On June 28, 2024, the College of Opticians of British Columbia will amalgamate with six other BC health regulatory colleges to form a single multi-profession regulator.
Who is amalgamating?
The June 2024 amalgamations will create:
- The College of Health and Care Professionals of British Columbia, which will regulate dietitians, occupational therapists, opticians, optometrists, physical therapists, psychologists, and speech and hearing health professionals (combining seven existing regulatory colleges)
CEO: Dianne Millette
- The College of Complementary Health Professionals of British Columbia, which will regulate chiropractors, massage therapists, naturopathic physicians, and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists (combining four existing regulatory colleges)
CEO: Carin Plischke
Amalgamations have already taken place to create the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the BC College of Nurses and Midwives, and the BC College of Oral Health Professionals.
Curious about the new college names? Learn more in the December 1, 2023 media release from the Government of British Columbia.
How will this affect the public?
Members of the public who wish to inquire about opticianry services or file a complaint will still be able to do so; they will simply use a different email address or phone number to contact the new regulatory college.
It will still be possible to look up opticians’ registration statuses through a public register, but the register may be located on a different site, along with other public resources about opticianry.
Despite these changes, we intend to provide uninterrupted service. Complaints that are active at the time of amalgamation will be managed by the new organization.
How will this affect opticians?
Though opticians will belong to a new regulatory college (the College of Health and Care Professionals of BC), their professional titles, activities, and obligations will not change.
All opticians will still be required to renew their licensure annually, pay licensing fees, maintain their competency through continuing education, and uphold the Standards of Practice for their profession.
College staff will still be available for support—just at different email addresses and phone numbers. Applications that are active at the time of amalgamation will be managed by the new organization.
How will this affect fees, continuing education, and other licensing requirements?
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the answers to these questions. Work is being done on an ongoing basis to develop the policies and processes that will be foundational to our new college. We will continue to update registrants and the public as new information becomes available.
Why are the amalgamations happening?
College amalgamations are part of the Ministry of Health’s multi-year initiative to modernize BC’s health profession regulatory framework, informed by the Cayton Report and the 2020 recommendations of the Steering Committee on Modernization of Health Professional Regulation.
The overarching goal of amalgamation is to create greater efficiency among BC regulators. Rather than having 26 health professions regulated by 26 distinct regulatory colleges that perform the same functions (many of which are not profession-specific), the Ministry of Health is gradually reducing the number of colleges to six.
These amalgamations are established by the Health Professions Designation and Amalgamation Regulation, which was amended to include COBC’s amalgamation on July 7, 2023. (Select the images below to view the legislation in full.)
Amendments to the existing Opticians Regulation were deposited by the Ministry of Health on February 27, 2024, ultimately confirming the College of Health and Care Professionals of British Columbia as the organization that will regulate opticians from June 28, 2024 onward. (Select below to view.)
As we approach amalgamation day, we’ll keep this resource page updated to help registrants and members of the public understand what they can expect in the transition and beyond.
If you have questions or concerns not addressed here, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-742-6472.