MLA Focus Groups

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) would like to invite you to participate in a national study that explores the precarious employment environment of Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs) working in laboratories in Canada.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to better understand the current career environment regarding precarious positions and any emotional or health-related impacts for MLAs working in laboratories. As the Canadian healthcare system undergoes major transformation across the nation, the effect of the diverse changes on the career of an MLA is largely unknown. With more information becoming available about the social determinants of health, there is an important connection between precarious working conditions and negative health implications.

This study will use focus groups to explore the experience and the effects of precarious employment on CSMLS MLA members, including the impacts on health and well-being. The focus group will also identify opportunities to improve workplace environments as suggested by participants.

Eligibility Criteria:
  • Must have an active CSMLS MLA membership (practicing professional).
  • Whether employed or unemployed, you must have recent working experience (past 1 year) within a Canadian laboratory, private clinical or clinical setting that pertains to their MLA certification.
  • Must be 19 years of age or older.
Time: The semi-structured focus group will take approximately 1.5 hours of active participation to complete. During the teleconference, you will be asked questions related to your current job in addition to any previous jobs within the last five years, to examine the effects of a precarious job status. Additional questions may be asked about how you feel the job status has affected your life and general overall health. For example, you may be asked if you have held any casual or part-time positions in the last 5 years and if you experienced any life stress because of it. There will also be some discussion about current workplace practices or policies in place to help increase job stability and possible suggestions for improvement.

Confidentiality: You will be participating in this study confidentially, within the limits of Canadian law. You will not be asked to provide information that identifies who you are or your place of work during the focus group. Should you question whether the information you are providing will result in identification, do not provide this information at all. Your responses should only discuss situations or outcomes in general terms. The focus groups will be recorded and transcribed, and the study investigators may make handwritten notes.

If you unintentionally provide identifying information, the Principal Investigator will irreversibly remove this from the data prior to analysis. The resulting dataset will be aggregated and the analysis disseminated in a publicly available summary report.

Benefits: Although you may not personally benefit from participation, other than having your opinion heard, your responses will provide valuable information. It is anticipated that the study results will benefit MLAs across Canada in the future as CSMLS and MLA employers can use the information to support projects that decrease the amount and effects of precarious employment. A study report will be added to the CSMLS website for dissemination to members and the public. 

There will not be an incentive or remuneration provided for participating in the focus group.

Risks: As this focus group will not collect personal identifiers and does not require discussion of a highly sensitive topic, there is minimal risk in participation. Personally identifying information is only reviewed during the registration process to ensure participation eligibility. It will not be connected to any of the data collected during the focus groups.

It is possible that you may feel some psychological discomfort during the focus group discussions if you have experienced negative emotional or psychological effects due to job insecurity, or developed health issues related to such. Should this occur, all participants have the right to answer or not answer any question(s) and the ability to exit the focus group at any time by hanging up. Should you continue to feel discomfort after participating in the forum, please contact your local health care services for support.

As you will not be identifiable in the focus group results, the investigators cannot remove any information you provide after you have exited the teleconference. 

Contact: If you have any questions or concerns regarding this study please contact the study investigator, Laura Zychla (

Consent: By volunteering to participate in this focus group, it is assumed you fully understand the project and consent to participate. While your identity will remain confidential throughout the data collected in this project, it is assumed you consent to the use of your responses in this project.

To register for a focus group, log into your CSMLS account. Then click on the registration button. You may also contact to register.  Sincerely,
Christine Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science
33 Wellington St. North, Hamilton
ON, L8R 1M7

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