For over 80 years, the CSMLS has served the Canadian medical laboratory community.
It was in 1937 that four visionaries changed the future of the medical laboratory industry with the initiation of an association dedicated to recognizing and supporting medical laboratory professionals across Canada. The association was originally named the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists (C.S.L.T.), but is now referred to as the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS).
One of the first founding group members, Ms. Helen Smith, was working at the Hamilton General Hospital (HGH) when she began talking about a professional association for laboratory workers. “I don’t think it is generally remembered that our first attempts to contact technicians (the usual term at the time) were in order to start a publication,” said Smith. “We found it much more difficult to reach and interest people than we expected, so we decided to form a society and go for a charter.”
Mr. Frank Elliott, senior HGH biochemist, and Dr. William Deadman, supervising pathologist, along with Mr. Denys Lock, supported Smith in her efforts. Frank, Helen and Denys set out to recruit nine additional supporters and applied for a Dominion Charter in 1936. The process was much more difficult and drawn out than they had expected, requiring changes to several bylaws and even the proposed name of the Society.
At the time, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) protested the use of the term “Medical Technologists” in the Society name, feeling that it implied that the members were doctors. After unsuccessful negotiation, the charter applicants changed the title to “laboratory technologists”. Despite the setbacks, the original 12 were so successful in recruiting that by the time of incorporation in May 1937, sixty-five Society members had already joined across Canada.
As a result of their initiatives, Mr. Frank Elliot became the first president of C.S.L.T. while Mr. Denys Lock and Ms. Helen Smith were the first treasurer and secretary, respectively.
Their efforts, determination and passion forged the path in gaining representation of the medical laboratory profession in Canada.
Since 1937, medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) and medical laboratory assistants (MLAs) have relied on our organization to provide the most up-to-date news, events and information to remain informed of what matters most to their professions. As the national certifying body and the national professional society, CSMLS has been proudly representing medical laboratory professionals within Canada.
The goals and objectives of the Society at the time of incorporation in 1937 still reflect what the organization is trying to achieve today. It still remains The Voice of Medical Laboratory Science in Canada.
The goals of the Society in 1937 were:
- To improve the qualifications and standing of medical technicians (now called technologists) in Canada
- To promote research endeavors in all branches of laboratory work
- To ensure, by examination in practical and theoretical knowledge, fully qualified technicians and to grant to them a Certificate as an Associate of the Society
- To promote closer cooperation between the medical profession and the technician
- To more efficiently aid the doctor in diagnosing and treating disease
In the spring of 2011, the CSMLS began a project to capture the stories and memories of many of the Past Presidents of the CSMLS. After crossing the country, several times, a compilation of the 27 interviews were created. The video series debuted at LABCON2012 during the 75th Anniversary Gala.
Past Presidents of CSMLS discuss the conditions of medical laboratories when they began their career as a medical laboratory professional.
Past Presidents of CSMLS reflect on what events led them to become a medical laboratory professional.
Past Presidents of CSMLS explain the origins of the organization.
Past Presidents of CSMLS remember the highs and lows of the organization over the course of 75 years.
Past Presidents of CSMLS share their best wishes and hopes for the organization.
We are grateful to the Past Presidents that agreed to be interviewed for this very special project. It is a small reminder of the hard work and dedication that helped shape this organization to what it is today and into the future.
T.R. (Ron) Robinson
Norman J. Senn
A.B. (Chris) Atkinson
W.W. (Bob) Hughes
Denys R. Lock
Robert G. Armstrong
Leslie D. Mellor
Harold E. Amy
Ronald G. Phythian
Archie R. Shearer
Joseph M. Scott
George S. Medhurst
Edward D. Carpenter
Frank J. Elliot