Annual Report 2021

Message from the CEO - Christine Nielsen

2021 — pandemic year two. Medical laboratory professionals delivered exceptional health care, while faced with monumental expectations and overwhelming challenges. You answered the call.

While you continued to work on the frontlines of this pandemic, CSMLS continued our mission to be the association of choice for medical laboratory professionals. Our team continued our commitment to provide resources to help navigate the new normal, remain current and support your personal well being.

For years, we have invested in advocacy programs to raise awareness of your role in patient care and, as you’ll see in the Annual Report below, 2021 did not slow us down. The pandemic connected the dots for patients, administrators, government and the general public, helping them realize just how vital lab testing is. We leveraged this new-found understanding to drive impactful advocacy campaigns.

CSMLS also invested in several key areas to support the current and future labour market, including a pilot program to integrate internationally trained MLTs into the Canadian laboratory workplace. We continued our work with Choosing Wisely Canada to develop and promote the Lab Wisely recommendations, which will serve to improve laboratory stewardship. These initiatives help tackle the crushing workloads and mitigate the effects of the health human resource shortages on our members.

This community, while resilient, has suffered. We strengthened our support for members’ well being. It is not enough just to document the situation — a responsible membership-based society provides tools and supports. You can read more below about the mental health resources we created. We are committed to provide ongoing support for your mental health and well being.

As your chosen professional society, we are here to help us all move forward, one step at a time. Thank you for lending us your support and joining us on this journey forward. Better days are ahead!

Message from the President - Joël Rivero

While the pandemic certainly tested our limits for another year, I have not only heard of but personally witnessed inspiring stories from labs across Canada about teamwork, collaboration, improved communications, and innovations. I am incredibly proud to belong to a community of laboratory professionals that stepped up and persevered in what has become one of the most stressful and demanding circumstances in our lifetime – all for quality patient care.

As your President in 2021, I took that inspiration to heart. The Board of Directors’ responsibility is to our members and creating a viable Society. One way we ensure that we meet that responsibility is through our Strategic Plan. It is the map that charts where we want to be and how we get there. When our world changed, we took the time to stop, listen, and evaluated whether our map still made sense.

Through a lengthy yet rewarding series of virtual processes, we took a hard look at the future of our profession and how we would want our Society to align. In the end, we agreed that the foundations of the Strategic Plan were functionally sound. We decided that we are on the right course of action and, with staff support, we would reach our goals.

This further confirms my confidence in our actions throughout the year, actions that were supported, of course, by you, the membership. I am honoured to present the 2021 Financial Statement, detailed below. As described in the statement, we ended the year with a surplus budget, a testament to fiscal decision making and a steady recruitment campaign. Despite the many twists and turns of the year, we remained on track to meet our fiduciary responsibility to our members.

As your President, it has been my absolute privilege to work with dedicated and inspiring volunteers, all of whom have come together towards a common vision and goal. I’d like to personally thank my fellow Board members, and of course, each and every one of you. Thank you all for not only seeing, but also contributing to our vision and by adding your value to the tapestry of our medical lab community.

Financial Summary Mission, Vision & Values 2021 Board of Directors Highlights of 2021 - Public Awareness Highlights of 2021 - Mental Health Report Highlights of 2021 - Professional Development Highlights of 2021 - Certification Member Distribution Grants, Scholarship and Awards National Voice

Financial Summary


On behalf of the 2021 CSMLS Board of Directors, we present the 2021 Financial Summary below.

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.

In 2021, the CSMLS saw a surplus in revenue. This was attributed to ongoing reduction of travel and live events due to pandemic restrictions, as well as other cost-saving operational decisions. We also saw a higher-than-expected increase in membership revenue.


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


On behalf of the CSMLS Board of Directors, we present the newly revised strategic plan. Recently, the Board went through a validation process to ensure the pillars of the plan reflect the changes to our profession and where they see the Society in the years to come. This work resulted in some revisions to enhance focus and use of resources.

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


2021 Board of Directors


Joël Rivero


Lucie Alain

Vice President, Director

Nancy Bergeron

Past President

Kim Alkalay

Director, AB, NT & NU

Greg Hardy

Director, Atlantic

Kal Randhawa

Director, BC & YT


Lynn Courteau

Director, Bilingual

Michele Sykes

Director, MB & SK

Allie Shields

Director, MLA

Krista Urchenko

Director, ON

Nancy Lemelin

Director, QC


Highlights of 2021


Public and Government Advocacy

National Medical Laboratory Week

April 11-17

With in-person gatherings restricted across the country for another year, we helped the medical laboratory community come together, while staying safely apart, to celebrate National Medical Laboratory Week and advocate for the profession with our biggest Celebration Toolkit ever, all branded to the much-loved Indigo Lab Coat.

During the week, we saw 18 landmarks across the country lit up in indigo, and political leaders spoke out for the lab. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau published a statement of support, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu and many provincial leaders sent their own messages and proclamations to mark the week.

The community came together for a Lab Week photo with the virtual photobooth; nearly 300 medical lab professionals submitted their photos to the virtual gallery.

Thanks to member participation, CSMLS Lab Week social media posts were seen more than 500,000 times, and all Lab Week-related posts had a social reach of over 7.8 million users.

Championing the Lab

The Indigo Lab Coat continued its mission to raise awareness of the profession, now highlighting medical laboratory professionals as the “unsung heroes” of Canada’s pandemic response. In 2021, we partnered with Canadian icon Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser to create the Indigo Lab Coat of Honour, a lab coat covered in Wickenheiser’s praise for medical laboratory professionals micro printed in indigo text.

This coat was the centre of a brand-new element of the campaign: a live display of the Indigo Lab Coat of Honour.

The Indigo Lab Coat was on display at the height of the holiday shopping season, first at the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in London, Ontario, and then the Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre in Vaughan, Ontario.

Ten bus shelter ads, strategically placed in high-visibility areas and in regions surrounding hospitals in 5 major cities, are estimated to have been viewed 6.9 million times.

We published a new web video that was shared across the CSMLS social media channels and on YouTube. Together, the social media campaign was viewed more than 400,000 times.


Lobby Week

For over a decade, CSMLS has been organizing Lobby Day, a one-day government relations blitz where volunteer members and staff meet face-to-face with Members of Parliament on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. These meetings have proved incredibly effective, establishing CSMLS as a source of information regarding laboratory and health care matters.

In May 2021, we reimagined Lobby Day, creating a week-long virtual event in which 13 CSMLS volunteers and staff held meetings with 38 government officials. Our lobby team iterated our key concerns, all related to the increased demand for laboratory testing and the shortage of medical laboratory technologists. The good news about a pandemic? They all understand the critical role you play in healthcare now, more than ever.

We outlined the multi-pronged approach we champion to addressing impending shortages:

  • Increasing the supply of new medical laboratory professionals by expanding domestic educational programs
  • Increasing sustainable funding for better integration of internationally educated MLTs into the Canadian workforce
  • Better serving rural and remote communities via financial incentives and student loan relief for MLPs, similar to those offered to other health care professionals
  • Investing in laboratory infrastructure to meet both current and future needs, ideally through a partnership between Federal and Provincial governments


We capitalized on the relationships we built during Lobby Week and followed up on key action points throughout the year. Lobbying is a long-term effort, and Lobby Week proved a solid investment in our advocacy strategy.

Mental Health Report

After watching our members endure the pandemic for nearly two years, the state of your mental health was more important to us than ever. The pandemic had put our planned 2020 Mental Health Survey on pause, but the CSMLS research team recommenced the study in 2021, focusing on the changes to members’ mental health since the onset of the pandemic.

The report, based on your responses, confirmed pandemic demands exacerbated your workloads in the lab, especially with the MLT shortage, as the concept “I have too much work to do everything well” saw a sharp increase from 9% to 68% in 2021.

The study found that 29% of CSMLS members are experiencing incidences of nonspecific serious psychological distress (NSPD), which includes mental health problems severe enough to cause impairment in social, work, or school functioning; and to require treatment.

Other key findings related to psychological distress include the following:

  • Incidences of NSPD have nearly doubled since 2018.
  • Respondents reported that feelings associated with psychological distress affected their ability to work four days per month on average.
  • 20% of respondents saw a doctor or other health professional about these feelings with an average of two visits each.

You can read the full report findings here.

On December 3, we released a joint statement, with Sonography Canada (SG) and the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT), on the mental health status of allied health professionals, fueled by the findings of this joint research project. The statement continues to raise awareness of the mental health struggles allied health professionals face as they care for Canadians through a pandemic.

We are now using the information collected to create new methods for our members to resolve mental health issues, including stress and burnout, and focus on well being.

Professional Development

The persistent limits on in-person events did not dampen our ability to deliver high-quality learning resources to our members. The CSMLS learning team capitalized on established digital channels and created new online resources for the professional development support we know members value.

Members continued to take advantage of the CSMLS multi-day learning resources through 2021. We created new content, and registrations for courses and virtual symposia doubled since 2020.

In 2021, we ran another full year of the Insights Speaker Series, with subject matter experts speaking virtually to the community every month. These events, made available as on-demand webinars after the live event, supplemented our robust free-for-members catalogue, pushing the number of free learning hours available to members past 900 hours.

Total number of course registrations


Total number of webinar/ISS registrations


Total number of virtual symposium registrations


Total number of podcast/journal quizzes registrations


Total number of practice test registrations


Completed Professional recognition certificates



The CSMLS Certification and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) department constantly adapted to pandemic challenges to help as many eligible candidates as possible sit the National Certification Exam and enter the workforce. In the middle of the pandemic, qualification processes must go on.

Remote proctored testing (RPT), first piloted June 2020, became a mainstay for the benefit of exam candidates. All MLT regulators now permit CSMLS-certified candidates in both in-person and RPT test format; thus, we plan to continue offering RPT, as it improves access, particularly during public gathering restrictions.

We doubled the exam dates between August 2020 and August 2021, to help as many graduating cohorts as possible and stabilize the number of available testing seats through the pandemic year.

To help exam candidates have the best possible experience while sitting the exam, for both in-person or using RPT, we launched new support resources:

  • The “Demo Exam” or “CSMLS Test Drive” which allows exam candidates to experience the exam process and identify issues beforehand
  • “Road to Result” video, explaining how the CSMLS Certification and PLA department releases exam results to help students, employers and educators understand the process post-exam
  • Virtual Student Presentations, in a new monthly virtual format, connect us with even more students throughout the year


Exam Sessions in 2021

February April June August October

Successful Exam Candidates


Successful Exam Candidates


New Certified Members


New Prior Learning
Assessment (PLA) Clients




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 2021 recipients below.

Congratulations to all grants, scholarships and awards recipients.

2021 Award Recipients

EV Booth Scholarship

Deeanna Saran

Founders Fund MLT

Rosa Jo

Wei Li

Ashley Dooley

Harpinder Singh

Jefferson Cervantes

Stefani Guidi

BD Young Leaders Scholarship

Kevin Yoo

BD Quality Assurance Project Award

Judy Tran & Toronto General Hospital – Core Laboratory

Student Scholarship

Alexandra Mechefske

Amy Mikhailitchenko


Honorary Membership

Myrna Gunter


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 2021.

Adam Henry Chrobak Alexander A. Fernandes Allison M. Beresford Amanda D. VanSpronsen Amanda M. Cocca
Amber L. Grassi Andrea M. Tjahja, ART Anna E. Haasen Ashmina Damani Bernard W. Hartung
Bernie Plourde Brenda Jean J. Gamble Brendan O'Brien Cathy Chong Catriona Gano
Chris A. Hirtle Christine Bruce Christopher J. Ward Corey J. Murray Crystal K. Macdonald
Danica Evering Danni Zhang Danny J. Rowsell David P. Moore, ART Deepika Gupta
Delaney Lee Nickerson Edwin H. Brindle Elizabeth Boyajian Emily L. Chen Gilberte M. Caissie
Glen M. Johnston Greg Doiron Gregory Hardy Hansika Deepak Helene M. Goulding
Ian D. Grace Irene R. Campo Isaac Aliche Ivan Patrick Miller, ART Jan E. Maxwell
Janice Jones Jelena Holovati Joanne Gail Goldstone Joël G. Rivero Johane Arsenault
John Tzountzouris Josephine Guidolin Joshua M. MacDonald Julie B. Carruthers Kalwinder Randhawa
Karen Gabriele Kayla M. Burke Kaylan D. Symes Kendra J. Soukeroff Kenneth Wong
Kim Alkalay Kimberly E. Deydey, ART Kimberly Lee Wheelans Krista Urchenko Kristi Lew
Linda R. Kappel Lisa E. Purdy Lisa R. Mantifel Llora Alejandro-Yarema Lucie Alain
Lynn A. Courteau Maggie Fulford Mario J. Dumouchel Marion R. McChesney Mary Allison Shields
Megan L. MacQuarrie Melissa J. Walsh Melissa S.M. Mikl Michele L. Sykes Mohamad AA Zaraket
Nancy C. Lemelin Nancy J. Bergeron, ART Nancy J. Delaney Noelle Frances Cater Patricia C. Longpre
Rachelle M.L. Kingsler Rania Elhalabi Rose-Marie Moreno Samantha D. Tiller Sharmen Vigouret
Sharon Leal Sherri L. Sandin Stephanie Taylor Tiffany Clouston Timothy Willett
Tricia Lynn VanDenakker Victoria E. Massey Wendy B.J. Nip    

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 Ahleah Tubongbanua Aleksandra Edison Ashley Gregory Barbara Hall
Benie Tagala Constantino Brenda Soutar Cherryl Marie Abadilla Christina Canticas Christine Kelly
Dana Stark Derek Winterton Dianna Diep Elizabeth Lightbourn Eugenet Frigillano
Frances Jean Seward Francois Deschenes Frederick Wong Gail Martin Gaman Modi
Gaylene Scott Gregory Hardy Isabelle Grenier Nadeau Jahangir Abdi Jason Noonan
Jennifer Knutson Jessica Bourke Joël Rivero Julie MacDonald Justin Kovacs
Karen Gay Scraba Kim Alkalay Kristin Juenke Leslee Patricia Mueller Lisette Vienneau
Lucie Alain Lynn Courteau Mahrukh Shamas Marianne O'Sullivan Maricel Benedicto
Mark Stevenson Mary Allison Shields Maureen Jackson Mélanie McLean Mhari Renaud
Michael Waters Michael Ashbee Michele Sykes Muhammad Ramzan Anjum Myrna Gunter
Nancy Scott-Langille Nancy Delaney Natasha LeBel Nicholas Dibdin Ogechi Nwogu
Olga Harrison Ossayed Al Awor Paul MacDougall Pauline Tomlin Ramona Taylor
Rosalia Santos Ruth Farrow Samantha Nickel Samuel Benedicto Sarah Toebes
Sarjeet Singh Sean Wheeler Sharon Leal Sharon Lynne Sutherland Stephanie McGill
Susan Yvonne Childs Syed Shareef Takele Olkeba Tessa Jones Thomas Dorland
Ward Imbeau Warren Shih Wesley Nishi Yi Cao  

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. The CSMLS Board of Directors, staff and volunteers attend meetings, conferences and events on behalf of CSMLS members and the entire medical laboratory profession.

We continue to take the necessary precautions to keep staff, collaborators and members safe, so many of the meetings we usually attend in person are now virtual or via phone. Not all of those events qualify for the National Voice; however, we have been working with media, policymakers and collaborators each month. Here is where your voice was heard recently.


  • Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care: Bridging IEMLT Meeting VIDEO
  • Organizations for Health Action (HEAL) COVID-19 Task Force: Biweekly Meeting VIDEO
  • Canadian Institute for Health Information, Key Informant Interview: Health Human Resource Data Collection
  • Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat, Health Sciences Union Meeting: Health Human Resources
  • Nova Scotia Department of Health: Health Human Resources
  • Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICAN), Leaders Virtual Roundtable: Health Sciences
  • Canadian Standards Association (CSA): Medical Laboratory Quality Systems Meeting
  • National Immigration Centre: Conference Board of Canada Members Meeting
  • BioTalent Canada: Wage Bursary Program Meeting
  • Canadian Alliance of Medical Laboratory Professionals Regulators (CAMLPR): CSMLS Certification Forum


  • HEAL COVID-19 Task Force: Biweekly Meetings
  • HEAL Quarterly Meeting
  • CSA Technical Subcommittee Maintenance Meeting: Fume Hoods


  • HEAL COVID-19 Task Force: Biweekly Meetings
  • eCampus Ontario Grant Information Session
  • BioTalent Canada Labour Market Information Study


  • Organizations for Health Action (HEAL) COVID-19 Task Force
  • CAMLPR-CSMLS Certification Forum Meeting
  • MLT General Student Presentation at Ontario Tech University Society Night
  • Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and Nova Scotia College of Medical Laboratory Technologists (NSCMLT) IEMLT Multi-stakeholder Town Hall


  • HEAL COVID-19 Task Force
  • Accreditation Canada MLA Program Review (Observer)
  • Touchstone Institute: Final 360 Communications Program Advisory Committee Meeting
  • HEAL Quarterly Meeting
  • March Virtual School Visit: Student Presentation
  • The Michener Institute of Education at UHN Career Fair


  • HEAL COVID-19 Task Force
  • Pandemic Response Research Interview: University of Toronto Research Report
  • SAIT School of Health and Public Safety: COVID-19 and the Medical Lab Heroes
  • Program Council/Accreditation Canada Meeting
  • April Virtual School Visit: Student Presentation


  • Lobby Week: Advocacy Outreach with CSMLS Board of Directors and Federal Legislative Representatives
  • Organizations for Health Action (HEAL) COVID-19 Taskforce
  • Clinical Placements and Simulation Stakeholder Consultation – Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario (MLPAO)
  • National Immigration Centre: Conference Board of Canada – Virtual Immigration Summit
  • EQual (Accreditation Canada): Program Council Meeting
  • Canadian Association of Allied Health Professions (CAAHP) Presentation: CSMLS and COVID-19 Response
  • Virtual School Visit: Student Presentation


  • EQual (Accreditation Canada): Education Innovation
  • EQual and MLPAO Competency Profile Review (MLA)
  • HEAL COVID-19 Taskforce
  • HEAL Quarterly Meeting
  • Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation (CNAR) Annual General Meeting
  • Research Canada Annual General Meeting
  • Canadian Health Workforce Network: Call to Action – Health Human Resources Meeting
  • Anderson College Stakeholder Meeting – Future Programming
  • Virtual School Visit: Student Presentation
  • Ontario Town Hall
  • The Michener Institute of Education MLT Student Presentation with CMLTO and MLPAO


  • HEAL COVID-19 Taskforce
  • Choosing Wisely Canada: Using Labs Wisely Steering Committee
  • Advocacy Outreach with the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Virtual School Visit: Student Presentation


  • Nova Scotia Open Forum — MLAs
  • Using Labs Wisely Steering Committee with Choosing Wisely Canada
  • OnTechU — Clinical Project Planning Meeting
  • Organizations for Health Action (HEAL) COVID-19 Taskforce
  • International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science (IFBLS) World Congress, Copenhagen, DK: Pre-recorded Lab Wisely Presentation with Choosing Wisely Canada
  • August Virtual School Visit: Student Presentation


  • Accreditation Canada and Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario — Provincial Competencies for MLA
  • HEAL COVID-19 Taskforce
  • HEAL Quarterly Meeting
  • Using Labs Wisely Steering Committee with Choosing Wisely Canada
  • The Michener Institute of Education at UHN Program Advisory Committee (MLT General, Cytology) — Presentation on the State of Diagnostic Cytology in Canada


  • Social Media and Your Professional Reputation — Presentation to Nova Scotia Community College
  • HEAL COVID-19 Taskforce
  • CSMLS/CAMRT/Sonography Canada — Joint Mental Health Presentation to Canadian Network of Agencies for Regulation (CNAR)
  • EQual Canada: Program Council Meeting
  • Communication and Generational Diversity — Presentation to Institutet för biomedicinsk laboratorievetenskap, Stockholm, Sweden
  • October Virtual School Visit: Student Presentation

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.


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