COS 2018 Advocacy in Action (third quarter update)

National Advocacy Initiatives

See The Possibilities Campaign: COS continues to build on the success of Year Two of its public awareness campaign. The campaign narrative is gaining momentum and awareness, achieving great results:

Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS) Council on Advocacy Updates: 

On September 13, 2018 the COS Council on Advocacy held its fourth teleconference of the year to discuss common advocacy issues and develop strategies to deal with these issues at a provincial level. In addition to quarterly teleconferences, several Council members have been active on the following initiatives:

COS Completes Advocacy Toolkit Chapter 2: How to Work with Media: The COS Advocacy Toolkit – Chapter 2 – How to Work with Media is now available in the members only section of the COS website. This chapter contains information on how to work with the Canadian media, in conjunction with the COS Communications Team.

Advocacy & Media 101 Session Videos Now Online: Recordings from the May 31, 2018 Advocacy and Media 101 Session are now available on If you would like to receive a link to these videos, please contact [email protected].

COS Advocacy and Public Awareness Fund reaches over 90% of fundraising goal for 2017/2018: Due to the strong support received from the membership, the COS was able to reach over 90% of its fundraising goal for 2017/18. Thank you to all who have supported the COS and our efforts by contributing to the Advocacy and Public Awareness Fund. Our work would not have been possible without your contributions.

2019 COS Advocacy and Public Awareness Fund: For the 2019 COS Advocacy and Public Awareness Fund campaign, COS members will notice that a minimum contribution of $700.00 will automatically be added as an “opt-in” option on this year’s COS Membership Renewal Forms. This is based on feedback from our members to streamline the process in order to make it easier to contribute. More details regarding how to contribute to the 2019 Fund will be sent out to the membership beginning in October 2018.

We encourage all members to consider supporting the Fund as the monies gathered, along with a significant investment from the COS, will be used to support the COS to continue its strong advocacy and public awareness work at a federal level and empowering the provinces, subspecialty societies, and academic community with advocacy tools, training, and resources to help raise the profile of the profession. Please contact Rita Afeltra at [email protected] if you would like to make a contribution.

Provincial Advocacy Activities

Please find below the latest updates from the COS and the provinces regarding advocacy and lobbying efforts.

  • British Columbia
    • The British Columbia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (BCSEPS) continues to seek recourse with regards to a provisional cataract fee code cut that was set to take effect on October 1.
    • The BC MOH is set to start fining physicians doing private sector work starting October 1. Fines start at $10,000. BCSEPS will be seeking clarification on how this affects measuring for non-insured IOL’s which will be implanted during insured cataract surgeries.
    • Dr. Jane Gardiner (CAPOS) worked with Perinatal Services BC to successfully maintain universal eye prophylaxis of all newborns in the Perinatal Services BC Guideline: Prevention and Management of Ophthalmia Neonatorum caused by Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
  • Alberta
    • In September 2018, Eye Physicians and Surgeons Association of Alberta (EPSAA) representatives met with Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) group to present them with an EPSAA position statement on higher level disinfection of ultrasound probes and ultrasonic pachymetry probes.
    • On September 26, 2018 EPSAA representatives met with a policy advisor in the provincial Ministry of Health to discuss support for an eye health council in the province.
  • Manitoba
    • In September 2018, a joint position paper between the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (EPSOM) and the Manitoba Association of Optometrists on legislating against scleral tattoos was submitted to the provincial government. EPSOM hopes to have MLAs present a bill for this legislation in October when legislature reconvenes. This paper was based on the Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (EPSO) paper and EPSOM is very grateful for the work that EPSO has done.
    • Following a meeting in June 2018 with the Deputy Minister of Health (DMOH) regarding cataract waitlist recommendations, EPSOM is continuing efforts to engage with the DMOH office to express concerns.
    • EPSOM has been invited by the provincial government regarding Anti-VEGF injection program negotiations.
  • Ontario
    • In September 2018, the Eye Physicians and Surgeons (EPSO) met at Queens Park with ministers and their staff to discuss eye care in Ontario.
    • With the recent change in provincial government, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) and the government have agreed to return to mediation. If this fails over the next 1-2 months binding arbitration will resume. The CANDI model continues to create many uncertainties for Ophthalmology, many relating to the difficulty in obtaining relevant data such as true overhead, after hours worked, and overall daily hours worked.
    • There has been a great push to try to develop new hospital positions for young ophthalmologists with any new monies being provided by the government to tackle the growing cataract wait list. The goal is to distribute new funding fairly, primarily to new grads so that they will be able to work in the community providing general ophthalmology medical and surgical care, decreasing wait lists and help ensure emergency call availability remains 24/7. This project has been spearheaded by EPSO Past President Dr. Jordan Cheskes and has been endorsed by EPSO and the Vision Strategy Task Force of Ontario. The government is very interested in the project and EPSO is hopeful that it will be endorsed by hospitals and provide a number of new positions over the next 3-12 months.
    • In August 2017 the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced that it had received direction to regulate diagnostic medical sonographers under The College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario (CMRTO), and the registration process began in January 2018. By January 2019 all individuals practicing as a diagnostic medical sonographer will be required to be registered as a member of the CMRTO in order to be authorized to practice diagnostic medical sonography in Ontario. Simply put, this means all diagnostic medical sonographers practicing in Ontario-or individuals currently participating in an education program for diagnostic medical sonography or preparing for an exam in the profession-will be required to register with the CMRTO. CMPA has agreed to write a legal opinion on the Bulletin for EPSO. It is likely that this will not apply to A scan performed for accurate cataract IOL placement. There is no mention of ophthalmology in the bulletin, so we are unclear on its effect on our group at present.
    • EPSO has developed a new website ( spearheaded by Marcia Kim, Executive Director. The portal allows for both public and secure access for our members to information.
  • Quebec
    • The Association des médecins ophtalmologistes du Québec (AMOQ) is evaluating the new political landscape following the election of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government on October 1, 2018.
    • CAQ has proposed to cut the monetary mass by 20%; with perceived higher-paid specialties like Ophthalmology and Radiology being specifically targeted for higher fee cuts.
  • New Brunswick
    • In July 2018, Dr. Ken Roberts worked with the COS to profile the arrival of a new glaucoma surgeon, to local provincial reporters. Since the article published, there has been an increased number of media inquiries. For example, CBC has expressed interest in doing a video segment that highlights cataract surgery.
    • An Eye Health Council in New Brunswick is defunct after lack of interest from Optometry, with and no plans to restart this at the moment.
    • The New Brunswick Section of Ophthalmology meeting is planned for November 17, 2018 where advocacy items will be discussed.
  • Prince Edward Island
    • In July 2018, COS worked with PEI Ophthalmology to submit comments regarding an expanded scope of practice for Optometry in the area of prescribing rights for oral antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and anti-allergics. With the help of COS letters were sent to the provincial antibiotic stewardship committee and Minister of Health.
    • PEI continues to have manpower issues with long waits for consults and surgery, with PEI Ophthalmology working with the Health PEI on potential solutions.
    • Two years ago, the formation of an Eye Health Council in PEI fell through because Optometry was unwilling to participate. Interestingly, the idea has been raised by Health PEI following recent letters on expanded scope of practice for Optometry. PEI Ophthalmology will continue to champion an eye health council in light of renewed interest from government.

For questions or more information

The COS Council on Advocacy looks forward to providing further updates on issues of importance to the profession in the next Advocacy in Action e-newsletter. In the meantime, for more information or questions, please contact: Rosalind O’Connell, COS Manager, Communications and Public Affairs at: [email protected]

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