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Letter from OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas Re: MLPAO Skills Development Funding

March 15, 2021

The Honourable Ross Romano

Minister of Colleges and Universities

438 University Avenue, 5th Floor

Toronto, Ontario M7A 2A5

Dear Minister:

It is my pleasure to support the application made by Michelle Hoad, CEO of the Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario (MLPAO), for funding through the Skills Development Fund for curriculum to train laboratory professionals online. I have enclosed a copy of her application.

There is a chronic and growing lack of medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) in Ontario. When the pandemic started a year ago, 70 per cent of labs were already short-staffed. With COVID-19, professional burnout rates are through the roof. Today, the demand for MLTs is almost double their availability. Minister, a crisis is on our doorstep. Something must be done – and quickly.

The MLPAO has come up with a plan to support MLTs currently struggling to meet the demands of COVID-19. They propose delivering additional virtual training to medical lab assistant/technicians (MLA/Ts), who perform a number of pre-analytical functions. In this way, MLTs’ burden will be lessened; employers will have more staff to draw upon; testing capacity will be expanded, especially in remote areas; and MLA/Ts will be able to advance their careers.

This project is already under development and is almost ready to launch at $150 per student. Among other aims, funding will allow the MLPAO to deliver the curriculum for $70, rather than the $150 currently projected. This will obviously give even more MLA/Ts access to the course.

Minister, there is no downside to this project. It helps meet the current overwhelming demand and gives more time to come up with permanent solutions. I urge you to agree to the funding MLPAO has requested.


Warren (Smokey) Thomas

President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

(Signed version attached)

c: The Honourable Christine Elliott, Minister of Health

Laura Mae Lindo, Opposition Critic for Colleges and Universities

France Gélinas, Opposition Critic for Health

Michelle Hoad, CEO, Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario

.16 - Letter from OPSEU-SEFPO Pre


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