits the following Step 4: Administrator submits CE post-activity report.

Special Levy

1. What is the purpose of the special levy?

This special levy will restore funds to the reserve fund which were required to be used for an extraordinary regulatory purpose. This matter, where a member was found to be ungovernable by a panel of the Discipline Committee, and may be the first time in Canada where a member of a regulated health profession has been found to be ungovernable.

2. What is the reserve fund?

A reserve fund is a highly liquid asset set aside to meet any unexpected costs. The College uses the term “reserve fund” to refer to that portion of the Unrestricted Net Assets (on the balance sheet of the audited financial statement) which are cash or cash equivalent. It may be determined by subtracting Current Liabilities from Current Assets.

3. Why does the College need a reserve fund?

In return for the privilege of self-regulation in the public interest and the public trust it engenders, a health profession is obligated to regulate its members and protect the public in accordance with the legislated regulatory framework and standards of practice. The cost of self-regulation is born entirely by the members of each College – financial or legal assistance from government is not available. Reacting to regulatory challenges is unpredictable and can be expensive, but must be done correctly and in accordance with legislation. Consequently, the reserve fund ensures that our College can continue to comply with our statutory mandate and appropriately address challenges which may arise without notice and cannot be predicted or budgeted for.

4. How much is in the reserve fund currently?

The College’s unrestricted net assets on December 31, 2015 was $1,145,881 of which $243,779 was reserve fund, that is to say, cash or cash equivalent. Unrestricted net assets on December 31, 2012 were $1,356,107 of which $752,439 was in cash or cash equivalent. This is $508,660 change in the reserve fund is largely related to the purchase, renovation and relocation of the College office but also due to the significant cost of unexpected and un-budgeted litigation. Our auditors are of the opinion that, given the cost of litigation, the increasing number of members and the possibility of litigation and other future challenges, the reserve fund should be restored sooner rather than later.

5. Why was a special levy required? How much have we paid?

Your College has paid $180,075.88 from our reserve fund for discipline hearing costs, legal fees, investigative costs, and disbursements in relation to numerous regulatory and court proceedings against Dr. Jerry Mackenzie since January 1, 2013 in furtherance of its role to protect the public.

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6. How much does Dr. Mackenzie owe the College?

He has been assessed fines and costs in accordance with the tariff set out in the Bylaws, payable to the College, totaling approximately $88,885.00 for the discipline hearings. The Court has also awarded the College special costs for the contempt application of approximately $36,300.00. Dr. Mackenzie has claimed penury.

7. Were all registrants assessed the special levy?

In establishing the special levy, the Board prudently considered the matter and determined that, if you were a registered member of the College on December 1, 2015, regardless of when you were registered and whether you were practising or non-practising, you were assessed a special levy of $250, as all registrants equally share both liability and entitlement in their College. Your notice of the special levy and invoice was sent, on January 8, 2016, to the e-mail address you had provided the College.

8. What if I am unable to pay the special levy?

The special levy of $250 is due on March 31, 2016. Interest accrues on all fees due to the College from registrants and optometric corporations at the interest rate established by the Court Order Interest Act; however, any outstanding fee or debt owed to the College must be paid in order to renew registration.

9. How could the College allow spending to reach $180,000?

The College cannot disregard complaints from the public, professional misconduct of our registrants and unauthorized practice of optometry; nor is the College in a position to abandon an investigation or discipline proceeding due to cost.

10. Why did the College impose a special levy instead of increasing registration fees over a period of several years?

Fairness is one of the College’s guiding values. Future registrants, who were not members of the College when the expenses were incurred, are not expected to bear the cost of removing a registrant from practice and the consequent litigation. Transparency is another of the College’s guiding values. Costs incurred in furtherance of our role of public protection have been communicated to the membership.

11. Does Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) cover any of this?

Typically, Professional Liability coverage provides insurance protection for wrongful acts to a third party (actual or alleged negligent acts, errors or omissions) committed when acting within your scope of practice as an optometrist. Your coverage insures payment of both compensatory damages and legal costs associated with a claim. Fines and costs awarded to the regulatory body are not typically included in that coverage.

12. Can I pay the Special Levy online?

Unfortunately, the cost of implementing an online payment procedure for the Special Levy was prohibitive. Payments must be made by cheque, as the College is not in a position to process cash, debit or credit card payments.

MSP – Where do I begin?

We trust the following information will help to guide you in the right direction with MSP. Your first step will be to complete the Practitioner Registration Form and fax it to MSP – Provider Programs.The MSP website will be your most valuable tool in learning about billing MSP and the options available to you as a Practitioner. MSP Practitioner Resources:

If you have any additional questions, you may contact MSP directly at: MSP Provider Programs PO BOX 9480 STN Prov Gov’t Victoria, BC V8W 9E7 Telephone: 604-456-6950 (Vancouver) Toll free: 1-866-456-6950 Fax: 1-250-405-3592

Low Vision & Visual Fields Billing

Registrants who wish to provide patients with Low Vision and/or Visual Fields Services must register with the College of Optometrists of BC. Registrants must make a request to the College, by completing the “Request to Bill for Low Vision & Visual Fields Services” form. Once completed and signed, please fax the form to the College for approval. The College will then request billing privileges from MSP and respond to the registrant by email once the request has been processed.