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INFORMATION FOR OPTICIANS

INSIDE OPTICS 2021 is now available as Opticians ON Demand.

Now you can experience all of our seminars whenever you want, where ever you want! 

For the same price as our live webcast, you will get:

  • All the seminars from Inside Optics 2021

  • CE Quizzes to obtain your CE credits

  • Access to the CE quizzes until 11:59 PM December 31st, 2021

PLUS when you register for a live webcast in the future you will also gain access to the ON Demand content from that webcast for a whole year!

This is a MEMBERS ONLY perk!

Did you register for the LIVE webcast of Inside Optics 2021? You already have complementary access to IO 2021 ON Demand!


Lorne Kashin, RO                                                                                            

Executive Director

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  • 13 Feb 2021 2:52 PM | OOA Admin (Administrator)

    The Ontario Government announced on February 8, 2021 that there will be a gradual re-opening of regions in Ontario. This means a return to the colour coded system that was put in place prior to December 26th, 2020. The College of Opticians of Ontario have issued their own statement to help guide Opticians through the gradual re-opening. Effective February 10th, 2021 The following regions will be moved into the Green-Prevent Level in accordance with the "COVID-19 response framework":

    • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

    • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health

    • Renfrew County and District Unit Health

    Those in the Green-Prevent Level will no longer be under the "Stay-at-Home" order, and will no longer need to restrict their operating hours. As of February 16th, 2021 the following regions will be moved to their respective colour coded levels:

    • Algoma Public Health – Yellow–Protect

    • Brant County Public Health Unit – Orange–Restrict

    • Chatham-Kent Public Health – Red–Control

    • Durham Region Health Department – Red–Control

    • Eastern Ontario Health Unit – Orange–Restrict

    • Grey Bruce Health Unit – Yellow–Protect

    • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit – Orange–Restrict

    • Halton Region Health Department – Red–Control

    • Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit – Orange–Restrict

    • Hamilton Public Health Services – Red–Control

    • Huron Perth Public Health – Orange–Restrict

    • Lambton Health Unit – Orange–Restrict

    • Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit – Green–Prevent

    • Middlesex-London Health Unit – Red–Control

    • Niagara Region Public Health Department – Grey–Lockdown

    • Northwestern Health Unit – Yellow–Protect

    • Ottawa Public Health – Orange–Restrict

    • Peterborough Public Health – Yellow–Protect

    • Porcupine Health Unit – Orange–Restrict

    • Public Health Sudbury and Districts – Orange–Restrict

    • Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services – Red–Control

    • Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit – Red–Control

    • Southwestern Public Health – Red–Control

    • Thunder Bay District Health Unit – Red–Control

    • Timiskaming Health Unit – Green–Prevent

    • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health – Red–Control

    • Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Red–Control

    Please see the Government of Ontario website for details on the Colour framework and restrictions.


    Until your region returns to the colour coded framework, the Stay-at-home order is still in place.


    To read the entire COO Update CLICK HERE.


    The Ontario Opticians Association is committed to keeping you informed and safe. We will continue to update all Ontario Opticians as we receive more information.


    Stay Safe.

    The Ontario Opticians Association


  • 16 Jan 2021 11:48 AM | OOA Admin (Administrator)


    As many of you are aware the Ontario Government has declared a State of Emergency and new restrictions regarding COVID-19.


    The Office of the Premier has stated:

    "Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for permitted purposes or activities, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely." (1)


    Since the first wave, Opticians have been at the Frontline of Vision Care, and we will be able to continue providing our patients with the care they need.


    All of the restrictions implemented on December 27th 2020 are still in effect, however there has been one modification added in the document "Enhancing Public Health and workplace Safety Measures in the Provincewide Shutdown" issued by The Government of Ontario on January 12th, 2021.

    As Opticians are both regulated healthcare professionals and retail based we do need to adhere to the new updated mandates:


    Safety supply stores, businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, and optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public:
    • By appointment only
    • Limit the number of persons occupying any room that is open to the public in the business to not exceed 50% capacity of the particular room • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted
    • Operating hours of 7am to 8pm (2)

    Click here to read the entire document.



    As VISION IS ESSENTIAL, we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    Make sure that you are adhering to all safety protocols within your dispensary, including hand hygiene and masking.


    Be aware of the capacity limits that your dispensary might need. If you are not already following these guidelines or unsure how to calculate your capacity, please see the bullet point below.


    To calculate your total capacity:


    • The maximum number of persons permitted in a business or facility that is operating at 50 per cent capacity is determined by taking the total square metres of floor space accessible to the public in the business or facility, not including shelving and store fixtures, dividing that number by 8 and rounding the result down to the nearest whole number. (2)

    We will continue to update and support all Ontario Opticians with important information regarding COVID-19.


    Sources:

    1. Office of the Premier- Ontario Declares Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives, https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59922/ontario-declares-second-provincial-emergency-to-address-covid-19-crisis-and-save-lives

    2. Government of Ontario - Enhancing Public Health and workplace Safety Measures in the Provincewide Shutdown PDF


  • 21 Dec 2020 11:47 PM | OOA Admin (Administrator)

    UPDATED DECEMBER 23RD, 2020


    On Monday December 21st 2020, the Ontario Government announced that they would be implementing a Province wide lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19.


    This has left many Opticians wondering whether or not they should continue to operate their dispensaries under these lockdown orders.


    The College of Opticians of Ontario has released this update:


    "In person opticianry services may continue by appointment only. We confirm that as regulated health professionals, opticians may continue to offer services to the public during the shutdown. However, in an effort to curb foot traffic and regulate the flow of persons in public and commercial spaces, the government has directed that optical stores operate on an appointment-only basis for all in person services."

    Click here to read the entire update.


    According to the Government of Ontario "Provincewide Shutdown" document from December 21st, Regulated Health Professionals are included in businesses that can remain open during the lockdown.


    However, it is imperative that all Opticians and those working in dispensaries and offices adhere to guidelines set forth by the Ontario Government and your local Health Unit. Keep in mind, that during this time you are expected to offer services that you may have used during the first wave, like curbside pick-up and "by appointment only" services.


    One of the ways you can offer "by appointment only" service is through intake management. For example, you can achieve this by keeping your door locked and when a patient comes to the door you may create an appointment for them at the door and provide them with services if you are not at capacity. (For calculating capacity, please see page 5 of the Provincewide Shutdown document.)


    Make sure that you calculate capacity for you dispensary to ensure that you are complying with the recommendation of the Ministry of Health.


    You are also welcome to use remote delivery methods at this time where appropriate.


    As of today, we have not been mandated to "Emergency-Only" patients, nor have we been mandated to discontinue fitting contact lenses. Using your professional judgement will be paramount in the continuation of contact lens fitting during lockdown. Make sure to adhere to all safety protocols during these services, as you will be within 2 metres of your patient.


    We will continue to update all Ontario Opticians on our website, Member's Only Portal and through social media as we receive new information and updates from the Ministry of Health, the Government of Ontario and the College of Opticians of Ontario.







    Sources:

    College Of Opticians- COVID-19 Update #24 -

    https://collegeofopticians.ca/sites/default/uploads/files/2020-12-22%20Covid%20update%2024(1).pdf

    Government of Ontario - Provincewide Shutdown -

    https://files.ontario.ca/moh-provincewide-shutdown-en-2020-12-21.pdf



  • 28 Nov 2020 10:17 AM | OOA Admin (Administrator)

    As of Monday November 23rd, Toronto and Peel regions have been moved into the Grey "Lockdown" level. Many regions have been slowly edging towards lockdown as well.

    The second wave is now in full force and with many business needing to shutter their doors for the time being, Opticians in Ontario have been wondering if they will need to as well.


    On November 23rd, the College of Opticians of Ontario released a statement regarding what Opticians are to do if the region we live in locks down again.


    "As you are aware from our bulletin on Friday, the Ontario Government has implemented lockdown measures for Toronto and Peel effective today and for the next 28 days.

    The College has now received confirmation from the Ministry of Health Emergency Operations Centre that health services may remain open in these zones during the lockdown period. As previously communicated, opticians should continue to adhere to the Return to Practice Guidelines, including taking steps to ensure health and safety in the practice environment.

    The College continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates as additional information becomes available to us."

    Opticians are the frontline of vision care, and we are pleased to say that the Ministry of Health agrees.


    Vision is essential.

    We all need to focus on providing the safest experience for our patients during this time.

    Please take the time to read the updated "Return to Practice Guidelines" to ensure that your practice is fully prepared to safely dispense during the second wave.


    You can find all of the Ontario Opticians Association COVID-19 resources in the Member's Portal.

    We will be continuing to update our lists of PPE, Hand Sanitizers and other COVID-19 related suppliers frequently.


  • 6 Oct 2020 8:49 PM | OOA Admin (Administrator)

    To Fit, or Not to Fit? Words Matter.

    Now that most opticians are back at work, the question as to whether we should be providing contact lens fitting is coming up often. The OOA has received numerous inquiries since the pandemic started.


    Recently a member called saying he was in a quandary. He works in an optometric practice and part of his duties is fitting contacts.

    Here’s his dilemma. The College of Optometrists of Ontario Return to Work Guidelines advises their members that they are fully welcome to fit contacts as long as they use appropriate PPE and are exercising their professional judgment.


    The COVID-19 Update #20, posted by the College of Opticians of Ontario(COO) on September 24th, directs members to the Frequently Asked Questions, dated July 20, 2020, and to Return To Work Guidelines.

    The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document states-


    In light of this potential risk, the College strongly recommends that opticians refrain from performing initial contact lens fittings and any other fittings that require direct contact between the optician and the patient’s eye or eyelid at this time.”  


    The COVID-19 Return to Practice Guidelines for Registered Opticians, updated on June 29, 2020, state-


    That opticians limit the performance of initial contact lens fittings, as fittings typically require close physical contact for a prolonged period of time, and it is generally not possible to use adequate PPE”.


    So, taking the above “words” in context, it would be reasonable to surmise that the COO doesn’t really want us to do initial contact lens fits. As it turns out, the COO made a mistake by linking to the FAQs posted July 20, 2020. They meant to share the FAQs of September 30, 2020 which states-


    “The College continues to recommend that opticians limit the performance of initial contact lens fittings at this time”.


    This statement aligns with the Return to Work guidelines.


    Why don't the words of the College of Opticians and the College of Optometrists line up? Same service ...same pandemic ...same government rules ...so why the difference? Are both colleges basing their recommendations on the same research and data?

    The above demonstrates that “words” matter. The COO is showing us that there is a difference between “strongly recommends” and “recommends”. So where do these words fit in the list of words that regulators use? Must, Should. May. Recommends. How enforceable is the word Recommends? Under what circumstance would the COO refer back to their recommendation? How would this impact a claim against our Professional Liability Insurance? As professionals we need to use our professional judgement when deciding what to do, while taking into account the words of the COO. Because in the end, the COO is not telling you whether to do the fits or not. They are just recommending.

    Something else our colleague must consider- When an optician is employed in an optometric office, he/she must first and foremost, abide by the Standards of Practice of the COO. This can be found in the COO’s Frequently Asked Questions dated September 30, 2020.

    “As an optician you are required to comply with the Standards and Guidelines set by the College of Opticians. If you are working under the direction and/or delegation of an optometrist, you should ensure that you are also complying with your professional obligations as an optician.”



    https://www.ontario-opticians.com/post/to-fit-or-not-to-fit


  • 27 Jun 2020 1:58 PM | Lorne Kashin (Administrator)

    During these times of COVID-19, there continues to be misconception as to what we are permitted to do, not permitted to do, and what is left up to our own professional judgement. One of these misconceptions is whether we are permitted to do a new contact lens fit. The College of Opticians of Ontario guidelines state that we are permitted to perform this service. However, we must use our professional judgement to ensure the safety of the patient and ourselves. The College of Optometrists of Ontario does permit new fits. When making the decision to provide a new contact lens fit, we need to give full thought and professional judgement due the fact that when we teach a new contact lens wearer how to insert and remove a lens, we spend a fair amount of time in close contact and possibly touch the patient’s face and eyes. The current science says that the longer we expose ourselves to an infected person, the bigger the risk of contracting COVID-19.
    So, in the end, you can do a new fit. We strongly recommend that you use all appropriate PPE and be sure to have the patient wear a mask. Of course, you as an optician, must wear a mask while serving patients.


  • 18 Jun 2020 6:44 PM | OOA Admin (Administrator)

    With many optician and optometry practices re-opening, some opticians are expressing concerns about the fear of contracting COVID-19 while at work. Some OOA members have reached out asking if having this fear is an acceptable reason for not returning, while expecting their employer to keep their job available when they are ready to return. We will attempt to answer this question by referring to the Ontario Employment Standards regarding infectious disease emergency leave.  Before we do, we must state that this is general information about employment law as opposed to legal advice or other professional advice. The OOA strongly suggests that you contact the Ontario Employment Standards office or seek advice from a lawyer. 

    A general fear of returning to work because of the chance of contracting COVID-19 is not an acceptable reason to not return to work once called back by your employer. If you are in a high-risk category because of your age or a medical condition, you do have a valid reason not to return to work. There is a stipulation though. You must provide your employer with a note from your health care provider stating that you should not return to work due to your stated condition. Without this documentation your employer can consider that you have abandoned your job. Not returning to work under these circumstances is not for an indefinite period of time. Six weeks after the government declares the state of emergency over, you will not be covered by your doctor’s note. You will be expected to return to work. If you do not return to work at that time, if requested by your employer, you can be dismissed from your job. 

    See below for an excerpt from the Ontario Government Employment Standards website regarding Infectious disease emergency leave. 

    Reasons an employee may take infectious disease emergency leave

    Employees can take infectious disease emergency leave if they will not be performing the duties of their position because of any of the following reasons:

    1. The employee is under individual medical investigation, supervision or treatment related to a designated infectious disease. The medical investigation, supervision or treatment can be in Ontario or in another province, territory or country

    2. The employee is following a COVID-19 related order issued under section 22 or 35 of the Health Promotion and Protection Act.

    3. The employee is in quarantine, isolation (voluntary or involuntary), or is subject to a control measure, and the quarantine, isolation or control measure was implemented as a result of information or directions related to a designated infectious disease that was issued by:

      1. a public health official. This means a public health official of the Government of Canada or any of the following people within the meaning of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act:

        • the Chief Medical Officer of Health or Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health

        • a medical officer of health or an associate medical officer of health

        • an employee of a board of health

      2. someone who is qualified to practice as a physician or a nurse either in Ontario or in the jurisdiction where the employee is located (for example, another province, territory or another country) and who has provided care or treatment to the employee, whether or not the care or treatment was related to the designated infectious disease (such as an employee who has an immune deficiency was told by his physician to self-isolate and not go to work during the infectious disease outbreak) 

      3. Telehealth Ontario

      4. the Government of Ontario or Canada

      5. a municipal council in Ontario

      6. a board of health

    The information or direction may be issued:

    • to the public (in whole or in part)

    • to one or more people, and

    • through any means, including print, electronic or broadcast (for example, television or radio)



    1. The employee is under a direction given by his or her employer in response to the employer’s concern that the employee might expose other individuals in the workplace to a designated infectious disease.

    For example, this would include the employer directing the employee to stay at home for a period of time if the employee has recently travelled internationally and the employer is concerned the employee may expose others in the workplace to a designated infectious disease.

    1. The employee is providing care or support to any of these individuals because of a matter related to a designated infectious disease:

      • the employee’s spouse (of the same or opposite sex, whether or not married)

      • a parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse

      • a child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse

      • a child who is under legal guardianship of the employee or the employee’s spouse 

      • a brother, step-brother, sister or step-sister of the employee

      • a grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse

      • a brother-in-law, step-brother-in-law, sister-in-law or step-sister-in-law of the employee

      • a son-in-law or daughter-in-law of the employee or the employee’s spouse

      • an uncle or aunt of the employee or the employee’s spouse

      • a nephew or niece of the employee or the employee’s spouse

      • the spouse of the employee’s grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece

      • a person who considers the employee to be like a family member, provided the prescribed conditions, if any, are met (currently there are no prescribed conditions)

      • any individual prescribed as a family member for the purposes of this section (currently, there are no additional prescribed family members)

    This includes an employee taking leave to care for their child whose school or day care was closed because of a designated infectious disease (in this case, COVID-19).

    Examples include:

    • an employee who is providing care to an aunt who is sick with COVID-19

    • a babysitter who is in quarantine or isolation because of a designated infectious disease, or is sick because of it

    • a summer camp that the employee’s child was scheduled to attend closed down to help prevent the spread of a designated infectious disease

    • an employee’s 10-year-old brother, who was visiting the employee from another city without his parents, was unable to return home because of travel restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of a designated infectious disease

    The employee can be providing the care or support in Ontario or in another province, territory or country.

    1. The employee is directly affected by travel restrictions related to a designated infectious disease and, under the circumstances, cannot be reasonably expected to travel back to Ontario.

    For example, this would include an employee who is on a cruise ship that is not permitted to dock in any country because of the concern that passengers are infected by a designated infectious disease.

    There may be some situations where an employee is affected by travel restrictions (for example where there are no international commercial airline flights available) but the employee has other options available to travel back to Ontario. This condition will be met if it would not be reasonable to expect the employee to use alternative options.

    What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances. For example, an employee was vacationing in Mexico City when Canada banned all flights from Mexico for two weeks. The employee could rent a car or take a series of buses and trains to return to Ontario but that would not be a reasonable expectation in the circumstances.

    This provision applies only where the employee is directly affected by the travel restrictions. In other words, it applies only where the employees travel back to Ontario is affected.

    This provision applies only when the employee is caught by travel restrictions while outside of Ontario.

    Rights during leave

    Employees who take infectious disease emergency leave are generally entitled to the same rights as employees who take pregnancy or parental leave. For example, employers cannot threaten, fire or penalize in any way an employee who takes or plans on taking an infectious disease emergency leave.

    https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/infectious-disease-emergency-leave#section-8



    For the full section go to:

    https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/infectious-disease-emergency-leave#section-8



  • 12 Jun 2020 11:21 AM | Lorne Kashin (Administrator)

    There seems to be some confusion about going to work after a COVID-19 test. Last week the Minister of Health strongly urged healthcare workers to be tested before returning to practice. This is not mandatory, but up to your discretion. We have received calls from members expressing their concern that they were told that they should not return to work until they receive their negative result. This is only true if you have symptoms, have been out of the country, have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive or if that person has been in contact with someone who has tested positive. If you don’t meet the above criteria, but has had a test just to confirm, you are under no obligation to isolate while waiting for you results. But remember, your test only tells you if you have COVID-19 at the time of your test. You could become infected at any time after your test and negative result.

    Below are quotes from CTV on June 12, 2020

    Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

    “I went and while I was at the assessment centre having the test, I was advised that because I had not directly been in contact with anyone with COVID that I did not need to self-isolate...That was the medical advice I was given and that is what I did and my test results came back negative of course."

    Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health

    “As we outlined our testing criteria at the assessment centres… if you have signs and symptoms and you're suspected of being a COVID case, you will get your test and then you are supposed to stay in self-isolation until you get results,” Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference on Thursday.

    “Other criteria, you say, ‘Well, I was in contact with a known positive.’ That is another reason to get tested and you still have to self-isolate until you get that result back, including people who say, ‘Well I'm not sure but I was in a highly risky area, I don't know.’’”

    He noted that the rules are different for people who are not experiencing symptoms of the virus and have not been in contact with a known case.

    “Testing asymptomatic people... say 5,000 workers, none of them have symptoms, none of them are cases, we are not going to say all 5,000 wait for five, six days to get results back. They just continue going to work because it is asymptomatic testing,” he added.

    “They have no signs and symptoms, they have no contact with a case, no possible contact with a case, and there is no evidence of an outbreak. So it is a different situation altogether.”


    May 29, 2020

    Employment Considerations When Reopening Your Optical Business

    As the Ontario economy begins to open, employers should have a strategy in place to minimize legal liability when reopening their businesses. This article highlights employment law considerations that are critical for successful reopening of an optical business.

    Click here to read the full article


  • 30 May 2020 8:37 AM | Lorne Kashin (Administrator)

    As the Ontario economy begins to open, employers should have a strategy in place to minimize legal liability when reopening their businesses. This article highlights employment law considerations that are critical for successful reopening of an optical business.

    Click here for the full article


    https://3437bfd8-1fef-4e2d-9303-6858020f02dd.usrfiles.com/ugd/3437bf_310bc413956c4eaaab44c3946d3f6b97.pdf

  • 29 May 2020 5:02 PM | Lorne Kashin (Administrator)

    The Ontario government continues to expand and extend its testing capacity for COVID-19 to include "proactive" testing, including those who are asymptomatic, or have not been exposed to infection . Employees of "essential workplaces" and regulated healthcare practitioners who are returning to practice have been identified as "priority populations" who should be tested. Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott encouraged healthcare practitioners to be tested before they return to practice. She also emphasized that testing negative in no way affects the requirement to fully observe all other social distancing, client, employee and practitioner safety and infection control requirements. You may locate the assessment centre nearest you by following this link: Click Here. Referrals are no longer required for healthcare practitioners to be tested.

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