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A significant number of optometrists choose to operate their practice through a professional corporation (“OPC”) under the Ontario Business Corporations Act and the Regulated Health Professions Act. Once incorporated, a Certificate of Authorization from the College of Optometrists of Ontario (COO) is required for the corporation to practice the profession of optometry in Ontario. We routinely advise optometrists on matters involving the incorporation, creation and maintenance of a professional corporation, to ensure regulatory compliance with the COO, laws and regulations. The professional’s relationship with his or her professional corporation will be as an employee. We assist in preparing an employment agreement that will provide flexibility on choosing compensation arrangements. However, the optometrist still has personal professional responsibility to his or her patients.

Incorporating an optometry professional corporation can bring significant advantages, including being taxed at a lower corporate tax rate compared to a personal tax rate, the payment of dividends to shareholders[1], and tax deferral strategies. We routinely provide advice to optometrists about who may own shares of an optometry professional corporation and what types of shares may be issued to shareholders. We work directly with tax advisors and accountants to ensure that the most appropriate corporate structure is established in order to achieve long term goals.

OPCs have an obligation to notify the COO of any changes made to the corporation within 14 days following the change. There are specific forms on the COO’s website which must be completed and submitted to the COO in order to provide notification of such changes. The OPC must report changes such as a change in shareholders, name and/or address of the OPC, the potential sale of an OPC, as well as an amalgamation of an OPC with another corporation. Failure to notify the COO of any such changes may result in a revocation of the Certificate of Authorization.

Renewal Process for Optometry Professional Corporations

The COO requires that the Certificate of Authorization held by each optometry professional corporation be renewed annually. A Certificate of Authorization is valid for one year, and the process to renew the Certificate of Authorization must be completed prior to the anniversary of the certificate’s date of issue. The corporation is required to complete the annual renewal application and provide the names of the directors and officers of the corporation, along with the business address, business telephone number and registration number with the COO of each shareholder of the corporation as of the day the renewal application was submitted. The corporation is also required to submit a Corporation Profile Report. If the corporation fails to comply with any of the renewal requirements, the COO may revoke the Certificate of Authorization, and the corporation will cease to be an optometry professional corporation.

We routinely assist our busy optometrist clients with this process. We maintain a tickler system and reach out to our clients so they may authorize us to assist, should they wish.

[1] All shareholders of an optometry professional corporation must be members of the COO.

Incorporation to Retirement

A multi-disciplinary suite of services tailored to assist optometrists

Purchase and Sale of a Practice

An optometry practice is one of the most valuable assets a dentist may own and the decision to sell or purchase a practice is significant. There are many considerations that should be made with respect to the sale or purchase of a practice and we work closely with clients and their advisors to identify the most appropriate strategies to achieve the goals of our client.

Estate Planning for Professionals

As you progress in your career, your estate plan may become more complex. Dual Wills may be used to protect certain eligible assets from estate and administration tax.

Retirement and Succession Planning

The development of an effective succession plan for your optometry practice is a key part of ensuring a smooth transition into retirement.

Other Legal Needs

As you continue to progress in your career, there are many other legal needs you may likely encounter in your professional and personal life.

Our Team

Learn more about Katherine Serniwka.

Katherine Serniwka

Associate - Business Law