The ACAO will continue to post updates on COVID-19 as new information emerges. Please check back regularly for new content.

April 2, 2020: To support the province’s effort to meet critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs during the COVID-19 response, the Government of Alberta has asked the ACAO to gather any PPE requests from our members and provide clear guidance to members on the appropriate use of PPE when providing urgent care. For the purposes of this process, PPE includes: hand sanitizer liquid and dispensers, surface wipes (disinfectant), surgical masks, N95 respirators, disposable gowns and coveralls, Tyvek boot covers, disposable aprons, safety glasses/goggles, face shields, disposable gloves, and infrared thermometers.

For opticians providing urgent care, the most common PPE in use will be those products used for infection control procedures, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Some opticians may be electing to wear gloves and masks as well to protect against infection and transmission when working in close contact to a patient. Alberta Health Services has published guidelines on routine practices, including the use of PPE in specific circumstances, such as when splashes of fluids or contact with bodily fluids may occur. Registered opticians and registered contact lens practitioners must use their professional judgment to determine what PPE they require to provide urgent care to each patient. Members should also consider what practice adjustments can be made to increase the safety of patients and practitioners while reducing the need to rely on PPE (e.g., reducing proximity to patients and focusing sanitization efforts on high-touch surfaces).

Requests to government should only be made when your existing supply chain for PPE has been exhausted. PPE supplies delivered from the government are also intended for member use only and are not intended for resale.

Please contact the ACAO directly at general@acao.ca if you need access to this assistance. The ACAO’s notice to practitioners also includes additional patient and practitioner health and safety information, including how to determine urgent vs non-essential care, reduce proximity to patients, and follow appropriate screening and infection control procedures.

March 29, 2020 Update: Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, has issued a public health order with additional clarification regarding non-essential health services. 

Health professionals may continue to offer or provide non-essential health services if they are deemed urgent by the registered professional (Section 7). Health professionals providing urgent care must adhere to infection control protocols, provide for rapid response in the event of infection, and maintain a high level of workplace and worker hygiene (Section 11).

Click here to view the full Record of Decision. Please also view the ACAO’s notice below for further guidelines regarding urgent care.

March 27, 2020 Update: The Government of Alberta announced restrictions this afternoon to businesses and services.

“Albertans are prohibited from accessing close contact personal services, including personal services facilities, cosmetic enhancement services, wellness studios and clinics, non-emergency and non-critical health services.”

Non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals have been expressly restricted for the following:

  • Dentistry
  • Physiotherapy
  • Massage
  • Foot care and podiatry
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Chiropractic services
  • Optometry
  • Naturopathy

We received clarification from government that these restrictions apply to all close contact personal services and health services. We are, therefore, recommending that ACAO members limit services to emergent and critical health services in accordance with the government’s advisory.

Our updated Business and Employer/Employee Notice below and our Notice to ACAO Members include information to assist with identifying non-essential vs urgent care services. 

For more information on the business and service restrictions, please visit the Government of Alberta website or view today’s news release.

ACAO Notice for Business and Employer/Employee Planning (Last Updated March 30, 2020)

March 30 - COVID 19 Update from ACAO - Employer Employee Planning