COS reintroduces a registration fee for its Annual Scientific Meeting

A registration fee of $325 for active members has been set for the 2010 meeting in Quebec City.

Proportional fees will be set for other membership categories. Details will be finalized and sent out with the program later this year.


In 1994, COS hosted the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) meeting with 3500 participants, resulting in a significant budget surplus. Consequently, the COS board of directors decided to waive registration fees temporarily and to freeze membership fees for the foreseeable future. In 2000, a corporate sponsorship program was initiated as part of a strategy to continue extending this benefit to members. While this program has worked well over the past 14 years, rising costs have necessitated the reintroduction of a registration fee for the Annual Meeting.


The continued growth and resulting success of the COS Annual Meeting has led to increased costs, influencing the need for additional revenue:

  • A rise in delegate attendance to 1400, a 50% increase from 1995 to 2009, without any offsetting income.
  • More interactive meetings, such as workshops and wet labs, which increase the educational benefit to delegates but also increase costs.
  • The introduction and management of new and more sophisticated audio/visual technology.
  • Increasing food and beverage charges levied by hotels in major centres and the associated cost of first-class conference facilities.

In addition, corporate sponsorship is on the decline, as companies tighten their belts in a difficult economy and must distribute funds to a growing number of regional ophthalmology meetings across the country. This downward adjustment by industry is also being felt by the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology (CJO), which has seen a significant drop in advertising revenue since 2006.

With the advent of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, all national specialty societies (NSS) have been requested by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to adopt more strict criteria and move towards less dependence on industry for ongoing professional development. The Annual Meeting registration fee will allow us to move in this direction. Compared with other NSS across Canada, the $325 registration fee is well below the national average of $800 for a three-day meeting.

Finally, it is important to note that the membership fee of $525 has remained the same for the past eight years, and will not be increased for 2010. Membership fees will continue to support ongoing programs such as the CJO, MOC, clinical practice guidelines, the Perspectives newsletter and other important initiatives. With respect to the Annual Meeting, COS is committed to continuing to deliver the highest quality and accredited educational program to its members and affiliated societies.

Article reprinted from Perspectives, September 2009