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About Canadian Opticianry

National Opticianry Organizations
There are four national organizations that are fundamental to opticianry in Canada: the Opticians Association of Canada (OAC), the Opticians Council of Canada (OCC), the National Association of Canadian Optician Regulators (NACOR) and the Canadian Association of Optician Educators (CAOE).  A fifth body, the National Examination Committee (NEC) is a sub-committee of NACOR.

The OAC is composed of representatives from all 10 Canadian provinces and acts as an opticians' advocacy group. As an example, the OAC undertakes initiatives related to education - including primary education, continuing education and advanced practice.  The essential thrust of the OAC is to take a pro-active interest in all matters that have the potential to affect Canadian opticians both positively and negatively and to promote a favourable outcome for opticians.  Funding for the OAC is based upon membership dues and monies raised from member benefit initiatives.

The OCC has three members; The OAC, NACOR and the CAOE.  Each of the three members brings to the national discussion table their own member delegates from provincial regulatory bodies, associations and teaching institutions.  These meetings provide an apolitical forum for discussing issues of mutual interest such as the development of common policy on the sale of Plano coloured contact lenses by beauty salons and others.  Due to their respective regulatory mandates and the belief that it is important for them to remain aloof from promoting a biased point of view, it has heretofore been difficult for the regulatory bodies and teaching institutions to participate in discussions hosted by groups that may be considered lobby groups. 

NACOR was created by the 10 Canadian regulatory bodies to discuss issues related to Labour Mobility as mandated by the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). All founding members of NACOR represent regulatory bodies.  Discussions took place over several years with the ultimate result that a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) was developed and signed by 7 of the 10 provincial regulatory bodies.  Absent from that agreement is Quebec. As there continue to be ongoing tasks ancillary to the terms of the MRA, the NACO group continues to meet on a regular basis.  Funding for NACOR is based upon membership seat fees. The specific work done by NACOR on the MRA project was 50% funded by HRDC.

Teaching Institutions
There are six public teaching institutions in Canada and one private.  Two fixed site institutions in British Columbia,  Ontario and Quebec, and one fixed site institution in Alberta which also provides online primary education for British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.

In five of the Canadian provinces the duties of regulatory body and association are fulfilled by separate entities.  The College is the regulatory body and the Association serves as provincial advocate for opticians.  In each of the other five provinces there exists only a regulatory body, which may in those cases be referred to as an association.

Regulatory Agencies/Colleges
All 10 provinces have Regulatory Agencies - sometimes referred to as Colleges - whose mandate it is to govern the member opticians in matters outlined in each provincial Health Act.  While such matters are the fundamental goal of the Regulatory Bodies, other initiatives may be proactively embraced.  For example in B.C. the Safe Choices document allows that the regulatory body's mandate to regulate may include provision found in regulations, rules and bylaws which are outside of those duties and objects enumerated in the Health Act and as well that the Regulatory Body may promote the economic, political and professional interests of its members so long as in doing so the activity also serves the public interest.


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