Medical Laboratory Technologists

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About medical laboratory technologists

Medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) are health care professionals who work in 3 different disciplines:

  • General medical laboratory technology
  • Diagnostic cytology
  • Clinical genetics

MLTs perform laboratory analyses and investigations and interpret laboratory results to assist clinicians with the diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and prevention of disease.

Data availability

CIHI's Health Workforce Database (HWDB) collects aggregate-level, standardized data on the regulatory environment, supply, and demographic and education characteristics of MLTs in Canada.

Data from 2008 to 2014 is available on request by completing this form or emailing us at hhr@cihi.ca.

For more information on CIHI's MLT data, visit the HWDB metadata page.

Reports and analyses

Regulatory environment

As of 2016, MLTs are regulated in all provinces except Prince Edward Island and British Columbia. MLTs are not regulated in the territories.

Note that British Columbia has a professional association for MLTs; membership in the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science (BCSLS) is not mandatory but may be necessary for employment with some of the province’s health authorities.i

Practice criteria

To practise as an MLT in Canada, an individual must meet various requirements. These can vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Common requirements

  • Hold a diploma in medical laboratory science from an accredited program, or equivalent
  • Pass the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) national certification examination (except in Quebec)
  • Obtain membership and/or certification with the CSMLS (a condition of employment for many employers in provinces/territories without regulatory bodies)
  • Register with a provincial regulatory body as required

Areas of practice

MLTs can practise in the disciplines in which they are certified. The top disciplines/areas in which MLTs practise are

  • Clinical chemistry
  • Hematology
  • Transfusion medicine/science
  • Microbiology and specimen procurement
  • Receipt and dispatch

 i. Health Match BC. Licensing/registration. Accessed November 21, 2016.

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