Manitoba Optometrists Operating Through Professional Corporations

Recent developments and the coming into force of new amendments to The Optometry Act (Manitoba) (the “Act”) and the Manitoba Association of Optometrists bylaw will soon allow optometrists to incorporate and operate through professional corporations, without significant restrictions.

These changes can yield significant tax advantages and potential savings as the optometrist in the professional corporation can retain and invest certain income and defer the taxes until a later time.

Corporate Name Approval

Before an optometrist can incorporate and practice through a professional corporation, an application for approval of the corporate name must first be submitted on behalf of the optometrist and consent obtained from the Manitoba Association of Optometrists to the incorporation.

At MLT Aikins, we are familiar with and can assist you with preparing and submitting the required application forms for the name approval and optometric permit for your professional corporation and supporting documentation required in order to obtain your permit to practice optometry as a corporation in Manitoba.

Incorporation Requirements

In addition to the requirements of Manitoba Association of Optometrists, a professional optometry corporation must be incorporated under the laws of the Province of Manitoba. Incorporation under any other jurisdiction, including federally, is prohibited from being considered an optometric professional corporation in Manitoba.

There are also certain naming requirements on the professional corporation, requiring the inclusion of the optometrist’s surname as well as the words “optometry” or “optometric”, and the words “professional corporation”. For example, a professional corporation for an optometrist could be named “Dr. Sally Jones Optometric Professional Corporation”. We can assist with the name reservation from the Companies Office and provide this to supplement your application for consent to incorporate your professional corporation, including any certified or notarial copies of any documents that may be required.

Restrictions to Optometric Professional Corporations

The activities of an optometric professional corporation must also be restricted to those related to the optometry practice and any ancillary services directly associated with that practice. This restriction does not restrict an optometric professional corporation from making passive investments (other than for development purposes) in real property, stocks, mutual funds, debt obligations, insurance, term deposits or similar investments.

There are also certain restrictions in relation to who may hold the shares of the professional corporation. Among other things, only a registered member (being a person licensed or certified to practice optometry in Manitoba) or a professional corporation established for the purposes of carrying on the practice of optometry pursuant to the provisions of the Act are permitted to hold voting shares in an optometric professional corporation. Non-voting shares can be owned by a registered member, spouse, common law partner or child of such an individual (within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or a corporation that is owned by an individual who is entitled to own voting shares of the Corporation or is a spouse, common law partner or child of such an individual (within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

MLT Aikins Can Help

Our team is familiar with the requirements for and the restrictions on share structure for your professional optometry corporation. We have the in-depth  experience to assist and guide you with structuring your professional optometry practice, as well as advising generally on your related and unrelated endeavours both personally and professionally, to plan ahead and achieve the best possible outcomes.

We can keep track of your renewals and annual returns to ensure that you and your professional corporation remain in compliance on a go-forward basis.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about planning for and setting up your professional optometry corporation, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.