The Canadian Medical Laboratory Profession’s Call to Action

December 12, 2018
Hamilton (December 12, 2018) - The health human resource (HHR) shortage associated with medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) is at a transformative tipping point. The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) believes that an intensified effort by all medical laboratory stakeholders can bring about real and meaningful change. 

CSMLS has released a Call to Action which addresses national, regional, immediate and long-term efforts required to change the HHR shortage of MLTs within Canada.

In 2010, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) identified that approximately half of all MLTs would be eligible to retire in 10 years, with the greatest impact felt in Canada’s rural and remote communities. There has not been a corresponding increase in the number of MLTs obtaining certification that would offset these retirements. Currently, 400 new domestic academic student seats are required immediately in Canada (a 41% increase is required). 

To date, provincial and federal governments do not have strategies to deal with the deficit of MLTs. Without a national effort to change this situation, medical laboratory professionals will experience greater hardship in the workplace. Other health professionals, not qualified in medical laboratory science, will need to overtake some of our responsibilities (task shifting) in order to provide the best patient care possible. As well, our patients will see a decline in laboratory testing services, with potentially negative impact on their health. These changes are already being felt in rural and remote communities. 

“CSMLS firmly stands by the need for large-scale transformation to combat the MLT shortage and the impact it has on patients, medical laboratory professionals and other laboratory stakeholders,” said Christine Nielsen, CSMLS’s Chief Executive Officer. “Meeting the laboratory testing needs of Canadians while fixing the MLT shortage is the biggest challenge.”

The Call to Action focuses on ways medical laboratory stakeholders can contribute and how medical laboratory professionals can be employed more effectively. The Call to Action recognizes the hard work and collaboration conducted by many individuals to date and asks for extended efforts as we forge into a critical period over the next 10 years.

Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS)
The CSMLS is the national certifying body for medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants, and the national professional society for Canada's medical laboratory professionals. We are a not-for-profit organization that is funded entirely by membership dues and revenues from goods and services. Our members practice in hospital laboratories, private medical laboratories, public health laboratories, government laboratories, research and educational institutions. Incorporated in 1937 as the Canadian Society of Laboratory Technologists, the society has over 14,500 members in Canada and in countries around the world.

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For more information, please contact:
Christian von Donat
CSMLS Public Affairs
O: 613-233-8906 / C: 613-410-9858

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