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The Canadian Optometric Education Trust Fund (COETF) was established by the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) in 1977. A registered charitable organization, the COETF supports optometric research, education and professional development through unrestricted cash awards to individuals and institutions. Since 1977, the COETF has awarded over two million dollars in grants and financial support.  In 2014, the COETF moved to an independent management structure and is currently managed by the Board of Trustees and various Provincial Fundraising Chairs. The Board of Trustees consists of five members of the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) and the term for each Trustee is three years.

Please click here to review the COETF Bylaws revised in 2020.

Board Of Trustees:

Joan Hansen was born and raised with three sisters on a small beef farm in Lundar Manitoba. Joan graduated from the School of Optometry in Waterloo, Ontario in 1979. Upon graduation, she worked in Winnipeg with Bruce Rosner and Steve Mintz until 1982. She moved to Tsawwassen in 1982 and opened her practice in January 1983. 


Joan was president of the BC Association of Optometrists from 1995-1997and served as President of the Canadian Association of Optometrists 2004- 2005.  Joan also chaired the Optometry Giving Sight in its early years and currently chairs The Canadian Optometric Education Trust Fund (COETF).


Joan was also an elected member of the BC Board of Examiners in Optometry (2000 – 2003) and is currently an elected member and serves as Vice President of the BC College of Optometrists.  Since 2009 she has organized and run a small Continuing Education program for Optometrists. Joan is also community-oriented with past involvement as the director of the Tsawwassen Business association, Director of the Business Improvement Association, Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Retirement Centre Foundation. She has been a member of the Rotary Club of Tswassen since it chartered in 1992 – serving as president 1999 – 2000.  


She has been a TV Colour commentator for the local Summer Sun Festival Parade and hosted a weekly hour long open line radio show 1997 – 1999.


Joan loves to putter in her garden in her spare time.

Dr. Fortier has been working as an optometrist for the past three years in an optometrist owned private practice in Gatineau. She completed her Doctorate in optometry at the University of Montréal in 2019. That same year she was named student of the year by the Quebec Optometric Association. During her studies she was co-author on two research papers in the field of dry eyes . Before pursuing her Doctorate of Optometry she also completed a Bachelor's in Business Administration at University Laval in Quebec  City.


Dr. Fortier works with a diverse clientele in her practice ranging from young children with amblyopia to elderly patients with chronic conditions like Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy. She enjoys working in an environment where each patient’s condition has its own specific requirements. This has shown her the importance of research in optometry since, in order for every patients needs to be fulfilled, optometry has to constantly move forward. Therefore she is thrilled to participate in an organization that supports the optometric profession and it's development through education and research.

Sharon Ling is a third-year optometry student at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science. She completed her undergraduate BMSc degree at the University of Western Ontario and went on to complete an MSc in immunology at the University of Toronto. Currently serving as the President of the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS), Sharon is passionate about advocating for the interests of optometry students across Canada and working towards making the student experience the best that it can be. She is thrilled to be working with the COETF team this year to support optometric research and education opportunities.

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Dr. Michael York

Dr Michael York received his Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in 1992. He is currently in private practice with FYI doctors – Atrium Optometric Group in Saskatoon, SK where he has been since 1994 with his wife Diane and their three children. Throughout his time in Saskatchewan, Dr York has been actively involved in his provincial optometry Association. He was elected to Council in 2002 and held every available portfolio including SAO president from 2009 to 2011, and continues to serve on a number of Association committees and advisory boards. Dr York was awarded Saskatchewan’s Optometrist of the Year in 2007.

Dr. Joshua Smith has been in private practice in eastern Ontario since 2013, primarily in the rural township of Alexandria. Dr. Smith completed his Doctor of Optometry degree at the University of Waterloo in 2013 after completing a M.Sc. at the University of Calgary and a B.Sc.(Hon.) at Mount Allison University. He has a special interest in visual neurorehabilitation, particularly in cases of stroke, working with the stroke rehabilitation unit at the Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria. Dr. Smith served on the board of the Ontario Association of Optometrists from 2014-2021, including as President from 2018-2020. He also served for three years as Ontario’s representative on the Council of the Canadian Association from Optometrists and is currently a Trustee of the Canadian Optometric Education Trust Fund.  Dr. Smith takes a pause each year from practice to serve on medical mission trips abroad, with his seventh mission having been to Ghana in November 2019.

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Dr. Allison Scott
CAO Liaison

Dr. Allison Scott, originally from Gander, Newfoundland Labrador, completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Mount Allison University. She earned her Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Waterloo in 2006, where she was awarded the COETF Dr. Margaret Hansen des Groseilliers Leadership Award.

Dr. Scott is an active member of the community. She has held leadership roles with both the Canadian Association of Optometry Students and the Nova Scotia Association of Optometrists and is currently the Nova Scotia counsellor and vice president for the Canadian Association of Optometrists. Dr. Scott truly loves her profession and enjoys being able to grow as an optometrist through these roles.

Dr. Scott values spending time with her patients to understand and educate how best to improve their vision, including fitting scleral contact lenses. These lenses support patients with corneal disease, high prescriptions, and dry eyes.

Outside of work, you’ll find Dr. Scott staying active by hiking, yoga, gardening, and playing ultimate frisbee. Dr. Scott is a figure skating judge and was Skate Canada Nova Scotia’s Official of the Year in 2018.

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Anne Stacey
Executive Director

Anne Stacey has been supporting non-profit associations for almost 20 years. Her career started at Chambers of Commerce in both Lindsay, ON and Mission, BC and extended to multiple National non-profit associations over the past several years. Anne built a knowledge around business affairs, supporting members and donors, and developing both communication and marketing strategies. She looks forward to working with COETF Trustees to maximize the positive impact of COETF initiatives.

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