A Canadian judge has ruled in favor of two Ontario regulatory colleges that filed lawsuit seeking to prevent Essilor’s Canadian online retail company, Clearly, from dispensing prescription eyewear over the internet.

The College of Optometrists and the College of Opticians, both located in Toronto, jointly filed the application in December 2016. A hearing was held on 11 October 2017 and Justice Thomas Lederer delivered his decision on 11 January.

In a message to its members, The College of Optometrists said, “Although we are still reviewing the decision in detail, we are pleased that the court has agreed with the position of the colleges on the questions we brought forward.

Internet can be effective however …

“The colleges believe that the internet can be an effective tool for the provision of vision care, however the dispensing of corrective lenses is a controlled act, subject to Ontario legislation, that definitively requires a regulated health professional’s involvement. Mail order over the internet without the involvement of an optometrist or optician is inconsistent with legislation.”

Clearly is appealing Justice Lederer’s decision and while the appeal process is underway, the company plans to continue servicing customers in Ontario.

“Clearly is committed to making vision care accessible worldwide and believes that the internet is complementary to other distribution channels,” the company’s managing director, Mr Arnaud Bussieres, said.

He said the company has “a history of engaging in dialogue with optometrists and opticians across Canada to find areas of collaboration and ways to provide better products to consumers.”