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Advocacy Update

Our advocacy work has continued strong through the first quarter of 2024. With great results!

We are excited to announce the Ontario 2024 Budget: Building a Better Ontario includes an additional 700 seats for MLTs and MRTs. The Minister of Health’s Office contacted me prior to the release of the budget to share the wonderful news.

We are very happy to see that the advocacy work at the MLPAO is finally making an impact. Over the past 4 years we have seen an increase in investments for medical labs.

·        In 2021, we received $675,000 for the development of a PCR course.

·        In 2022, $975,000 was flowed through the MLPAO to Anderson College to create an IEMLT Bridging Program.

·        In 2023, Cambrian College and St. Clair College MLTs were included in the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant for approximately $2+ million.

·        In 2024, an additional 700 seats added for MRT, DMS, MLT and MLA/T undergraduate programs.

This announcement came right before Med Lab Week which provided us an opportunity to say thank you and reach out to all MPPs and encourage them to visit their local labs. Many MPPs had limited availability for hospital tours during this week due to competing priorities at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  We received many responses and got confirmations from the following MPPs that toured their labs:

On Thursday April 19th, the Minister of Health Sylvia Jones visited Hamilton General Hospital where she met the new CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) Tracey McCarthy. The tour was conducted by Tracy Carrier, an MLPAO board member, who is the Director of Lab Operations for HHS, and our CEO, Michelle Hoad, in partnership with a large leadership team at HHS.

On Friday April 20th, Minister Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, visited his local lab at the North Bay Regional Hospital in North Bay. Our MLPAO board member Rachel Desjardins, our MLPAO board chair Jessie Clelland, and our CEO Michelle Hoad provided the Minister a tour of the hospital.

At the same time on Friday April 20th, MPP Todd McCarthy, toured the Bowmanville Hospital. Grant Johnson, Director Laboratory and IPAC at Lakeridge Health, Frank Cerisano, CEO Bowmanville Hospital Foundation, Kirsten Burgomaster, Health System Executive at Lakeridge Health, and our MLPAO VP Operations, Andrea Tjahja, provided Mr. McCarthy a tour and provided insight into the challenges facing lab professionals.

We received a request from Minister David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development expressing interest to visit a local lab and a lab in Ottawa, but due to a busy schedule has requested this happen in June. We are looking forward to his visit.

The investment in additional seats is historic. We are grateful to the Ontario government for being included in the 2024 Budget and for these MPPs for visiting hospital labs across our province.

The federal government tabled their 2024-25 Budget in April titled “Fairness for Every Generation” with measures aimed at addressing affordability, housing and growing the economy. The budget includes significant investments for health research and artificial intelligence as well as $1.5 billion over five years for the first phase of a universal pharmacare program in Canada.

Med Lab Week also included the announcement of new MLT and MLA/T programs at Humber College in partnership with BD Canada, to provide new opportunities for student placement and work-integrated learning with BD. This will offer Humber students practical, hands-on experience and help facilitate their transition from academic learning to professional practice. These are the type of innovative ideas that we need in Ontario to keep finding solutions.

It is also apparent that the need for MLTs in the north is dire. With the announcement of new MLT and MLA/T programs over the past 24 months, there is still work to do. Cambrian College is the sole school training students in the north and we need more programs in this part of the province to help rural, remote and northern labs with their staffing issues.

Our work doesn’t stop here. MLPAO will continue to work with the Government of Ontario and other stakeholders to continue finding solutions and to ensure these new programs have the supports required for clinical placements.

Michelle Hoad, CAE

Chief Executive Officer

Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario

Office: 416-485-6768 or 1-800-461-6768



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