CAO Privacy Policy

CAO Commitment to Privacy of Personal Information

The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO, the Association) is committed to protecting the privacy of its members (optometrists, optometric staff, and students) and others who use CAO services (users). The Privacy Policy informs you of our privacy practices as applied to personal information about identifiable members, officials, participants in or attendees at CAO events or promotions, and visitors to our website ( that is collected, used, or disclosed by the CAO.

The CAO Privacy policy reflects the requirements of the Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) as applicable. This Privacy Policy sets out how the CAO collects, uses, and discloses Personal Information during the course of our activities and how we strive to ensure that Personal Information in our possession remains accurate and confidential. The Association collects, uses, and discloses personal information with individual consent, unless otherwise permitted or required by law. The collection, use, and disclosure of personal information will be governed by the version of this policy in effect at the time of collection, use or disclosure.

Personal Information

Personal information is any information that can be used to distinguish, identify, or contact a specific individual. The personal information that CAO generally keeps includes name, date of birth, demographic information (gender, age) address, telephone number, fax number, e-mail address, language preferences, and graduation year, school, and license number for optometrists. The Association also collects information related to the member’s involvement in the CAO, or volunteering, or serving the CAO.


The CAO is responsible for all personal information under its custody or control, including information which it may transfer to a third party for processing or advertising purposes. CAO requires any such third parties to use the personal information only for the purposes for which it is provided to them, and to protect the privacy of the personal information in accordance with applicable privacy laws and in a manner that is consistent with this policy. The CAO stores and processes personal information in Toronto, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Chief Executive Officer of the CAO is the Privacy Officer for the Association. The Privacy Officer may delegate day-to-day responsibility for administration of this policy to other employees, however the Privacy Officer remains accountable for the CAO’s handling of personal information. The Privacy Officer may be contacted at 234 Argyle Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1B9 or by phone at 613-235-7924 extension 212. 

Purposes For Collecting, Using, And Disclosing Personal Information

Membership Information

CAO collects and uses personal information from members for the following purposes:

  • To track the membership in the CAO.
  • To provide members with a login access to a secured member dashboard on the CAO website (
  • To build and update a national online “Find a Doc” search tool on the CAO website ( available to users.
  • To provide members with access to a learning platform.
  • To keep members informed about the activities of the CAO by providing information about the Association and its member benefits and resources.
  • To keep members informed about, activities, research, surveys and events of other organizations (partners providing members benefits, academics, Government of Canada departments, industry sponsors, vision stakeholders) on topics related to the mandate of the CAO.
  • To send hard copies of the Canadian Journal of Optometry to members (optometrists) via mail.
  • To respond to members’ and users’ questions and communications.
  • To advise members about meetings, conferences, workshops, and seminars made available by other organizations that may be of interest to members.
  • To analyze the demographics of the membership for future planning purposes.
  • To seek members’ opinions of the CAOs services and activities for the purpose of shaping CAO’s future planning and programming.

Collection of Personal Information

The CAO may collect personal information with the members’ explicit consent for the purposes of marketing and personalized advertising in accordance with applicable law. Members can opt out of receiving personalized advertisements by:

  • sending an email to
  • over the telephone by contacting CAO staff at 613-235-7924.
  • managing their preferences on the member dashboard (login required)

Disclosure of Personal Information

The CAO does not disclose personal information unless it has obtained the individual’s consent, except when/if permitted or required by law. CAO members can withdraw from the national online “Find a Doc” search tool by contacting the Association:

  • sending an email at 
  • over the telephone at 613-235-7924.


The CAO uses personal information only with the consent of the individual, except as otherwise permitted or required by law. CAO also gives members the option to opt out of receiving information sent by the Association or from any third parties:

  • managing their preferences on the member dashboard (login required). 
  • sending an email at
  • over the telephone by contacting CAO staff at 613-235-7924.

Marketing Emails

We seek to comply with the Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) as applicable. We provide you with an opportunity to let us know your preference in terms of receiving promotional email when you register for our services (see “Consent” section), provide us with Personal Information, or when we send emails. You can opt out of emails through the links in the emails that you receive from us.


You may opt-out of further contact from us as well as certain other uses of personal information for promotional or personalization purposes. To make such a request, please send an email to


CAO uses certain third party service providers to place advertisements to market CAO on websites across the web. These advertisements are based on your demographics and interest in, but not limited to, services and information provided by CAO. We place a cookie on your browser, and then a service such as Google reads these cookies and may serve an ad for CAO on a third party website. We may use the information we collect to show you targeted advertising based on your interests and preferences. You may opt out of this ad serving by visiting Google’s advertising policy page.

Cookie Settings and Preferences

CAO uses third party services throughout the Sites, such as Google Analytics, to place first party and/or third party cookies on devices that access the CAO website. You can disable cookies and other tracking technologies through your browser. Further, to opt out of use of our cookies for tracking, you may also visit Google’s advertising policy page. While doing so may negatively affect your experience with the use of our website, it will not prevent us from transacting with you.

Website and link to other websites

The CAO provides information to users and some member services via its website. By using the website, members and users agree that information may be collected, used, and disclosed in accordance with this policy. The website contains links to other third party websites. These links are provided for the convenience of users. The CAO has no responsibility or liability for, or control over, those websites or their collection, use, and disclosure of an individual’s personal information. Since we do not control those websites, we encourage you to review the privacy policies on those websites prior to any use.


The CAO seeks to ensure that the personal information it maintains is accurate and up to date.

Limiting Retention of Personal Information

The CAO retains personal information for as long as it is needed for the purpose for which it was collected and in order to meet legal, regulatory, and third party advertising policy requirements.

For example, we may retain membership information for as long as you are a member and for a reasonable period thereafter for historical and analytical purposes. We may retain cookie data for a shorter period, in accordance with browser settings. When your Personal Information is no longer required for the CAO’s purposes, we have procedures to destroy, delete, erase, or convert it into an anonymous form.


The CAO protects personal information against such risks as loss or theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, modification, and destruction by using appropriate security measures.  Moreover, we ensure that CAO staff are aware of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of Personal Information.

Privacy Breaches

A privacy breach occurs when personal information is stolen or lost, or is collected, used, or disclosed without authority.

In the event of a privacy breach, CAO will identify the scope of the breach and will take the following steps to contain a privacy breach:

  • retrieve and secure any personal information that has been collected, used, or disclosed without authority.
  • ensure that no copies, including digital copies, have been made or retained by the individual who was not authorized to receive or use the information.
  • determine whether the breach would allow unauthorized access to any other personal information – for example on an electronic information system – and take necessary steps to prevent a further breach, such as changing passwords or temporarily shutting down our system.
    CAO will notify individuals at the first reasonable opportunity of any breach in which their personal information in CAO’s custody or control was lost, stolen, or used or disclosed without authority. This notice will:
    • provide a general description of the breach in easy-to-understand language.
    • inform the individual of any steps CAO has taken to:
      – mitigate adverse effects on the individual and
      – prevent a similar breach from happening.
    • provide contact information for one of CAO’s employees who can provide additional information; and
    • advise the individual of their right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (“IPC”).
      CAO will automatically notify the IPC of any privacy breaches that meet a certain criterion. This includes any breach CAO determines to be significant based on the sensitivity and volume of the information breached, the number of service providers involved, and the number of people affected.


An individual may request access to the information held about themselves at any time by contacting the CAO Privacy Officer. The Association will endeavour to respond to any such request as quickly as possible and, in any event, within the legally required time periods. Subject to certain exceptions and limitations prescribed by law, an individual will be given access to any personal information the CAO holds about them. The CAO will correct or amend personal information that is shown to be incomplete or inaccurate.

Sharing of Information

Except as set forth in this Policy, CAO will not disclose any of your personally identifiable information to third parties, except when we have your permission or under special circumstances, such as when we believe in good faith that the law requires it.

Privacy Policy Changes

If we decide to change this Privacy Policy, we will post the revised Privacy Policy here so that you will always know what information we gather, how we might use that information and whether we may disclose it to anyone. Your continued use of the CAO website indicates your consent to the Privacy Policy as posted.

Questions and Complaints

For further information about this policy, or to make a complaint, please contact the CAO Privacy Officer at 613-235-7924 extension 212. The CAO will investigate all complaints and take appropriate action as a result of such investigation.

For more information about your privacy rights in general, we suggest you contact the Privacy Commissioner of Canada through their website or by phone at 1-800-282-1376.

Updated May 14, 2024