April 2023


  • Notes from the Chair
  • Registrar’s Report
  • NACOR Report
  • Examination Committee
  • Professional Development
  • OCC Report
  • Nomination Committee
  • General Annual Meeting


John Butler

Chairman of the Board

Optimism- hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.

My hope is we all feel some optimism for ourselves and our profession after the few years we have had. I’m happy to say the NSCDO is in a good place this year with the directors who serve and our Registrar.


The NSCDO is working closely with The Nova Scotia Regulated Health Professions Network in a collaborated effort on a common foundation Legislation. The NS Health department has asked the group for submissions on proposed new legislation.


To help to improve our mission the NSCDO is involved with education (NEC), labor mobility including Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), competency gap analysis CGA, OCC, OAC and NAIT. These are some of the groups working for the betterment of Opticians in Nova Scotia and in Canada.


Please take the time to review the Registrars report in this newsletter for information on our online registration process. Any questions regarding registration or accessing your online profile please contact Cavell at the Board office 902-425-7928.

Most inquiries can be answered on the NSCDO website at  Please take the time to visit the website and review the information there as you will find it can be very informative with many related links to peruse.


I would like to thank all the directors on the Board and the Opticians involved on the many committees for their hard work and dedication to our profession.



Cavell Ferguson


Improvements and revisions have been made to the NSCDO website including new features to the member portal for convenient on-line registration. The functionality adds a new dimension to entering CE/PD further eliminating the need for paper copies. NSCDO continues to look at improvements to the member portal and updating resources for the website. Any suggestions for improvement can be sent to

Licensed Opticians as of March 1, 2023

Total Membership: 279

Dispensing Opticians: 172

Contact Lens Fitters: 90

Non-Practicing: 17

New Members:

Total Students: 21

Dispensing Opticians: 19

Contact Lens: 2

Office Hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - 10am to 3pm

Available by phone and email Monday and Friday.


Tanya MacPhee

The mission of the National Alliance of Canadian Optician Regulators (NACOR), is to work collaboratively through a national forum to support provincial regulators in areas such as: competencies for opticians, accreditation of continuing education, examinations, gap analysis and prior learning assessment. (PLAR).


NACOR is staffed by two full-time employees, Jodi Dodds and Jaime Hay.  It is important to note, however, that while NACOR has a staff of two, their actions are directed by the decisions of the provincial optician regulatory boards and colleges.  The NACOR board of directors is comprised of a representative of each province.  Every province in Canada is a member of NACOR, including Quebec. 


So, what’s new?  National meetings were held online in the spring of 2022 and in person in Toronto during the fall of 2022 with one or more representatives from every province in attendance. Since the National Competencies for Canadian Opticians, 4th Edition was completed and released, all tools are being updated to reflect the changes. 


PLAR (Prior Learning and Recognition) has been significantly streamlined.  People with training and experience from outside of Canada may apply to become an optician through PLAR, as well as those with experience in Canada.  Do you work with someone who has years of experience in our field but for whatever reason, did not take or complete an accredited optician course?  They may apply through PLAR and receive credit for what they already know, and be able to fill in the gaps in weak areas with bridging.  They will still have to write the national exam but this could be a fast track option with a lower cost.  We are facing a severe shortage of opticians across the country, Nova Scotia included.  If there aren’t enough opticians, this will impact public safety and the profession.


What’s new in the rest of Canada? As a reminder, the British Columbia Minister of Health announced a commitment to modernize health profession regulation which seeks to, among other things, reduce the number of regulatory colleges to improve efficiency and effectiveness.  This process is still ongoing.  Optician regulators in other provinces have been working on projects ahead of reform to demonstrate their effectiveness; such as improving board governance, updating standards and improving processes that promote greater accountability and transparency. You’ll see other provinces making changes like these, as well as removing conflicts by ensuring separation between regulators and associations.


These changes demonstrate that while self regulated professions each have their own college, act and regulations, they are all under the scrutiny of health departments of each province.  Speaking of which………


The Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness continues to consult with professional regulators to develop a framework to Modernize the Regulation of Health Professions in Nova Scotia.  There are some problems with self regulated professions because there are risks that self regulation could be self serving.  In other words, the people responsible for regulating could be looking out for themselves, their friends or their business.  It’s not acceptable because the sole purpose, the only purpose of a self regulated profession is to protect the public.


The government of Nova Scotia is proposing a common legislative foundation in a single act that would span multiple professions, bringing significant efficiencies within health regulation.  It will give the government more authority to intervene when required, improve transparency, improve governance and give regulators more resources to tap into, when the need arises. 


To reiterate, one of the reasons optician regulators exist is to protect the public.  They are there to keep the public safe by ensuring registrants are accountable and competent to practice through duties such as registration, education, audit, evaluation and discipline.  This is the same in each province and that is what makes NACOR so indispensable.  Having a national platform where regulators share, collaborate and develop tools allows each provincial optician regulator to better fulfill their duties to protect the public.


As usual, I am enthused by the efforts and accomplishments being made by NACOR. This is a very collaborative and effective group with measurable results. I look forward to seeing what’s next.


Tanya MacPhee

URGENT!  We need your help!  

The NSCDO, sometimes in conjunction with NACOR, has various roles to fill from time to time, such as the opportunity to serve on a committee, become an examiner or a content expert.  Remuneration and training is provided in many of the cases.  This is also great for your resume and your goals of personal growth.  Mostly importantly, your profession needs you.  We can’t do this without you!

If interested or just curious, please send an email to  Let us know the type of opportunities that may interest you the most.  Related experience is nice to have but not a prerequisite.  Passion, willingness to learn and reliability are required.  Don’t be shy! 

National Exam Committee Meetings

The National Exam Committee meetings were held in Montreal, February 25th and 26th.  This is the first time in person since the beginning of COVID.  One representative from each province is usually present and is comprised of people with extensive knowledge of the national exams, usually either as an examiner or chief examiner.

The exams are reviewed regularly to ensure they are relevant and cover required competencies. Changes are implemented by NACOR for future exam sessions with enough notice to give students time to prepare.  Information regarding the national exams can always be found on the NACOR website at

Tanya MacPhee  D.O., C.C.L.F.


Shelley Smith-Bona

Continuing education credits are required as part of the licensing process. Continuing Education is an important part of any profession. As an Optician it is equally important to continue to do CE to keep your mind sharp, to expand your scope of practice, as well as obtain credits to maintain your license.

As a Licensed Optician, it is your responsibility to manage your CE Credits. The NS College of Dispensing Opticians has been working on making this easier for you. Updates have been made to the portal that allow you to upload any electronic files received for your credits. If an electronic file is not available a form is accessible in the portal to manually enter credits. Also, if eligible, credits can be deferred to next years credits (2024/25). There is no need to wait until March to add your credits to your online profile. Credits can be added at anytime.

Make sure to keep a copy of all the credits that you achieve each year for your personal records. You can still submit credits by scanning and e-mailing to or by mailing them in to the NSCDO office.

For a full listing of credit types, please visit the website

at NSCDO_PD_Guidelines.pdf.


Glenna Locke

The Opticians Council of Canada now has only NACOR as a member.  Individual schools and provincial associations that wish to join are welcomed.

The Regulators mandate is to protect the public, the Associations advocate for the profession, and Schools educate. The OCC works on all areas where all groups can collaborate and share information.

National meetings were held in April 2022 via video conference and November in Toronto, Ontario in person. 

Since the pandemic there has been a shift in trends so NACOR (the only remaining member of the OCC) arranged an Industry Roundtable discussion meeting similar to OCC meetings from previous years. Industry, educators, regulators and associations were invited.  The common goal for the meeting was to bring members of the Opticianry community together to explore common challenges, share experiences, and identify possible opportunities. 

We all share a common goal…. Keep Opticianry Relevant..

A request was sent to all that agreed to attend to provide their main goals for attending. The shortage of Opticians stood out as the main reason. Other common goals included promotion of Optical programs, promotion of the profession, and collaboration. 

The meeting was very productive and all in attendance were very interested in collaborating again in the near future.

Public Awareness Campaign:  The OCC hired Fute marketing a few years ago to run The Licensed Optician Campaign as well as Become an Optician Campaign. The marketing objectives are to educate the public about the advantages of seeing a Licensed Optician, target the audience that has an interest in becoming an Optician, as well as target international applicants. The marketing company uses Facebook, Instagram blogs, and Google Ad campaigns and videos. Both websites are well positioned and are showing a great increase in traffic.  The web campaign and Google Ads campaign are showing increases in both impressions and actions. There has been a rapid growth in traffic since 2018. 

OCC will meet again in April and October 2023. 


Glenna Locke

NSCDO is asking for Opticians interested in serving on the Board of Directors to submit their names along with a bio/resume. Candidates may also be nominated by at least two registrants or by the Nomination Committee.

This year we have three positions available for a two-year term; all three of the current incumbents will be re-offering to serve. If you are interested in serving, please forward your intentions to us on or before May 8, 2023. The final slate of candidates will be confirmed by May 12, 2023 and communicated to you by email. Should we require an election, the survey will be emailed to you by May 26, 2023 and elections would take place on June 2, 2023.

If you have any questions, please refer to our By-Laws or contact the College at

Mailing Address:

Attention: Glenna Locke Chair of the Nomination Committee

Nova Scotia College of Dispensing Opticians Halifax Professional Centre

342 - 5991 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS B3H 1Y6


6:00 pm, Friday, June 9, 2023

*Please RSVP by Friday, June 2, 2023

Main Floor Boardroom, 1718 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS 



  • John Butler; Chair
  • Glenna Locke; Vice Chair
  • Shelley Smith Bona;Treasurer
  • Cavell Ferguson; Registrar
  • Lynn Countway; Director
  • Alicia Austin; Director
  • Susan Long; Director
  • Marilyn Swaffer; Director
  • Graham Sweett; Director
  • Marion Ripley, Director

Halifax Professional Centre, 5991 Spring Garden Road, Suite 342, Halifax NS, B3H 1Y6

Tel: 902.425.7928

Fax: 902.425.0360



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