Lab Canada

CSMLS calls for regulation of medical laboratory assistants

Hamilton, ON – The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is calling for the regulation of medical laboratory assistants (MLAs) in all jurisdictions across Canada, which it says will enhance patient safety for Canadians. Regulation would define the scope of practice for these laboratory professionals, adopt a harmonized standard for entry to practice and set standards for continuing professional development.

MLAs sort, prepare and sometimes process samples that will be tested and analyzed by medical laboratory technologists. They collect samples, such as blood, and are often the laboratory professional that interacts directly with patients.

“MLAs are often the front line of the diagnostic process,” says Heather Autio, president of the CSMLS. “The work they do will affect all of the diagnostic testing and analysis that will happen further down the chain. Their impact, therefore, can hugely affect patient care, either positively or negatively.”

The purpose of professional regulation is to protect the public. Medical laboratory technologists are already regulated in almost all jurisdictions in Canada (AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, NS and NL). The CSMLS would like to see medical laboratory assistants follow suit given the strong connection between the two roles.

The organization has published a position paper outlining its stance on the need for regulating MLAs on its website.