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Essilor Unit Wins Online Eyewear Battle in Canada

The business can continue sales in Ontario, a court ruled.

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Clearly, part of Essilor Group of Canada Inc., has won a legal battle in Canada over the online sale of corrective eyewear.

A ruling by the Court of Appeal for Ontario allows such sales to continue in the province.

The College of Opticians of Ontario and the College of Optometrists of Ontario had sought an injunction to prohibit Clearly from dispensing prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses online in Ontario.

The College of Opticians has stated on its website that “the dispensing of corrective lenses is a controlled act, subject to Ontario legislation, that definitively requires a regulated health professional’s involvement,” adding: “Mail order over the internet without the involvement of an optometrist or optician is inconsistent with legislation.”

A lower court granted the injunction in early 2018, but Essilor appealed.

The appeals court dismissed the request for an injunction.

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Clearly operates from British Columbia and complies with that province’s regulatory structure.

The appeals court wrote: “The mere delivery in Ontario of an order for prescription eyewear that has been processed in compliance with the British Columbia regulatory regime, without more, does not establish a sufficient connection between Essilor’s online sales and the controlled acts proscribed by” the laws of Ontario’s.

The College of Optometrists of Ontario and the College of Opticians of Ontario said in a statement that they are “disappointed with the outcome of this appeal.”

“We will take time to conduct a more fulsome review of the decision and provide further information at a later date,” the organizations said.

They added: “In the interim, we want to reiterate that our Colleges firmly believe that the Internet can be an effective tool for providing vision care. We have already established protocols to support how Ontario optometrists and opticians use the Internet to care for their patients and regularly review our professional standards of practice to ensure they are keeping pace with changes in technologies and other innovations.”

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