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The profession of medical laboratory technologist is regulated in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. The profession isn’t regulated in the provinces of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Territories.

Appropriate provincial and territorial regulatory bodies set the rules and regulations for entry into the profession and issue licenses to those who meet the qualifications. By law, you can only work as a medical laboratory technologist in any province where it’s regulated if you have been issued a license by the regulatory body there.

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is the national certifying body and professional association for medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants. The CSMLS conduct examinations for general medical laboratory technology, diagnostic cytology, clinical genetics and medical laboratory assistants.

It works in partnership with provincial regulatory bodies, does advocacy work and certifies people in the profession. Its certification is accepted across Canada and required by the provinces and territories that do not have yet an individual regulatory body.

Before you immigrate

There are steps that you can take before you immigrate to improve your chances of practicing your profession in Canada:

  • Research to get a general overview of how your international qualifications may be viewed in Canada and to get a sense of the Canadian labour market.
  • Contact the CSMLS and the provincial or territorial regulatory body in the area where you intend to settle and work. Find out what procedure to follow and the cost and time required to obtain a permit. Also ask which steps to take before and after you immigrate.
  • Begin your Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) with the CSMLS before you come to Canada. The PLA evaluates your academic credentials, practical learning, professional development and work history to determine your equivalency to the national Canadian standards for medical laboratory technologists. You can can complete the assessment before you come to Canada, but you have to be in Canada to write the certification exams.
  • To practice the profession, you need to have advanced English or French (depending on your destination province) language competency. Even if you’re a fluent speaker of English or French, it’s helpful to improve your language skills and enroll in language classes while in your home country and continue them after moving to Canada.
  • Gather and organize your official education, work and identity documents while still in your home country. When you contact the CSMLS or the regulatory colleges, find out what documents you need to bring for employment purposes or to continue education. Verify if documents need to be translated. The CSMLS prefers that your college or university documents in English or French.
  • Understand how the profession of medical laboratory technologist is practiced in Canada and familiarize yourself with the procedures, laws, and legislation that govern your profession in the province where you’ll settle.
  • Know the name of your job in Canada and make a list of potential employers.
  • Subscribe to the newsletters of the related professional organizations. This will help you to keep yourself updated with industry developments even while you are still in your home country.
  • Find out how to get a driver’s license in Canada and apply for it as soon as you land. It would be very useful when you get a job, or even to help you search for a job.

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