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About Labs

Licensed Laboratories and Specimen Collection Centres

All members of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario (CMLTO) use the designation MLT. The majority of medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) work in hospital laboratories. Licensed laboratories are comprised of all of the hospital laboratories, private laboratories, public health clinics and Canadian Blood Services laboratories.

Four pieces of legislation ensure the people managing and working in Ontario's licensed laboratories are accountable to the highest standards of care:

Members of the public can have confidence that licensed labs:

  • must have a medical director
  • have the qualifications of their supervisor and other laboratory staff defined by legislation
  • are checked regularly to see that they have appropriate laboratory staff, processes and equipment to perform the classes of tests for which the license is approved
  • must have a quality program in place and keep records that can be viewed by laboratory government inspectors at any time.

If a lab is licensed, the license will be posted in a conspicuous place. If the license is not posted, you are probably at an unlicensed laboratory.

The list of licensed laboratories in Ontario is maintained by the Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare whose purpose is 'to promote quality improvement of laboratories and related services for the public good and the benefit of health professionals'.

Unlicensed Laboratories

As a health care consumer, be aware that some unlicensed specimen collection centres and laboratories – found in medical and infertility clinics, physician's offices, forensic, and occupational health centres – are not licensed and therefore are not required to meet the same rigorous standards as licensed facilities.

If you are concerned that your local laboratory or specimen collection centre is unlicensed, simply tell your health professional that you would like to have your specimen taken at a licensed facility. Information is available to help find the nearest licensed facility in your community.