We have been waiting for a long time! Ontario’s physicians, including our SEAMO physicians here in Kingston, have been working with an expired contract since last February. After multiple attempts at negotiating a deal, talks were suspended in a fairly acrimonious manner last April. In May, the government imposed a new fee schedule, which called for $338M in reductions to physician compensation, and were arguing for many new provisions. Talks broke down and the OMA mounted a vigorous campaign, suggesting that the government was acting unilaterally. The government also mounted a campaign promoting its views about doctors’ salaries in the light of the provincial deficit. The OMA suggested the government walked away from the talks. The government blamed the OMA for not willing to negotiate. It was a mess.
Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed and this September, after several months of uncertainty, the two sides sat down again and, in short order, have come to a tentative agreement, which should be ratified in the next week or so.
The essential elements of the agreement include; OMA has secured negotiating representation rights, including the negotiation of an enhanced dispute resolution mechanism; base AFP funding is preserved; and there will be a global reduction of $623M to physician compensation composed of a series of targeted savings/reductions and an across the board reduction of 0.5%.
Barry Rubin, MD who is the Lead for the Academic Health Science Center AFP Governance Organizations, has summarized a full list of the points of the agreement. Barry’s summary appears in the box below.
Hopefully, future negotiations will go more smoothly and we will be able to avoid the posturing, TV campaigns, “Mexican stand-offs”, threats of legal action, and in general, a negotiating process that should not serve as a model for the future.
If you have any views on the OMA-MoHLTC negotiations, please comment on the blog, or better yet…please drop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.