Canadian Medical Association

Dear members,

Our profession was shaken to its core this week as our colleague Dr. Walter Reynolds was tragically murdered in his Red Deer, Alberta clinic. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, clinic staff and patients as they mourn this inexplicable loss. The physician-patient relationship is built on a foundation of trust, and the attack on Dr. Reynolds is an unfathomable violation of that trust. Many of us treat our patients in similar settings, and I want to acknowledge how you may be feeling as you reflect on your own work and experiences. 

While we may never fully understand what led to this tragedy, we know how important it is to support one another right now. I invite you to talk with your colleagues about your feelings and experiences as you process this news. Professional support is also available to you through your respective physician health programs, and our confidential, 24/7 Wellness Support Line.

COVID-19 advocacy update

National coordination and collaboration are key to effectively respond to the pandemic, and this week is showing once again how the medical community and government are working together to support Canadians and health care providers. 

This week, I again met with federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu to discuss how Canada can learn from the past five months to strengthen our response and prepare for what lies ahead, by:

  • bolstering our public health capacity and expanding primary care access;
  • expanding virtual care and addressing inequities in access to digital health services;
  • better protecting our marginalized and susceptible populations, including seniors; and 
  • helping to mitigate the unique risks and financial burdens experienced by physicians and front-line health care workers.

On this last point, we‘re pleased to report that our advocacy to expand eligibility to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was successful. The federal government has altered the program so that physicians in cost-sharing arrangements now qualify, enabling more members of our profession to access support.

Later today, I’ll be convening a pan-Canadian meeting between federal Health Minister Hajdu, the CMA, and the provincial and territorial medical association presidents. This joint meeting is a first; a unique opportunity to be at the table with government to share our insights as a profession and discuss next steps for responding to COVID-19.

Recognizing excellence in health care

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen the impact that health leaders and advocates can have in advocating for system change, giving the underrepresented a voice and finding ways to improve care. 

Through our 2020 CMA Awards, we’re recognizing 16 individuals who’ve made incredible contributions to medicine and the Canadian health system. They are: Dr. Najma Ahmed, Colonel (Retired) Ian Anderson – MD, Mohammad Asadi-Lari, Dr. Naheed Dosani, Dr. Vladimir Hachinski, Dr. Anthea Lafreniere, Dr. France Légaré, Elisa Levi, Dr. Vanessa Maclean, Dr. Gurdeep Parhar, Dr. Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers, André Picard, Dr. Vanessa Poliquin, Niharika Shahi, Vivian Tsang and Dr. Kimberly Williams. 

My sincere congratulations to all the award recipients. To learn more about them and their work, please visit cma.ca/awards.

Health and wellness resources

Peer support can be an effective way of coping with the challenges we face in our lives, both professionally and personally. Through our Wellness Connection platform, we offer a variety of virtual group support sessions each week, led by physicians and trained facilitators. These include formal peer support, group support drop-ins and featured sessions such as "compassion rounds" and "psychological first aid." Click on the links below for more information on each session and to register.

Friday, Aug. 14
Psychological First Aid
12:00–1:00 pm ET
Wednesday, Aug. 19
Group Session – Responding to COVID-19
6:00–7:00 pm ET
Monday, Aug. 17
Formal Peer Support
7:00–8:00 pm ET
Thursday, Aug. 20
Compassion Rounds
12:00–1:00 pm ET
Compassion Rounds
7:00–8:00 pm ET
Tuesday, Aug. 18
Formal Peer Support
7:00–8:00 pm ET
Friday, Aug. 21
Psychological First Aid
12:00–1:00 pm ET

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or suggestions. Our Member Service Centre can be reached at memberservicecentre@cma.ca or toll-free at 1-888-855-2555 (weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm ET).

With immense pride to be speaking on your behalf,
Dr. Sandy Buchman


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