Fair Registration Practices Report

Optometrists (2014)

The answers seen below were submitted to the OFC by the regulated professions.

This Fair Registration Practices Report was produced as required by:

  • the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act (FARPACTA) s. 20 and 23(1), for regulated professions named in Schedule 1 of FARPACTA
  • the Health Professions Procedural Code set out in Schedule 2 of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) s. 22.7 (1) and 22.9(1), for health colleges.

Index

  1. Provision of Information About Registration Practices
  2. Amount of Fees
  3. Provision of Timely Decisions, Responses and Reasons
  4. Access to Records
  5. Resources for Applicants
  6. Internal Review or Appeal Processes
  7. Information on Appeal Rights
  8. Assessment of Qualifications
  9. Third-Party Organizations
  10. Training
  11. Agreements on the Recognition of Qualifications
  12. Quantitative Information
  13. Submission

1. Provision of Information About Registration Practices

Describe how you make information about registration practices available to individuals applying or intending to apply for registration. Specify the tools used to provide information, and the manner in which you make that information available, current, accurate and user friendly in each of these subcategories:

a) steps to initiate the registration process

Applicants can obtain information about how to initiate the registration process by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website. This page provides general information about the registration process, including timelines
  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website. This page provides more detailed information about the registration process and includes information for labour mobility applicants and links to application forms, the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (administrator of the national entry to practice exam), and additional information for international graduates about the pre-registration process
  • clicking on ‘Applicants/International Graduates’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website. This page provides pre-registration information for international graduates educated outside North America with a detailed flow chart illustrating the process, including links to the International Optometric Bridging Program at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science (WOVS), World Education Services (WES), and the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC).  The page also provides updated information on the pre-registration process and new Evaluating Exam.  Contact information for FORAC is provided, along with an updated flow chart.
  • clicking on ‘Registration/FAQs’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions related to the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam, the CPIC Report (criminal record check), getting documents notarized, etc.
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail, in person, or fax for information and/or application forms. The College recently converted its registration application form from a pdf to a pdf-writable form. This saves the applicant from having to print out the form and require access to a scanner or fax machine.
     
b) requirements for registration

General and detailed information regarding the requirements for registration is available in the Registration section of the College website and in all application packages.

Every application package includes a copy of the registration requirements as they appear in the Registration Regulation with a recommendation regarding the sequence for completing the requirements and with notes in plain language to help explain the requirements and timelines for meeting them. An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail, in person, or fax for information and/or application forms.

A copy of the amended Registration Regulation (O.Reg. 837/93), is available on the College website by clicking on 'Governance' then 'Legislation & By-Laws'.  The website also provides pre-registration information with a flow chart illustrating the process specific to international applicants and a link to the International Optometric Bridging Program. 

Clicking on ‘Registration/FAQs’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website provides answers to frequently asked questions related to the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam, the CPIC Report (criminal record check), getting documents notarized, etc.
 

c) explanation of how the requirements for registration are to be met, such as the number of years of schooling required for a degree to be deemed equivalent to an Ontario undergraduate degree, length and type of work experience, credit hours or program content

General and detailed information regarding how the requirements for registration are to be met is available in the Registration section of the College website and in all application packages.

All application packages include a copy of the registration requirements as they appear in the Registration Regulation with a recommendation regarding the sequence for completing the requirements and with notes in plain language to help explain the requirements and timelines for meeting them. An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail or fax for information and/or application forms.

In order to make the registration application information more clear and user friendly, a separate landing web page was created for applicants for a General Certificate of Registration and the application form was separated from the application packages and made pdf-writable. Under the 'International Graduates' page, completion of a full-time three-year undergraduate degree in lieu of three years of work experience is detailed for pre-registration international applicants.  In addition, the credential assessment process is described in detail.  As of September 1, 2014, international graduates who choose to pursue undergraduate studies must be enrolled in a science program.

Clicking on ‘Registration/FAQs’ on the left-hand menu of every page on the College web site provides answers to frequently asked questions related to the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam, the CPIC Report (criminal record check), getting documents notarized, etc.

The College web site provides general and pre-registration information for international applicants (click on 'Registration/International Graduates') and direct links to World Education Services (WES), the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, and the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC), and the Touchstone Institute. Any international applicant who contacts the College by phone, fax, email or in person, is provided contact information for these organizations.  Following June 30, 2014, applicants interested in the pre-registration process are directed to FORAC.
 

d) any education or practical experience required for registration that must be completed in Ontario or practice that must be supervised by a member of the profession who is registered in Ontario

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

The International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) includes a practical externship that must be completed as part of that program. The externship may be in Ontario or another Canadian province/territory. The College website provides a link to the International Optometric Bridging Program and any international applicant who contacts the College by phone, fax, email or in person, is provided contact information for the IOBP.

e) requirements that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives

The requirements for having fluency in English or French, the absence of criminal convictions and the letter of good standing, are exemptible requirements. Information is included in the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Resource Binder that is mailed to applicants 4-6 weeks before they are scheduled to write the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence exam and also available on the College website under ‘Resources/College Publications’. Information is also provided during the Jurisprudence Seminar conducted by the College twice annually. Applicants may attend the seminar one or more times prior to writing the exam.

The pre-registration requirements that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives, is available under the Applicants/International Graduates tabs under the 'Assessment of Credentials by the Credential Assessment Committee (CAC)' section.  A list of required documents for registration that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives, is available on the College website (click on 'Registration'). Requirements specific to international applicants that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives, are found by clicking on 'Registration/International Graduates'.  Additional information associated with prior learning assessments and the Evaluating Exam for international applicants, is available on the websites of the IOBP and Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO), and the Touchstone Institute.  The College website provides links to the IOBP (click on 'Registration/International Applicants') (http://uwaterloo.ca/international-optometric-bridging-program/)  and CEO-ECO (click on 'Registration/How to Apply') (http://www.ceo-eco.org/) . Any international applicant who contacts the College by phone, fax, email or in person, is also provided contact information for FORAC, the Touchstone Institute, the IOBP and CEO-ECO.
 

f) the steps in the assessment process

Flow charts are available on the College website (click on 'Registration') that illustrate the steps in the assessment for each of the General Certificate of Registration and the Academic Certificate of Registration.  In addition, a flow chart is available (click on 'Registration/International Graduates') that reflects the FORAC and Evaluating Exam policies for international graduates.

Information regarding the Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry (CACO) exam (the national entry-to-practice exam) and links to the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (the third party administrator of the exam), are available in the Registration section of the College website and in every application package. An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail, in person, or fax for information and/or application forms.

In order to make the registration application information more clear and user friendly, a separate landing web page was created for applicants for a General Certificate of Registration and the application form was separated from the application packages and made pdf-writable.

The College website provides pre-registration information for international applicants and direct links to World Education Services (WES), the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), FORAC, and the Touchstone Institute (click on 'Registration/International Applicants'). Detailed information regarding the assessment of international education and experience, may be obtained from the College website, the IOBP, and FORAC's website. Any international applicant who contacts the College by phone, fax, email or in person, is provided information about the third-party organizations involved in the assessment process.
 

g) the documentation of qualifications that must accompany each application; indicate which documents, if any, are required only from internationally trained applicants

A list of documents required of all applicants is available in all application packages. An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ on the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail or fax for information and/or application forms.

Submitting proof(s) of Diploma(s)/Degree(s): Prior to September 26, 2014, applicants had to submit a notarized copy of diploma(s)/Degree(s) and transcript(s) to the College following graduation. Submitting a transcript(s) is no longer required. Detailed information regarding the documentation of qualifications that are required in the pre-registration process for international applicants, can be found by clicking on 'Registration/International Graduates' on the College website.  Prior to July 1, 2014, a Pre-Registration Form must have been completed by all international applicants.  In addition, international applicants were required to apply for World Education Services reports that authenticate their credentials (WES ICAP service) and to arrange for detailed course information associated with their international optometry-related degree to be sent to the College.  International applicants were required to send a notarized copy of their Certificate of Completion to the College which indicated the applicant’s successful completion of the program.  Using a tool developed by the College on the College website under 'Applicants/International Graduates', applicants are able to self-assess whether or not they have the minimum educational hours needed to have their credentials successfully assessed.

In order to make the registration application information more clear and user friendly, a separate landing web page was created for applicants for a General Certificate of Registration and the application form was separated from the application packages and made pdf-writable.  Following June 30, 2014, a FORAC application form must be completed by all international applicants and submitted to FORAC, and the pre-registration process illustrated on FORAC's website is followed. 

If an applicant is not a Canadian citizen, he or she is required to provide a notarized copy of a permanent residency document or authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to engage in the practice of optometry. Information regarding this requirement is available in the 'Registration/How to Apply' section of the College website and in every application package.

 

h) acceptable alternatives to the documentation if applicants cannot obtain the required documentation for reasons beyond their control

A list of the required documentation that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives for a) pre-registration and b) registration, was developed and is available on the College website.  The required documentation that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives for pre-registration is available under the Applicants/International Graduates tabs under the 'Assessment of Credentials by the Credential Assessment Committee (CAC)' section.  The required documentation that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives for registration is available by clicking on 'Registration'.   

Applicants who inform the College that they cannot provide a Certificate of Standing or a letter of good standing from an optometry regulator in a country where they previously practised are informed of the College policy that a letter may be sent by the highest authority available, as follows:

  1. a Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing from the regulator; or
  2. a Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing from the authority that could remove the applicant’s right to practice (e.g., Ministry of Health or relevant state or government agency); or
  3. a Certificate of Standing/letter of good standing from the employer (e.g., state hospital, university).

Where none of the above are possible, the applicant is asked to sign an affidavit.  The College provides the applicant with the necessary language for the affidavit and information on who can prepare the affidavit for them.

If an applicant cannot obtain a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) report (criminal record check) because he or she is not yet a resident in Canada but has completed all of the other requirements for registration, the applicant is informed that he or she may complete the registration process but will not be authorized to begin practice until the CPIC report has been submitted.  The applicant is asked to sign an Agreement with the College that a CPIC report will be provided immediately once the he or she is in Canada.   

When an applicant informs the College that he or she is unable to obtain immigration documents authorizing him/her to practise optometry in Ontario but has otherwise met all of the requirements for registration, the College assists the applicant by providing a letter that can be presented to immigration officials.
 

i) how applicants can contact your organization

Information regarding how applicants can contact the College by letter, e-mail, telephone (including toll free number), fax or in person, is available on every page of the College website under ‘Contact Us’ and is available on every application form.                                              

The College’s telephone contact information (including toll free number and web site address) is included in the yellow pages phone book for every community in Ontario.There are direct links to the following external organizations (this list is not exhaustive):

  • University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science
  • International Optometric Bridging Program
  • World Education Services
  • Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks
  • Canadian Examiners in Optometry
  • Ontario Association of Optometrists
  • Canadian Association of Optometrists
  • Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Office of the Fairness Commissioner 
  • Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada
  • the Touchstone Institute                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
j) how, why and how often your organization initiates communication with applicants about their applications

The College formally initiates communication with applicants through a minimum of five letters:

  • An initial letter confirms receipt of the application for registration and lists any outstanding documents needed in order to complete the application. The letter is accompanied by a payment receipt.
  • A second letter accompanies a copy of the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Resource Binder. This binder includes information regarding the structure and role of the College as well as relevant legislation, policies and guidelines with which members must be familiar. This information is the basis of the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam and is reviewed in a seminar offered to all applicants twice annually. The binder is sent out 4-6 weeks before the exam along with a study guide and details of the seminar/exam schedules and location(s).
  • A third letter is sent with the results of the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam. If the applicant’s file is now complete, he or she is assigned a registration number, sent an invoice for their (prorated) membership fee and is asked to complete a Report Upon Entering Practice form, Information from New Registrants form, and Confirmation of Malpractice Insurance form. If the applicant’s file is incomplete, the third letter provides the results of the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam and serves as a reminder of the documents (and related timelines) required to complete the file.
  • A fourth letter is sent when the applicant becomes registered confirming that their registration number has been activated by the Registrar. Enclosed with the letter are the applicant’s Certificate of Registration and a receipt for their membership fee.
  • If an applicant fails to complete their application (e.g., documents are outstanding), a fifth letter is sent 21 months after the application was received by the College informing the applicant that he or she has three months to complete the application or the file will be closed.  This letter also informs applicants if any of their submitted documents would need to be re-submitted (e.g., a CPIC report or letter of standing that is more than 6 months old).  If there is no response, a final effort is made to contact the applicant 24 months after the application was received. If there is no response, the file is closed and all documents are returned to the applicant.

In addition to the above, the College communicated with applicants for pre-registration via e-mail as necessary to follow up on inquiries, outstanding issues, or documentation submitted by applicants who did not meet the College requirements, and/or to inform applicants about any changes relevant to the registration process.  For international applicants prior to July 1, 2014, the College confirmed the receipt of completed pre-registration forms and informed applicants by e-mail, phone, in person, and/or letter mail, about the next steps in the pre-registration process.
 

k) the process for dealing with documents provided in languages other than English or French

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  Applicants wishing to submit a document that is not in English or French, are informed that the document(s) must be translated at the expense of the applicant. Generally, these documents are related to the applicant's education and membership/good standing status in their native country.

l) the role of third-party organizations, such as qualification assessment agencies, organizations that conduct examinations or institutions that provide bridging programs, that applicants may come into contact with during the registration process

General information regarding the Canadian Assessment of Competence in Optometry (CACO) (the national entry to practice exam) and links to Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) (the third party administrator of the exam) are available in the Registration section of the College website and in every application package. An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail, in person, or fax for information and/or application forms.

In order to make the registration application information more clear and user friendly, a separate landing web page was created for applicants for a General Certificate of Registration and the application form was separated from the application packages.  

The College website provides general and pre-registration information for international applicants and direct links to World Education Services (WES), the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), FORAC, and the Touchstone Institute (click on 'Registration/International Applicants'). Detailed information regarding the assessment of international education and experience may be obtained from the College website, the IOBP, and from the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authority's website. Any international applicant who contacts the College by phone, fax, email or in person, is provided detailed information about the role of third-party organizations.

 

m) any timelines, deadlines or time limits that applicants will be subject to during the registration process

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

Timelines related to registration are as follows:

An application for registration may remain open at the College for 24 months if the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Examination was successfully completed within 12 months from the date the application  is received by the College. An applicant may submit a new application if the registration process is not completed in 24 months. No applicant may have more than one valid application for registration open with the College at any one time. Applicants who re-apply are not required to re-submit documents already submitted to the College unless they are subject to the timelines/deadlines listed below:

  • Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam: This exam must be successfully completed within one year of applying for registration. (If an applicant does not successfully complete the jursprudence exam within one year of applying, there is nothing preventing them from submitting a new application form and application fee).
  • Criminal Record Check: A Canadian Police Information Centre report must be submitted and must be dated no more than six months prior to the Certificate of Registration being issued and activated.
  • A Certificate of Standing or a letter of good standing (if required): A letter of good standing must be sent to the College directly from the issuing body and must be dated no more than six months prior to the Certificate of Registration being issued and activated.
  • Permanent residency or authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to engage in the practice of optometry (if required): If the applicant is not a Canadian citizen, he or she must submit a notarized copy of their immigration/authorization document. In order for a Certificate of Registration to be issued and activated, this document must be valid.


The above information is available in the Registration section on the College website and in all application packages. An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail, in person, or fax for information and/or application forms.

In order to make the registration application information more clear and user friendly, a separate landing web page was created for applicants for a General Certificate of Registration and the application form was separated from the application packages.  

In addition, applicants are reminded about timelines when they are sent letters from the College during the application process [see 1. j), above].

n) the amount of time that the registration process usually takes

Applications are open for two years from the date they are received by the College and most applicants complete the process in less than one year. This information is available in three places in the Registration section of the College web site (Registration main page, How to Apply and Registration FAQs) and in all application packages. An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail, in person, or fax for information and/or application forms.
     
o) information about all fees associated with registration, such as fees for initial application, exams and exam rewrites, course enrolment or issuance of licence

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

A direct link to the College's Schedule of Fees is found on the web page by clicking on 'Registration;.  In addition, a link to the Schedule of Fees can be found by clicking on 'Governance/Legislation & By-Laws' then by clicking on 'By-Laws of the College of Optometrists of Ontario' or by clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' then on 'Fees'.

An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website (application form links are at the top of the page); or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, email, letter mail, in person, or fax for information and/or application forms.

In order to make the registration application information more clear and user friendly, a separate landing web page was created for applicants for a General Certificate of Registration and the application form was separated from the application packages.  

Applicants are referred to the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) for information, including fees, related to taking the Canadian Assessment Competency in Optometry exam. Links to CEO-ECO (the third party administrator of the exam) are available in the 'Registration' section of the College web site and in every application package.

The College website provides pre-registration information for international applicants and direct links to the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC), the Touchstone Institute, World Education Services (WES), the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, and the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) (click on 'Registration/International Applicants'). Detailed information, including program fees, may be obtained directly from these organizations. Any international applicant who contacts the College by phone, fax, email or in person, is provided information about the third-party organizations involved.
 

p) accommodation of applicants with special needs, such as visual impairment

***  SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  Special needs are considered on an individual basis. The College building is wheelchair-accessible.

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

Using a tool developed by the College on the College website under 'Applicants/International Graduates', applicants for pre-registration are able to self-assess whether or not they have the minimum educational hours needed to have their credentials successfully assessed.

The required documentation that may be satisfied through acceptable alternatives for pre-registration, was developed and is available under the Applicants/International Graduates tabs under the 'Assessment of Credentials by the Credential Assessment Committee (CAC)' section.  As of September 1, 2014, international applicants who choose to pursue undergraduate studies, must be enrolled in a science program.

The requirement of an applicant's signature on a completed application form for registration to be notarized by a Notary Public, has been changed to the applicant's signature to be witnessed instead. In addition to this, the requirement of submitting transcript(s) to the College as proof of diploma(s)/degree(s), is no longer required as of September 26, 2014. Should applicants not be able to present a notarized copy of their diploma(s)/degree(s) to the College due to extenuating circumstances, the College may be able to accept an official transcript directly from the their educational institution.  Effective July 17, 2014, a new policy called Access to Applicant Information and Records was made available to applicants for pre-registration and registration. This new policy, on the College web site with a link, outlines applicants' entitlement to access documents provided to the College as part of their application process. The College does not charge a fee for making records or documents available.                                                                                                                                    

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2. Amount of Fees

a) Are any of the fees different for internationally trained applicants? If yes, please explain.

Prior to June 30, 2014, Internationally trained applicants were required to provide a fee ($475 plus 13% HST) to have their credentials assessed by the College's Credential Assessment Committee .

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

No answer yet

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3. Provision of Timely Decisions, Responses and Reasons

a) What are your timelines for making registration decisions?

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  The decision to register an applicant once all registration requirements have been met and documentation submitted to the College is made within seven business days.

The Registrar's decision to refuse registration and refer the matter to the Registration Committee is made within five business days of the Registrar being apprised of the applicant not meeting a requirement for registration.

If an applicant fails to meet one of the requirements for registration, they will receive a letter indicating which requirement they have failed to meet and informing them that the Registrar proposes to refuse their application for registration and the matter is being referred to the Registration Committee. The letter is typically sent out within five business days of the application being completed. The applicant is informed that he/she has 30 days to make a written submission to the Registration Committee. The Registration Committee will consider the matter at their immediate next meeting.  The Committee meets at least once every one to two months but often meets more frequently due to the workload, for example, by teleconference. Meeting dates are judiciously set to allow prompt consideration of referrals and reviews.

If waiting for the next scheduled Registration Committee meeting means that an applicant is not going to receive an appropriately timely response, the Committee may deal with a member’s review electronically prior to their next in-person meeting.

 

b) What are your timelines for responding to applicants in writing?

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR *** 

Confirming receipt of application: within 10 business days of receiving the application.

Sending results of the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam: within four weeks of the administration of the exam.

Registrar's decision to refuse registration and refer matter to the Registration Committee: within five business days of the Registrar being apprised of the applicant not meeting a requirement for registration.

Decision from the Registration Committee regarding an applicant not meeting a requirement for registration: within two weeks of the Committee's decision.

Sending Certificate of Registration number and invoice for pro-rated membership fee: within six business days of confirming that the applicant has met all of the other requirements for registration.

Sending a notice that an application will be terminated in 30 days for non-activation (requirements met but fees not paid): 30 days after original fee notice is sent out.

Sending notice that an application has been terminated for non-activation: 60 days after the original fee notice is sent out.

Sending notice that an application will expire in three months: 21 months after the application is received by the College.

Sending notice that an application has expired: 24 months after the application is received by the College.
 

c) What are your timelines for providing written reasons to applicants about all registration decisions, internal reviews and appeal decisions?

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

A letter is sent to applicants who fail the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam within four weeks of the exam date and includes information regarding areas of weakness shown by their results, in addition to information pertaining to future exam sittings.

If an applicant fails to meet one of the requirements for registration, they will receive a letter indicating which requirement they have failed to meet and informing them that the Registrar proposes to refuse their application for registration and the matter is being referred to the Registration Committee. The letter is typically sent out within five business days of the Registrar being apprised of the failure to meet a registration requirement. The applicant is informed that he/she has 30 days to make a written submission to the Registration Committee. The Registration Committee will consider the matter at the Committee's immediate next meeting; the Committee meets at least once every one to two months or more frequently depending on the workload, for example, by teleconference. Meeting dates are judiciously set to allow prompt consideration of referrals and reviews.

If waiting for the next scheduled Registration Committee meeting means that an applicant is not going to receive a timely response, the Committee may deal with a member’s review by teleconference prior to the next in-person meeting.

Once the minutes of the meeting dealing with the matter have been confirmed by the Chair, College staff will write to any applicant(s) who have had their application considered, informing them of the Committee’s decision and reasons. This is typically done within two weeks following the meeting. This letter includes information regarding the applicant’s right to appeal the Registration Committee’s decision to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB) and contact information for HPARB.
 

d) Explain how your organization ensures that it adheres to these timelines.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  We adhere to these timelines using several methods:

  • retaining applicants' registration information and status in a table and adhering to the timelines by using the "sorting" feature, and reviewing this information daily basis
  • using a check list at the front of each applicant file tracking the applicant's registration progress (dates when documents submitted, exams completed, etc.)
  • scheduling Registration Committee meetings around when decisions are most likely going to be required
  • having a policy that minutes must be completed within two weeks of the meeting date and staff provides follow-up on action items, prioritizing the communication of registration decisions to applicants
  • reporting back on action items, including communication to applicants, at each Registration Committee meeting
  • implementing a policy for the Registration Committee to review timelines of its decisions, responses and reasons annually
Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

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4. Access to Records

a) Describe how you give applicants access to their own records related to their applications for registration.

A link to a new policy is available on the College web site to applicants. The policy is called Access to Applicant Information and Records which outlines their entitlement to access documents provided to the College as part of their application process. Usually, the College does not receive requests from applicants requesting access to their records. Should an applicant request a copy of his or her record, for instance to prepare for an appeal to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB), the College makes a copy of the documents provided to HPARB available to the applicant.
 

b) Explain why access to applicants’ own records would be limited or refused.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR***  The College would only limit or refuse access to an applicants’ own record in order to protect a third party.

c) State how and when you give applicants estimates of the fees for making records available.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR***  The College currently does not charge a fee for making records available.

d) List the fees for making records available.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR*** The College currently does not charge a fee for making records available.

e) Describe the circumstances under which payment of the fees for making records available would be waived or would have been waived.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR***  The College currently does not charge a fee for making records available.

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

As of July 17, 2014, a link to a new policy called Access to Applicant Information and Records was made available to applicants for pre-registration/registration on the College web site. This policy outlines applicants' entitlement to access documents provided to the College as part of their application process. The College does not charge any fees for providing any records or documents. 

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5. Resources for Applicants

a) List and describe any resources that are available to applicants, such as application guides, exam blueprints or programs for orientation to the profession.

Comprehensive application packages and information are available on the College website or by contacting the College offices. These include:

  • information regarding how to complete the application form
  • a description of what it means to get a document notarized
  • contact information for the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO), the third party organization that administers the Canadian Assessment of Competency in Optometry (CACO), the entry-to-practice exam for the profession
  • information regarding how to obtain a Canadian Police Information Centre report (criminal record check)
  • a copy of the registration requirements as they appear in the Registration Regulation with a recommendation regarding the sequence for completing the requirements and with notes in plain language to help explain the requirements.
  • a check list to help ensure the application is complete
  • a list of Acceptable Variations in Documents required for registration
  • a flow chart to illustrate the pre-registration process for international applicants
  • flow charts prepared to illustrate the registration process for applicants


Applicants registered for the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam are sent a copy of the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Resource Binder four to six weeks before the open book exam. The Resource Binder is also available on the College website. A study guide that includes where to find the relevant information in the Resource Binder, is provided to applicants with their binder. The exams are offered six times annually and twice annually, the College offers a one-day seminar to help prepare applicants for the exam. Sample exam questions are reviewed at the end of the seminar. Applicants may attend the seminar one or more times prior to writing the exam.

The College website provides general and pre-registration information for international applicants and direct links to the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC), the Touchstone Institute, World Education Services (WES),  the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, and the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) (click on 'Applicants/International Applicants'). Detailed information about the program may be obtained directly from the IOBP. Any international applicant who contacts the College by phone, fax, email or in person, is provided detailed information about the pre-registration process.

The College website and application packages provide information specifically for applicants registered in another Canadian jurisdiction who wish to apply for registration in Ontario under the labour mobility provisions.

Applicants are referred to the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) for information related to taking the Canadian Assessment of Competency in Optometry (CACO) exam. Links to CEO-ECO (the third party administrator of the exam) are available in the Registration section of the College website and in every application package. The CEO-ECO website includes an extensive guide for the CACO exam and sample exam questions.

College staff respond to registration inquiries on a daily basis by phone, email, mail, in person, and by fax.
 

b) Describe how your organization provides information to applicants about these resources.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  Information about these resources is available on the College website and is included in all application packages. An application package may be obtained by:

  • clicking on ‘Registration/How to Apply’ in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • clicking on 'Resources/Forms & Fees' in the horizontal menu of every page on the College website; or
  • contacting the College by phone, e-mail, letter mail, in person, or fax for information and/or application forms.

In order to make the registration application information more clear and user friendly, a separate landing web page was created for applicants for a General Certificate of Registration and the registration application form was converted from a pdf to a pdf-writable form. This saves the applicant from having to print out the form and require access to a scanner or fax machine.

The College provides information to applicants for registration about the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam and seminar by letter and/or e-mail.

College staff respond to registration inquiries and provide information regarding relevant resources on a daily basis by phone, e-mail, letter mail, in person, and by fax.

 

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

The requirement of having an applicant's signature on a completed application form for registration notarized by a Notary Public, has been changed to the requirement of having the applicant's signature witnessed. In addition to this, as of September 26, 2014, applicants are no longer required to submit transcript(s) to the College as proof of graduation.  However, for an acceptable variation in this document, subject to the College's satisfaction, should applicants not be able to present a notarized copy of their diploma(s)/degree(s) to the College due to extenuating circumstances, the College may be able to accept an official transcript directly from the institution.  Effective July 17, 2014, a new policy called Access to Applicant Information and Records was made available  to applicants for pre-registration and registration on the College web site with a link. This new policy outlines applicants' entitlement to access documents and records provided to the College as part of their application process. The College does not charge any fees for providing any documents or records.  

The College provided a tool on the International Graduates page of the College website that allows international applicants to make a preliminary assessment of their credentials as they relate to the syllabus of the University of Waterloo and Vision Science School of Optometry and Vision Science degree program.

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6. Internal Review or Appeal Processes

In this section, describe your internal review or appeal process. Some regulatory bodies use these two terms (internal review and appeal) for two different processes, some use only one of these terms, and some use them interchangeably. Please use the term that applies to your profession. If you use both terms (for two different processes), please address both.

a) List your timelines for completing internal reviews or appeals of registration decisions.

If an applicant fails to meet one of the requirements for registration, they will receive a letter indicating which requirement they have failed to meet and informing them that the Registrar proposes to refuse their application for registration and the matter is being referred to the Registration Committee. The letter is typically sent out within five business days of the Registrar being apprised of the failure to meet a registration requirement. The applicant is told that he/she has 30 days to make a written submission to the Registration Committee. The Registration Committee will consider the matter at their immediate next meeting; the Committee meets at least once every one to two months or more frequently depending on the workload, for example, by teleconference.

If waiting for the next scheduled Registration Committee meeting means that an applicant is not going to receive a timely response, the Committee may deal with a member’s review by teleconference prior to the next in-person meeting.  On April 7, 2014, the College Council's approved the appointment of another public member who is internationally trained to the Registration Committee. The Committee was then split into two panels. Each panel comprised of two professional members and one public member. One panel was tasked with reviewing and discussing the Credential Assessment Committee recommendations associated with credential assessments and applications for pre-registration/registration, and the other panel was tasked with reviewing appeals resulting from the first panel's decisions.
 

i. State the number of internal reviews or appeals of registration decisions that exceeded your timelines.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR***

There were no internal reviews or appeals of registration decisions that exceeded our timelines in 2014.
 

ii. Among internal reviews or appeals that exceeded your timelines, state the number that were from internationally trained applicants.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR***


There were no internal reviews or appeals of registration decisions associated with internationally trained applicants that exceeded our timelines in 2014.
 

b) Specify the opportunities you provide for applicants to make submissions regarding internal reviews or appeals.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

When a letter is sent to the applicant informing him/her of the Registrar’s proposal to refuse registration, a clause is included about the applicant’s rights to make a written submission to the Registration Committee. Similarly, the applicant is notified of his/her rights during any type of communications including phone, e-mail, letter mail, in-person, and by fax.

c) Explain how you inform applicants about the form in which they must make their submissions (i.e., orally, in writing or by electronic means) for internal reviews or appeals.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

Applicants who fail to meet a registration requirement are sent a letter with the following information quoting the relevant legislation:

“You have failed to successfully complete ......... Accordingly, the Registrar proposes to refuse your application because you have not met a requirement of the Registration Regulation (1). Your application will be referred to the Registration Committee (2).

You have the right to make a written submission to the Committee within 30 days of the receipt of this letter if you wish to do so. (3)

After considering your application and your written submission, if any, the Registration Committee will make a decision respecting your application.(4)

(1) O. Reg.. 837/93, Registration, s. 2.
(2) Regulated Health Professions (Code), Section 15. (2) (c)
(3) Ibid., Section 15. (3)
(4) Ibid., Section 18. (2)"
 

d) State how you ensure that no one who acted as a decision-maker in a registration decision acts as a decision-maker in an internal review or appeal of the same registration decision.

The Registrar makes the initial registration decision. The Registration Committee considers all referrals and reviews and the Registrar is not involved. On April 7, 2014, the College approved the appointment of another public member who is internationally trained to the Registration Committee.  The Committee was then split into two panels each comprised of two professional members and one public member. One panel was tasked with reviewing and discussing the Credential Assessment Committee recommendations associated with credential assessments and applications for pre-registration/registration, and the other panel was tasked with reviewing appeals resulting from the first panel's decisions.

e) Describe your internal review or appeal process.

***  SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

When an applicant sends a written submission to the College, the College staff person supporting the Registration Committee notifies the Committee Chair. The referral/review is added to the agenda of the Committee’s immediate next meeting. Anonymized copies of the applicant’s submission are distributed to the Committee members in advance of the meeting. Once the minutes of the meeting have been written and confirmed with the Chair, the applicant is informed of the Committee’s decision and reasons.

f) State the composition of the committee that makes decisions about registration, which may be called a Registration Committee or Appeals Committee: how many members does the committee have; how many committee members are members of the profession in Ontario; and how many committee members are internationally trained members of the profession in Ontario.

The Registration Committee is a statutory committee comprised of four practising optometrists in Ontario and two public members appointed by the Government of Ontario. On April 7, 2014, the College Council approved the appointment of another public member who is internationally trained to the Registration Committee. The Committee was then split into two panels each comprised of two professional members and one public member. One panel was tasked with reviewing and discussing the Credential assessment Committee recommendations associated with credential assessment and applications for pre-registration/registration, and the other panel was tasked with reviewing appeals resulting from the first panel's decisions. Two Committee members are internationally trained.

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

On April 7, 2014, the College Council approved the appointment of another public member who is internationally trained to the Registration Committee. The Committee was then split into two panels each comprised of two professional members and one public member. One panel was tasked with reviewing and discussing the Credential Assessment Committee recommendations associated with credential assessments and applications for pre-registration/registration, and the other panel was tasked with reviewing appeals resulting from the first panel's decisions.

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7. Information on Appeal Rights

a) This section refers to reviews or appeals that are available after an internal review or appeal. Describe how you inform applicants of any rights they have to request a further review of or appeal from a decision.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

Directly following a meeting of the Registration Committee to consider the applicant’s referral/review, a letter is written to the applicant incorporating the following clause:

“You have the right to appeal the decision of the Registration Committee. If you choose to appeal this decision, your appeal should be addressed to:
Health Professions Appeal and Review Board
151 Bloor Street West, 9th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2T5

Tel: 416.327.8512

Toll Free: 1.866.282.2179

Fax: 416.327.8524”
 

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

On April 7, 2014, the College Council approved the appointment of another public member who is internationally trained to the Registration Committee. The Committee was then split into two panels each comprised of two professional members and one public member. One panel was tasked with reviewing and discussing the Credential Assessment Committee recommendations associated with credential assessments and applications for pre-registration/registration, and the other panel was tasked with reviewing appeals resulting from the first panel's decisions.

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8. Assessment of Qualifications

This category covers your processes for assessing all qualifications, such as academic credentials, competencies, language ability or practical experience.

a) List the criteria that must be met in order for an applicant’s qualifications to satisfy the entry-to-practice requirements for your profession.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

The requirements for registration are outlined in detail in the amended Registration Regulation (O.Reg. 837/93) under the Optometry Act which came into effect on September 14, 2012. The College issues General Certificates of Registration and Academic Certificates of Registration.

Section 2. (1) 2. of the amended Registration Regulation details the academic requirement for a General Certificate of Registration as follows:

  " i. A degree in optometry,

        A. awarded by the School of Optometry and Vision Science of the University of Waterloo, or

        B. awarded by an educational institution as a result of the successful completion of a program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education or another accrediting body approved by the Council at the time the applicant successfully completed the program, or

    ii. A degree together with any further education or training, or combination of education and training, as specified by a panel of the Registration Committee that when taken together evidences, in the opinion of the panel, completion of a program that is substantially  equivalent to  a program the completion of which would result in the awarding of a degree referred to in sub-subparagraph i A."

Section 5. (1) 2. of the amended Registration Regulation details the academic requirement of an Academic Certificate of Registration as follows:

   "2. The applicant must hold an appointment as a professor, lecturer, resident, supervising clinician or graduate student at the School of Optometry of the University of Waterloo, or another university or optometric educational facility in Ontario approved by the Council.

    3. The applicant must have one of the following academic qualifications:

        i. successful completion of a course in optometry at a university, if the course, at the time the applicant commence it, was accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education or another accrediting body approved by the Council, together with the award of a degree of doctor of optometry from that university,

        ii. successful completion of a course in optometry at a university in the United Kingdom, together with the award of a degree from that university, and current or past membership in the British College of Optometrists,

        iii. successful completion of a course outside of Ontario, other than one mentioned in subparagraphs i or ii that the Registration Committee, having considered the rest of the applicant's qualifications, determines is acceptable."


Other criteria common to the application processes of both General and Academic certificates of registration, are listed below:

  • Ability of applicants to speak and write in English or French with reasonable fluency
  • Absence of professional misconduct/incompetence/incapacity findings against applicants if they previously practised optometry in other jurisdiction(s)
  • Absence of criminal offence findings against applicants
  • Requirement of having Canadian citizenship/permanent residency/authorization under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) to engage in the practice of optometry
b) Describe the methodology used to determine whether a program completed outside of Canada satisfies the requirements for registration.

Applicants who are graduates of optometry schools that are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), are not required to undergo a credential assessment.

After the amended Registration Regulation (O.Reg. 837/93) came into effect, the following methodology was followed for international applicants who were not graduates of ACOE-accredited optometry schools, prior to July 1, 2014:

  • Authentication of credentials by World Education Services (WES) prior to consideration by the College's Credential Assessment Committee
  • Provision of detailed optometry-related and translated course descriptions, in electronic format if possible, indicating the course length in hours/days/weeks associated with the international optometry-related program they completed.  Applicants may be required to provide additional information as it relates to their employment history.
  • The College's Credential Assessment Committee compares the optometry-related courses that the applicant completed, to courses in the optometry degree program at ACOE-accredited optometry schools, in particular, the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science.
  • The Committee determines if the pre-registration applicant has met the minimum standards of optometric education to be considered an optometrist in Ontario, in order to move forward in the pre-registration process such as being able to apply to challenge the prior learning assessment (PLA) exam.
  • Based on information that an applicant provides on the Pre-Registration Form, the Committee may factor in any relevant work experience into the paper review of the applicant's credentials if it can be tied to a time frame, for example, in hours/days/weeks.
  • The Committee makes a recommendation

The College continued to require that international applicants who were applicants for registration, have their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES).  The College recognized candidates already in the process of having their credentials assessed by the IOBP and continued to have their credentials recognized by the College, providing that their credential assessment was completed by March 1, 2012.

 

 

 

c) Explain how work experience in the profession is assessed.

Work experience is, generally, not a requirement for registration.  Optometric work experience is defined as experience in the practice of optometry in a country outside Canada. 

Prior to July 1, 2014, when international applicants applied for pre-registration, work experience may have been considered in lieu of undergraduate education prior to a four-year professional optometric degree.  A combination of undergraduate study and work experience could have satisfied the pre-registration requirement. For example, an applicant would meet the work experience pre-requisite if he/she completed two years of undergraduate study prior to entering an optometry school and one or more years of work experience outside Canada. An optometry degree of less than four years could have also satisfied the pre-registration requirement if combined with additional study.

In addition to satisfying the pre-requisite for undergraduate studies or work experience, the credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree. If an applicant submitted international work experience to be used as credit in the credential assessment process, the work experience could be factored into the paper review of the credentials as long as the work experience a) could be independently verified, and b) could be translated in terms of units of time, for example, hours, days, or weeks, without duplicating the credit already given to you for educational hours offered by the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. The credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree.
 

The IOBP assessed the clinical portion of the applicants' prior learning. Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) assessed the theoretical portion of their prior learning by administering a multiple-choice test.  Applicants were required to submit reference letters from their employers to the IOBP.


If an applicant for registration was ever licensed or registered to practise optometry or any other regulated health profession, the applicant is required to arrange for the licensing body where he/she practised to send the College a Certificate of Standing/Letter of Standing, outlining his/her current status in that jurisdiction, and whether there have ever been any proceedings against the applicant involving allegations of professional misconduct, incapacity or like finding. The Certificate of Standing/Letter of Standing must be dated no more than six months before their Certificate of Registration is issued and activated.

The College continued to require that applicants applying under the Labour Mobility provisions to have been registered in another Canadian jurisdiction and to have practised the profession of optometry to the extent that would be permitted by a general certificate of registration at any time in the three years immediately before the date of the applicant's application.  Proof of the applicant having practised in another Canadian jurisdiction needs to be verified by a Certificate of Standing/Letter of Standing completed by the respective Canadian optometry regulatory body; a notation on the website of the respective Canadian optometry regulatory body to indicate that the applicant is practising; and confirmation from a licensed non-relative optometrist who has worked with the applicant.

d) Describe how your organization ensures that information used in the assessment about educational systems and credentials of applicants from outside Canada is current and accurate.

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College continued to require that international applicants have their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES).  WES authenticates credentials and verifies the currency of documents by direct communication with the overseas universities.  The College recognized candidates already in the process of having their credentials assessed by the IOBP and continued to have their credentials recognized by the College, providing that their credential assessment was completed by March 1, 2012.  The College ensured that the information used in the assessment about educational systems, was kept current and accurate by, for example, requesting the provision of detailed optometry-related and translated course descriptions associated with the applicants' international optometry-related degrees to be sent directly to the College by the institution(s) where the international applicants studied, and ensuring that the course descriptions correlated chronologically with the degree completed.  In addition, the College's Credential Assessment Committee performed a detailed course-by-course analysis of the courses in comparison to the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science optometry degree program.  

All applicants must complete the application form and sign it, attaching documents that are required to be notarized. Upon successful completion of the application process, applicants are asked to confirm the accuracy of the information provided in their application form. If applicants provide the College with false or misleading information on their application, the applicants will be deemed not to have satisfied the requirements for registration.  Similarly prior to July 1, 2014, international applicants for pre-registration were required to complete and sign their pre-registration forms.
 

e) Describe how previous assessment decisions are used to assist in maintaining consistency when assessing credentials of applicants from the same jurisdictions or institutions.

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College's Credential Assessment Committee continued to accumulate information in regards to the credential assessment of international applicants who graduated with optometry-related degrees from the same educational institutions and jurisdictions.  The information was saved in an Excel spreadsheet using a consolidated Academic Qualifications Assessment (AQUA) template.  This amassed information was referred to by the Committee when analyzing the credentials of other international applicants.

f) Explain how the status of an institution in its home country affects recognition of the credentials of applicants by your organization.

The credentials of graduates of optometry schools accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), are recognized by the College.

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College continued to require that international applicants to have their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES).  The overseas optometry-related degrees of international applicants in addition to the institution granting them, needed to be recognized by WES in order for the College to recognize the credentials of international applicants.

g) Describe how your organization accommodates applicants with special needs, such as visual impairment.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

The College accommodates special needs on a case-by-case basis.  If an individual has the physical ability to perform the clinical procedures necessary to practise optometry, special needs will be accommodated. The College building is wheelchair accessible.

h) State the average length of time required to complete the entire registration process, from when the process is initiated to when a registration decision is issued.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

Not all those who apply to the College to practise optometry in Ontario follow through with their application. The length of time required to complete the entire registration process varies depending on the individual’s circumstances. The average length of time for applicants to complete the entire registration process is approximately 9-10 months. Applications may be submitted at any time and many applicants submit their application well in advance of completing the requirements for registration, e.g., many students submit an application several months before graduating from their optometry program.

i. State whether the average time differs for internationally trained individuals.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

The average time differs for the majority of international applicants.


 

ii. If the average time differs for internationally trained individuals, state whether it is greater or less than the average for all applicants, and the reasons for the difference.

Generally, it takes longer for international applicants to complete the pre-registration followed by the registration process.  Prior to July 1, 2014, following the submission of a completed Pre-Registration Form, all internationally educated graduates1who were applicants for pre-registration must have had their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES) prior to consideration by the College’s Credential Assessment Committee.  Applicants were responsible to pay the WES fee to WES directly.  Applicants were then required to provide to the College detailed optometry-related and translated course descriptions, in electronic format if possible, indicating the course length in hours/days/weeks associated with the international optometry-related program they completed. If course descriptions were not sent directly to the College by the institutions where the applicant studied the program, applicants were required to provide a notarized copy of the original translated course descriptions. Applicants may have been required to provide additional information as it related to their employment history so they could be given the appropriate credit as part of the credential assessment process.  The Credential Assessment Committee, which met approximately quarterly, determined if the degree(s) met the established minimum standards of optometric education to be considered an optometrist in Ontario by comparing the courses that the applicant completed to the courses associated with the degree in optometry awarded by the School of Optometry and Vision Science of the University of Waterloo. Based on information that an applicant provided on the Pre-Registration Form, the Committee may have factored in any relevant work experience into the paper review of the applicant’s credentials as long as it could be tied to a time frame, for example hours/days/weeks. The Credential Assessment Committee then made a recommendation to the Registration Committee of the relevant province regarding a candidate’s eligibility to proceed to the Prior Learning Assessment examination. 

If successful in the PLA exams, international applicants were informed that they may apply to either the short or the long bridging program administered by the IOBP and are subject to program capacity.  Accordingly, average timelines depend on many factors, including how frequently the bridging programs are offered and administered.  It often takes an international applicant more than one attempt to pass the entry-to-practice exams.  Some international applicants have difficulty obtaining the necessary immigration authorization to practise optometry in Ontario. 

i) If your organization conducts credential assessments, explain how you determine the level (e.g., baccalaureate, master’s, Ph.D.) of the credential presented for assessment.

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College continued to  require that international applicants have their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES). WES authenticates credentials and determines the level of the credential presented for assessment. The College recognized candidates already in the process of having their credentials assessed by the IOBP and continued to have their credentials recognized by the College, providing that their credential assessment was completed by March 1, 2012. The College requested detailed optometry-related and translated course descriptions associated with the applicants' international optometry-related degrees to be sent directly to the College by the institution(s) where the international applicants studied, and ensured that the course descriptions correlate chronologically with the degree completed. In addition, the College's Credential Assessment Committee performed a detailed course-by-course analysis of the courses in comparison to the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science optometry degree program.  The Credential Assessment Committee determined if the degree(s) met the established minimum standards of optometric education to be considered an optometrist in Ontario by comparing the courses that the applicant completed to the courses associated with the degree in optometry awarded by the School of Optometry and Vision Science of the University of Waterloo.  Based on information that an applicant provided on the Pre-Registration Form, the Committee could have factored in any relevant work experience into the paper review of the applicant’s credentials as as long as it can be tied to a time frame, for example hours/days/weeks.   

i. Describe the criteria that are applied to determine equivalency.

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College continued to require that international applicants have their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES). WES authenticates credentials and determines the level of the credential presented for assessment. The College recognized candidates already in the process of having their credentials assessed by the IOBP and continued to have their credentials recognized by the College, providing that their credential assessment was completed by March 1, 2012. The College requested detailed optometry-related and translated course descriptions associated with the applicants' international optometry-related degrees to be sent directly to the College by the institution(s) where the international applicants studied, and ensured that the course descriptions correlated chronologically with the degree completed. In addition, the College's Credential Assessment Committee performed a detailed course-by-course analysis of the courses in comparison to the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science optometry degree program.  The Credential Assessment Committee determined if the degree(s) met the established minimum standards of optometric education to be considered an optometrist in Ontario by comparing the courses that the applicant completed to the courses associated with the degree in optometry awarded by the School of Optometry and Vision Science of the University of Waterloo. Based on information that an applicant provided on the Pre-Registration Form, the Committee could have factored in any relevant work experience into the paper review of the applicant’s credentials as as long as it could be tied to a time frame, for example hours/days/weeks.   

 

ii. Explain how work experience is taken into account.

Work experience is, generally, not a requirement for registration. Optometric work experience is defined as experience in the practice of optometry in a country outside Canada.

Prior to July 1, 2014, when international applicants applied for pre-registration to the College, work experience could have been considered in lieu of undergraduate education.  In addition, applicants could have been credited for work experience for their education, if the work experience is associated with a time frame (i.e hours/days/weeks).  The work experience needed to be independently verified before it could be taken into account, for example, by requesting that the applicant's non-relative colleague provide a letter on practice letterhead to confirm that the applicant had completed the work experience indicated.  A combination of undergraduate study and work experience could have satisfied the pre-registration requirement. For example, an applicant could have met the work experience pre-requisite if he/she completed two years of undergraduate study prior to entering an optometry school and one or more years of work experience outside Canada. An optometry degree of less than four years could have also satisfied the pre-registration requirement if combined with additional study.

In addition to satisfying the pre-requisite for undergraduate studies or work experience, the credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree. If an applicant submitted international work experience to be used as credit in the credential assessment process, the work experience could have been factored into the paper review of the credentials as long as the work experience a) could be independently verified, and b) could be translated in terms of units of time, for example, hours, days, or weeks, without duplicating the credit already given for educational hours offered by the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. The credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree.
 

The IOBP assessed the clinical portion of the applicants' prior learning. Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) assessed the theoretical portion of their prior learning by administering a multiple-choice test.

In the registration process, if the applicant had been licensed or registered to practise optometry or any other regulated health profession in the past, the applicant must arrange for the licensing body where he/she practised to send the College a Certificate of Standing/Letter of Standing, outlining his/her current status in that jurisdiction, and whether there have ever been any proceedings against the applicant involving allegations of professional misconduct, incapacity or like finding. The Certificate of Standing/Letter of Standing must be dated no more than six months before their Certificate of Registration is issued and activated.

Once the amended Registration Regulation (O.Reg. 837/93) came into effect on September 14, 2012, applicants applying under the Labour Mobility provisions were required to have been registered in another Canadian jurisdiction and to have practised the profession of optometry to the extent that would be permitted by a general certificate of registration at any time in the three years immediately before the date of the applicant's application. Proof of the applicant having practised in another Canadian jurisdiction needs to be verified by a Certificate of Standing completed by the respective Canadian optometry regulatory body; a notation on the website of the respective Canadian optometry regulatory body to indicate that the applicant is practising; and confirmation from a licensed non-relative optometrist who has worked with the applicant.

j) If your organization conducts competency assessment, describe the methodology used to evaluate competency.

The College does not conduct competency assessments.  The clinical portion of the prior learning assessment exams for international applicants was administered by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), and the theoretical portion was administered by Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) which also implements the Canadian entry-to-practice exams.

i. Explain how the methodology used to evaluate competency is validated, and how often it is validated.

The College does not conduct competency assessments.  The clinical portion of the prior learning assessment exams for international applicants was administered by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), and the theoretical portion was administered by Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) which also implements the Canadian entry-to-practice exams.
 

ii. Explain how work experience is used in the assessment of competency.

The College does not conduct competency assessments.  The clinical portion of the prior learning assessment exams for international applicants was administered by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), and the theoretical portion was administered by Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO) which also implements the Canadian entry-to-practice exams.

k) If your organization conducts prior learning assessment, describe the methodology used to evaluate prior learning.

The College does not conduct prior learning assessments.  The clinical portion of the prior learning assessment exams for international applicants was administered by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), and the theoretical portion was administered by Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) which also implements the Canadian entry-to-practice exams.
 

i. Explain how the methodology used to evaluate prior learning is validated, and how often it is validated.

The College does not conduct prior learning assessments. The clinical portion of the prior learning assessment exams for international applicants was administered by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), and the theoretical portion was administered by Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) which also implements the Canadian entry-to-practice exams.

ii. Explain how work experience is used in the assessment of prior learning.

The College does not conduct prior learning assessments. The clinical portion of the prior learning assessment exams for international applicants was administered by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), and the theoretical portion was administered by Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) which also implements the Canadian entry-to-practice exams.

l) If your organization administers examinations, describe the exam format, scoring method and number of rewrites permitted.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

The College administers the Ontario Optometric Jurisprudence Exam six times annually. It is an open book exam that consists of 60 multiple choice questions which cover all aspects of legislation governing the practice of optometry in Ontario.  Applicants must obtain a minimum grade of 70% to pass.  Results are reported on a pass/fail basis.  Applicants must successfully complete the exam within 12 months of submitting their application to the College.  There is no limit to the number of times an applicant may write the exam. If an applicant fails to successfully complete the exam within 12 months of applying for registration, they may submit a new application for registration.
 

i. Describe how the exam is tested for validity and reliability. If results are below desired levels, describe how you correct the deficiencies.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

The exam is reviewed before and after each administration to ensure that the exam maintains its validity and reliability. If results indicate that a question is not valid, it is not included in the grading of the exam and is subsequently rewritten or removed from the bank of questions.

 

ii. State how often exam questions are updated and the process for doing so.

***  SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

The exam questions are reviewed and updated annually by College staff and/or an external consultant.
 

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

As of September 2, 2014, international applicants are required to have completed a science undergraduate degree prior to their optometry degree if they do not have three years of work experience following their optometry-related degree.  The College provided a tool on the International Graduates page of the College website that allows international applicants to make a preliminary assessment of their credentials as they relate to the syllabus of the Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science degree program.

BACK TO INDEX


9. Third-Party Organizations

a) List any third-party organizations (such as language testers, credential assessors or examiners) relied upon by your organization to make assessment decisions.

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College continued to rely on World Education Services (WES) to authenticate the credentials of international applicants.  In addition, the College continued to rely on the following to administer the testing of the English language proficiency level of international applicants: a) Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test, by the "Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks", -CLB level 8.0 b) International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic - minimum overall average of 7.5.  c) CanTest -  minimum overall average of 4.5.  The College continued to rely on the arms-length Credential Assessment Committee to analyze and assess the credentials of international applicants.

As of July 1, 2014, the College began to rely on the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC) to assess the credentials of international applicants and provide recommendations to the College's Registration Committee.

The College continued to rely on the IOBP to administer the clinical portion of the PLA exams and the bridging of international applicants.  The College also relied on the Canadian Examiners in Optometry to administer the theoretical portion of the PLA exams and to develop and administer the Canadian Assessment of Competency in Optometry (CACO) exam, the national entry-to-practice exam.

 

b) Explain what measures your organization takes to ensure that any third-party organization that it relies upon to make an assessment:
i. provides information about assessment practices to applicants

The College website provides links to the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC), the Touchstone Institute, World Education Services (WES), the links to English Language proficiency testing sites, and the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) (click on 'Registration/International Applicants'). Detailed information about the programs, including comprehensive information about the assessment process, may be obtained directly from the College website. Any international applicant who contacts the college by phone, fax, email, letter mail or in person, is provided detailed information about assessment practices.

Links to Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) are available in the Registration section of the College website and in every application package. The CEO-ECO website includes administrative policies and an extensive guide for the CACO exam.

This information is reviewed by the College's Registration Committee annually.
 

ii. utilizes current and accurate information about qualifications from outside Canada

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College continued to require that international applicants have their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES).  WES authenticates credentials and verifies the currency of documents by direct communication with the overseas universities.  The College recognized candidates already in the process of having their credentials assessed by the IOBP and continued to have their credentials recognized by the College, providing that their credential assessment was completed by March 1, 2012.  The College ensured that the information used in the assessment about educational systems, was kept current and accurate by, for example, requesting the provision of detailed optometry-related and translated course descriptions associated with the applicants' international optometry-related degrees to be sent directly to the College by the institution(s) where the international applicants studied, and ensured that the course descriptions correlate chronologically with the degree completed.  In addition, the College's Credential Assessment Committee performed a detailed course-by-course analysis of the courses in comparison to the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science optometry degree program. 

All applicants must complete the application form and sign it, attaching documents that are required to be notarized. Upon successful completion of the application process, applicants are asked to confirm the accuracy of the information provided in their application form. If applicants provide the College with false or misleading information on their application, the applicants will be deemed not to have satisfied the requirements for registration.  Similarly, international applicants for pre-registration were required to complete and sign their pre-registration forms.
 

iii. provides timely decisions, responses and reasons to applicants

The College regularly communicates with the administrators of the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC) (for credential assessment), World Education Services (WES), the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), and Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO).   In addition, College staff reviews each applicant file to ensure that timely decisions, responses and reasons, are provided to all applicants.

iv. provides training to individuals assessing qualifications

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College provided orientation and training, including anti-discrimination training, to all members of the Credential Assessment Committee and pre-registration staff. The College also provided orientation and training, including anti-discrimination training, to all members of the Registration Committee and registration staff.

v. provides access to records related to the assessment to applicants

***  SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

Applicants to the IOBP are provided their detailed assessment results (scores) in addition to feedback on their areas of weakness.  Bridging program participants receive individual feedback on their clinical evaluation results.  Applicants whose assessment results show that they are not eligible to continue forward with one of the bridging programs may request a review/feedback related to their clinical assessment results.  

vi. accommodates applicants with special needs, such as visual impairment

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

Special needs would be looked at on an individual basis. Providing an individual had the physical ability to perform the clinical procedures necessary for the provision of optometric care, special needs would be accommodated.

c) If your organization relies on a third party to conduct credential assessments:
i. Explain how the third party determines the level (e.g., baccalaureate, masterĂ­s, Ph.D.) of the credential presented for assessment.

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College used World Education Services (WES) to authenticate the credentials of international applicants and to determine the level of the credential presented for assessment.



 

ii. Describe the criteria that are applied to determine equivalency.

Prior to July 1, 2014, the College required that international applicants have their credentials authenticated by World Education Services (WES). WES authenticates credentials and determines the level of the credential presented for assessment. The College recognized candidates already in the process of having their credentials assessed by the IOBP and continued to have their credentials recognized by the College, providing that their credential assessment was completed by March 1, 2012. The College requested detailed optometry-related and translated course descriptions associated with the applicants' international optometry-related degrees to be sent directly to the College by the institution(s) where the international applicants studied, and ensured that the course descriptions correlated chronologically with the degree completed. In addition, the College's Credential Assessment Committee performed a detailed course-by-course analysis of the courses in comparison to the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science optometry degree program.  Up until June 30, 2014, the College of Optometrists of Ontario had been responsible on an interim basis for the credential assessment of international applicants. 

As of July 1, 2014, the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC) began administering a national credential assessment process.

The Evaluating Exam is a high-stakes competency exam being developed by the Touchstone Institute (formerly CEHPEA) that will replace the prior learning assessment (PLA) exam implemented jointly in the past by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) and the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO).                     


 

iii. Explain how work experience is taken into account.

Work experience is, generally, not a requirement for registration. Optometric work experience is defined as experience in the practice of optometry in a country outside Canada.

Prior to July 1, 2014, when applicants applied for pre-registration to the College, work experience could have been considered in lieu of undergraduate education.  In addition, applicants could have been credited for work experience for their education, if the work experience could be independently verified and associated with a time frame (i.e. hours/days/weeks).  A combination of undergraduate study and work experience could have satisfied the pre-registration requirement. For example, an applicant could have met the work experience pre-requisite if he/she completed two years of undergraduate study prior to entering an optometry school and one or more years of work experience outside Canada. An optometry degree of less than four years could have also satisfied the pre-registration requirement if combined with additional study.

In addition to satisfying the pre-requisite for undergraduate studies or work experience, the credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree. If an applicant submitted international work experience to be used as credit in the credential assessment process, the work experience could have been factored into the paper review of the credentials as long as the work experience a) could be independently verified, and b) could be translated in terms of units of time, for example, hours, days, or weeks, without duplicating the credit already given for educational hours offered by the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. The credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree.
 

The IOBP assessed the clinical portion of the applicants' prior learning. Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) assessed the theoretical portion of their prior learning by administering a multiple-choice test.
 

If an applicant for registration has ever been licensed or registered to practise optometry or any other regulated health profession, the applicant must arrange for the licensing body where he/she practised to send the College a Certificate of Standing/Letter of Standing, outlining his/her current status in that jurisdiction, and whether there have ever been any proceedings against the applicant involving allegations of professional misconduct, incapacity or like finding. The Certificate of Standing/Letter of Standing must be dated no more than six months before their Certificate of Registration is issued and activated.

Applicants applying under the Labour Mobility provisions are required to have been registered in another Canadian jurisdiction and to have practised the profession of optometry to the extent that would be permitted by a general certificate of registration at any time in the three years immediately before the date of the applicant's application. Proof of the applicant having practised in another Canadian jurisdiction needs to be verified by a Certificate of Standing/Letter of Standing completed by the respective Canadian optometry regulatory body; a notation on the website of the respective Canadian optometry regulatory body to indicate that the applicant is practising; and confirmation from a licensed non-relative optometrist who has worked with the applicant.

d) If your organization relies on a third party to conduct competency assessments:
i. Describe the methodology used to evaluate competency.

The College does not conduct competency assessments.  The clinical portion of the prior learning assessment exams for international applicants was administered by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP), and the theoretical portion was administered by Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) which also implements the Canadian entry-to-practice exams.

The Evaluating Exam is a high-stakes exam being developed by the Touchstone Institute (formerly CEHPEA) that will replace the prior learning assessment (PLA) exam that was implemented jointly by the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) and the Canadian Examiners in Optometry.  Ontario is expected to begin using an evaluating exam by June 30, 2015.  Internationally educated applicants will only be able to be "referred" by the Registration Committee to apply to the evaluating exam based on the successful assessment of their credentials and the number of times they had attempted the PLA exam and met the eligibility criteria for either Bridging One or Two in the past.

Applicants for registration registered and practising in another Canadian jurisdiction who are applying under the Labour Mobility provisions, are not required to challenge the Canadian entry-to-practice exams.

ii. Explain how the methodology used to evaluate competency is validated, and how often it is validated.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  With regard to the CACO, competency-based performance standards (CBPS) were developed by the CEO-ECO Competence Committee and the CBPS Working Group, a group of practising optometrists from across Canada. The Competency-Based Performance Standards have been sent for review to all provincial regulatory authorities in optometry, and national and international stakeholders. Initial versions were reviewed in detail by CEO-ECO committees and focus groups.

iii. Explain how work experience is used in the assessment of competency.

Work experience may be beneficial but is not required or specifically accounted for.  Prior to July 1, 2014, when applicants applied for pre-registration to the College, work experience may have been considered by the Credential Assessment Committee in lieu of undergraduate education.  In addition applicants could have been credited for work experience for their education, if the work experience could be independently verified and associated with a time frame (i.e. hours/days/weeks).  A combination of undergraduate study and work experience could have satisfied the pre-registration requirement. For example, an applicant would have met the work experience pre-requisite if he/she completed two years of undergraduate study prior to entering an optometry school and one or more years of work experience outside Canada. An optometry degree of less than four years may have also satisfied the pre-registration requirement if combined with additional study.

In addition to satisfying the pre-requisite for undergraduate studies or work experience, the credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree. If an applicant submitted international work experience to be used as credit in the credential assessment process, the work experience could have been factored into the paper review of the credentials as long as the work experience a) could be independently verified, and b) could be translated in terms of units of time, for example, hours, days, or weeks, without duplicating the credit already given for educational hours offered by the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. The credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree.
 

The IOBP assessed the clinical portion of the applicants' prior learning. Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) assessed the theoretical portion of their prior learning by administering a multiple-choice test.

Applicants applying under the Labour Mobility provisions are required to have been registered in another Canadian jurisdiction and to have practised the profession of optometry to the extent that would be permitted by a general certificate of registration at any time in the three years immediately before the date of the applicant's application.  Proof of the applicant having practised in another Canadian jurisdiction needs to be verified by a Certificate of Standing completed by the respective Canadian optometry regulatory body; a notation on the website of the respective Canadian optometry regulatory body to indicate that the applicant is practising; and confirmation from a licensed non-relative optometrist who has worked with the applicant.
 

e) If your organization relies on a third party to conduct prior learning assessments:
i. Describe the methodology used to evaluate prior learning.

The prior learning assessment (PLA) exam was conducted in two parts:

  • Written test of optometric knowledge and clinical judgment that consists of 280 multiple-choice questions. 40% of these questions are exchanged on an annual basis.
  • Four 45 minute sessions evaluating clinical skills including communication skills.

Please refer to CEO-ECO's PLA (written assessment) blueprint at (http://docs.ceo-eco.org/dm/cache/documents/PLAdocs/CBPS_Document.pdf).

ii. Explain how the methodology used to evaluate prior learning is validated, and how often it is validated.

The written assessment portion was administered and validated on a regular basis by the Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO). CEO-ECO administers the entry-to-practice examination for optometry in Canada and the PLA is validated by the same methods used for validating this examination.  Each administration of the theoretical portion of the PLA exams had a minimum 40% turnover of questions. The clinical assessment was administered by the IOBP.  

iii. Explain how work experience is used in the assessment of prior learning.

Work experience may be beneficial but is not required or specifically accounted for.  

Prior to July 1, 2014, when applicants applied for pre-registration to the College, work experience could have been considered in lieu of undergraduate education.  In addition,  applicants could have been credited for work experience for their education, if the work experience could be independently verified and associated with a time frame (i.e hours/days/weeks).  A combination of undergraduate study and work experience could have satisfied the pre-registration requirement. For example, an applicant could have met the work experience pre-requisite if he/she completed two years of undergraduate study prior to entering an optometry school and one or more years of work experience outside Canada. An optometry degree of less than four years may have also satisfied the pre-registration requirement if combined with additional study.

In addition to satisfying the pre-requisite for undergraduate studies or work experience, the credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree. If an applicant submitted international work experience to be used as credit in the credential assessment process, the work experience could have been factored into the paper review of the credentials as long as the work experience a) could be independently verified, and b) could be translated in terms of units of time, for example, hours, days, or weeks, without duplicating the credit already given for educational hours offered by the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. The credit given for work experience followed the same principles of assessing an international optometric degree.
 

The IOBP assessed the clinical portion of the applicants' prior learning. Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) assessed the theoretical portion of their prior learning by administering a multiple-choice test.

f) If your organization relies on a third party to administer examinations:
i. Describe the exam format, scoring method and number of rewrites permitted.

The IOBP PLA exam ranking policy was used to guide the College's Registration Committee for the PLA exam scoring method and number of rewrites permitted.  

Please refer to the website for Canadian Examiners in Optometry (CEO-ECO) for information on the CACO exam format, scoring method and number of rewrites permitted at http://www.ceo-eco.org/.

ii. Describe how the exam is tested for validity and reliability. If results are below desired levels, describe how you correct the deficiencies.

CEO-ECO has a psychometrician on staff.  A rigorous process of question analysis is undertaken by CEO-ECO’s Assessment Committee following an administration of the CACO exam in order to ensure that the questions included in the examination are unambiguous and discriminating. Questions that fail standard measures of their integrity are removed from scoring for all candidates. 

Candidate's individual assessment experiences are also considered. If a question was not administered appropriately to an individual applicant, the item may be deleted from the scoring of that applicant alone. For example, if an event within the administration of a skills component prevented a candidate from obtaining particular results, then the affected questions are deleted from that candidate's scoring. Assessor’s responses to questions are reviewed to ensure accuracy by comparing the expected clinical results to a candidate’s results. Inaccuracies in assessor’s responses are corrected prior to scoring.

Before publishing results, the Assessment Committee considers the overall reliability of scores generated. Particular attention is paid to ensure that item analysis determinations, generally and individually, have been applied to each candidate's assessment.

When a candidate appears to have failed a component, a further analysis is undertaken prior to publishing the results to ensure that the score resulted from that candidate's performance and not from administrative factors.
 

iii. State how often exam questions are updated and the process for doing so.

A rigorous process of question analysis is undertaken by CEO-ECO’s Assessment Committee following an administration of the CACO exam in order to ensure that the questions included in the examination are unambiguous and discriminating. Questions that fail standard measures of their integrity are removed from scoring for all candidates.

The CEO-ECO Assessment Committee is responsible for specifying the structure of the CACO exam, setting minimum performance levels for the exam, selecting questions from the assessment questions database for its written components, administering the exam, and reporting.

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

No answer yet

BACK TO INDEX


10. Training

a) Describe the training that your organization provides to:
i. individuals who assess qualifications

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  The College has provided training to members of the Credential Assessment and Registration committees on anti-discrimination and fair registration practices in addition the committee members received training on how to compare the credentials of applicants for pre-registration to the UWOVS optometry degree courses.  CEO-ECO has training for its own clinical assessors and test question writers for the CACO.

The IOBP has assessors who assess qualifications, conduct academic credentialing, administer prior learning assessments and deliver the Bridging Program:

  • Individuals assessing academic credentials have attended workshops offered by WES on this topic.
  • Clinical skills assessments are administered by optometric practitioners. These practitioners undergo an orientation session to familiarize them with expectations from candidates as well as cultural differences that might arise during the assessment process.
  • The Bridging programs are delivered by optometric faculty at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. Faculty members undergo performance evaluations with regard to their teaching on an annual basis.
     
ii. individuals who make registration decisions

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  College Registration Committee members are provided with an orientation session at the beginning of each fiscal year.  Applicant requests for an internal review are infrequent so Registration Committee members are given additional information about their role and responsibilities prior to each review. 

Both Registration Committee members and College staff attend relevant educational seminars. College staff receive registration-related newsletters. The College is a member of the Ontario Regulators for Access Consortium (ORAC); registration staff regularly attend ORAC meetings and learning days.  College staff members also attend working group meetings of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario where registration issues are discussed.

Registration Committee members and staff also register for Managing Cultural Differences workshops and attend anti-discrimination and human rights training sessions and webinars provided by World Education Services (WES).

iii. individuals who make internal review or appeal decisions

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  College Registration Committee members are provided with an orientation session at the beginning of each fiscal year.  Applicant requests for an internal review are infrequent so Registration Committee members are given additional information about their role and responsibilities prior to each review.

Both Registration Committee members and College staff attend relevant educational seminars. College staff receive registration-related newsletters. The College is a member of the Ontario Regulators for Access Consortium (ORAC); registration staff regularly attend ORAC meetings and ORAC learning days.  College staff members also attend working group meetings of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario where registration issues are discussed.

Registration Committee members and staff also register for Managing Cultural Differences workshops and attend anti-discrimination and human rights training sessions and webinars provided by World Education Services (WES).
 

 

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

No answer yet

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11. Agreements on the Recognition of Qualifications

Examples of agreements on the recognition of professional qualifications include mutual recognition, reciprocity and labour mobility agreements. Such agreements may be national or international, between regulatory bodies, associations or jurisdictions.

a) List any agreements on the recognition of qualifications that were in place during the reporting period.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  The Ontario Labour Mobility Act (OLMA) received Royal Assent on December 15, 2009. If there is a conflict between the provisions of the amended Registration Regulation (837/93) and the OLMA, the OLMA prevails.  

b) Explain the impact of these agreements on the registration process or on applicants for registration.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***  OLMA requires the College to register optometrists registered in another Canadian jurisdiction with very limited exceptions. 

Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

*** SAME AS LAST YEAR ***

BACK TO INDEX


12. Quantitative Information

a) Languages
Indicate the languages in which application information materials were available in the reporting year.
Language Yes/No
English Yes
French No
Other (please specify)
Additional comments:
 
b) Paid staff
In the table below, enter the number of paid staff employed by your organization in the categories shown, on December 31 of the reporting year.

When providing information for each of the categories in this section, you may want to use decimals if you count your staff using half units. For example, one full-time employee and one part-time employee might be equivalent to 1.5 employees.

You can enter decimals to the tenths position only. For example, you can enter 1.5 or 7.5 but not 1.55 or 7.52.

Category Staff
Total staff employed by the regulatory body 9.8
Staff involved in appeals process 2.0
Staff involved in registration process 2.5
Additional comments:
 
c) Countries where applicants were initially trained

In the following table, enter the top source countries where your applicants1 were originally trained in the profession (excluding Canada), along with the number of applicants from each of these source countries.

Enter the country names in descending order. (That is, enter the source country for the greatest number of your applicants in the top row, the source country for the second greatest number in the second row, etc.)

Use the dropdown menu provided in each row to select the country.

Note that only one country can be reported in each row. If two or more countries are tied, enter the information for these tied countries in separate rows.

Country of training (Canada excluded) Number of applicants in the reporting year
U.S.  46
U.K.  15
India  2
Iran  2
Nigeria  2
Cuba  1
Egypt  1
Ghana  1
Philippines  1
S. Africa  1
1Persons who have applied to start the process for entry to the profession.
Select "n/a" from the drop-down list if you do not track this information. Enter "0" in a "Number of applicants" field if you track the information, but the correct value is zero. Additional comments:
 
d) Jurisdiction where members were initially trained
Indicate where your members2 were initially trained in the profession (use only whole numbers; do not enter commas or decimals).

The numbers to be reported in the Members row are the numbers on December 31st of the reporting year. For example, if you are reporting registration practices for the calendar year 2009, you should report the numbers of members in the different categories on December 31st of 2009.

  Jurisdiction where members were initially trained in the profession (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
  Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International Unknown Total
Members on December 31st of the reporting year 1422 57 506 202 0
2187

2 Persons who are currently able to use the protected title or professional designation of the profession.

Enter "n/a" if you do not track this information. Enter "0" if you track the information, but the correct value is zero.

Additional comments:
 
e) Applications processed
State the number of applications your organization processed in the reporting year (use only whole numbers; do not enter commas or decimals).
  Jurisdiction where applicants were initially trained in the profession (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
from January 1st to December 31st of the reporting year Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International Unknown Total
New applications received 43 1 46 25 0
115
Applicants actively pursuing licensing (applicants who had some contact with your organization in the reporting year) 26 1 11 19 0
57
Inactive applicants (applicants who had no contact with your organization in the reporting year) 0 0 3 5 0
8
Applicants who met all requirements and were authorized to become members but did not become members 0 0 1 0 0
1
Applicants who became FULLY registered members 42 3 48 27 0
120
Applicants who were authorized to receive an alternative class of licence3 but were not issued a licence 0 0 0 0 0
0
Applicants who were issued an alternative class of licence3 0 0 0 0 0
0
3 An alternative class of licence enables its holder to practise with limitations, but additional registration requirements must be met in order for the member to be fully licenced. Please list and describe below the alternative classes of licence that your organization grants, such as student, intern, associate, provisional or temporary.

Enter "n/a" if you do not track this information. Enter "0" if you track the information, but the correct value is zero.

Additional comments:
 
f) Classes of certificate/license
Inidcate and provide a description of the classes of certificate/license offered by your organization.

You must specify and describe at least one class of certificate/license (on line a) in order for this step to be complete.

# Certification Description
a) Description (a)
 
Additional comments:
 
g) Reviews and appeals processed
State the number of reviews and appeals your organization processed in the reporting year (use only whole numbers; do not enter commas or decimals).
  Jurisdiction where applicants were initially trained in the profession (before they were granted use of the protected title or professional designation in Ontario)
from January 1st to December 31st of the reporting year Ontario Other Canadian Provinces USA Other International Unknown Total
Applications that were subject to an internal review or that were referred to a statutory committee of your governing council, such as a Registration Committee 0 0 0 0 0
0
Applicants who initiated an appeal of a registration decision 0 0 0 0 0
0
Appeals heard 0 0 0 0 0
0
Registration decisions changed following an appeal 0 0 0 0 0
0
Enter "n/a" if you do not track this information. Enter "0" if you track the information, but the correct value is zero.

Additional comments:
 
Please identify and explain the changes in your registration practices relevant to this section that occurred during the reporting year.

Please refer to part e) of Internal Review or Appeal Processes section.

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13. Submission

Submission
I hereby certify that:
Name of individual with authority to sign on behalf of the organization:
Dr. Paula L. Garshowitz
Title:
Registrar
Date:
February 27, 2015

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