Toronto Star: Doctors accuse OMA of pressing members to vote for deal
Dissident doctors fighting a tentative contract between the Ontario Medical Association and the government are stepping up their campaign in advance of Sunday’s vote by physicians across the province.
The Coalition of Ontario Doctors held a news conference Tuesday accusing the OMA of trying to “railroad” members into passing the four-year deal with an “aggressive” effort.
“They’ve hired a pricey Bay Street PR firm,” said Dr. David Jacobs, a Toronto radiologist speaking for the coalition.
“It’s been a very one-sided push. We’ve been subjected to telemarketers, robocalls . . . we’re not quite sure why they’re pressing so hard.”
OMA president Dr. Virginia Walley said the association — which recommends members accept the deal as the best bet to avoid more unilateral cuts by the government — wants to make sure physicians are “fully informed” on the details.
“I believe our members will see the merits,” added Walley, who said the contract is the best doctors can hope for while the OMA goes through the court system in a bid to win binding arbitration for future contracts.
The coalition said the OMA is “trying to ram the deal through in the middle of summer vacation” and repeated warnings that the budget for paying physicians won’t keep pace with inflation and population growth.
“This will require physicians to ration care,” Jacobs said, calling for “full funding of growth in the system.”
He also voiced concerns that doctors, whom he acknowledged “make a good income,” will be squeezed on their fees, making it more difficult for them to pay overhead costs for rent, nurses and other staff in their offices.
The coalition maintains the OMA ignored the direction of its members in not getting the government to agree to send the contract dispute to binding arbitration.
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said his party supports the push for binding arbitration, saying doctors are “essential workers” like police and firefighters whose contracts go to third-party arbitrators if an impasse is reached in negotiations.
“All options should be on the table . . . including binding arbitration,” Brown said in a statement.