Delegates at General Council gave overwhelming support to the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) in its current dispute with the provincial government.
At the request of OMA leaders, delegates from across the country passed three resolutions condemning the Ontario government for unilaterally imposing a cap on physician billings, and supporting the OMA’s call for binding dispute resolution.
Support was unanimous or almost unanimous for the resolutions.
OMA President Mike Toth said the government decision to impose a 1.2% limit on the growth of physician expenditures – when the province’s own estimates are for growth of double this amount due to the aging population – means all additional costs will have to be borne by physicians.
The motion adopted at the meeting calls on the Ontario government to take responsibility for fully funding all necessary physician services in the province.
Dr. Gail Beck, OMA board member, pointed out that the provincial government’s unilateral actions place an undue burden on young family physicians who face income cuts of up to 30% and are limited in their ability to join group practices in urban or suburban areas.
“We have to stop this, and we have to stop this now,” said Doctors of BC member Brad Fritz.
“The slippery slope is if the government sees (it) can get away with it in Ontario, they will do it in every province.”
OMA Past President Dr. Ved Tandan said the OMA needs a binding dispute resolution mechanism in its negotiations with government, such as what exists in eight other jurisdictions.
The presidents of both the Saskatchewan Medical Association and Doctors of BC rose to strongly support this.
“It’s absolutely clear that Ontario needs this,” said Doctors of BC President Charles Webb.