How To Get Your Canadian Optometry License In These Provinces

May 10, 2017
4 min read

The following is a guide on how you can get your Canadian optometry license in these different provinces in Canada. The process can vary.

Calling Out Canadian Optometry New Grads! It’s time to Work, Work, Work!

I know you’re excited to finish up a hard earned four years of studying, partying, and studying, but we’re not at the finish line yet.

Here are very helpful tips I wish I knew when I was applying for my license in the British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec provinces that I would like to share with you:

1) British Columbia

For my US trained BC residents and grads thinking of moving to or back to beautiful British Columbia, you are lucky ducks.

BC is the only province to still accept NBEO (I, II, III & TMOD) as equivalent to the CACO.

There are some similarities to Ontario, where there are set dates to write the jurisprudence exam. This exam is administered in Vancouver twice per year in June and November.

The next jurisprudence exam is scheduled for June 22, 2017 with the College’s mandatory Orientation Session, and is hosted at the Metropolitan Hotel, Vancouver. To be eligible to attend the June 22 session, you must deliver to the Registrar, a completed application form, the $475.00 Assessment of registration application fee, and supporting documents, no later than April 7, 2017.

2) Alberta

You can arrange a time to write this one hour multiple choice jurisprudence exam at your convenience.

There’s no set registration dates like Ontario or British Columbia. Please contact the Alberta College of Optometrists office for registration.

The exam can be written:

  1. At the Alberta College of Optometrists office in Edmonton;
  2. At the office of a practicing optometrist on the ACO Registration Committee in Calgary

For complete information on registration and requirements, go here.

Here’s the form to apply for your practice ID to bill Alberta Health Care. I had a heck of a time tracking it down, so I’m providing it here to save you unnecessary grief!

Keep in mind that you:

  • do not need to fill out Business Arrangement (BA) to get pracID number so you can start billing AHC. This can be done once you join a clinic.
  • can call (780) 422-1522 in Edmonton, or toll-free within Alberta at 310-0000, then 780-422-1522 within 2 weeks to retrieve your pracID over the phone. The last thing you want to do after a business owner has hired you is to make them wait on this.

For the criminal background check, I would recommend going to a local police department near you. I went to a lawyer's office that was on the RCMP approved sites, and it cost way more than it should have.

My last advice for my fellow Albertans, is to consider going with Titan Health and Safety for their CPR course.

Here’s their contact information:

  • Sarah Johnson
  • (403) 452-7727
  • CPR/AED Health Care Provider for~$90

3) Ontario

I surveyed my Ontario colleagues in my network, and they all agreed that the registration process is straightforward from their website.

Similar to BC, the Ontario College of Optometrists (OCO) organize dates for their jurisprudence seminar and exam ahead of time.

You can find general application requirements here.

Go here for the Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP) application.

You are required to apply to OCO first, which is a lengthy journey, and then apply for your OHIP number.

4) Quebec

Please go here for the registration form to practice in Quebec, and other requirements here.

For those who have did not complete their secondary and post-secondary education in French, then you are expected to meet a level of French language proficiency, which is detailed here. In other cases, only a temporary permit (valid for a period of one year, but renewable) may be issued.

Please feel free to contact me at if you would like me to connect you with a fellow colleague in a specific province. Good luck prepping for the board exam.


About Steven Hoang

I am an active member of the Alberta Association of Optometrists and Canadian Association of Optometrists. I was President of CAOS (Canadian Association of Optometrists Students') where I represented Canadian students at the national and provincial Optometric meetings. I'm excited to collaborate with NGO to continue sharing and working with my fellow Canadian colleagues transition back to the strong, north and free.