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  • Writer's pictureMLPAO

Time for a Revolution?

Happy New Year!

On behalf of the MLPAO I would like to thank you for your membership. You have now joined thousands of medical laboratory professionals that belong to an association that is focused on the needs of the laboratory, specific to Ontario.

Planning for 2019 began last September. We hope you will find value in your membership and be able to take advantage of the many great features we have to offer. I have provided a list of member benefits at the end of this message. I would encourage you to review them, so you don’t miss out.

The State of the Laboratory

As you are aware the laboratory profession has reached a state that is causing many of us concern. We are questioning our jobs, our processes, our staffing levels and our state of minds. Healthcare in Ontario is changing to adapt to our aging population and has pushed our healthcare system into a state of chaos.

The healthcare profession is experiencing strain in each and every area from wait times to finding available family doctors. As healthcare professionals, we are impacted at work, as loved ones caring for elderly family and as patients.

The FAO (Financial Accountability Office) issued a report in March 2018 stating that Ontario health care spending has not kept up with the aging population.

The need for long term care homes is real. If you recall the Liberal government has announced 30,000 long term care beds pre-election (April 2018).

Then in October of 2018, our current government announced “Ontario Government for the People is Taking Immediate Action to End Hallway Health Care” This announcement declared an additional 90 million be added to this issue, although it is unclear how this money is being dispersed. More specifically the lack of reference or mention of the laboratory, is concerning.

The CMLTO data shows that in the next 4-6 years 46% of MLTs (51-60) will be eligible to retire. There are 12% aged (61+) that are currently eligible. How are we addressing this shortage?

This human health resource issue will continue to strain our system. In the laboratory we are already feeling the strain, so how will this impact the lab?

Our members tell us that full time positions are not being posted to replace retirees. Rather, part time and casual positions are being used. How does this make our profession a truly viable option for those entering the workplace?

These are a few of the questions we are working on at the MLPAO. Our data collection and ongoing conversations have included members, stakeholders, educators and government officials to find solutions.

It has been said that if you keep doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result, you could go insane. I find it insane that the laboratory has such a quiet voice in healthcare. We need to start thinking differently.

The Revolution

The dictionary defines a revolution as: “a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something: a change of paradigm” So is it time for a laboratory revolution? Meaning, is it time we start changing how we think, how we act and what we do.

Yes it is! These are a few of the things we have planned.

Why not bring together everyone that is experiencing these issues and confirm the problems? Ok let’s do that!

In 2019 we are bringing together a large group of lab leaders in Ontario. This will be the first ever “Directors Think Tank”. The intent is to collaborate, share and educate each other about what exactly is the state of the profession. Getting clarification and confirmation will assist leaders and the MLPAO to move forward with solutions. Is your Lab Director attending? Go ask them. Maybe the invitation never go to their inbox. Tell them to send us a message.

We are visiting Queens Park in the spring to speak directly with key decision makers regarding the laboratory and our findings.

We are approaching your local MPPs and encouraging them to visit their local lab. Healthcare is decided and determined at the provincial level. Therefore getting these MPPs in your laboratories is the only way they can understand the impact to their life and their families.

Maybe you are one of those lab professionals that are fed up. You have been in the profession for so many years and nothing has changed. We are challenging you this year to be part of this revolution. Call us to book a lab tour, we will coordinate all the logistics. Call us to visit your lab and talk to your peers. We all need to step out of our comfort zones and start having these difficult conversations, or else things will always stay the same.

Our People

We also recognize that working in such a volatile environment can be challenging. As your professional association it is our responsibility to provide you opportunities to connect with others, vent your concerns and be a source of information.

We wake up every day and go to our jobs with the intention of being the best we can be. But when our work and workplaces start to get busy and overloaded everyone deals with it differently. Some people strive in chaos. For many laboratory professionals that is not the case. Lab professionals are organized, accurate, developers of efficient processes, so when the workplace gets to be too much, we all react differently. Some of us get stressed.

The MLPAO is striving to be your center of community. We hope to foster a sense of community by providing you an outlet. These are a few of the programs we have for 2019.

  1. The “Thank You Project. These are two words we don’t hear enough of. Is there someone in your lab that has gone above and beyond? Do they deserve a formal thank you? We are launching this program so that every two months we will be profiling a member that has gone above and beyond. Do you know someone that is just fantastic? That makes coming to work a better place? Be part of the revolution and nominate someone.

  2. The Healthy Lab Challenge is back for another year! Is your team trying to get healthy? Are you trying to introduce healthy habits in the lab? Then this is the perfect contest! You will be surprised at the benefits. Be part of the revolution and get your lab team working together!

  3. Have you checked out our new blog “MLPAO Labchat”? We are excited to launch this new communication tool! We are posting questions, informative articles and just basic helpful information. Click here for more! This is a great place to visit and see what questions we get into the MLPAO and other great articles that we are writing and posting. Be part of the revolution and post your comments and opinions. We want to hear from you.

  4. Continuing Education: as a MLT and now as an MLA/T you have continuing education requirements. We are travelling across Ontario providing one day education events tailored to your needs. Visit our website to see where we are headed next. Be part of the revolution and grab a friend and attend an education event together. You just might have some fun while learning!

  5. Pizza Party! – Our goal at the MLPAO is visit all Ontario labs in the next few years. Have we been to your lab? If not, send me a note. We will visit your team, provide a short update on the MLPAO, share a slice of pizza and get some CE credits. Email me to set up your pizza party. Be part of the revolution and lets start talking about the laboratory!

The MLPAO is committed to providing you with numerous ways to stay involved with your association. And of course many ways to save money and benefit from your membership. Here is a list:

  1. Home and auto insurance: Over 60% of our membership carries insurance with Johnson our provider which reduces our overall insurance premiums.

  2. Life Insurance: you get $4,000 automatically in life insurance, no questions asked, if required.

  3. Professional Liability Insurance: We are able to provide insurance at an extremely low rate. Your membership dues INCLUDE insurance, they are not extra.

  4. Your personalized portal: access to your information online, allowing you to store all your continuing education information. This makes it very simple to provide proof of your CE when asked.

I hope this message has inspired you to start thinking differently. Make 2019 your best year yet. As always, we want to hear from you. Drop me a line at




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