Canadian Medical Association

In her inaugural address, the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA’s) new president, Dr. Joss Reimer, acknowledged the challenges physicians are facing in a system in crisis — burning out and unable to provide the care that patients deserve.

“These are big issues that will take bold action to address,” she said at the CMA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 29. “I want to be part of the solution to those challenges, together with all of you.”

Unique this year, Dr. Reimer will be teaming up with current president Dr. Kathleen Ross to serve jointly in the position for the next three months. “I could not ask for a better partner in this role,” said Dr. Reimer.

Dr. Reimer brings her experience in both public health and frontline maternity care to the CMA. She also has expertise in speaking up for change, serving as medical lead for the Manitoba vaccine taskforce at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and, most recently, as chief medical officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

"It’s the public health physician’s job to look after their community, determine where the challenges are and develop solutions,” she said. “The CMA offers a similar opportunity on a national scale.”
During her tenure, Dr. Reimer hopes to focus on creating a more supportive health system. After a difficult experience with burnout in residency, she’s deeply committed to improving medical training and work environments — citing in her remarks the need for expanded team-based care and integrated health workforce planning to benefit both physicians and patients.
In closing, Dr. Reimer looked forward to coming together with colleagues to amplify the CMA’s calls for change. “As individuals, our impact would be a drop in the bucket. But together, we are a force.”

Owing to a change in the date of the AGM from August to May, the presidential terms of Dr. Reimer and current president Dr. Kathleen Ross are overlapping by three months. They will serve as co-presidents for the period of May 30 to Aug. 30, after which point Dr. Reimer will serve exclusively as president until May 2025. Dr. Alika Lafontaine will continue to serve as past president until August.

New Brunswick physician Dr. Margot Burnell approved as president-elect

Dr. Margot Burnell, who currently serves as a medical oncologist and the chief of staff for Zone 2 of the Horizon Health Network for the Saint John area, will serve as president-elect until she’s installed as president at the 2025 AGM on May 31.

With more than three decades of experience providing cancer care, Dr. Burnell is focused on fostering caring and empathy in practice to build trusting and supportive relationships with patients.

“I will champion the family physician who guides and supports patients through life's challenges, the emergency doctor who treats life and limb conditions, and the specialist who diagnoses and treats complex cases,” she said in her campaign.

In addition to approving Dr. Burnell as president-elect, delegates at the AGM approved the full slate of nominees for positions on the CMA board and committees, and the roles of AGM chair and vice-chair.

Sharing progress on Impact 2040, opportunities to get involved

Members provided input and posed questions to leadership on the actions being taken to expand access to care and better support physicians, including streamlining licensure, expanding team-based care, driving national health workforce planning and improving digital interoperability. The proposed increase to capital gains and the impact on medical practice was also raised, an area of active advocacy for the CMA.

President Dr. Kathleen Ross, board chair Dr. Suzanne Strasberg and CEO Tim Smith underscored the progress the CMA had made on its Impact 2040 strategy, including funding innovative ways to reduce admin burden, shaping policy on access to care and committing to an apology for harms to Indigenous Peoples.

How we're driving change: Read our annual report

Members of CMA leadership also shared the opportunities ahead for physicians to get involved, including upcoming virtual dialogues on climate change and health, the International Conference on Physician Health this fall and CMA leadership opportunities, open for applications at the end of August.

Approval of bylaw changes, ongoing governance consultations

Members at the meeting approved minor bylaw changes to strengthen and modernize the eligibility criteria for CMA board directors, affirm members’ autonomy in applying for leadership positions and clarify AGM notices in the digital age.

The CMA is also considering changes to who's entitled to vote for CMA president-elect. In advance of possible changes being brought forward at the 2025 AGM, members were invited to share their perspective at the meeting and join the ongoing governance discussion on CMA Community. (Please note: you must be logged in with your credentials to participate.)

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