March 2024


  • Notes from the Chair
  • Registrar’s Report
  • NACOR Report
  • Examination Committee
  • Professional Development
  • Nomination Committee
  • General Annual Meeting


John Butler

Chairman of the Board

Hi Everyone,

Yet another year has passed, for me at least, it’s amazing how time flies.

I’m pleased to report that the Nova Scotia College of Dispensing Opticians (NSCDO) has made major changes and implementations in the past year to achieve better governance and assure our health profession is in alignment today with the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) Passed November 2023.

The college and many members have formed several new committees as well as developed terms of reference for these committees. We have also developed on-board training for committee members and board directors that will assist with orientation for anyone new to the role, we have revised and basically rewrote our Standards of practice and By-Laws. These documents can be found on our website. The NSCDO is working closely with the Department of Health and Wellness (DHW) as we move forward with all the NS health professions to comply and implement the changes needed to amalgamate to the new RHPA. This process will be implemented in 3 phases with each health profession being part of one of the 3 phases, the completion is scheduled to conclude by summer of 2026, the NSCDO along with 4 other colleges will be in the 3rd and final phase. Some of the Health professions will amalgamate under the RHPA but at this point, there is no consideration of amalgamation for the NSCDO. The college will continue to work with the NS Regulated Health Professions Network and the DHW in a collaborative effort to move forward and comply under this new legislation. The NSCDO is transparent in this endeavor and welcomes any questions or concerns which can be directed through the NSCDO email.

I would like to thank all the members of the NSCDO for their hard work and dedication to their profession throughout the year. Also, to thank those members who have come forward to form the new committees. It is encouraging to see input from members and their involvement with our profession. In June, 2 directors will step down from the board for NSCDO, I would encourage you to consider becoming involved as it can be a rewarding and interesting way to help advance your profession. If you are interested in any capacity either as a committee member or a director on the Board, please email the college at

Thank You,

John Butler



Cavell Ferguson


Overall, 2023 was a year of progress and growth for NSCDO. With the support and commitment of the board chair and directors the college collaborated with the Department of Health and Wellness to improve overall effectiveness of the college's governance structure.

The college continues to be a member of The Regulated Health Professions Network (The Network) an association that works together with 22 regulated health professions in Nova Scotia to collaborate, on a voluntary basis, in regulatory processes. The Network has been instrumental in helping NSCDO navigate the changes in legislation in 2023.

In 2023 NSCDO was able to address areas of non-compliance as outlined in the Fair Registration Practices Act (FRPA). All areas of non-compliance, as originally identified in NSCDO’s September 2021 FRPA review report, have now been brought into compliance.

NSCDO continues to look at improvements to the online registration, member portal and updating resources for the website. Any suggestions for improvement can be sent to

Licensed Opticians as of March 1, 2024

Total Membership: 279

Dispensing Opticians: 176

Contact Lens Fitters: 87

Non-Practicing: 16

New Members:

Total Students: 37

Dispensing Opticians: 32

Contact Lens: 5

Office Hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - 10am to 3pm

Available by phone and email Monday and Friday.


Susan Long

The mission of the National Alliance of Canadian Optician Regulators (NACOR) is to work collaboratively through a national forum to support Canadian Provincial Regulators in areas such as:

  • ·         Competencies for Opticians
  • ·         Accreditation of Continuing Education
  • ·         Professional Examinations
  • ·         Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)

NACOR has three full-time staff members, Jody Dodds (Executive Director), Jaime Hay (National Examination Coordinator) and Julie Therou Zechel (Director, Members Services)

The NACOR Board of Directors is comprised of a representative from each province.

National meetings were held in person in Montreal, April 2023 and Vancouver, October 2023.

A newly revised PLAR was launched on May 1st, 2023.

PLAR assesses the skill level of candidates who do not have recognized accredited education. To pass the national exams, candidates should have the same knowledge and skills as recent graduate. The PLAR process includes a skills assessment and bridging modules; those who need additional training are assigned courses that focus on the skills they need to improve.

In May 2024, Halifax will welcome the national meeting of the NACOR Board of Directors. I look forward to attending and sharing our world-class east coast hospitality!

National Exam Committee Meetings

The National Exam Committee meetings will take place this year in Ottawa. There will be two representatives from each province comprised of Opticians with knowledge of the national exams, usually either as an examiner or chief examiner.

The exams are reviewed regularly to ensure they are relevant and cover required competencies. Changes are implemented by NACOR for future exam sessions with enough notice to give students time to prepare.

Information regarding the national exams can always be found on the NACOR website at


Shelley Smith-Bona

Continuing education credits are required as part of the licensing process. Continuing Education is an important part of any profession. As an Optician it is equally important to continue to do CE to keep your mind sharp, to expand your scope of practice, as well as obtain credits to maintain your license.

As a Licensed Optician, it is your responsibility to manage your CE Credits. The NS College of Dispensing Opticians has worked on making this easier for you. The same as last, you are able to upload any electronic files received for your credits. Please remember to be in edit mode in order to view or make any additions or changes to your profile. The Edit Button is located directly under My Profile. If an electronic file is not available a form is accessible in the portal to manually enter credits. There is no need to wait until March to add your credits to your online profile. Credits can be added at anytime.

Make sure to keep a copy of all the credits that you achieve each year for your personal records. You can still submit credits by scanning and e-mailing to or by mailing them in to the NSCDO office.

For a full listing of credit types, please visit the website at NSCDO_PD_Guidelines.pdf.


Michelle Ashford

NSCDO is asking for Opticians interested in serving on the Board of Directors to submit their names along with a bio/resume to Michelle Ashford, Chair of the Nomination Committee.

Candidates may also be nominated by at least two registrants or by the Nomination Committee. This year we have two director positions available. If you are interested in serving, please forward your intentions on or before April 28, 2024. The final slate of candidates will be confirmed by May 15, 2024, and communicated to you by email. If an election is necessary, electronic ballots will be forwarded to you by May 22, 2024, and elections would take place on May 29, 2024. 

If you have any questions, please refer to our By-Laws or contact the College at

Mailing Address:

Attention: Michelle Ashford, Chair of the Nomination Committee

Nova Scotia College of Dispensing Opticians Halifax Professional Centre

342 - 5991 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS B3H 1Y6


6:00 pm, Friday, June 7, 2024

*This year the AGM will be available via Zoom. Please RSVP by Friday, May 31, 2024 if you will be attending in-person or via Zoom.

Main Floor Boardroom, 1718 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS 


  • John Butler; Chair
  • Susan Long; Vice-Chair
  • Shelley Smith Bona; Treasurer
  • Cavell Ferguson; Registrar
  • Lynn Countway; Director
  • Alicia Austin; Director
  • Glenna Locke; Director
  • Marion Ripley, Director
  • Jim Gilks, Director
  • Betty Thomas, Director

Halifax Professional Centre, 5991 Spring Garden Road, Suite 342, Halifax NS, B3H 1Y6

Tel: 902.425.7928

Fax: 902.425.0360



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