New Buying Group in Canada

DECPDigital ECP launches in Canada, with a mission to help independent eyecare professionals (ECPs) compete with large chains and online retailers.

“Digital ECP Inc. has been built around the needs of Canadian eyecare professionals”, says President and co-founder Grant Larsen. For years, buying groups have focused primarily on discounts and consolidated billing to help smaller businesses compete with chains and corporate optical retailers, the company reports.

According to the presidents and co-founders, Karen Ouellette and Grant Larsen, with the emergence of online retail and the ensuing changes in consumer buying habits, independent ECPs need more than better pricing to survive. Digital ECP not only delivers billing efficiency and discounts, but the latest in online technology, digital marketing expertise and turnkey promotions to help Canadian eyecare professionals grow, they say.

“Our select digital tools, extensive industry experience and hands-on business support will provide our members the ability to compete with sophisticated online marketers and attract new optical consumers,” adds Karen Ouellette.

Digital ECP’s co-founders have a combined 35 years of opticalindustry experience in Canada. The company provides discounts, billing and business services entirely through digital technology, with personalized consulting and customer service.

Industry Leaders at The Vision Council


The Vision Council concluded its annual executive summit at the Trump International Beach Resort in Miami, Florida, drawing more than 270 high-level executives from the optical industry. During the event, held Jan. 22-24, The Vision Council officially inducted its 2014 officers and board of directors. As a first time attendee, Martine Breton, president of Breton Communications stated that “The event was a very positive experience and offered great opportunities to meet and share with many of the notable leaders of this industry.”

“As the optical industry continues to grow and evolve, it is encouraging to see leaders from all areas of the industry come together to learn and discuss cutting-edge strategies and trends in the market,” said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. “The Executive Summit continues to be the premiere forum for industry leaders to obtain the latest content that they can immediately use to grow and adapt their business.”

The 2014 program delivered a dynamic combination of executive-level networking, leadership development, economic trend updates, hot-topic panel discussions, and business strategies.  Keynote addresses focused on the latest issues affecting our industry and leadership strategies to not only navigate, but innovate in the changing industry landscape. Speakers included Ambassador Ron Kirk, former US Trade Representative and Mayor of Dallas, Fred Dust, partner at IDEO, and Brian Beaulieu, market trend analyst at the Institute for Trend Research.

During the summit’s annual membership meeting portion, it was announced that Raanan Naftalovich of Shamir Insight will serve a second one-year term as chairman of the board. The remaining officers were also inducted for a second term, including Vice Chairman Marty Bassett of Walman Optical, Secretary/Treasurer Dick Russo of Sàfilo, and Jamie Shyer of Zyloware Eyewear as immediate past chairman.

Also elected were directors-at-large Joe Donahoe of Carl Zeiss Vision (Lens Division), Michael Suliteanu of WESCAN/WestGroupe (Eyewear and Accessories Division), and Steve Tulba of Mondottica (Eyewear and Accessories Division).

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses. The 2015 executive summit will be held January 21-23 at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

FYidoctors Announces Strategic Partnership with VSP Vision Care Canada


FYidoctors, one of Canada’s largest independent eyecare services company with more than 400 optometrists servicing over 210 locations between its corporate-owned locations and its Vision Source Canada franchise locations, announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with VSP Vision Care Canada. This partnership will provide FYidoctors access to Canadian patients covered by VSP’s vision insurance.

FYidoctors and VSP have created a joint venture that is owned in equal parts by each organization. This new company will combine VSP’s strong employee benefits platform, with FYidoctors extensive network of independent optometrists across Canada, including its Vision Source Canada franchise locations.

“The landscape of Canadian healthcare, and optometry more specifically, is changing rapidly and we must remain relevant to our patients. This joint venture with VSP will allow us to create a value proposition that will encourage patient access to our clinics across the country,” says Dr. Al Ulsifer, founder and CEO of FYidoctors. “This venture provides our optometrists with the ability to have more control over their own destiny, despite current and future competition, and ultimately helps to preserve standards of eyecare in Canada.”

VSP’s role in the joint venture will be to market, sell and administer its vision care insurance platform to employers, big and small, across Canada. In turn, employees from these organizations will now be able to seek care from FYidoctors’ network of optometrists as well as its Vision Source Canada franchise locations. FYidoctors will also, subject to strict criteria, allow access to independent eye doctors outside the core of FYidoctors’ companies.

“FYidoctors was founded on the premise of improving eyecare in Canada and ensuring doctors define what an eye exam looks like. Unfortunately our industry has been under tremendous pressure to lower standards due to the commoditization of eyecare products and services by various competitors. This joint venture is truly, uniquely Canadian, and unlike any other model in the world,” Dr. Ulsifer continues.

The company reports that preferred provider networks, contrary to common belief, exist between Canadian employers and online optical companies or optical chains, but none with independent optometry, until now.

Ulsifer concludes, “FYidoctors did a great deal of due diligence on many potential partners and we found that VSP’s platform, combined with this unique partnership, offered the best fit for us to be able to enter into the world of vision care plans, while maintaining control over decisions related to optometry, fees and standards of care.”

New Marketing Director at OSI

Marcel Brin, president and CEO of Optometric Services Inc. (OSI) is pleased to welcome Evelyne Lafontaine as Marketing Director. As of June 3, 2013, she is responsible for the overall marketing activities of the company and its subsidiaries.

Evelyne Lafontaine brings to OSI a wealth of marketing management experience thanks to her years with Yves Rocher, international cosmetics and personal care products company.

Vision Source Canada Announces New Addition

London ON – December 5, 2012

Vision Source Canada is pleased to announce today the addition of John Morris to our Business Development team. From the Ottawa region, John is well known in the industry representing Ciba Vision and Annidis in the past.

Vision Source is the largest network of independent optometrists in the world with over 2500 practices, 5000 doctors and 18,000 staff members in North America. VS was founded in 1991 based on the belief that eye health care is best provided by an independent family eye doctor, free to make his or her own decisions about what is best for the continued good vision of the patient. This network facilitates the shared knowledge and resources of the staff and doctors in these practices helping their offices to grow significantly faster than the national average. The team at Vision Source Canada is focused on providing great pricing and product/service quality from our vendor partners with support for the day to day functions within your office. Resources including staff networking/education, regular doctor networking meetings, tracking of sales data, marketing information and much more are at your fingertips as a VS Canada member. The VS network was initiated in Canada in 2006.

As Ontario District Manager, John will be working to expand the growing network of nearly 100 member Optometrists in Ontario.

John can be reached at