March 2nd, 2022
Premier Doug Ford
Legislative Bldg. Rm. 281, Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
RE: MLPAO - OPSEU - Unifor: Medical Laboratory Professionals Require Retention Strategy
Dear Premier Ford,
As the professional association and unions representing medical laboratory professionals, MLPAO, OPSEU, and Unifor are uniting to demand a retention strategy equivalent to that promised to the ONA.
Our recent report has revealed 73% of medical laboratory professionals actively desire to leave the profession. We require a coherent strategy to retain dwindling numbers of staff before a mass exodus.
Healthcare is not just doctors and nurses.
Without laboratory services, healthcare professionals would have only patient-reported symptoms and basic analysis (appearance, temperature, or blood pressure). They require test results to accurately determine levels of white blood cells and clotting conditions; microbes, viruses, and causes of infection; blood type and blood product provision; whether antibiotics are working; evidence of cancerous cells; biopsies on surgically removed tumors; organ function, and more.
Despite their centrality to the pandemic and working at the bedside of COVID-19 patients, this group was excluded from Temporary Pandemic Pay. This was unfair given the outlined parameters, and most still feel the insult of this oversight.
Our healthcare system faces a devastating backlog of approximately 20 million diagnostic tests and procedures doctors say will take years to clear. Laboratories will be the determining factor if the timeline for those surgeries and procedures is months or decades.
70% of labs entered COVID-19 short-staffed. Our recent report found almost 90% of medical laboratory professionals are experiencing burnout, with poor mental health and some contemplating self-harm. 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.
We must retain existing medical laboratory professionals before the system collapses. You must include medical laboratory professionals in retention bonuses—the healthcare of all Ontarians depends on it.
Michelle Hoad, CAE
Chief Executive Officer, Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
Sara Labelle, Chair of the Hospital Professionals Division
Assistant to the National President, Unifor
CC: Hon. Christine Elliot, Minister of Health
Dr. Adam Kassam, President, Ontario Medical Association
Allan O’Dette, CEO, Ontario Medical Association
Anthony Dale, President and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
Dr. Anna Plotkin, President, Ontario Association of Pathologists
 Based on a survey of lab leaders and professionals in May 2020.