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Concerns About Lab Tests


1. Does the person who takes my blood have to be a member of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario (CMLTO)?

No. Medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) and other health professionals are authorized to take blood samples as part of their scope of practice. Although taking blood from a vein is a controlled act, there is an exemption for employees of licensed laboratories. Provincial legislation also permits a controlled act like taking a blood sample to be delegated to someone who is not otherwise authorized to perform it. In many environments, this means that medical laboratory assistants or medical laboratory technicians take blood samples. Note: these practitioners are not regulated and as such complaints regarding their actions should be directed to the director of that laboratory or specimen collection centre or Laboratory Licensing and Inspection Services (LLIS) who are responsible for licensing laboratories. LLIS may be contacted 416-326-2158.


2. What infection control measures should be in place at a lab? Should personnel be wearing gloves and masks?

Every lab is required to have a policy that addresses infection control. Generally, the health care professional determines the appropriate level of infection control in any given situation. Gloves and masks are most often worn to protect the health care worker from the threat of infection from the patient. The most effective form of infection control remains proper hand hygiene and you should expect to see this protocol followed by lab staff.


3. Who decides which tests will be performed?

MLTs act on the order of a health professional authorized by law to order lab tests.


4. What do I do if I want to have additional tests performed?

Patients who have concerns about the tests ordered by their authorized health professional or who wish to have additional tests performed must speak to that professional. If your health professional agrees that more tests are warranted, he/she will prepare the appropriate requisition for the additional tests.


5. When do I file a complaint concerning an MLT working in a lab?


The CMLTO serves the public interest by investigating complaints about the conduct of MLTs.

If you experience a problem with the care provided to you by an MLT, please inform the CMLTO immediately. Include the following information in your initial communication to the CMLTO:

  • The name (first and last) of the person you wish to complain about. If you do not know the name of the person, please provide as much detail and identifying information as possible:
  • A description of your concern (provide as much detail as possible);
  • The date(s) the event(s) occurred;
  • The name of any hospital, laboratory or institution involved;
  • The name, address and phone number of any other person who may have information pertaining to your concern and;
  • Copies of any relevant documents you have relating to your complaint.

If you are unsure of whether to complain, contact us anyway. Our staff will be pleased to advise you.
Following a thorough investigation, the CMLTO’s Inquiries, Complaints and Reports (ICR) Committee may conclude a complaint by issuing a caution or reminder to the member, or the ICR Committee may refer a matter to the Discipline Committee for a hearing. If the Discipline Committee finds an MLT to have committed an act of professional misconduct, he or she may face fines, suspension and/or revocation of the right to practice.
The CMLTO publishes the results of all discipline hearings in its quarterly publication FOCUS, which is available on the CMLTO website.
Note: Only MLTs are regulated by the CMLTO, not medical laboratory assistants or medical laboratory technicians. Complaints about these practitioners who work in licensed laboratories should be directed to the director of that laboratory or specimen collection centre or Laboratory Licensing and Inspection Services (LLIS), which is responsible for licensing laboratories. LLIS may be contacted 416-326-2158. Medical laboratory assistants or medical laboratory technicians who work in unlicensed environments are accountable to their employers.