MLPAO Response to Ontario's COVID-19 Fall Preparedness Plan

OCT 2 - HAMILTON ON: As we move into a second wave of COVID-19, the medical laboratory professionals processing samples and analyzing tests remain hidden in Ontario’s plan to strengthen the healthcare system.

“Recruiting and retaining our front-line healthcare workers in our continuous fight against COVID-19 is critical,” Minister of Health Christine Elliott asserted in Monday’s press release. Their announcement emphasizes a need for reinforcements, outlining a plan to recruit, retain, and support 3700 more healthcare workers.

However, the plan provides no obvious hope of backup for Ontario’s Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs) and Medical Laboratory Assistant/Technicians (MLA/Ts). Despite their direct contact with COVID-19 patients and working 24/7 for 6 months without respite, medical laboratory professionals were not included in Temporary Pandemic Pay.

Medical laboratory professionals take their role in healthcare deeply personally. They know every sample is a patient waiting to hear results. This commitment is currently causing medical laboratory professionals to sacrifice their own mental and physical health to meet the rolling targets the government is setting.

COVID-19 testing has increased from 10,000/day to 40,000 with the intention of ramping up to 50,000 tests/day and a potential surge capacity of 100,000. With pharmacies taking swabs and more assessment centres, labs will be under further pressure to continue to provide timely and accurate results. Labs are testing for COVID-19 alongside nearly 500,000 tests/day for other medical