Annual Report 2020

Christine Nielsen

Message from the CEO


Never have I been more proud to be a member of this profession than I was in 2020. I'm proud of our members; you put on your lab coat every day, despite the fear and uncertainty of a global health care crisis. As your professional association, while you were working the frontlines, we had your backs. We took every opportunity to explain how the work done behind lab doors had a direct impact on the pandemic. Through radio, TV, podcasts, blogs, livestreams and traditional print media, CSMLS was your voice.

One way we raised awareness about your work was through the Indigo Lab Coat campaign. It was one of our most ambitious, widespread public relations campaigns, and 2020 was the perfect year to be ambitious. The message, in microscopic indigo print, was clear: medical laboratory professionals save lives. Millions of Canadians received the message. The campaign’s social media and transit shelter ads were seen nearly 20 million times. You can read all about the campaign in this annual report.

Our other main focus in 2020 was ensuring the delivery of the high-stakes certification exams within the limitations of social distancing at exam sites. In order to accomplish this, we doubled the number of testing sessions so no candidate would be left behind. We also introduced Remote Proctored Testing, in a timeline that seemed impossible before 2020. Yet we did it. I credit our tenacious staff, along with the trust and confidence from our regulators and educators, to deliver newly certified professionals into the workforce.

There were some difficult decisions made in 2020, such as the decision to cancel all in-person events, including LABCON. Regardless of how it happened, we were committed to providing members high-quality education and opportunities to connect with one another. We secured exceptional speakers, technical content and superior learning, all virtually. While listening to member feedback, we understood your current and future needs. From that, we built the COVID-19: Member Support page, to give you reliable information as the world was changing. We also poured resources into your mental health, providing tools, tips and webinars to help offset the experiences of your day-to-day stress. While our office staff worked from home, we were proud to continually offer exceptional customer service that members relied on.

2020 taught me that, as a leader, people look to you for answers. And when you don’t have them, you need to be honest. We were all learning on the fly. I learned patience and the value of getting things done differently. Sometimes things just don't go as planned, and that is an opportunity to grow.

More than ever, I am looking forward to talking to and seeing each member of our lab family. I look forward to the days when we can trade stories about how we weathered 2020 and what we will do differently next time. Because if nothing else, as bright, talented lab professionals, we know this is not the last storm we will weather together.

Nancy Bergeron

Message from the President


I recall the Board of Directors' meeting in March 2020. Lockdowns in major cities were just beginning. The world was starting to close and we naively thought it would last a few weeks. We thought it was a pause. Instead, it was a reinvention.

As a medical laboratory professional, I knew this pandemic was going to test our profession like nothing we had experienced before. I also knew that medical lab professionals are some of the most stoic, resilient and determined problem solvers. We would rely on those qualities to get the job done.

As President of the CSMLS, I understood that our members were experiencing uncertainty, crushing workloads and dangerous burnout. Our role as your professional association was to arm you with the tools and resources you needed to do your work to the best of your ability. Our collective focus was on you.

I'm proud to say that the Board and staff at the CSMLS were quick to adapt and create new goals and strategies specific to our members' needs. We moved to virtual platforms to deliver exceptional education when in-person learning wasn't possible. We used technology to carry out our Board responsibilities to ensure the stability and governance of the society remained. This meant lots of Zoom meetings and our first-ever virtual Annual General Meeting. We fast-tracked services, such as Remote Proctored Testing (RPT) for the certification exams, and increased exam dates to ensure the flow of new professionals to the workforce.

Considering the massive adjustments and challenges of the year, the financial health of the CSMLS remained intact. Please review the Financial Summary included in this Annual Report.

While 2020 was not the year any of us envisioned, I believe we grew and developed in a way we never thought possible. I'm so proud of our members and your tireless work on the frontlines of this pandemic. When I think about the future, there is still much uncertainty. However, this experience has taught us that, no matter what happens, we can rise above and remain strong and proud. The lab never stops, and neither will we. The CSMLS will be here to support you in all that you do.

Financial Summary Mission, Vision & Values 2020 Board of Directors Highlights of 2020 - Public Awareness Highlights of 2020 - Learning Highlights of 2020 - Certification Highlights of 2020 - Lab Wisely Member Distribution Grants, Scholarship and Awards National Voice

Financial Summary


On behalf of the 2020 CSMLS Board of Directors, we present the 2020 Financial Summary below.

Download the Financial Summary
The summary financial statements do not contain all the disclosures required by Canadian accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations. Reading the summary financial statements and the auditor’s report thereon, therefore, is not a substitute for reading the audited financial statements and the auditor’s report thereon.

Mission, Vision & Values


  Our Vision

Excellence in medical laboratory science.

  Our Mission

To advance the medical laboratory profession through certification, education and advocacy.

  Our Values


  • We act with honesty and trustworthiness.

  • We use democratic, objective, open and transparent processes.


  • We provide standards that ensure high quality medical laboratory professionals.

  • We are innovative leaders in meeting the needs of our members and our community.

  • We celebrate our members and their vital role in the health care system.


  • We are responsible to our members and stakeholders.

  • We promote high standards of practice.

  • We make evidence informed decisions.


  • We seek to build constructive partnerships and work collaboratively to achieve successful outcomes.

  • We value equality, dignity, diversity and confidentiality.

  • We value, encourage and support members, volunteers and staff.


Strategic Plan


This strategic plan was developed by the Board of Directors to incorporate the changing landscape in the medical laboratory environment and the evolution of CSMLS itself.

The CSMLS Strategic Plan focuses on these four key areas to support the continued success of the organization:


2020 Board of Directors


Nancy Bergeron


Joël Rivero

Vice President, Director

Maria Klement

Past President

Kim Alkalay

Director, AB, NT & NU

Greg Hardy

Director, Atlantic

Kal Randhawa

Director, BC & YT


Lynn Courteau

Director, Bilingual

Patricia Verbeke

Director, MB & SK

Allie Shields

Director, MLA

Krista Urchenko

Director, ON

Lucie Alain

Director, QC


Highlights of 2020


2020 was a crucial year for the medical laboratory profession. You were some of the first health care providers to step to the front lines of the pandemic, and it was clear this year would be like no other.

CSMLS acted quickly to support you throughout this difficult time and ensure our services remained valuable to members. First, we created a webpage, COVID-19: Member Support, with lab-specific information from reliable and authentic sources in order to keep you informed and working safely.

The Society’s focus then shifted to advocacy. Canadians needed to know about your vital role behind the scenes. Speaking to news outlets and reporters across the country to get accurate and reliable information about laboratory work and testing to the public, our role as the voice of the laboratory was more evident than ever in 2020. We spent time patiently explaining how method validation works, the need for control samples and how DNA extraction works. It was an amazing opportunity. We made the most of the relationships we had built through our government advocacy program to communicate the value of your role in patient care, not just for this pandemic but for the future of health care.

Log in to read more about our advocacy efforts in the 2020 eBook.

Public Awareness

National Medical Laboratory Week

April 26–May 2

National Medical Laboratory Week 2020 looked and felt different. Amid a pandemic, there was a spotlight shining on the laboratory profession. Keeping to the theme of “We Are Lab,” we shifted our celebration tools to be virtual, and we included information about your essential role in the pandemic. We also created the website to showcase your many roles and help Canadians put faces to the heroes that are often unseen behind lab doors.

Lab Week was a success, despite needing to be reimagined with short notice. We began the week with a statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who formally recognized the week and highlighted your role in the fight against COVID-19; and other provincial and territorial health authorities shared Lab Week messages. Three national landmarks joined the celebration, with the Calgary Tower, the CN Tower and Niagara Falls each putting on a light show in honour of Lab Week.

The Canadian medical laboratory community came together to share the love of the lab and the pride of the profession. Our social media channels were overwhelmed with your advocate action. Our Lab Week posts on Facebook and Twitter were seen by more than 350,000 people.

The Indigo Lab Coat


When the second wave of the pandemic began to take shape in September and workloads in the lab hit new highs almost daily, we felt the profession could use something positive. We took the profession’s most recognizable symbol — the lab coat — and used it as an educational tool.

Printed on the coat in microscopic indigo type are the names of the 1.2 million lab tests done each day in labs across the country. The small print invites the public to take a closer look at the work done by medical laboratory professionals. We specifically chose indigo for the colour as it represents confidence, intelligence, ambition, and devotion — all characteristics of the hardworking lab professionals that you are.

The campaign included outdoor advertising and social media promotion, leading to the website, We even sent a few coats to influential Canadians.

See the results of the campaign here:


Social Media

Social media allows us to reach people across the country – and even the world – every day. We capitalized on this instant reach to amplify the lab’s voice and raise awareness throughout 2020.

Our Facebook posts reached more than 4.7 million users, helping them see the value of your work and the Society. On Twitter, the CSMLS page was mentioned 913 times, and our posts were seen by more than 650, 000 users.

Our Facebook “Page Likes” surpassed 17,000 for the first time, increasing by 1,190 — that’s 3 new likes a day. CSMLS Twitter followers also hit a milestone, reaching almost 3,500 by the end of the year.

Thanks to your engagement, our online presence kept growing over 2020 — and with it, our ability to keep you informed of Society news and products, announce the latest advocacy initiatives, and educate the public on your vital role.


Our commitment to members to provide high-quality professional development continued into 2020 despite the challenges of traditional delivery methods. The decision to cancel all in-person events, including LABCON2020, meant a rapid change to how we approached events and learning. Leaning heavily on virtual delivery, we continued to create learning experiences throughout the year that satisfied members' professional development requirements as well as the need to connect with others. LabConnect was a multi-day learning conference delivered completely online — a first for CSMLS. This event, combined with monthly virtual learning offered free for members, created a robust learning program.

Total number of course registrations


Total number of webinar/ virtual event registrations


Total number of virtual symposium/LabConnect registrations


Total number of podcast/journal quizzes registrations


Total number of practice test registrations


Completed Professional recognition certificates



Exam Changes in 2020

In June 2020, COVID-19 restrictions led to in-person testing centre closures and seating restrictions across the country. To help continue the flow of eligible candidates to the workforce during this difficult time, the CSMLS moved quickly to bring the MLT General and MLA Certification Exams online via Remote Proctored Testing (RPT), as well as implemented additional dates for exam sessions, doubling the dates from the June 2020 session through to the June 2021 session.

More than 1,000 candidates challenged and passed the exam in 2020, with many opting to use RPT. This platform increased geographical reach and provided those who were unable to write in an exam centre during the pandemic with an alternate option to complete the certification process. Expert third-party analysis confirmed no advantage or disadvantage to candidates taking the exam through RPT or in-person testing.

New Resources

To support students and educators through the challenges of 2020, the CSMLS Certification and Prior Learning Assessment department created documents and resources to address members’ needs:

  • Certification FAQs
  • Prometric (vendor) Systems Check
  • MLA & MLT Practice Test Package
  • Remote Proctoring for Computer-Based Examinations webpage

Certification and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Numbers

Total Number of Exam Sessions

  • February
  • June
  • August - MLT exam Session added
  • October
  • December - MLT and MLA exam sessions added

Total MLT and MLA Successful Candidates









Total New Certified members in 2020


Total New PLA Clients

New MLT PLA applications


New MLA PLA applications



Lab Wisely

The Lab Wisely project, a joint initiative from the CSMLS and the University of Alberta, was launched in Fall 2020 with the creation of seven new recommendations — backed by Choosing Wisely Canada — to improve laboratory resource utilization. A new website,, was also created as part of this project to provide medical laboratory professionals the information and resources to implement Choosing Wisely recommendations. This website includes research, lab specific recommendations, advocacy resources and more.

Visit to learn more about the project and explore the resources.


Grants, Scholarship and Award Recipients

CSMLS is proud to offer many grants, scholarships and awards as a benefit to our members. These financial benefits are provided to help members continue their professional development, aid students in their education and recognize those who have shown excellence in the profession. Congratulations to all grant, scholarship, and awards recipients. Find the full list of 2020 recipients below.

Congratulations to all grants, scholarships and awards recipients.


Volunteers and Contributors


The success of the CSMLS relies on the dedication and commitment of our volunteers. To mark National Volunteer Week, CSMLS would like to thank each and every one of our volunteers; you are the heart of our organization and the laboratory community. Thank you for dedicating your time, knowledge and expertise — especially while facing your own challenges and stresses in 2020.

Allison P. Belfall Amanda D. VanSpronsen Amanda M. Cocca Amy A.L. Carver Andrea Joan Grant
Andrex Lee Anna E. Haasen Audrey Elaine Saxton Bernard W. Hartung Brad M. Hann
Brenda Gamble Brendan O'Brien Brittany P. Waring Brittney Grondin Carolyn L. Hallett
Carolyn McCarville Catherine Bodroghy Catherine Mary Swiderek Cathy M. Moran Robinson Chelsea E. Busby
Cheralynn Corney Chris A. Hirtle Christine Bruce Christine M. Goguen Christopher J. Ward
Claire Cascadia Hilscher Colin Power Colleen A. Moran Corey J. Murray Corwin Thong
Daniel Beriault Danni Zhang Darcy R. Gara Dawn C. Trethewey Denise J. Evanovitch
Diane Marie Perry Doris Levasseur Bourbeau Elijah Chan Fadila Kacimi Frederick T.S. Wong
Glen M. Johnston Greg Doiron Gregory Dobbin Hansika Deepak Heather D. Autio
Heather E. Lucas Ian D. Grace Isaac Aliche Ismaila T. Amusat Ivan Aditya
Jingwei Chen Johane Arsenault John E. Soltys Josephine Schuurman Joshua M. MacDonald
Joyce T. Forson Judy Tran Julia Acker Karen Anne Moffat Katherene Ogbulafor
Katherine Chorneyko Kathy Chun Kelly Marie Foley Kenneth Wong Kristi Lew
Lavern R. Bourne Lisa Marie Kendrick Lisa R. Mantifel Llora Alejandro-Yarema Lucia Del Carmen Cueva
Lydia Elizabeth Keczem Lyne Nadeau Manuel Giraldo Maria Roussakis Marie Curtis
Marion R. McChesney Mark Ballantyne Mark James Hawkins Mary A. Costantino Masaye Tanaka
Mathew R. Carter Matthew Walker Melanie R. Couture Melissa J. Walsh Melissa S.M. Mikl
Nickole L. Wlasichuk Noelle Carter Noelle Frances Cater Paulette J. Van Vliet Phillip P. Morehouse
Pierre R. Leveille Rajesh R. Ramoutar Rania Elhalabi Rebecca Ma Robyn D. Grant
Rose-Marie Miniou Roxana C. Villatoro Roxanne N. Suchan Ruth Bresson Samira A. Ahmed
Sana R. Chaudhry Sharon Leal Shawn Ingersoll Sheila M. Woodcock Simone Chaboillez
Sonja L. Chamberlin Stephanie M. Eccles Stephanie Taylor Stephanie V. Fenech Susan D. Atkinson
Susanne Marie Folco Sylvie LeBreton Tamara Chambers-Richards Terence M. Litavec Tiffany Clouston
Tricia Lynn VanDenakker Uchenna Nnadi Vaishali V. Patel Valentin Villatoro Wendy B.J. Nip
Wesley T. Nishi Yaroslav Sokolskyy Yutian Wang    

Donors to Grants, Scholarships and Awards

CSMLS is grateful for the generosity of the following supporters of the CSMLS Grants, Scholarships and Awards. Thanks to their financial contributions, we are able to continue to support our members’ professional and educational development.
Abiola Fagbuyi Allison Raftis Amanda VanSpronsen Andrea Lea-Stoddart Barbara Hall
Benie Tagala Constantino Breanne Ballanger Brenda Soutar Brian Leung Carmen Maria Pavan-Falco
Christine Kelly Christine Nielsen Dana Stark Dianna Diep Dominique Allard
Edna Almodovar Edythe Oxley Elaine Van Gorp Elias Kalouche Elizabeth Knight
Fermonira Sajili Florence Mayerle Frederick Wong Gaylene Scott Gezina Ilse
Giandeep Khepar Gloria Ann Mactavish Goldie Fagan Gregory Hardy Gretel Botello Greenup
Hanna Interewicz Irene Clemente Jahangir Abdi Jason Noonan Jennifer O'Leary
Jessica Bourke Joël Rivero Judith Ann Pateman Kalwinder Randhawa Keeley Morison-Clarke
Kim Alkalay Kori-Lynn Kaklin Kristian Sattelberger Leah Feliciano Leslie Stonehouse
Lynn Courteau Margot Beverly Newton Maricel Benedicto Mark Stevenson Michael Ashbee
Michael Waters Michele Sykes Mohammed Ahmed Mohani Kendhari Muhammad Khan
Nancy Bergeron Nancy Delaney Nicholas Dibdin Niteshkumar Patel Ramona Taylor
Rebecca Sharpe Renee Laverne Renner Ruth Farrow Samuel Benedicto Susan Jackson
Susan Yvonne Childs Terri-Lee Mooney Vivian Yat Hung Chan Warren Shih Wesley Nishi
Winnifred Donovan Xinrui (Chelsea) Chen Zahoor Islam    

National Voice


As the National Voice of Canada’s medical laboratory profession, CSMLS represents the needs and concerns of medical laboratory professionals when working with laboratory and health care-related organizations. CSMLS Board of Directors, staff and volunteers attend meetings, conferences and events on behalf of CSMLS members and the entire medical laboratory profession.

Beginning in March 2020, many of the meetings we usually attended in person took place virtually or by phone. Yet we continued to work with media, policymakers and collaborators each month. Here is a sample of where your voice was heard in 2020:

  • Advocacy Outreach with Kevin Vickers, New Brunswick Liberal Party Leader, and Jean-Claude D’Amours, Health Critic
  • Advocacy Outreach with New Brunswick Ministry of Health
  • Canadian Society of Association Executives Winter Summit – Presentation: Video Storytelling for Associations
  • Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference – Presentation: Clinical placements: an impediment to increasing student enrolments
  • Mount Sinai Hospital Laboratory Tour with Hon. Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues
  • Ontario Employer Luncheon: Creating a sustainable future
  • Exam Preparation for MLT Students on Practicum at Interior Health, BC — supporting practicum students from CNC, BCIT and SAIT
  • MLA Exam Preparation for Confederation College
  • CSA: Gender Diversity and the Laboratory – Planning committee with IQMH
  • Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century
  • Canadian Society of Association Executives: Business Continuity
  • Organizations for Health Action Lobby (HEAL)
  • Simulation and Accreditation Meeting with Medical Laboratory Technicians Program Chairs, State of California
  • Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation – Coping with COVID-19: Regulatory Examinations
  • MLT Exam Preparation for Northern Health, College of New Caledonia
  • Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation: Exams and Testing in a Pandemic Panel
  • MLT Research Symposium – Organizing Committee Meeting with the Michener Institute of Education at UHN
  • Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation: Assessment and Remote Proctoring Panel
  • British Columbia Finance Committee Remarks
  • Canadian Society of Association Executives Podcast: Business Continuity and Impact to the Association
  • Conference Board of Canada National Immigration Centre: “Canada’s Economic Outlook: Navigating Rough Seas” by Pedro Antunes
  • Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation – Coping with COVID-19: Virtual Proctoring
  • Innovations in Testing: COVID-19 and its Impact on the Testing Industry
  • Laboratory Funding Announcement with Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro
  • Exam Preparation for Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Exam Preparation for Michener Institute of Education
  • CAMLPR and CSMLS Certification Forum
  • MLPAO Annual General Meeting
  • CNAR Annual General Meeting
  • EQual Canada Program Council Meeting
  • Conference Board of Canada – National Immigration Centre Meeting
  • International Workshop – Quality of Clinical Learning Environments for Healthcare Professionals: Standards Development
  • International Workshop - Quality of Clinical Learning Environments for Healthcare Professionals: Requirements. CSMLS represented Canada at the request of the Standards Council of Canada.
  • Federal 2021 Pre-Budget Submission
  • CSA Technical Committee on Medical Laboratory Quality Systems Spring Meeting
  • Accreditation Canada: MLA Competency Boundaries Launch
  • EQual Canada: Impact of COVID-19 on Accreditation Sponsors
  • Remote Proctoring Meeting with Regulators, Prometric, and Fairness Commissioners
  • Public Health Working Group on Remote and Isolated Communities
  • CAMRT: CSMLS Prep Meeting for COVID-19 and TB Elimination (Health Canada)
  • Health Ontario – Health Human Resources in COVID-19 Time
  • Government of Canada (ESDC) Work Integrated Learning Project Concept Meeting
  • MLA/MLT Training in the North – Government of Canada
  • Health Canada Presentation with CAMRT: Staffing in the North for Lab and X-Ray
  • Health Canada – HHR Strategies During COVID-19
  • Health Ontario – HHR Strategies During COVID-19
  • Canadian Patient Safety Institute Annual General Meeting
  • EQual Canada: Program Council Meeting
  • National Immigration Centre: Conference Board of Canada Research Plan
  • BC Ministry of Health: Modernizing of Provincial Health Profession Regulatory Framework
  • Ontario Pre-Budget Consultation: Toronto Region Invitational
  • Ontario Pre-Budget Consultation: Ottawa Region Invitational
  • IFBLS General Assembly of Delegates
  • IFBLS Chief Delegates Meeting
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Members Town Hall
  • Saskatchewan Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists: Generational Diversity & Customer Service
  • Gaman J. Modi Award of Excellence Presentation to Christine Bruce, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Lab Wisely Presentation
  • Presentation for Interior Health Authority, BC: PLA, the Society, Membership, Certification Benefits for MLAs
  • Budget Consultation Roundtable with Ontario Minister of Finance
  • CSA: Gender Diversity and the Laboratory

Previous Years


Indigenous Land Acknowledgement : We respectfully acknowledge the CSMLS office, located in Hamilton, Ontario, is situated upon the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississauga Nation, Anishinaabe Peoples, and the Neutral Peoples. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum, which is a treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.


© 2024 - CSMLS-SCSLM