Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Due to the steady decrease in Bridging One eligible candidates referred by the Federation of Optometric Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FORAC), the International Optometric Bridging Program (IOBP) no longer has sufficient numbers to sustain this program.  In fairness to those who are currently eligible for Bridging One, they will be immediately eligible for Bridging Two.  

We recognize the disappointment of those candidates planning on Bridging One as their pathway to optometric practice in Canada.  There will be increased time and resources required by candidates, but we are doing our best to help.

The IOBP has expanded the 2018 Bridging Two program from 12 to 18 students. The tuition for the 2018 Bridging Two program is $61,500 Canadian, because of the uncertainty of future funding from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI). IOBP has applied for a grant renewal to the MCI in an effort to lower the cost of tuition, but the results will not be known until later this year.

The cost to deliver optometric education is substantial.  Comparable programs in the United States are at minimum $40,000 USD/year.  While this is of little consolation to Bridging One candidates, we hope that you appreciate that we are doing our best to operate on a cost recovery model and minimize the impact to internationally educated applicants.

Looking forward, the IOBP is committed to collaborating with the University of Waterloo School of Optometry & Vision Science on a new curriculum that will integrate the IOBP program with the Doctor of Optometry Program. The rationale is that we will be able to have a sustainable, affordable option for international professionals to obtain the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree.  This is a long-term plan that will include an extended Bridging program compared to the current Bridging Two program. We are in the very early stages of the planning process and will provide timely updates.

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