June 9, 2017
Dear OAC member,
Last night, at a meeting of the OAC Board of Directors followed by the Association’s annual meeting of members, the OAC reviewed the 2017 OMA-MOH tentative binding arbitration (BA) framework agreement. While the OAC strongly supports BA in principle, it was the unanimous decision of the Board of Directors and all in attendance at the Annual Meeting to reject this tentative agreement for the following reasons:
- The agreement entrenches the OMA in perpetuity as the bargaining agent for all Ontario physicians.
- The agreement specifies income relativity for arbitration without citing other key issues. Giving prominence to relativity is unfair and will pit groups of doctors against each other.
- The agreement exposes the OMA to conflicts within the profession (i.e. picking “winners” and “losers”) arising from its co-management role (with MOH) of the Physician Services Budgets and expenditures. This will be further amplified by the income relativity clause (see above) and the OMA’s current internal position on the CANDI methodology.
- The agreement entrenches Mediation/Arbitration with the same Chairperson versus having the roles divided to ensure greater transparency. This weakens the OMA’s position within the BA process.
- The agreement exposes compensation of CMPA coverage to arbitration in the future. This coverage will most likely disappear through arbitration in 2023.
The OAC believes that this BA framework agreement contains the vestiges of the OMA’s “old guard”, a group whose approach to government negotiations was resoundingly rejected in August 2016. The agreement places a higher value on OMA organizational self-preservation than on representing the fundamental interests of all grassroots members fairly. It serves to divide and separate, not unify, us. In short, we believe it can be done better.
We must not be hoodwinked into supporting a BA framework agreement now for reasons of expediency. Moreover, we must not feel pressured or bullied to support this agreement to satisfy the political schedule of the Ontario Liberals. Let’s take the time needed to get this right.
Securing a fair BA framework agreement is crucial to the future of our profession in Ontario. We cannot afford to get this wrong. Our collective future, and that of our patients, depend on it.
The OAC is recommending that you vote “No” to this agreement now. Give the new OMA Board of Directors the chance to develop and pursue its own mandate, as an instrument of comprehensive reform, including developing a better BA framework agreement that ensures all doctors are treated fairly in our organization.
James Swan, MD, FRCP(C), F.A.C.C.
Ontario Association of Cardiologists
34 Eglinton Ave. West, Suite 410
Toronto, ON M4R 2H6