Labour mobility is an attractive feature of working as an optician in Canada. This means that if you become registered in one Canadian province but subsequently find that there is a career opportunity for you in another province, your credentials as a licensed optician are easily transferrable.
Mutual Recognition Agreement
Opticianry regulators across Canada have worked together to establish the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in order to allow opticians who meet specific criteria to move easily across the country. Thanks to this cooperation, we know that all opticians from the participating provinces meet the same standards.
Nine of the ten provincial authorities have now signed the MRA: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
In all cases the applicant who wishes to transfer licensing from one province to another must provide a letter indicating that he/she is a ‘member in good standing’ of the original province. An optician is a ‘member in good standing’ if the optician is an up-to-date member of the college in the original province. This includes having paid annual registration fees, being current with continuing competency requirements and having no disciplinary measure outstanding.
Differences Between Provinces
There are some different requirements for registration in each province. For example, to become registered as an optician with the College of Opticians of Ontario the applicant needs to be qualified to both dispense eyeglasses and to fit contact lenses. The Alberta College and Association of Opticians has two classifications of registration:
1. Registered Optician
2. Registered Contact Lens Practitioner (must first qualify as a Dispensing Optician, then take additional training and sit further examination before being registered)
In this example an Alberta optician who is not registered as a Licensed Contact Lens Practitioner would need to seek further training before being accepted for registration by the College of Opticians of Ontario.
The other province-specific requirements might include language requirements, criminal record checks, or jurisprudence courses. Jurisprudence is the rules and legislation for the province.