position statements
    BCSLS statements
regulatory college updates
lab reform

Position Statements
Members of a professional association look to and expect their association to have positions on topics relevant to the profession. In addition to having a position, the members also expect the association to speak out on the topic, reinforcing the organization’s view through communicating with the general public and with target groups, depending on the topic. Some of the following statements are those issued solely by BCSLS. Others are held jointly with CSMLS and in some cases with international organizations.

BCSLS Statements

The British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science (BCSLS) supports, in principle, job enrichment by its members provided:

  • Adequate training and appropriate certification is obtained, as determined by the governing body of the discipline involved.
  • Reassessment and/or recertification occur regularly.
  • Expanded duties do not conflict with existing designated job classifications.

Until such time as our scope of practice is defined by law, members of the BCSLS will cooperate with other health care professionals in training and assessing others to perform limited laboratory functions. However, final responsibility for training, assessment, certification, equipment quality control and supervision of delegated functions will always remain with a qualified laboratory technologist.

Approved by the Board



Point-of-Care Laboratory Testing
Advances in instrumentation have led to the routine use of point-of-care testing equipment. The British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science (BCSLS) endorses the use of these devices provided that strict controls are maintained by Medical Laboratory Technologists.

Health care delivery should be carried out by a team where every professional involved contributes the best possible training, educational skills and abilities to overall patient care. This team will include attending physician(s), nursing staff, laboratory physicians, medical laboratory technologists, and medical laboratory assistants.

Quality assurance and instrument maintenance form an integral part of the curriculum of Medical Laboratory Technologist training. The BCSLS believes that laboratory services should include the supervision of point-of-care testing programs.

The BCSLS states that the following criteria should be met:

  1. Maintenance, calibration and quality control of instruments must be under the supervision of certified Medical Technology Technologists wherever testing is performed.
  2. Where procedures are already in place for testing to be performed by staff other than certified Medical Laboratory Technologists, Technologists must remain responsible for interpretation of quality control, maintenance, training and continuing education on these instruments.

The apparent simplicity of the instrumentation must not suggest that little or no technical expertise is needed to ensure accurate results.

Properly controlled, this new generation of medical instruments will improve patient care.

Approved by the Board 05/05/96



Integration of Laboratory Services in British Columbia
Integration of laboratory services will have province-wide impact.

In anticipation of the changes, the BCSLS advocates that employers must recognize the importance of competency when reassigning laboratory positions. In the interests of public safety, laboratory personnel must have appropriate skills and knowledge to perform job requirements.

BCSLS encourages its members to maintain the required skills by actively pursuing Continuing Education. Our application for College Designation under the Health Professions Act reflects the Society’s concern for public safety and the need to remain competent in our job performance.

Approved by the Board 06/12/96



Public and Private Laboratory Services
BCSLS supports the need to provide British Columbians with high quality, cost effective Medical Laboratory Services. BCSLS believes there is a role for both public and private sector laboratories to provide these services.

With the current restructuring of health care services in British Columbia, the BCSLS recognizes the need for co-operation between all stakeholders (private and public systems) involved in providing medical laboratory services. The BCSLS encourages its members to work towards developing models for health care that are unique to British Columbia, that maintain quality, cost containment and efficiency with the ultimate focus on providing the best possible health services.

Approved by the BCSLS Board on 06/12/96



Medical Laboratory Assistants
There is a role in Laboratory Medicine for support personnel to perform tasks which do not require laboratory test evaluation, interpretation or assessment. These support functions have a direct effect on the health and wellbeing of patients, therefore it is necessary for the people who perform these functions to be appropriately trained and adequately supervised.

The British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science recognizes these support functions and the role of the Medical Laboratory Assistant within the field of Laboratory Medicine. The BCSLS has established a curriculum and basic standards for the training of Medical Laboratory Assistants. To gain BCSLS endorsement, training programs must follow the curriculum guidelines and standards of practice as outlined in a separate document.

The BCSLS encourages Medical Laboratory Assistants to join the Society by acquiring certification through the BCSLS.

Laboratory test results have a direct impact on the diagnosis of disease and on patient treatment and follow up. In the interests of patient safety, laboratory testing should be performed by qualified Medical Laboratory Technologists. Support functions should be under the direct or general supervision of qualified laboratory personnel who have responsibility for the quality of the work performed.

Approved by the Board 09/05/96



Combined Laboratory and Xray Technicians (Certified Combined Technicians – CCTs)
CCTs work in small hospitals and labs in rural areas on BC doing basic laboratory and xray testing. They graduate from programs from Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The BCSLS agrees with the Diagnostic Accreditation Program that medical laboratory technologists should ideally perform all laboratory tests but recognizes the need for employing CCTs in rural areas for cost containment. The competency of CCTs reporting laboratory results is very important to the Society. These individuals must have documented training and continuing Regional Supervision.

The BSCLS encourages CCTs to join the Society as a Certified Member. The BCSLS encourages its members to maintain the required skills by actively pursuing Continuing Education.

Approved by the Board 08/19/97



Laboratory Reform
The board of BCSLS has been carefully following the Ministries of Health/Health Planning initiatives to review and re-organize the delivery of laboratory services. BCSLS is concerned about recent changes in delivery of laboratory services. These changes will have a significant impact on patient care and most appear to be taking place in a random fashion without an integrated approach.

The goal of the medical laboratory is to contribute to effective patient-centred care and support other members of the health care team. We believe it is essential laboratory services be delivered by a system which:

  • supports clinical education for students. Practicum placements for technologists and assistants are now scarce – limiting the numbers of students being trained to replace the aging workforce.
  • stresses the importance of Quality Control. Sophisticated instruments produce reliable data only if the inputs are valid and the outputs are regularly checked against controls.
  • uses appropriately trained individuals in an accredited facilities

BCSLS is particularly concerned with two pressing issues:

  1. Human Resources: regional health authorities are proceeding with significant changes to staffing and services on a region by region basis without reference to a provincial plan. These staffing changes occur at a time when reduced clinical placements have already cut the number of students being trained AND other provinces are actively recruiting medical laboratory professionals in BC.
  2. Public statements on “automation”: Our field changes rapidly and many advances have been made in the automation of certain laboratory tests. Many tests can be conducted with “robotics”; many others cannot. Automation will not magically transform the delivery of laboratory services in BC.

The management of change in the medical laboratory service is complicated by several factors. This is a high volume service with tests which provide the basis for a significant number of other health care services. The reliability of tests depends upon adherence to routines, standard operating procedures, protocols, maintenance and backup. The laboratory, more than most health care services, needs a long term view of proposed changes.

BCSLS urges our members to continue to practice responsibly in these challenging times of change. Be ever mindful of our professional obligations contained in the Code of Professional Conduct developed by our national association.

As a professional medical laboratory technologist or assistant, you should:

  • have a clear understanding of your current skill set and seek documented training and relevant procedures when asked to stretch the boundaries of your competencies.
  • make sure all duties are properly documented and controlled and lines of supervision are clearly established in the medical laboratory.
  • constructively express your concerns about duty changes, procedures and quality assurance to Laboratory Managers and the Laboratory's Medical Director.

Approved and Issued by the Board in October 2003


CSMLS/BCSLS Statements

Maintenance of Competence
Initially approved by CSMLS 1996, Reaffirmed 2014

Laboratory Environmental Concerns

Initially approved by CSMLS 1993, Reaffirmed 2011

CSMLS Position Statements

Initially approved by CSMLS 1993, Reaffirmed 2014