Feedback – Regulating Health Professionals

January 20, 2020
The government of British Columbia has asked for public input regarding the review and reform of the province’s professional regulation colleges. CSMLS submitted a response to the idea of a reduction in the number of regulatory colleges, in which we emphasize the importance of regulation in upholding practice standards and patient care. The response also supports the establishment of a new allied health professionals umbrella College, which would include MLTs, in order to preserve efforts already made towards MLT regulation in BC.  
CSMLS is committed to ensuring medical laboratory professionals’ voices are heard on matters of potential health care reform, and we continue to advocate for provincial regulation to maintain professional standards and public safety.

About the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science

Founded in 1937, the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science is the national certifying body and professional association for Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs) and Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs). With an extensive, proven history of leading the profession through the promotion and maintenance of national professional standards, we represent 14,000 members as comprehensively as possible. Representing over 2,000 of our members from British Columbia, we are eager to work with the provincial government to ensure that proper regulation is in place to guarantee appropriate care for those who depend on the public healthcare system.

Laboratory professionals practice in hospitals, private medical centers, public health and government laboratories, as well as research and educational institutions. Our members provide tens of thousands of life-changing laboratory results, which guide the diagnosis and treatment of patients. This crucial service ensures the timeliness and accuracy of many aspects of the healthcare system; without the work of MLTs and MLAs, the system would be categorically unable to provide for those who depend on it in an effective or efficient manner.

Feedback on Section 2: Improved efficiency and effectiveness through a reduction in the number of regulatory colleges

The MLT profession is currently at the tail end of completing the process of self-regulation, but is facing suspension in light of the Cayton Report. The lack of regulation means that entry to practice standards are left for employers to set, the scope of practice is not defined, there are no mechanisms in place to ensure to maintenance of competency over the career of a professional, and there are no defined processes in place for patient complaints and discipline. Suspending the process of self-regulation leaves the public without the safety and reporting mechanism provided to other health occupations. We believe the public is best served by MLTs becoming a regulated health profession, with their MLA peers following suit in due time.

We understand that the regulatory framework for health care professionals in BC could benefit from significant reform. However, in the interest of public safety, it seems inappropriate that the work to date may be shelved after years of commitment.  Our preferred solution is that MLTs continue along their regulation journey with the establishment of a new allied health professionals umbrella College, which would include Medical Radiation Technologists, Respiratory Therapists and Clinical Perfusionists.

Should that not be possible, the CSMLS would support the inclusion of MLTs with other regulated healthcare professions in a larger, umbrella-style regulatory college.  Regardless of the regulatory framework, it is important that the regulatory body includes the necessary profession-specific elements so that it understands the intricacies and complexities of the profession. 

The CSMLS would be more than happy to work with the provincial government and share the collective regulatory experience from our pan-Canadian and pan-profession network. We support self-regulation and we hope to see our laboratory professions join BC’s other regulated health professions in a timely manner, in the interests of public safety.

Christine Nielsen, MBA (c), BHA, MLT, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science

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