Your input is needed! This issue includes two brief but important surveys. See below.

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The Real CSI – Register Now!

BCSLS is proud to announce our premier educational event of the fall. Developed in partnership with the SFU Centre for Forensic Research, The Real CSI will be an intensive day-long look at the reality of crime scene investigation and cutting-edge forensic techniques.

CSI – the television drama – has dramatically brought the increasing importance of forensic investigation into the public eye. DNA testing and a range of laboratory techniques are now accepted as a vital element in criminal justice, one that brings laboratory technology into the forefront. Join us on October 4th for what will be a one-of-a kind learning experience in this exciting and rapidly changing field.

Speakers at The Real CSI are internationally-renowned forensic experts from SFU's new Centre for Forensic Research, one of the world's leading forensic laboratories. Among them will be Dr. Gail S. Anderson, the Forensic Entomologist whose work has been featured in several international documentaries.

The The Real CSI happens on October 4th, at the Justice Institute of B.C. in New Westminster, from 9:00 to 4:30. Reduced registration rates are available for BCSLS members. Early-bird registration rates are in effect until September 15th, and this event will sell out. Click here for online registration. For more information and an event poster, click here, or call BCSLS at 604-714-1760.

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CSMLS/BCSLS Congress 2008 a Huge Success!

The joint CSMLS/BCSLS Congress 2008 recently held in Kelowna was a huge success. Attendance was way above all expectations.

The biggest worry at the outset was that with almost 500 delegates and venue seating at around 350, there would be huge line-ups and complaints. It didn't happen! The Mary Irwin Theatre was three-quarters full for all talks. Although there was some congestion at the Grand Hotel, ticketing worked well and everyone seemed to get in. For overflow crowds, organizers squeezed more chairs into the larger rooms.

Keynote talks, plenary and panel discussions went very well. Although we featured two keynote speakers most people didn’t know, experience with them both indicated they would be a hit. It was wonderful to laugh and learn. The scientific program and workshops were also well received. It was great to see so many lab technologists as speakers.

We had delegates from every province and territory except Nunavut, and one from Washington State! Forty-seven percent were from B.C. It was great to see 23 lab assistants attend, targeted through the BCSLS. There weren’t many MLA-specific lectures, but the MLAs surveyed seemed happy with the content. We were thrilled to see 12 students; we specifically set student registration below cost to attract them. There seemed to be a lot of young people around in general: a great sign. The First-time Congress Attendees session on the Sunday morning was a wonderful idea, with 50 people attending.

The BCSLS would like to thank Kurt Davis, the CSMLS Board of Directors, the great crew of CSMLS staff, management and staff of the Grand Conference Centre, Val Fenn (Conference Chair), Audrey Krol, Larry Green and each and every one of the local organizing committee for their assistance, as well as the opportunity and the camaraderie of participating in this fun and rewarding event. Congratulations to everyone for a job well done!

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New MLA Day Format Under Consideration - Your input is needed!

The MLA Day organizing committee is considering changing the format for MLA Day 2009.

In the past, MLA Day has been a one-day event held in New Westminster, usually in April or May, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Several speakers address topics of interest to MLAs and lunch is provided. The tight one-day timeframe leaves little opportunity for networking and socializing with colleagues and friends from around the province. The cost of the one-day event has been $99 for the day including lunch.

The committee thinks that a two-day event over a Saturday and Sunday might be more attractive and provide opportunities for networking, sharing of experience and knowledge and socializing. A dinner would be provided on the Saturday evening, with the event wrapping up around 3:00 pm on the Sunday, allowing those who travel the time to get home at a decent hour. The committee has also heard suggestions that MLA Day should move around the province each year, to accessible communities like Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna, as well as Vancouver.

In order to make MLA Day as successful as possible, we are asking our MLA members for your opinions on this possible new format.

Please consider the following brief questions and submit your responses by e-mail to, or by fax to 604-738-4080. Your assistance is much appreciated.

1. Would you support and attend a two-day provincial MLA Day in 2009, extending over a Saturday and Sunday, allowing for a social event on the Saturday evening and many more speakers of interest to MLAs in BC?

2. Would you support a provincial MLA Day that moved to various locations around B.C. each year, provided these locations were easily accessible for most?

3. What is the maximum price would you would be willing to pay for this type of event, if the event included lunch both days and dinner on Saturday evening? (Accommodation would be the individual’s responsibility, but a special rate would be negotiated).

  • $100
  • $125
  • $150
  • $175

4. Instead of a two-day event, would you prefer a one-day event that rotated to different locations around the province?

5. What topics of interest (or specific speakers) would you like to suggest to the Organizing Committee?

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BCSLS Long Range Strategic Plan

The BCSLS Board of Directors met this past January in Richmond for a two-day Strategic Planning Workshop. The purpose of the exercise was to develop a long range five-year plan. This plan would then be broken down into one-year operational plans to accomplish the overall goals and objectives as stated by the Board. The Operational Plan for 2008-09 is now in place and is being implemented by BCSLS staff.

The January workshop identified a Strategic Plan Framework for 2008-2012 that is now being completed by staff in much greater detail. The key focus of the Framework is "Protecting and furthering the interests of the Medical Laboratory Technology Profession in B.C." The key goal is "to do what is necessary to identify, promote and prove the relevance, value and viability of the BCSLS as the representative group and voice of the Medical Laboratory Profession in B.C."

Long range objectives will be delineated in the following categories, which will parallel the Annual Operating Plans:


It is anticipated that the 2008-2012 long range plan will be completed in its entirety by Labour Day 2008.

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New BCSLS Poster Launched

The BCSLS launched a new, full-colour poster at the joint CSMLS/BCSLS Congress 2008 in Kelowna in June. The poster is now being printed for mass circulation to labs and facilities throughout B.C.

The intent of the poster is to draw attention to the critical role that Medical Laboratory Professionals play in the province's health care system. The theme of the poster – "Without us, doctors would be guessing" – is intended to highlight the fact that medical laboratory professionals perform tests that provide critical and vital information about your health. In fact, up to 85 percent of decisions about your diagnosis and treatment are based on lab test results.

According to Lynn Simpson, President of the BCSLS, "we are not trying to be controversial in any way with this poster, but we are trying to draw attention to the important role that we as Med Lab Professionals play in the system. All too often we are taken for granted by the public and by allied health professionals and I believe it is time to foster awareness of what we really do! We are the third largest medical profession in the province, behind doctors and nurses, and we are critical to the decision-making process when it comes to the patient's health and safety."

Click here for a printable PDF version of the poster. If you'd like a printed, full-colour poster mailed to you, contact the BCSLS office.

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Joint Regulatory College Update

The proposal by the BCSLS and the BCAMRT to form a Joint Regulatory College in B.C. is still before the Ministry of Health in Victoria. It has been over a year since the proposal was submitted last July.

We understand that our proposal will become part of a work plan developed by the Ministry to address any unfinished business on their agenda. We anticipate that the work plan will be completed by the end of the summer.

We realize that the Ministry was all-consumed by new legislation for the Spring sitting of the Legislature, relative to the Conversation on Health. This legislation has now been tabled, and we expect the Ministry to turn its attention to other important issues, including the BCSLS/BCAMRT proposal.

We will keep the membership informed as the situation develops.

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Pathologists Recommend Sweeping Changes in Lab QA

In the wake of the Newfoundland breast cancer screening scandal, the Canadian Association of Pathologists has released a five-point plan to improve and standardize medical laboratories across the country. "What we are proposing," said CAP president Dr. Jagdish Butany, "is the creation of an appropriately resourced national system to promote excellence in the laboratory medicine in Canada."

The CAP's plan calls for, among other proposed changes, national accreditation of all medical labs, and a concerted campaign to assess and address critical labour shortages in medical lab staffing. It is now up to government, says the CAP, to support the proposed changes and get a national med lab QA program "up and running."

In March, when the failures of the St. John's breast cancer screening program were coming to light, the CAP and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons highlighted the need for greater standardization and better lab QA. Both organizations have launched institutional reviews of laboratory standards and human resource issues in an effort to improve the consistency and reliability of diagnosis.

CSMLS has recently responded to the CAP proposal. While CSMLS supports the overall thrust of CAP's efforts, the national laboratory technology body thinks the proposal needs more detail before CSMLS can actively support it. Click here for the CSMLS response.

For further information, click here for the full CAP press release, and here for background coverage of the CAP's efforts.

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BCCDC Seeks Your Input on Expanding Popular Course

Due to popular interest, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control is considering expanding registration in an important course to laboratory professionals across B.C. BCCDC's offering, Microbiology for Public Health Reference Laboratories, is presented by clinical and scientific staff at BCCDC Laboratory Services. Part Two of the course begins this September.

For more information, click here for a brief version of the course outline.

To assist in assessing the feasibility of expanding participation to working laboratory professionals, BCCDC is seeking input from BCSLS members. Specifically, BCCDC would like your response to the following question:

For a minimal registration fee, are you interested in:

a) joining live course presentations by Telehealth Video Broadcast every second Friday, from noon to 1:00 pm?

b) accessing course materials on your own time? (through, for example PowerPoint presentations, streaming video, etc.)?

BCCDC is interested in hearing from you! Please forward your responses to by August 15, 2008.

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Write for the Objective

Do you know something others should know about? Want to raise a topic for discussion? How about reviewing a book or web site?

We are looking for people to contribute articles, reviews, commentary, and reports on local happenings to this newsletter.

Just submit a short piece - no more than 300 words - to with your name and position title. Please provide any relevant web site links, digital photos, or references with your submission.

Note: BCSLS reserves the right to edit or reject submissions for length, relevance, or misleading or objectionable content.

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