We have now had time to sufficiently digest the new Physician Services Agreement, which was negotiated in secret by the Ontario Medical Association and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care during the past two weeks.
After careful consideration, and full acknowledgement of what a ‘NO’ vote would mean, the Board of DoctorsOntario has unanimously reached the conclusion that for the good of Ontario’s doctors and our patients, we recommend you vote ‘NO’.
While there are a number of reasons to reject this ‘sleazy’ deal that appears to have been negotiated on the back of a napkin, and that the OMA Board gave its approval of by signing the agreement on the hood of a car in a dark alley, we’ve narrowed it down to the following five reasons:
- The new OMA President, Dr. Virginia Walley, promised the OMA wouldn’t resume negotiations without the government first agreeing to binding arbitration as a condition for heading back to the table. Walley broke this promise, not only to her members but also to OMA Council, who made it clear that without binding arbitration there would be no deal.
- While the OMA and the government will spin this to the media that Ontario’s doctors are receiving a 10% pay raise over the next four years, the truth is, this new agreement actually makes permanent the 15% cuts to our fees the government unilaterally imposed on doctors during the past two-plus years we’ve been without a contract.
- By agreeing to ‘co-manage’ the health-care system with the government, the OMA has now put every doctor in the province in the position of helping the government ration care, thereby forcing us to throw our patients ‘under the bus’ in order to help the government save money, just so they can win the next election.
- Should the province find it’s spent too much money on physician services at the end of each fiscal year, this agreement will make Ontario’s doctors solely responsible for that over-run, which will likely result in clawbacks as high as 10% to 20%.
- By signing this agreement, and urging Ontario’s doctors to support it, the OMA has placed its own interests (i.e. the $50-$60 million per year in mandatory dues it takes from your pockets via the Rand formula) above those of its members and our patients.
For these reasons and more, we urge you to reject this offer and vote ‘NO’. We also encourage you to make sure you let the OMA know how you feel by exercising your franchise and taking part in the upcoming referendum.
We need a huge voter turnout to be successful, and will likely require at least a 60% ‘NO’ vote in order to ensure the OMA doesn’t ignore the will of its members and accept the deal anyway. Remember, this is a ‘non-binding’ referendum. It’s only meant to ‘advise’ the OMA Board. They can choose to ignore the results.
Should we succeed in voting down this latest train wreck of an agreement, however, we will demand OMA President Walley and Minister of Health Hoskins do the right thing and resign. We will also petition the OMA stop forcing us to pay dues and hold a new referendum, asking Ontario’s doctors who they’d prefer to have as their representative.
In the meantime, we need your help to get our message out to as many of your colleagues as possible before voting starts on July 27, 2016.
It costs $250 to join DoctorsOntario. We think that's a small price to pay in order to have someone stand up on your behalf so our collective voices can be heard.
We can do this. But it's up to you to take that first step.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Stephen Skyvington at (416) 859-2239 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DoctorsOntario. Together, we’re stronger.
Douglas Mark, MD, Interim President
and the Board of DoctorsOntario
P.S. Even if your 2016 membership renewal isn't due for another couple of months, NOW is when your support will do the most good. If you already plan to renew later this year, please consider visiting our website at www.doctorsontario.ca and renewing your membership now, so we can be active in the public forum during the next few months.