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;
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.