New Ontario Medical Association President to represent province's doctors

TORONTO, May 7, 2017 /CNW/ - Members of the Ontario Medical Association's Council elected Dr. Shawn Whatley as the new President, who brings a deep understanding of the concerns of the profession and challenges affecting our health system.

Dr. Whatley, a physician specializing in family and emergency medicine living and working in Mount Albert, begins his term as President of the Ontario Medical Association today following new governance procedures that reflect input from the membership. He has held a number of leadership positions at both the OMA and in the community.

As the representative for Ontario's 29,000 practicing physicians, Dr. Whatley is assuming the President's role during a time when the profession has been without an agreement with the government for more than three years. To address this, physicians have repeatedly called on government to agree to binding arbitration so that there is a neutral third-party whose final recommendations would be binding for both parties. 

"For the past three years, doctors have been disrespected and vilified by the government," said Dr. Whatley.  "Government has cut the Physician Services Budget by almost seven per cent and individual physicians, depending on specialty, have faced additional cuts and elimination of certain OHIP codes, which has impacted their ability to provide care to patients."

In February 2017, the Premier of Ontario and Minster of Health committed to negotiating a binding arbitration framework, a fair process that doctors have spent many months asking for. Substantial progress has been made and both sides are optimistic about reaching an agreement on binding arbitration. However, doctors continue to plan for job action, in the event the government does not fulfill its commitment to negotiate binding arbitration.

"Doctors have been working harder than ever to keep our health-care system intact, in the face of chronic underfunding by government," said Dr. Whatley. "For years, the government has knowingly underfunded patient care and has been able to do so because doctors pay for a significant part of our health-care infrastructure – this is inappropriate and unsustainable."

In his speech to council, Dr. Whatley spoke about his priorities, which included rebuilding members trust, strengthening unity in the profession, and achieving excellence at the association.

"The OMA has faced an unprecedented challenge," Dr. Whatley said. "We have a big job ahead of us. But I am certain, that we – all of us here today – can build a better OMA if we work together."     

Dr. Whatley trained in medicine at the University of Ottawa. He is married with four children.

Dr. Nadia Alam was elected as President-Elect under the new governance structure. She begins her term next spring.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) represents more than 40,000 physicians and medical students across the province. Ontario's doctors work closely with patients to encourage healthy living practices and illness prevention. In addition to delivering front-line services to patients, Ontario's doctors play a significant role in helping shape health care policy, as well as implementing initiatives that strengthen and enhance Ontario's health-care system.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: Nadia Daniell-Colarossi, Manager Media Relations, Office: 416-340-2970 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2970, Mobile: 416-804-4600, Email:; Danielle Milley, Senior Advisor Media Relations, Office: 416-599-2580 or 1-800-268-7215 ext. 3008, Mobile: 647-300-0081, Email:


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