College of Optometrists of BC update re: COVID-19

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I write to you at a challenging and unchartered time in our history.  As we all began the year 2020, we all felt it was our year, and there was so much that we all looked forward to.  But that has all changed and we could not have predicted that we would be at a generational moment, in the world’s history books.

We are all worried and scared for different reasons; thus, making it an emotional time, for all. We must rise above our varying emotions, and understand that we all are in this together.  We need unity and not division. 

We have all had to face decisions this past week that have created angst and animosity. Subsequently, the College of Optometrists of BC (the “College”) has been receiving a number of emails and calls, from both registrants and the public, expressing disappointment and frustration towards how some registrants have chosen to respond to the current state of affairs.  Furthermore, concerns have been directed towards the College, regarding the ordering of the closure of practices, and the level of care being provided.  The College does not have the legal authority to mandate the closing of a registrant’s place of practice.   

We are in a provincial state of emergency and the College is strongly encouraging our registrants to limit their practice, to only provide essential and emergency care where appropriate, and ensure that you are doing it safely, and following all the recommended precautions that have been recommended by the Provincial Health Officer and Ministry of Health. We must continue to put the interest of the patients, and communities, we serve at the fore front. 

The College will continue its communication with the provincial authorities, our association and other optometric regulators across Canada.   

The College has moved to remote operations as of March 17, 2020, until further notice.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the concern of community spread, a decision was made to minimize College staff exposure to COVID-19, to both protect our team and reduce potential service disruptions. The College will continue to provide services to the public and registrants while working remotely. 

Let’s support one another, and help each other to get through this difficult challenge!


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