BlackburnNews.com file photo of Windsor Regional Hospital's Metropolitan Campus, July 16, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Ontario Doctors Ratify Arbitration Agreement

The Ontario Medical Association has approved its latest pact with the province.

The association confirmed on its website that 65% of those voting have ratified a long-term care binding arbitration framework agreement.

The vote was announced during the association’s annual meeting Saturday in Toronto. Over 10,600 association members voted.

“After 3 years of unprecedented fee cuts and unilateral government action this agreement now provides for a fair, independent process and prevents the government from taking unilateral actions,” said Dr. Shawn Whatley, OMA president. “I commend our members for taking the time to understand the agreement, now Ontario’s doctors can finally look to establishing a new, fair and respectful relationship with the government.”

The agreement on an arbitration framework is the first step toward a new physician services agreement between the province and the association, according to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“I am pleased that the OMA membership has voted in favour of moving ahead with a process that will allow both parties to resume productive discussions,” says Wynne in a statement. “Our priority is to reach an agreement that will allow Ontario’s doctors to continue their important work and to continue improving the strong, responsive health care system that is a point of pride for the people of Ontario.”

The agreement will allow both Ontario and the association to have streamlined approaches to mediation and arbitration in resolving disputes. Dr. Erik Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, says patients will be better served in the long run.

“We are committed to working collaboratively with the OMA to reach an agreement that will respect doctors and provide reasonable compensation,” says Hoskins in a statement, “while ensuring people across our province have access to a high-quality, accessible health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.”