Ontario Court of Appeal Rules in Favour of Clearly
The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled this morning that Clearly can continue selling prescription eyewear online in Ontario. The Court dismissed the Ontario College of Optometrists and the College of Opticians joint application to seek an injunction preventing Clearly from selling prescription eyewear in Ontario. The court stated that when Clearly, which operates in compliance with the laws of its home province, British Columbia, is delivering eyeglasses to an Ontario consumer, the act of delivery is not the “controlled act” of “dispensing” which Ontario law governs.
The College of Opticians of Ontario and the College of Optometrists of Ontario initiated a legal proceeding against Essilor Group of Canada Inc./Clearly seeking an injunction that would prohibit Clearly from dispensing prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses online to the Ontario public. On January 11, 2018, the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario granted the injunction.
Clearly sought an immediate appeal of the decision, which was heard on September 21, 2018. Arnaud Bussières, chief executive officer of Clearly stated, “Online sales of eyeglasses, contact lenses and sunglasses are one of the fastest growing sectors and the optical industry must respond to these transformations. Online sales give many remote customers or busy families the opportunity to enjoy better vision on their own terms. This by no means reduces the need for eyecare professionals and comprehensive annual eye exams for good visual health.”
Clearly indicated that they want to work with optometrists and opticians in Ontario and across Canada to meet the growing online demand for vision correction, protection, and products while continuing to deliver eye health information and promote the importance of eye examinations. “For example, we are looking at establishing a prescription verification for any eyewear product requiring a prescription that is ordered on Clearly’s website,” said Arnaud Bussières.
The College of Opticians of Ontario and the College of Optometrists of Ontario indicated their disappointment with the outcome of this appeal. According to their joint statement, “We will take time to conduct a more fulsome review of the decision and provide further information at a later date.”
For now, it seems business as usual.
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