In October 2016, when I joined the OSMT—now the MLPAO—I spent the first 30 days looking at how the society was working, the strengths, opportunities and what needed to be accomplished based on the needs of the members.
I knew that the society needed a strong lab voice. We posted for Manager, Professional Services and were fortunate to have hired Tania Toffner.
Tania graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, she then proceeded to graduate from Michener in 2001. Tania’s love for the lab was evident with the time she spent at Sunnybrook where she spent the first 8 years of her career.
Tania then joined the CSMLS for a short period of time, as her passion for the profession extended beyond the lab. This is where I got the chance to meet her and work together. We had a really great time working together moving the profession forward at the national level.
Tania’s nature is to help people and is a true laboratorian at heart. She supports the need for the world to learn about our profession. After a few years at the CSMLS she felt she could add much more value back in the lab, so she headed back to Sunnybrook as their Quality Assurance Officer.
I knew Tania would be a great fit at the OSMT. In February 2017 Tania left Sunnybrook and joined me at OSMT to start the complete makeover of the society.
We would commute together from Hamilton into the office which was located at Yonge and Eglinton at that time. It as a 2hrs 15min commute one way, so we would spend about 5 hours travelling together then full days in the office. We spent a lot of time together.
It was during these times that we chatted about the profession and things that needed to happen. Our Go Train meetings were very special times as many of the things that have happened were a result of these chats. Through hours of travelling we could brainstorm, laugh, and think of the impossible.
Tania did extraordinary things for the profession. She revamped the entire MLA/T Certification program and introduced a credential which is now recognized across Ontario.
She was the face and voice of the MLPAO for all students in the province. Tania visited over 50 programs in two years. Her likeable personality made her a favourite of many MLA/T and MLT students and instructors.
Tania was the main point person for our education days, and content for the ADVOCATE. She was an integral piece of our success.
When COVID-19 hit, she stated she was feeling guilty not being able to help in the lab. I completely supported the idea of having her go back to the lab and provide support through her expertise. I knew deep down inside that she would most likely would not return. The lab is her life. After three months, she expressed the desire to return. You can take a person out of the lab, but you will never take the lab out of the person.
So, it is with great sadness that we announce that Tania has returned to work at Public Health Ontario's Toronto Lab. The MLPAO will miss her and her accomplishments will never be forgotten.
Michelle Hoad, CAE - MLPAO CEO