Organizational Info

Role of CAO and Optometrists



The Canadian Association of Optometrists is the national voice of optometry and is dedicated to collaboratively advancing the highest standard of primary eye care through the promotion of optimal vision and eye health, in partnership with all Canadians.


Healthy eyes and clear vision for all Canadians. For life.


  • Professional
  • Proactive
  • Collaborative
  • Accountable

Update on Activities

Annual Reports


At a meeting in Ottawa on July 7, 1941 six provincial representatives resolved to organize the Canadian Association of Optometrists. The first President was Dr. Herb McClung of Saskatchewan, who had promoted the idea of a national association since 1924. Four objectives were put forward at the meeting:

  • To consider and act upon all matters which have Dominion-wide effect upon Optometry and which do not lie specifically within the jurisdiction of any individual province;

  • To promote by all means possible the usefulness of Optometry;
  • To promote good fellowship and friendly intercourse between the several provincial associations;
  • To advance optometric education.

The association pursued national recognition and CAO was formally constituted with the proclamation of a federal act to incorporate the Canadian Association of Optometrists on June 30, 1948.

The Act provided the structure and framework for CAO that continues to be relevant today.

Additional Information

Executive Directors

  • Edward B. Higgins Manager
  • James (Jim) Gilmore Executive Director January 1964 – January 1968
  • H.G. (Mel) Mellow Executive Director February 1968 – May 1971
  • Gregory (Greg) J. Walsh Executive Director June 1971 – October 1974
  • Donald (Don) N. Schaefer Executive Director October 1974 – September 1983
  • Gérard A. Lambert Executive Director September 1983 – June 1992
  • Michael J. DiCola Administrative Officer/Executive Director July 1992 – June 1998
  • Glenn Campbell Executive Director June 1998 – July 2013
  • Laurie Clement  Executive Director July 2013 -