Among other member benefits, CAO runs two programs to assist members.


Canadian Certified Optometric Assistant  (CCOA) Program

The Canadian Certified Optometric Assistant program (CCOA) is an online distant education program that gives optometric assistants the skills and knowledge they need to contribute to a thrivin g optometric practice, today and in the future. 

Available exclusively to employees of CAO members, the CCOA helps improve the efficiency and professionalism of your staff.

The training is rigorous. CCOA candidates continue to work while completing nine course modules, a practicum, one workshop and a final examination. The modules cover the full range of relevant skills and knowledge: from anatomy and physiology, to patient management, sales, customer service, frame and lens dispensing, and contact lenses.

Full Courses begin each September 15th and run for a total of 36 weeks. A workshop must be attended. An online, closed-book exam is administered in June; to pass, participants must score a minimum overall grade of 75 percent. Certification is valid for three years; to renew, graduates must complete 18 hours of certified continuing education.

To learn more, visit here.


Occupational Vision Programs in Canada


Ontario Occupational Vision Plan - Vision at Work

Vision at Work is a comprehensive industrial protective eyewear program that has served the vision care needs of Ontario’s workers for over 20 years. We offer our clients the expertise of more than 400 doctors of optometry, providing Vision at Work is unique because it is provided exclusively by ODs, primary health care professionals, who 

provide their professional guidance to ensure that the safety eyewear needs of employees are met. Because Visionat Work is administered by the Canadian Association of Optometrists, it is the only program in Ontario that provides a total package of optometric services and materials that is administered by a single group. We are dedicated to providing the best in protective eyewear while controlling the client company’s costs.

The plan assures that employees receive protective eyewear that meets or exceeds existing workplace safety standards, including Canadian Standards Association Z94.3. There is never any compromise on the products and materials used,  including polycarbonate lenses and brand name safety frames.

The program is cost effective, competitively priced and simple to administer. One itemized monthly statement is provided to employers for all authorized services, even when provided by different doctors of optometry in various locations.

For more information contact:

Doug Dean, Director, Vision at Work
Telephone: 613-235-7924 Ext. 215
Toll free number: 1-888-263-4676 Ext.: 215

For information on occupational vision plans in other provinces, please visit:

British Columbia