Media Advisory | Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness

Business groups unite, call on Ottawa to drop federal tax changes for small business

Toronto, August 31, 2017 – 35 organizations from across the country have come together to form the Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness —a unified voice to oppose the federal government’s tax proposals that would dramatically change the way incorporated small businesses are taxed in Canada. Read media advisory.

Media Advisory: Business groups unite against federal tax proposal

Coalition Response Memorandum to the Goldblatt Partners

Please see constitutional lawyer, Andrew Lokan’s, memo in response to the communication from Goldblatt Partners circulated by the OMA on May 28, 2017.  Mr Lokan’s interpretation contains further important information that all doctors should consider to be fully informed when voting on the proposed Binding Arbitration Framework.

The coalition leaders would like to emphasize that we truly do appreciate the efforts of the negotiation committee and the new board of the OMA. Both OMA President Dr. Shawn Watley and President-elect Nadia Alam have stated publicly and on social media that they encourage all doctors to ask questions and be fully informed. It is with that spirit in mind that we send this to all doctors for your consideration.

Read: Coalition Response to Goldblatt Partners

Coalition Message To Ontario Doctors Re Proposed Binding Arbitration Framework 

Dear Colleagues,

Last week, we learned that the OMA Board endorsed a tentative binding arbitration agreement (BA) with the Ontario government.  A general meeting of members has been called for June 17th when OMA members will vote on the tentative “framework appendix for negotiations, meditation and arbitration” (Framework Appendix or FA).

This is important news for our profession and is the result of the strong support from Ontario doctors who voted for BA as one of the 3 resolutions passed last August; hard work by grassroots organisations, and the renewal that has begun to take hold at OMA Council and the OMA Board.  In combination, these joint physician efforts caused the Wynne government to reverse its opposition to granting Ontario doctors with the long desired right to BA.

Now that this important building block for fair negotiations is available, it is incumbent on all doctors to ensure that the BA methodology is done correctly and not be some clever new approach to grind the same MOH agenda.  The BA documents were not accompanied by an independent third party review to help doctors understand what they were being asked to vote on.  Many doctors have said they do not fully understand the implications of the BA proposal, while others expressed concerns about some of the features they did not expect would be included.

Mr. Andrew Lokan, a leading constitutional labour law expert, was asked to provide an assessment of the proposed BA agreements in the context of how this compares with other BA agreements and how well this proposal would work for Ontario doctors.  It raises a number of issues that go beyond what one would normally expect to see in a BA framework that he felt doctors should be aware of and carefully consider.  These include:

  1. The perpetual entrenchment of the OMA as the bargaining agent for all Ontario physicians with no alternative representation mechanism if this BA model does not work out.
  2. The OMA’s exposure to conflicts within the profession arising from it playing a co-management role with MOH for the Physician Services Budgets and expenditures.
  3. The permanent entrenchment of Mediation/Arbitration with the same Chairperson, versus having the roles divided to ensure greater transparency.
  4. The unusual inclusion of specific criteria for arbitration, including the permanent inclusion of relativity as an item while being silent on other issues of key interest to doctors such as the restricted entry of new medical graduates.
  5. Future exposure to the arbitration of compensation for CMPA coverage.

To read Mr. Lokan’s memo outlining his views, Click Here:

Other issues already raised by doctors include:

  • How is the co-management aspect of BA different to what doctors strongly rejected last year?
  • How does the Ontario BA model compare to what Ontario doctors had in 1991 and what other provincial doctors currently have across Canada?
  • How will conflicts be resolved within the OMA without any formal and fair internal dispute resolution mechanism being in place and the lack of full OMA governance reform?
  • Has the time arrived for doctors to be represented by more than one organization to reduce the conflict concerns?
  • Is it well understood that doctors may never vote on a PSA again if bilateral negotiations always default to arbitrated settlements?
  • Can the Ontario government be trusted to bargain in good faith under BA or will it renege?
  • Will this result in a hard cap on the physician pool and therefore not address key issues facing doctors dealing with increasing patient needs?
  • Has adequate time been allotted for doctors to fully understand the issues before they have to vote?
  • What other details have not been shared with the membership?

The Coalition of Ontario Doctors strongly encourages all doctors to consider their options before voting on June 17th.  Securing a binding arbitration framework that is fair to all doctors is essential to restoring the broken trust and repairing the damage done to our organization by the 2016 tPSA debacle.  We should only accept a tentative BA that protects the rights of all OMA members and does not enshrine unusual additions to a normal BA framework.

We have come too far to settle for anything less than a binding arbitration framework that works for all doctors.

The Coalition will be seeking further clarity regarding the many unanswered questions and will provide further comment and opinion prior to voting and the general meeting.

Sincerely,

Coalition of Ontario Doctors

OMA Governance Reform. What Governance Reform?

Eight months have passed since grassroots OMA members rejected the tPSA and called on its leaders to create positive and lasting change.  A major objective was to change the way the OMA represented physicians in order to restore trust and better represent all Ontario doctors, both internally and externally.

What has happened since?

The rejection of the tPSA created momentum that ushered in many new doctors into leadership positions who advocate a reform agenda seeking increased democracy and a new governance process guided by strongly supported principles.

1.     Despite that success, many of the OMA old guard leaders clung on instead of respecting the will of colleagues to stand aside and let fresh approaches be tried.  It resulted in a stand-off that mired our Association in a quagmire of unnecessary dissension and disorder.  Instead of honourably engaging the grassroots leaders to help effect change, the OMA old guard chose to largely shun them.

2.     Instead of broadening the decision-making base, power has been concentrated in even fewer hands.  Today, one former OMA Board member who was not re-elected is the Chair of virtually every major OMA committee (Special Committee, Negotiations, Governance, etc.).  True reform is being stymied.  It begs the question why so much power remains in the hands of one unelected person who is identified with a rejected direction and who stands in the way of increased accountability, transparency and true governance reform.

3.     Transparency and consultation with physician leaders has not occurred as was promised after the failed tPSA vote even though doctors and the OMA strongly endorsed it.  No direct outreach to OMA Section leaders has taken place.

4.     The last OMA external negotiations advisor was dropped after the failed tPSA.  The OMA has recently engaged his brother to act as a mediator in the forthcoming OMA negotiations with the Ministry.  On the surface it appears to be an odd development.  Consultation with physician leaders may have assuaged the obvious questions.  Unfortunately the OMA chose not to consult or felt it had no obligation to explain itself.

5.     Doctors are now represented by an external legal advisor who strongly endorsed the failed tPSA last summer and appeared to strongly support the MOH’s position.  Also, the OMA ignored his flagrant conflict of interest about how his ongoing role as the legal representative of PARO and how their different negotiating positions would not undermine the interests of practicing doctors.  Again, the OMA old guard felt there was no apparent need to explain how this would be managed or how problems down the road would be addressed. It lacks the requisite transparency and misses the accountability that reasonable-minded doctors expect.

This is not change.  This is “business as usual” at the OMA, which continues to neglect the wishes of grassroots members who desire more transparency, accountability, and responsiveness from its leaders.  There is no obvious respect for process or principle that reflects the widespread desire among doctors for reform at the OMA.

It is time for meaningful reform of the OMA; the kind that the Coalition of Ontario Doctors has been advocating for months.

  • It is time to restore trust.
  • It is time to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness.
  • It is time for true, sincere engagement of all OMA members.
  • It is time for the OMA to live up to its promises.
  • It is time for all doctors to be better represented by new leaders.
  • It is time for real change. It’s time for real action
  • It’s time to correct some of these decisions that are out of step with the needs of Ontario doctors.

For more information, read the Coalition of Ontario Doctors’ position statement charting a new direction on the COALITION POSITION PAPER ON OMA GOVERNANCE REFORM.

Sincerely,

Coalition of Ontario Doctors

Coalition Statement to Ontario Doctors Regarding OMA Executive Resignations

Coalition Statement to Ontario Doctors Regarding OMA Executive Resignations

February 7, 2017

The Coalition of Ontario Doctors and Concerned Ontario Doctors (COD) called yesterday’s partial resignation of the OMA Executive members a positive first step in the rehabilitation of the OMA’s governance structure and its duty to represent all Ontario doctors fairly.  The resignation is partial because the same individuals remain on the OMA Board for the time being leaving many unanswered questions.

The Coalition and Concerned Ontario Doctors (COD) were joined by thousands of doctors who called for the resignation of the OMA Executive Committee members over the past six months due to the OMA’s decision to unsuccessfully force through a deeply flawed Physician Services Agreement that was rejected by 63% of voting physicians.

The removal of the OMA Executive is only the first of many renewal initiatives that Ontario doctors have identified as being essential. Other measures include the negotiation of a Binding Arbitration framework with government as a pre-condition to resume negotiations as well as a new and more professional approach to negotiations to ensure patient care is not rationed further by this Liberal government.  The OMA continues to require significant internal governance reform to ensure that the entire physician community elects the OMA Board and Executive leaders to permit transparency, accountability, equity and fairness for all Ontario doctors. Ontario’s patients and doctors need a member-driven organization that is able to passionately advocate for Ontario’s doctors, patients and healthcare system.

Doctors are now going into their fourth year without a contract and have been subjected to an unprecedented period of government hostility directed towards the profession and an unwillingness to bargain in good faith.  The Ontario Liberal government has repeatedly bullied and vilified physicians while it has unilaterally cut nearly $2 Billion from the patient services Ontario’s doctors provide. This has led to unprecedented patient wait times for medically necessary care. The recent passing of Bill 41 is a further threat to patients’ access to care and patient privacy rights. The OMA’s longstanding failure to effectively challenge this government’s abuse has served to galvanise thousands of grassroots doctors to be active and to demand change through organisations like the Coalition and COD.

Even though accountability for their actions comes at a very late date, it is an important first sign that doctors can begin to take back their organisation and commence the difficult task of demanding the same fairness and equity from the Ontario Liberal government.

The Coalition and COD will soon be communicating new and disturbing developments we have just learned that OMA has purposely hidden from its members.  These alarming issues will be addressed in more detail soon.  It includes OMA having advance knowledge of plans by the Ontario Liberals to unilaterally cut even more from the patient services Ontario’s doctors provide. The OMA Executive failed to notify the profession about these dramatic cuts and had planned to do nothing to protect Ontario’s patients and doctors against their devastating impacts.

Download PDF here: COALITION RESPONSE TO OMA EXECUTIVE RESIGNATION FINAL

Letter to OMA President Requesting Clarification on Negotiations & Binding Arbitration

Read the full text of the letter below, or you can download PDF here.


January 31, 2017

Virginia Walley, MD, FRCPC
President
Ontario Medical Association
150 Bloor St. West, Suite 900
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 3C1

Dear Dr. Walley:

We are writing on behalf of our members on an urgent basis to ask you specifically whether or not the OMA or any agent of the OMA is holding discussions or exchanges of information that are related to a new round of negotiations, or are intended to lead to some form of negotiations or other changes that will impact Ontario physicians. We are requesting that you respond to this question immediately and similarly inform the entire OMA membership.

OMA members deserve the truth about this vitally important issue, unlike the false answer you provided last summer to Dr. Mark Prieditis, President of the Ontario Association of Radiologists and to Dr. Jim Swan, Chair of the OMA Section on Cardiology and President of the Ontario Association of Cardiology when they asked whether negotiations had resumed or were about to. You told them, in the company of OMA CEO Tom Magyarody, that no negotiation or discussions were occurring. That response was not accurate and led directly to the events of the summer culminating in the rejection of the tPSA and serious trust gap that now exists. It is critical that your answer be truthful this time and is factually accurate with OMA members.

At this past weekend’s meeting, a senior OMA Board director stated to Council members that the OMA is aware of a fee cut coming this April. It appeared that this was “inside” OMA information that the OMA Board member had and it begged the question why this was not widely shared with OMA Council members in attendance as part of the discussions regarding the non-confidence resolutions about the removal of the OMA Executive Committee. In addition, other comments were made by OMA Board members at Sunday’s Council meeting that discussions would occur with the MOH in April yet no reason was offered why they were so confident of that timing unless some secret information had been conveyed between the OMA and MOH. Why were some OMA Board members hastily trying to recruit doctors to be part of a new negotiating team? This suggests that not much has been learned from the 2016 negotiating team’s unrepresentative composition and its failed secretive approach.

Please elaborate in the fullest sense, what information does the OMA have with respect to MOH fee cuts affecting doctors and what plans or discussions relating to negotiation or like discussions with the Ministry or its agents are or may soon occur.

Doctors have asked the OMA what it has done to create a Binding Arbitration (BA) framework as the OMA has once again agreed to do since the August 14th rejection of the tPSA. We have heard nothing from the OMA about any actions being taken to create a Binding Arbitration framework agreement. It should have been sent to Section leaders for input so that a finalised document could be the basis of initiating a discussion with the Ontario government to secure BA as a mandatory perquisite for the resumption of any future round of negotiations. You will recall that a binding resolution was passed by over 90% of voting doctors at the August 14th general members’ meeting requiring the OMA not to engage in negotiations until such time as a proper Binding Arbitration agreement was in place. In addition, another binding resolution was passed at the same August 14th meeting requiring the OMA to consult with Section leaders about negotiations. As you also know, the OMA Executive and Board formally supported both of these motions. No such consultation has occurred to our knowledge.

Yours truly,

Coalition of Ontario Doctors

Unprecedented Loss of Confidence Motion in OMA Executive Passed

OMA Knowingly Misleads Doctors and Public about Leadership Crisis

For the first time in OMA history, Council has passed a resolution declaring it has lost confidence in the OMA Executive Committee by a 55% vote. Despite that, an OMA communication released immediately after the meeting knowingly lied about Council members who had expressed a clear non-confidence motion against the Executive. In the opening sentence of the OMA news release it shockingly stated, “doctors in Ontario affirmed their confidence in the elected leaders of the OMA”.

The OMA’s untruthful statement following the non-confidence motion is inexcusable. It further erodes an already abysmal level of confidence that doctors have in the credibility of the OMA’s current leaders, who have repeatedly refused to step down.

The OMA Executive have over-stayed their welcome despite the:

  • 63% rejection of a grossly flawed tPSA endorsed by this Executive
  • 3 Court decisions against their deliberate efforts to thwart a fair PSA vote
  • 5% of doctors do not trust the OMA leadership’s handling of issues post-PSA
  • 84% of doctors have no confidence in OMA leadership’s ability to negotiate a satisfactory agreement with the MOH
  • 73% of the membership who felt the OMA President & Executive should resign
  • Hundreds of emails and calls from grassroots doctors to resign

Even though specific confidence resolutions calling for the removal of the Executive members did not obtain the necessary 2/3 vote, it is striking they garnered such strong support. Fully 50% of Council members voted to remove OMA President Virginia Walley. On what basis does she feel she empowered to lead when the governing body has lost faith in her? The message of dissatisfaction was unmistakeable yet none of the Executive members had the courage to do the honourable thing and resign. The resolutions were put forward by a small group of Council members who were concerned about the current leadership crisis at the OMA.

The OMA Executive’s failure to do the right thing and the manipulation of the facts has fulfilled what Superior Court Justice Paul Perrell warned about last summer when he called the OMA’s “sneaky” actions as leading to an OMA “governance meltdown”. It is clear that the meltdown has now occurred with this abject failure to provide sterling leadership when it is most needed. The OMA Executive has become a lame duck devoid of credibility and rank-and-file support.

On every key leadership metric, the OMA Executive has failed to act. This includes failing to:

  1. Prepare a Binding Arbitration framework as required in the PSA resolution’s binding motion supported by over 90% of doctors and as committed to by the OMA president.
  2. Update members about the status of its Charter Challenge.
  3. Release its secret April 2016 agreement with the MOH even though Hoskins says it should be made public.
  4. Produce any form of a credible job action plan despite all their bluster.
  5. Engage a new legal firm without a major conflict of interest that compromises members.

The Coalition of Ontario Doctors and Concerned Ontario Doctors are once again calling on members of the OMA Executive to resign to make way for the necessary changes and to engage other physician leaders and organisations so that a binding arbitration framework can be put in place to permit a respectful negotiation to occur with the Ontario government.  Ontario’s doctors need a fair dispute mechanism to put an end to this Liberal government’s reckless cuts to Ontario’s healthcare system – their cuts and mismanagement continue to undermine the ability of Ontario physicians to deliver timely and quality care to their patients.

Coalition of Ontario Doctors Denounce Health Minister’s Latest Assault on Doctors 

Liberal Health Minister Hoskins Must Resign to Protect Patients

Toronto, ON (December 15, 2016) – The Coalition of Ontario Doctors concluded a meeting last night calling for the immediate resignation of Health Minister Eric Hoskins arising from his latest attempt to misdirect blame for his mismanagement of the health care system and his continuing efforts to marginalise practising physicians and their medical leaders, including the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).

The Health Minister, who repeatedly says he can only negotiate with the OMA on behalf of Ontario’s doctors, contradictorily chose to secretly meet with the media instead of presenting his draft proposal in person to the OMA.  His deliberate slight of the OMA is the latest in a series of inexcusable ambushes and examples of disrespect for the province’s doctors and their vital role in advancing patient care.  The level of hostility directed at doctors by Hoskins is without precedent in creating a crisis in patient care access and delivery.  Despite our past differences, the disrespect he has directed at the OMA is wrong and unacceptable.

Earlier this year, 94% of physicians responding to a Coalition survey reported they did not have confidence in Health Minister Hoskins to manage the health care system.

The contents of his new 8-page proposal have not been revealed in full and is yet another failure by the Health Minister to deliver transparency and accountability.  What is known transgresses basic policies and principles inherent in creating a stable environment for doctors to practise medicine and to ensure that the medical needs of patients are fulfilled expertly.

Reports are emerging that indicate this deal would result in another $971 Million of cuts to the patient services Ontario doctors provide in addition to the $1.8 Billion of unilateral cuts by this Liberal government since January 2015.  Hoskins has proposed a deal that would aggregately represent a $1.25 Billion per annum cut to doctors going forward once fully implemented.

Hoskins’ reckless actions and disdain for Ontario’s physicians have removed his authority to be a credible representative genuinely interested in protecting patient care in Ontario. Instead of working towards the healthcare stability Ontario’s patients deserve and need, he continues to create chaos.  Instead of respect and collaboration, he continues to vilify and bully doctors.  Instead of evidence-based decision-making, he resorts to senseless, short-sighted cuts to physician services that negatively impact patients.

Based on known information, the draft proposal is essentially the same deal rejected by 63% of Ontario doctors on September 14th.  It wasn’t good then and that remains unchanged.  There is a widely held view that this latest high-risk gambit is really only a thinly veiled excuse to impose another unilateral cut on Ontario’s doctors.

The Coalition’s principles lead to an outright rejection of deals designed to:

  • Make doctors ration care to patients because of arbitrary budget limitations caused by government waste and mismanagement
  • Denounce state-of-the-art medical care and thereby deny patients access to it
  •  Lead to a forecasted deterioration of patient care
  • Impede tangible improvements to the delivery of patient care
  • Divisiveness within the profession amongst family doctors and specialists
  • Create situations where Peter is set up to rob Paul
  • Deny physicians the right to binding arbitration to ensure fairness
  • Employ diversionary tactics to deflect warranted criticism of Liberal mistakes like Bill 41
  • Demand 5.2% from the federal government for health care and only fund patient care with an inadequate 2.5%
  • Make it increasingly unviable for many doctors to keep their offices open
  • Force doctors to accept cuts or have them imposed unilaterally

Doctors are now contemplating what actions they will take to restore order to the health care system, particularly if the current Minister remains in office.  Discussions are actively under way by several physician groups, including the Coalition, with the intention to have options ready for physicians to ensure this government stops their dismantling of Ontario’s health care system.

Contact info@coalitionofontariodoctors.ca  for Coalition Spokespersons.

Dr. David Jacobs

Dr. Kulvinder Gill

Dr. Douglas Mark

COALITION OPINION SURVEY REPORT

The Coalition of Ontario Doctors sent an opinion survey on September 30, 2016 seeking the views of medical doctors across the province on a spectrum of issues pertaining to the recently rejected tentative Physician Services Agreement (tPSA), governance matters, OMA leadership and accountability issues.  The attached report presents the findings of this important opinion survey for your review.

READ THE FULL TEXT OF COALITION OPINION SURVEY REPORT HERE

 

WHAT PREMIER WYNNE DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT BILL 41

With no consultation, the Wynne government has introduced Bill 41, titled the Patients First Act, which will significantly impact the relationship between patients and their doctors. Bill 41 will allow the government to waste more on the expansion of bureaucracy instead of investing in frontline care.

There are five things about Bill 41 that deeply concern me as a patient:

1. Access to my doctor will be decided by government employees.
2. My confidential patient health records can be accessed by bureaucrats.
3. Funding will be taken away from hospitals and the frontline care provided by doctors and nurses to instead hire more government bureaucrats.
4. Provincial medical standards will be decided by bureaucrats and politicians instead of by medical experts.
5. The government will have control over all aspects of my healthcare with more emphasis on saving money instead of saving lives.

Contact your MPP and demand that you take immediate action to stop Bill 41. #STOPBill41.

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Coalition of Ontario Doctors
145 King St. W, Suite 2750
Toronto, Ontario M5H 1J8

www.coalitionofontariodoctors.ca