TORONTO, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Following months of unfair bargaining,
threats to representation rights, unilateral cuts to fees, and
negotiating in bad faith, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA)
announced today that it is applying to the Ontario Superior Court of
Justice for a review of the government's negotiation tactics and
unilateral imposition of cuts to fees and programs on the doctors of
During the two months the government and OMA were in negotiations, the
government refused to engage in any meaningful discussions until the
OMA first agreed to accept $1.1 billion in net funding cuts. It is the
position of the OMA that the government has not negotiated in good
faith. The OMA will ask the court to:
Decide that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to
Review the government's bargaining tactics in these negotiations and
direct them to bargain in good faith; and
Reverse the government's $340 million in unilateral fee cuts that were
imposed, not in accordance with the requirements of the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms.
Section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires governments
to negotiate in good faith as a precondition to taking unilateral
action such as cutting fees.
The government has repeatedly rejected several offers put forward by the
OMA, including a two year freeze on fees and to find $250 million in
savings (the equivalent of a 2.5% fee cut to physicians in Ontario).
The government has also refused the OMA's request to bring a third
party conciliator to ensure fairness in negotiations. Conciliation is
one of the recommended mechanisms to resolve disputes in the Canada
Health Act. The government's decision to proceed unilaterally and cut
programs and fees, and continued resistance to negotiate fairly and
bring a conciliator left the OMA with no choice but to ask the court to
step in and proceed with a Charter challenge.
The OMA pointed to a landmark case in British Columbia where the Supreme
Court of Canada ruled that the right to freedom of association included
the right to bargain collectively. Recognizing the OMA has negotiated
the fee schedule with the Ontario government since introduction of
medicare, the OMA clearly has:
The right to negotiate changes to the schedule of benefits with the
Ontario government; and
Ontario has the obligation to consider OMA submissions with respect to
changes to the schedule of benefits in good faith.
"Here in Canada, everyone is afforded protections under the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms. This includes doctors. It's deeply disappointing
that the government has devalued the role of physicians to the point
where we are forced to take such a drastic step."
"While other provincial governments are working collaboratively with
their physicians, the McGuinty government continues to choose politics
over patients. I really believed that in the interest of patient-care
the government would want to get back to the table and negotiate
fairly. But clearly the government has no intention of bargaining in
good faith with Ontario's doctors. Their stubbornness will have a
negative impact on patient care and puts at risk our ability to recruit
and retain physicians in Ontario."
"Doctors remain available to work with the province to achieve savings
in health care, but we won't do it without an assurance that there will
be a fair process that considers our input. Doctors right across the
province are extremely concerned about what cuts are coming next, and
the total disregard for due process shown by the government."
Dr. Doug Weir
Ontario Medical Association
SOURCE Ontario Medical Association
For further information:
OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862