Having been on the receiving end of these updates for the past six months, it’s an honour to now be contributing to them in my new role as CMA president. I want to start by thanking you for your support as I take on this position. It’s an incredibly important time for the profession and I intend to use my experience and perspective to help push for the changes needed to benefit you, our communities and our health system.
As a member of the CMA’s post-pandemic expert advisory group, I’ve already taken a deeper dive into some of the most immediate issues facing the profession as we respond to COVID-19. In our discussions, we identified:
- addressing the backlog of surgeries and services postponed by the pandemic;
- investigating changes to Canada’s long-term care system and supporting seniors;
- working on a national mental health strategy for our health workforce; and
- exploring opportunities to expand virtual care across Canada.
I’m looking forward to sharing these insights with the federal government over the next few months, as we continue our advocacy work with federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, and reach out to the new federal finance minister, Chrystia Freeland, and the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Erin O’Toole. With the upcoming Speech from the Throne and pre-budget consultations, we have the opportunity to offer solutions for responding to COVID-19 in the immediate and longer-term.
I also want to thank our outgoing president, Dr. Buchman. While there are still many challenges facing the profession, he has set incredibly strong groundwork for us throughout his term – and in particular in the last six months. I look forward to building on this work and being a strong advocate on your behalf.
Highlights from our Annual General Meeting
Thank you to everyone who joined us on Sunday for our Annual General Meeting. We had more than 300 participants logged on for the virtual meeting; for those who weren’t able to attend, you can review the highlights from the discussion, including the questions that were top of mind for members during the Q&A with our board leadership.
Announcing the $1 million Joule COVID-19 Innovation grant winners
For the past six months, physicians and medical learners have been coming up with some truly innovative solutions to the challenges posed by this pandemic. Through the Joule COVID-19 Innovation grants, we committed to supporting and scaling up this work, to help keep us protected, improve access to care and support our most vulnerable populations.
Today, Joule is announcing the six grant recipients, who together will be receiving $1 million in funding to scale up their pandemic-related projects. The recipients are:
- Dr. Neil Naik, PPE Access Canada — providing reliable and affordable access to PPE for front-line health care workers
- Dr. Heidi Britton, Aemion™ — deploying Aemion™, a coating that can be used on hospital surfaces and fabrics to eliminate pathogens, in hospitals and public health clinics across Canada
- Dr. Susan Ripley, Tayaka Technology Inc. — designing an N95 mask that creates an effective and tight-fitting seal, and is comfortable enough to be worn for an entire shift
- Dr. Joseph Ma, Bionic-i Inc. — working to deploy a cost-effective disinfection device to efficiently sterilize clinical environments
- Dr. Peter Goldberg, Code Life Ventilator Challenge – Made for All — building a clinical-grade ventilator that can be produced cheaply and easily, anywhere in the world
- Ms. Monisha Persaud, Student-Senior Isolation Prevention Partnership — supporting socially isolated seniors during the pandemic by pairing them with student volunteers in their community
To learn more about the recipients and their work, I encourage you to visit joulecma.ca/covidgrants.
Updated financial guidance for physicians
Last month, the federal government announced additional changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, allowing physicians in cost-sharing arrangements to qualify. The CMA has been strongly advocating for this change, and commissioned tax experts MNP to create a guide on the updated CEWS program and the impact on physicians’ practices.
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Member Service Centre. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll-free at 1-888-855-2555 (weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm ET).
Thank you very much for this opportunity to serve you all,
Dr. Ann Collins