Accommodations & Special Considerations
The Optometry Examining Board of Canada (“OEBC”) is committed to ensuring that the security, integrity, and validity of the examination are not compromised.
OEBC is committed to providing access to its programs and services to individuals with documented disabilities. A disability is a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. OEBC is compliant with relevant accessibility laws including the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and Ontario Human Rights Code.
The following information is provided for test candidates, evaluators, educators, and others involved in the process of documenting a request for test accommodations. We strongly recommend candidates requesting a test accommodation share this information with their evaluator and with therapists, physicians, and other parties of interest so the appropriate documentation can be assembled to support an accommodation request.
The information you provide assists OEBC in making a fair determination as to your circumstances and your request for an exam accommodation, and in understanding the nature of the accommodation you are seeking and its relationship to the resources OEBC has at its disposal. OEBC reviews each request on a case-by-case basis.
In situations when OEBC cannot make provisions for a candidate’s request because of operational or technical reasons, OEBC will attempt to engage with the candidate to seek a mutually agreeable solution. Candidates are expected to participate in this interactive process in a timely manner.
An accommodation request needs to be submitted for candidates who:
- Require medical assistance: access to medicine, food and/or drink during the exam (outside of what is normally allowed)
- Require the use of assisted devices, such as hearing aids, cane/crutches etc.
- Wear an item that cannot be removed, i.e., a head covering or jewelry, for medical or religious reasons
In addition to completing the Accommodations Request Form, candidates are required to email photographs of the item(s) to OEBC to request authorization to wear the item(s) during the exam.
The decision to grant an accommodation, and the type of accommodation granted, is at OEBC’s sole discretion.
An accommodation is valid only for the administration for which it has been submitted. Candidates are required to submit a new request for each administration.
Background: What Are Test Accommodations?
Test accommodations are adaptations to the test (i.e., OEBC exam) that can help ensure that the test measures what it is designed to measure. The purpose of test accommodations is to provide candidates with full access to the test and an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate his/her knowledge, skills and abilities required for the practice of optometry. The purpose is not to assure improved performance, a passing score, test completion, or other specific outcome(s).
Test accommodations are individualized and considered on a case-by-case basis. Individuals seeking disability-related accommodations must provide evidence that their condition rises to the level of a disability, and provide information about functional limitations in areas central to daily life. Having a diagnosis or demonstrating that an individual meets diagnostic criteria for a particular disorder does not automatically mean that the person has a bona fide disability, is disabled, or is entitled automatically to test accommodations. OEBC does not require a diagnosis. It does, however, require evidence that an individual’s disability may have a significant impact on their ability to attempt an examination.
Individuals with a disability usually can demonstrate a significant impact in a variety of different settings, such as school, the workplace, and other daily life activities. If you are working in a job, it is helpful for us to see verification of workplace accommodations that you require due to your disability.
Individuals who wear a head covering that may interfere with their ability to use certain pieces of equipment to their fullest potential, must send photographs of the head covering to OEBC, along with a completed Accommodations Request Form.
Accommodations must be appropriate to the particular task and setting involved.
The decision to grant an accommodation and the type of accommodation granted is at OEBC’s sole discretion. An accommodation is valid only for one exam or administration. A candidate must submit a new request for accommodation for each exam or administration. OEBC determines the date, location and time of the exam.
Procedures – How to Apply
- Candidates are encouraged to submit their request at the time of registration, to ensure there is time to process the request, and to allow for sufficient time for candidates to provide OEBC with additional information if there is anything missing from or unclear about their request. Accommodations requests should be submitted no later than 60 days prior to the exam administration date.
- Read all of OEBC’s published information about accommodations including the Decision-Making Principles and Documentation Guidelines, and ensure your evaluator has read them. Prepare your supporting evidence that conforms to the Guidelines.
- Complete the Accommodations Request Form. Because OEBC administers two exams (written and OSCE) that have very different functional requirements and settings, you must submit a separate accommodations request for each exam and each administration. All accommodations requests MUST include supporting evidence that you have a disability and require accommodations in order to access the exam.
- Submit your completed Accommodations Request Form and supporting documentation by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ensure all documentation is legibly printed. OEBC will confirm receipt of your request.
- Please note that many accommodations requests are reviewed by an independent, external expert.
- Wait for your request to be reviewed. Typically, you will hear back within 10 business days unless your request is unusually complex (in which case we will keep you posted about the status of your request). Accommodations requests are reviewed in the order in which they are received. To be fair to all candidates, OEBC does not “expedite” requests.
- OEBC is unable to process incomplete requests. If your request is incomplete, meaning that it does not provide us with enough information to be able to make a decision, we will notify you of the information that is missing. If you do not provide the information, your documents will be returned to you, or securely destroyed at your request.
- After we have made and notified you of a decision, if you are not satisfied, you may appeal. Include a specific reason for the appeal and additional documentation beyond what was included with your original request. Information about the appeals policy is found here.