Ontario doctors opposed to new fee agreement delay vote on tentative 4 year deal

Toronto – Doctors unhappy with a new fee agreement between the Ontario Medical Association and the Liberal government have forced a delay in voting on the four-year deal.

A non-binding vote by doctors was scheduled to take place before an August 6 meeting of the OMA’s governing council, which would then have decided whether to accept the new physician services agreement or reject it.

But 3,000 doctors signed a petition put forward by opponents of the deal, so the OMA agreed to call off the vote and instead hold a full membership meeting to discuss the agreement.

The tentative agreement would increase Ontario’s $11.5-billion physician services budget by 2.5 per cent a year, to $12.9 billion by 2020.

The last time the OMA held a meeting of the more than 25,000 physicians it represents was in the 1980s, when Maple Leaf Gardens was rented for the event.

Some physicians, including a group calling itself Concerned Ontario Doctors, said funding is not adequate to meet growing demands or to keep operating rooms and diagnostic equipment from sitting idle some of the time.

They were also angry that the OMA dropped a demand for binding arbitration after going two years without a fee agreement.

But OMA president Dr. Virginia Walley said the government refused to budge on the issue of binding arbitration, so the association agreed to tentative deal to bring stability to patients and doctors while it fights in court for arbitration.

The Canadian Press

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