2022 was another year of change; especially for the medical laboratory profession. Reports of closed ERs and labs due to personnel shortages made headlines across the country. You weathered the storm of supply chain issues, including collection tubes. Throughout it all, you remained committed to serving your patients every day. We strived to do the same for you.
While you worked 24/7, CSMLS worked to provide the resources you needed to stay afloat in a changing profession – In any stage of your career. Brand new, gaining experience or close to retirement, we were constantly thinking of you and your professional needs. Thanks to events like the Insights Speaker Series, which connected you to leading lab experts every month, you now have access to almost 1000 hours of free learning, most of it on-demand to suit your busy schedules.
We worked with countless stakeholders to make sure your voice was heard, advocating on your behalf for long-term solutions and much-needed funding to mitigate the health human resource crisis affecting you every day. When CSMLS Directors and staff met with nearly 40 government officials for Lobby Week 2022, in Ottawa, your dedication to patients and quality were acknowledged.
For years, we have advocated for local solutions to shortages in the lab, and in 2022, we saw progress. Late, but we saw progress. We are seeing interest in every community in Canada to accelerate integration of internationally educated MLTs. Programs to increase the number of clients who can participate in bridging programs to be successful on the national certification exam are cropping up across Canada. The CSMLS Certification and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) team processed an incredible number of PLA applications.
To increase the supply of qualified laboratory staff, CSMLS continues to move forward with MLA regulation across Canada, as a means to capacity build our staffing complement. We have worked with four provinces to make this a reality – and are close than ever before, that a province will regulate MLAs soon. 2022 was a year of foundational work for CSMLS.
To each one of our members, thank you for choosing to be part of this community. It is our privilege to serve you, the member, and we thank you for your continued support. Here’s to another year of serving you so that you can best serve your patients.
It was another busy year in the medical laboratory community, and I think we all knew it would be. It was another year of ups and downs. No matter the challenges, I am so proud to have been your President through 2022. From the return to live events, to in-person meetings with the Board of Directors, I was inspired by our community’s passion, resilience, and eagerness to reconnect.
As President, I saw a Board of Directors committed to our responsibility to you, our members. You’ll see that commitment in the 2022 Financial Report, detailed below. Each of your member dollars were put toward valuable projects that will help lab professionals now and in the future. For example, you told us your mental health was declining, so we piloted two new mental health resources: the Mental Health Peer Support program and McMaster University’s Beyond Silence app, each designed just for MLPs.
Burnout, retirement and the staffing crisis put even more strain on the lab, but once again, the CSMLS Certification and PLA team worked tirelessly to help so many Canadian trained and internationally educated MLTs challenge the exam and join the workforce.
After 2 long years without in-person learning, the highlight of my year just may have been LABCON22 in historic Winnipeg. It was our first return to in-person events, and you all made it incredible with your commitment to learning and community.
Even the Board of Directors reconnected. It was an honour to host CSMLS Directors, current, outgoing, and incoming, at the 85th anniversary mural dedication in Hamilton. But it was even more of an honour to dedicate the massive piece of art to every MLP working to care for your patients.
As your President, I saw more laboratory advocates and new professionals join our community, and I cannot wait to see how you all grow. It has been a privilege to be your President for a wonderful year I won’t forget.
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:
Public and Government Advocacy
To mark National Medical Laboratory Week ‘22, the CSMLS kept the public’s attention on the lab with new advocacy tools, all branded with the Indigo Lab Coat. To add to this year’s campaign, a five-part video series was shared on all our platforms capturing true stories from medical laboratory professionals about how their work has directly impacted patients’ lives. These videos were collectively seen more than 60 thousand times and continue to be viewed on our Facebook and YouTube channels.
Additionally, health care organizations and partners came together to celebrate lab week. A record number of 19 landmarks hosted an indigo light display, including Toronto’s CN Tower, Edmonton’s High Level Bridge, Halifax City Hall and many more.
Thank you to everyone who used our advocacy tools and celebrated throughout the week, we are looking forward to what Lab Week 2023 has in store.
For more than ten years, CSMLS has been organizing Lobby Day, a day filled with federal lobbying meetings where CSMLS staff and volunteers travel to Ottawa’s Parliament Hill to convey concerns, as well as solutions, regarding major issues surrounding the profession.
This year, we asked for financial support for initiatives aimed at improving the HHR crisis. While these initiatives have evolved through the year, they still hit these key advocacy areas:
With both in-person and virtual meetings, CSMLS staff and volunteers were able to relay your concerns to more than 30 MPs and other federal officials, including Senator Margaret Anderson. Thank you to our amazing volunteers who travelled to Ottawa with us.
For 85 years, the CSMLS has been the proud national certifying body and professional society for medical laboratory professionals. To honour this celebration, we commissioned a mural to Hamilton, Ontario, artist Lester Coloma who, through his work, embodied the legacy of the profession, showed commitment to patient care and portrayed the different roles of medical laboratory professionals.
The mural includes two medical laboratory professionals, one working at a microscope and another collecting samples from a patient. Behind them are three tests; streaking bacteria on a petri dish, detecting diseases in a blood smear, and genes in a karyotype test.
The mural is located on the western wall of 575 King Street East in downtown Hamilton, Ontario. You can access the digital mural from anywhere on this webpage.
This year, to honor the Indigo Lab Coat campaign, we brought the work of medical laboratory professionals out from under the microscope. In September, CSMLS opened the Unseen Exhibit in Toronto, Ontario, featuring the original art of multi-media artist Dahae Song. After a lab tour at University Health Network, she used her real experiences – and test images – to create four pieces of abstract art.
The digital exhibit went live in November 2022, reaching MLPs and patients all across the country, along with transit shelter ads in 20 locations across Canada and a YouTube advertisement.
This piece is inspired by a Papanicolaou Test, commonly known as a Pap Test, which is used to help detect cervical cancer.
This piece is inspired by karyotyping, a test used to examine chromosomes to identify genetic problems that may cause a disorder or disease.
This piece is inspired by a peripheral blood smear, a technique used to examine red and white blood cells as well as platelets under a microscope.
This piece has been painted on a CSMLS Indigo Lab Coat. This special edition lab coat recognizes Medical Laboratory Assistant and their close connection to the communities they serve.
Visit the digital gallery here.
After two long years of caring for patients through a pandemic, a 2021 mental health survey told us your mental wellbeing was suffering.
To raise awareness of this vital issue, 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 a joint research project.
To further support your mental wellbeing, we are now using the information collected to create new methods for our members to resolve mental health issues, such as stress and burnout. These include:
Ending 2022 with a focus on mental health, we curated a year-end eBook filled with CSMLS mental health articles, webinars and more. You can access this exclusive member resource here.
CSMLS is committed to improving the quality of our Lab Wisely database, which contains best practice recommendations for process and procedures that are relevant to medical laboratory science. The recommendations are fully bilingual and searchable, and users simply need to type a test or procedure into the search box to have a full list of applicable recommendations at their fingertips.
In 2022, CSMLS volunteers and staff completed an extensive audit of our existing database through consultation with subject matter experts. Recommendations can now be further refined by lab discipline, recommendation speciality or focus, and even what part of the testing process the recommendation will impact.
To ensure the database continues to provide the most current best practice recommendations, a full-time committee has been assembled, and now meets quarterly, to discuss changes to existing recommendations and the inclusion of new ones as published by Choosing Wisely Canada.
2022 was the year of in-person learning, thanks to the return of LABCON and other events! The CSMLS learning team combined the accessible features of remote learning with the irreplaceable benefits of in-person gatherings to deliver learning resources for the professional development support we know members value.
Members continued to take advantage of the CSMLS multi-media learning resources through 2022. We created new content, and registrations for courses and virtual symposia doubled since 2020.
In 2022, 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 free-for-members catalogue to have its widest selection yet – providing members with more than 990 hours of free learning by the end of the year.
The CSMLS Certification and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) department strived to help as many eligible candidates as possible sit the National Certification Exam and enter the workforce in another year of MLT shortages.
CSMLS expanded the 2022 Certification Exam dates so that exams are no longer single-day events, but multi day sessions. This schedule now includes 6 testing days per Exam type for each Exam session throughout the year.
We also had an influx of PLA applications from internationally educated medical laboratory technologists (IEMLTs) looking to become certified. Our team worked diligently to process each application as quickly as possible, helping IEMLTs sit the exam and enter the profession.
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 recognise those who have shown excellence in the profession. Congratulations to all grant, scholarship and award recipients. Find the full list of 2022 recipients below.
Congratulations to all grants, scholarships and awards recipients.
The success of the CSMLS relies on the dedication and commitment of our volunteers. 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.
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.
We continue to partake in discussions to keep staff, collaborators and members safe. Many of these in person meetings are now virtual. Not all those events qualify for the National Voice; however, we have been working with the media, policymakers and collaborators each month. Here is where your voice was heard in 2022.
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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