Technology rivers of Change

The speaker list for the inaugural  “Changing Landscapes: Opportunities & Options for Canadian ECPs” event has been announced by Eye Care Business Canada.  

The first of three events will focus on technology drivers of change and be held Monday October 25th (7:30 PM Eastern). 
Industry thought-leaders will share their insights as to what technologies will have the greatest impact on eye care and eyewear in a Canadian market context.  

Speaker List Includes:

  • Dr. Alan Ulsifer, CEO and Chairman of the Board, FYidoctors
  • Dr. David Schwirtz, VP Innovation, IRIS Group
  • Dr. Trevor Miranda, Cowichan Eyecare BC, Independent Optometrist
  • Dr. Damon Umscheid, Eyes 360, Okotoks, AB, Eye Recommend
  • Naomi Barber, Director of Optometry, SpecSavers

The event series will be moderated by Roxanne Arnal, OD and Certified Financial Planner (TM), bringing an informed and unique perspective to the events.

Tele-optometry, impact of omni-channel selling and remote face trace technology enabling touchless ophthalmic lens dispensing are among the factors to be discussed.  

Event registration is now open. Click Here for Details. 


Eye Recommend  


Digital ECP

Follow up Events: 

The second and third events will be held on consecutive Monday evenings starting at 7:30 PM (Eastern). 

Selling & Buying a Practice (November 1) 
In the second event Industry experts will provide perspectives on the current state of play in the Canadian practice acquisition market. A must attend event if you are considering an exit strategy or looking to buy a practice. 
Click Here for Detailed Information.

Career Pathfinders: Making Informed Choices (November 8th)  
Career options and opportunities for both young and experienced ODs have never been greater as new organizations offering unique business models enter the market and established entities respond to the changing environment.
Click Here for Detailed Information. 

Click here to register for any of the Changing Landscape Events 



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FYidoctors, announced  the appointment of Elara Verret to its leadership team in the role of Vice President, Digital and Brand responsible to lead digital strategy and online business initiatives for all of the FYydoctors’ banners.

Ms. Verret is an award-winning marketing and ecommerce leader with over 15 years of progressively responsible experience in notable Canadian and international multi-brand platforms.

“Given our Omni-Channel and Digital strategic growth opportunities, we are delighted to welcome Elara to our team,” said Dr. Al Ulsifer, CEO and Founder of FYidoctors. “Her years of experience and proven track record will be an additional asset to the highly skilled FYi team.”

Ms Verret hails from the retail fashion world, where she most recently served as Vice President, Marketing, Ecommerce & Visual Presentation for Reitmans Canada Ltee/Ltd.

Prior to that, she was Vice President, Marketing & Ecommerce for Psycho Bunny, a US menswear brand, where she was responsible for developing the marketing platform to drive growth in both sales and awareness across the US and global markets for ecommerce, wholesale and retail operations.

Her team’s accomplishments at Psycho Bunny were recognized with the Innovation Award for Visual Merchandising from the Retail Design Institute in 2019. Previous ecommerce and digital marketing leadership experience with brands such as La Senza and ALDO provide Ms. Verret with valuable depth and breadth in areas of key importance to FYi’s continued rapid growth strategy.

Ms. Verret has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biochemistry from Bishop’s University and completed her MBA in marketing and strategy at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University.

“FYidoctors is a world-class organization and I couldn’t be more excited to join a such a strong and dedicated team,” said Ms. Verret. “While health and wellbeing have been always top-of-mind, the pandemic has underscored their importance and I’m proud to support FYidoctors in fulfilling their mission to enhance lives through eye care. The work my colleagues and I have the privilege to do has an impact beyond clinic doors and I’m looking forward to supporting with my expertise.”


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Al Ulsifer, Chair & CEO of FYidoctors shares his views on how COVID-19 may change optometric practice, and what the capital injection of over $100 million means to the FYidoctors group in a free-ranging discussion with EWO podcast host, Dr. Glen Chiasson.

About the Guest

Al Ulsifer graduated from the University of Waterloo as an optometrist in 1990. After graduating, he became one of the founders and the managing partner of Northern Vision Centre, which developed into one of Canada’s largest independent optometric practices.

In 2008, Al oversaw the creation of FYidoctors, which still stands as the largest business merger in Canadian history in terms of the number of companies involved. He was awarded the Ernst and Young Emerging Entrepreneur Award for Western Canada in 2008 and the Prairies Entrepreneur Award in 2012. Currently, Ulsifer serves as CEO & Chairman of the FYidoctors Board of Directors.


Episode Notes

Glen and Al discuss the impact of COVID-19 on optometric practice, including what the future may hold for online purchasing and tele-medicine in the industry.

They discuss direct-to-consumer brands and capital investment, including Warby-Parker, and the difficulty these companies are facing in meeting investors’ expectations even before the COVID-19 event. (See link in resources.)

On the recent announcement of an minority equity stake by the L Catteron group,  Al explains what it means to the group and the individual practices as well as the implications for eye care in Canada as a whole.

Key Quote: “Being doctor controlled has always been our story and continues to be.”




Dr. Glen Chiasson

Dr. Glen Chiasson

Dr. Glen Chiasson is a 1995 graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. He owns and manages two practices in Toronto. In 2009, he co-hosted a podcast produced for colleagues in eye care, the “International Optometry Podcast”. He is a moderator of the Canadian Optometry Group, an email forum for Canadian optometrists. As  a host of  “Eyes Wide Open”, Glenn  looks forward to exploring new new technologies and services for eye care professionals.

Dr. Chiasson enjoys tennis, hockey, and reading. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.

Dr. Chiasson splits EWO podcast hosting duties with Roxanne Arnal.


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