Ottawa (April 30, 2018)
Leaders from the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) held a press conference today to detail the growing impact of unfilled medical laboratory professional positions across Canada, its negative impacts on the healthcare system, and practical steps that our governments can take to address these shortcomings now.
“Medical Laboratory Technologists and Assistants (MLT/MLAs) are an integral component of Canada’s healthcare system, providing timely, reliable test results for everything ranging from blood and DNA tests, to cancer screening, and other sophisticated medical testing.” said Christine Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of CSMLS. “We have seen very concerning examples of what is happening in Canada due to the growing national shortage of Medical Laboratory Professionals, such as laboratories being closed for weeks due to a lack of sufficient staffing.”
The current impacts are disproportionately felt in rural and remote regions of the country, but the shortages have begun to also play a larger role in suburban and urban areas as well. CSMLS is advocating for a number of practical steps that governments can take to begin to address the gap of MLTs and MLAs which number in the many hundreds.
“We are asking the federal and provincial governments to step up with strategic steps that will tackle these challenges in our healthcare system,” said Maria Klement, CSMLS President. “This includes investing in bridging programs for internationally-educated MLTs and extending the Canadian Student Loan relief program to cover MLTs that move to rural and remote locations for work. Last, the Skills Boost program and other provincial initiatives can be used to incentivize and expedite the training and skills upgrade for laboratory assistants to become technologists.”
CSMLS is asking the federal and provincial governments to tackle this pressing issue with targeted support through a variety of the options outlined above in brief. The association and its profession are keen to work with decision-makers on filling the gaps in the healthcare system, and ultimately improving patient care.
The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science is the national voice and certifying body of Medical Laboratory Technologists and Assistants (MLT/MLAs). Founded in 1937, CSMLS represents over 14,000 members across Canada.
For more information, please contact:
Christian von Donat
CSMLS Public Affairs
O: 613-233-8906 / C: 613-408-0498