Who We Are

Our Purpose

The College of Opticians of Alberta (COA) is the regulatory body that governs the practice of opticianry in the province. Formerly the Alberta College and Association of Opticians (ACAO), the COA was established on January 1, 2022, with the sole mandate of protecting the public by:

  • Setting the requirements for entry into the opticianry profession;
  • Licensing Registered Opticians (RO) and Registered Contact Lens Practitioners (RCLP) and protecting the use of these titles and abbreviations;
  • Establishing and overseeing the Regulations, Standards of Practice, and Code of Ethics governing opticians;
  • Managing a complaints and discipline process to hear, investigate, and adjudicate complaints filed against opticians; and
  • Monitoring the continuing competence of opticians to ensure the provision of safe, competent, and ethical care for Albertans


Accountable and accessible regulatory excellence in opticianry to ensure safe, competent, and ethical eyecare for all Albertans.


Our mission is to protect the public through proactive regulation of registered opticians.

Our primary concern is patient health and safety. We protect the public by overseeing and regulating the opticianry profession in Alberta.



We hold ourselves accountable to the public and take responsibility for the practice of opticians in the province.


We take the ethical responsibilities of health professionals seriously and ensure our conduct and the conduct of the profession are held to high standard.


We treat all stakeholders equally and with respect and are committed to operating with integrity, objectivity, and fair-mindedness.


We constantly strive to improve our effectiveness as a regulatory body and monitor trends and best practices in regulation to achieve our strategic objectives.


We believe that fostering an open dialogue with stakeholders supports our performance and we encourage active participation in Council and committee meetings.


We commit to transparency for the public, registrants, and other stakeholders and make information about our activities and operations publicly available.


The Alberta Government delegates the power and authority for self-regulation to the College of Opticians of Alberta through the Health Professions Act.

This legislation requires health professions to organize and carry out governance responsibilities in a manner that protects and serves the public interest. This mandate is a legislated responsibility privileged by the Alberta Government.

Transparency Principles

The COA is dedicated to balancing the principles of transparency with legal privacy obligations and is committed to being transparent with other governing authorities, regulators, and stakeholders. The COA facilitates investigations, inspections, or similar procedures that are authorized by legislation or regulation, consistently with the Health Professions Act, COA bylaws, and any other relevant legislation and regulation.

Principle 1: Accessibility

Legislation, regulatory decisions, consultation and regulatory documents, and policies, will be made readily available to the public and stakeholders in a manner that is timely, clear, and easy to find. The roles of the COA will be clearly set out.

Principle 2: Accountability

To reassure the public and other stakeholders, regulatory decisions will be made according to established rules and processes. Opticians and health system stakeholders should have access to information to better understand and enhance the quality and safety of patient care.

Principle 3: Stakeholder Participation and Engagement

The public and stakeholders will be encouraged to actively contribute to college processes and activities and to provide feedback which will help patients make informed choices about their care.

Principle 4: Fairness and Impartiality

Decisions made by the COA will be free of bias and the college will take appropriate steps to address them should they arise. (Governing Policies – 2.11 Council Code of Conduct)


The Advisory Group for Regulatory Excellence (ARGE) developed a framework and set of transparency principles to address and support transparency regulatory college processes in Ontario. These principles were utilized as a guideline and framework in establishing transparency principles for the College of Opticians of Alberta.