Doctors across Canada support Ontario's Doctors in their push for fair treatment from provincial government

HALIFAX, Aug. 26, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Medical Association stood with Ontario's doctors today in their fight to end the unilateral action imposed on them by the Ontario government.

In a strong show of support, the CMA backed three motions put forward at the annual general meeting in Halifax that called on provincial governments to fund all the medical services necessary to take care of patients, that supported the request of Ontario's doctors for the inclusion of a binding dispute resolution mechanism in its contract negotiations, and that supported the end of governments undertaking unilateral actions in lieu of negotiated agreements – as is the current situation in Ontario. 

"Ontario's doctors appreciate the support of their fellow physicians as they push to make health care a priority for the Ontario government, and as they strive to be treated fairly and with respect by a government more fixated on its budget than the needs of patients," said Dr. Mike Toth, President, Ontario Medical Association.

When it imposed unilateral action on Ontario's doctors back in January, the Ontario government limited growth in the physician services budget to 1.25 per cent. This is the budget used to fund all medical services provided by physicians in Ontario. The current rate of growth in demand for medical services from a growing and aging population, who need more complex care, is pegged at 2.7 per cent based on the government's own estimates so it is willing to fund less than half of expected growth and is asking doctors to make up the difference.

"Physicians in Ontario are now expected to cover all the additional costs of looking after each child born in the province, every new person who decides to call Ontario home, and the extra care needed for an aging population," said Dr. Toth. "As physicians we provide the care our patients need, but it is the government's responsibility to fund physician services."

Ontario's doctors are currently seeking to include a binding dispute resolution mechanism, such as mediation-arbitration, in its contract negotiations with the provincial government. Eight other provinces and territories have some form of binding dispute resolution mechanism.

The current impasse with government began on Jan. 15 when the Ontario Medical Association Board of Directors rejected the government's final offer after nearly a year of negotiations that included facilitation and conciliation. The offer was rejected as Ontario's doctors knew it would hurt patients. In response, the government of Ontario imposed an action on doctors with cuts and changes coming into effect Feb. 1 and April 1, with further action to take place in the future when the arbitrary cap imposed on the physician services budget is reached.

This is the second time in three years that the government has unilaterally imposed cuts and service reductions on patients in Ontario.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: Danielle Milley, Senior Advisor Media Relations, 416-599-2580 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 3008 or danielle.milley@oma.org; OMA Media Relations, 416-340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862, media@oma.org

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