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Media Release: Congratulations to Premier Ford - It's Time To Focus on Ontario Labs

HAMILTON ON (June 6, 2022) – The MLPAO would like to congratulate Premier Doug Ford and the entire PC party for a decisive win in the election last week. The people of Ontario have spoken, and we look forward to working with all members of the PC party on a plan to address the dire shortage of medical lab professionals across the province.

It is time to focus on Ontario labs. In 2020, MLTs conducted more than 271.6M[1] lab tests for Ontario’s growing population of 14.95 million. Although there were millions of COVID-19 tests performed in 2021, the total number of lab tests conducted across Ontario dropped to 258.1M[2].


In 2021 13.3M COVID tests were performed. This means that 26M LESS tests were conducted in 2021.


Why?

During the pandemic, Ontarians were afraid to go to their doctor or to go to Emergency, surgeries were delayed or cancelled, and hospitals were at overcapacity treating COVID-19 patients. As a result, there is now a tremendous backlog of surgeries and procedures that will take years to resolve. In addition, there are many Ontarians whose diseases or conditions have not yet been diagnosed or have worsened due to cancellations and the inaccessibility

of healthcare services during the pandemic.


There are 466 vacancies for MLTs in the province = 20.4M tests that could be done. 70% of labs entered COVID-19 short-staffed. 1 90% of medical laboratory professionals are experiencing burnout and 73% actively desire to leave the profession—46% are contemplating early retirement, with an additional 27% wanting to leave but not currently seeing an option.2


We need to fill this gap to address the backlog.

1. As patients increase the number of MLTs must also increase proportionately to ensure that healthcare providers get the lab results they need to diagnose in a timely manner. New hospitals mean more MLTs.

2. We need a retention strategy. There is a mass exodus of MLTs taking early retirement. We need to find a way to keep the staff we have.

3. Northern Laboratory Strategy. Labs in rural and remote communities are struggling. Northern labs are closing and redirecting tests to other labs.


We look forward to working with Premier Ford, the new Minister of Health, and their teams to address these solutions. We need to keep labs open in Ontario. Our healthcare relies on it.”

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

[1] Ministry of Health – Laboratory and Genetics Branch, May 2022.

[2] Ministry of Health – Laboratory and Genetics Branch, May 2022.

1 Based on a survey of lab leaders and professionals in May 2020.