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Regulation 101

What does it mean to be regulated in British Columbia?

Opticians are regulated health professionals, which means that they are trained, competent, accountable and follow a standard of care for patient safety. There are laws, organizations and guidelines in place that define, support and monitor the members of this profession. Health professions are regulated because they are occupations that the public relies on for safe health services. Inaccuracy, inconsistency and poor communication can have serious health consequences for patients, so a system of regulation is in place to ensure clarity about rules and standards, consistent quality of care, and accountability for errors to prevent risk of harm.

Regulation provides support for professionalism and good practice. It is not a substitute for the knowledge and good judgement you practice on a daily basis, but it is a system to ensure that opticians have the resources and are accountable to provide quality, ethical, safe care to all patients. For example, professional colleges like the College of Opticians of BC (COBC) are required to create continuing competency programs to ensure that opticians maintain and grow their knowledge throughout their careers.

Being licensed is a commitment to a regulated profession and shows membership in a field of regulated health professionals. This professional status comes with associated obligations to the public that you care for, like following a standard of care and pursuing continuing competency development. When people choose to see an optician, they know they can expect safe, quality care.

What regulations are in place?

The Health Professions Act was introduced in 1996 and is the foundation of health regulation in British Columbia (BC). This Act has many parts, including stating what occupations are considered health professions, listing the requirements and duties for health colleges, detailing complaints and discipline processes, and the creation of the Health Professions Review Board.

Opticians are health professionals and they are regulated by the same laws as all health professions, but there are also specific regulations for opticians, which are in the Health Professions Act - Opticians Regulations. This regulation is important because regulation:
  • Reserves the titles of "optician," "dispensing optician" and "contact lens fitter" for registrants of the College of Opticians of BC (COBC);
  • States what restricted activities must only be performed by qualified registrants of the COBC, like contact lens fitting and automated refraction
  • Lists the limits and restrictions on automated refraction;
  • And it defines important terms to create a shared, agreed-upon vocabulary.

Other laws are in place that also impact all health professions, like the Criminal Record Review Act and the Personal Information Protection Act.

There are also bylaws that the COBC has put into place to guide the operations and processes of the COBC. The COBC Bylaws describe the Board and committee member structures, elections, registration requirements, and inquiry procedures. On the other hand, the Code of Ethics Bylaw outlines the ethical duties of each registrant.

Finally, all registrants are expected to follow the Standards of Practice, which are put in place to provide a guide for the standard of care all patients should receive from any optician and/or contact lens fitter that they visit. This is a key document, because you can read it to receive guidance for how to practice. You can find a copy of the Standards of Practice with guidelines, or without. Registrants can also always call the COBC if they would like guidance or suggestions; daily practice brings many more situations than can be listed!

About the College

The COBC is a health regulatory body created by the Health Professions Act to regulate opticians and contact lens fitters in BC. According to the Act, our narrow mandate is to ensure that Licensed Opticians are highly qualified and competent professionals who practice their Code of Ethics, Standard of Practice and duty of care. The COBC sets the framework for the professional self-regulated profession of opticianry to protect the public in British Columbia.

The COBC's main responsibilities:
  • REGISTRATION - Determine who is licensed in BC and maintain database
  • QUALITY ASSURANCE - Ensure all registrants are (and remain) competent
  • INQUIRY and DISCIPLINE - Investigate complaints and act to protect the public when standards are not being met
  • PATIENT RELATIONS - Support quality patient care
  • PUBLIC RESOURCE - Educate the public on regulated health professionals and opticianry
If you have more questions about the COBC or regulation, please contact us at 604-278-7510 or reception@cobc.ca.

Helpful Shortcuts

Legislation
Registrant Guides
College Policies
Health Professions Act - Opticians Regulations
Standards of Practice (with Guidelines) Complaints Resolution Process
Health Professions Act
Standards of Practice
Registration Committee Policy Handbook
Personal Information Protection Act and Explanation Patient Relations Communication Tool Kit Election Policy and Procedure
Release of Patient Information NACOR National Competencies for Canadian Opticians
Quality Assurance Committee Mandatory
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act Code of Ethics  COBC Bylaws

More links can be found here


Office Closed August 18, 2017
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August 18, 2017 |
The office will be closed August 18, 2017. If you require assistance, please email us at reception@cobc.ca.
The office will be closed August 18, 2017. If you require assistance, please email us at reception@cobc.ca.


Hiring for a program manager
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August 03, 2017 |
Program Manager

Job Type: Full time

Salary: Based on experience

Number of Positions Open: 1

Start Date of Employment: September 2017

Deadline: August 31, 2017

Website Address: www.cobc.ca

As the program manager, your priority will be to develop and manage current statutory programs to regulate opticians in the public interest. The program manager’s key responsibilities are supporting the College of Opticians of British Columbia’s (COBC) Registrar, Board of Directors, and quality assurance committee. This includes project management, strategic planning, volunteer development and navigating politicized environments with stakeholders.
Program Manager

Job Type: Full time

Salary: Based on experience

Number of Positions Open: 1

Start Date of Employment: September 2017

Deadline: August 31, 2017

Website Address: www.cobc.ca

As the program manager, your priority will be to develop and manage current statutory programs to regulate opticians in the public interest. The program manager’s key responsibilities are supporting the College of Opticians of British Columbia’s (COBC) Registrar, Board of Directors, and quality assurance committee. This includes project management, strategic planning, volunteer development and navigating politicized environments with stakeholders.

The COBC’s mandate is to serve and protect the public by regulating opticians. The COBC is responsible for setting and enforcing the standards of opticianry in British Columbia.


Culture
The COBC is a small professional regulatory body with a full-time staff of four people. Professional regulation is evolving so we value team members who are passionate, self-starters, innovative, flexible, and comfortable with the unknown. We are looking for someone who is willing to adapt in an ever-changing environment and look forward to having the opportunity participate in all the organization’s initiatives and administrative functions. To be successful at the COBC, you need to enjoy learning and be open to receiving feedback. The team is also compassionate and empathic. We care about public safety and the impact our policies and programs can have on people.


Skills
The COBC team comes from a variety of backgrounds. We typically find that people are successful in this role when they have:
  • Experience in professional regulation and board governance
  • Experience in program development and/or project management
  • Bachelor or Master degree in political science, public administration or equivalent
  • Passionate about public policy, health legislation and regulation
  • Ability to determine priorities, be self-directed and work with minimal supervision
  • Strong organizational skills with the ability coordinate and prioritize multiple tasks
  • Strong communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Experience training, developing and managing volunteers
  • Excellent stakeholder management skills to resource multiple projects and programs
  • Ability to interact with registrants and strategically understand user-experience for technology and program development
  • Ability to adapt new technology quickly
  • Ability to think critically and analytically

What you will be doing

Planning
  • Planning program and projects to accomplish their strategic goals within constraints such time and resources
  • Generate a work plan for various projects within a program and identify challenges and opportunities
  • Schedule tasks, deadlines, and milestones for stakeholder and volunteers
  • Schedule committee and board meetings and develop agendas according to strategic plan
  • Prepare and write grant proposals

Policy Development
  • Conduct research of issues to present to the Board and committees to develop policy
  • Develop, implement, regularly review, and update policies and procedures
  • Update and maintain professional standards of practice
  • Update and maintain COBC bylaws with legal counsel

Program & Project Management
  • Administer the current continuing education (CE) program including education activity accreditation and program support for registrants
  • Execute the new continuing competency program (will replace current CE program) including educating registrants and stakeholders on new requirements, managing registrant learning plans, and accrediting education activities
  • Develop tools to support the new continuing competency program
  • Monitor and evaluate progress on programs and projects
  • Coordinate program and project development with external project contractors/consultants
  • Manage projects to meet deadlines and objectives
  • Coordinate the annual general meeting, board meetings, board elections and committee meetings
  • Write reports and meeting minutes to keep volunteers and stakeholders informed
  • Prepare the annual report

Volunteer Management
  • Recruit, train, and support the development of board and committee members
  • Address volunteer concerns and providing guidance to volunteers
  • Prepare board and committee chairs to facilitate meetings
  • Coordinate volunteers and contractors for program and projects

Administration

It is a small office so all team members are expected to help with registrants and administrative functions as needed.


Contact Information:

Please direct enquiries, resumes, and cover letters stating your desired salary* to:

Connie Chong

Registrar

recruitment (at) cobc.ca

(Due to the volume of applications, we will not entertain phone calls)

*Cover letters that do not state desired salary will not be reviewed.


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