Historic Accomplishment Reached as Doctors Express Need for Separate Representation
Several major Ontario specialists participated in the historic Ontario Specialists Association referendum voting from 63.4% to as high as 95.9% in favour of withdrawing from the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) sending an unmistakable message. The eight (8) major specialist groups want the new OSA organisation to negotiate directly with the Ontario government for the purpose of ending years of failure for both Ontario specialists as well as the patients they serve. The significance of the referendum results conveys an untenable amount of discontent underscoring the need for the Ontario government to make urgently needed changes as recommended by the OSA.
Voting results by specialty in favour of seceding from the OMA include:
Cardiac Surgery 78.6%
Diagnostic Imaging 90.5%
Ophthalmology (EPSO) 90.0%
Nuclear Medicine 76.7%
In the barely three months since the Ontario Specialists Association was formed, several actions have taken place including the formation of a Board of Directors and the creation of a Charter of Principles and Governance Mandate to set a new course for more representative negotiations between government and the Ontario medical specialists who deal with many of the sickest and most complex patients across the province.
As its first official activity subsequent to the tallying of the referendum results, the OSA Board convened to discuss and ratify the voting by their respective Sections. The next step is to arrange a meeting with senior representatives of the Ontario government to share the referendum findings and to provide them the evidence they needed to confidently recognise that specialists require a unique organisation to negotiate with government. This includes seeking government agreement to amend the Representation Rights Act and the Medical Dues Act which currently restrict the Ontario government to only negotiate with the OMA and to make it compulsory for all physicians to be a member of the OMA. Voluntary membership is a critical element of the OSA.
The referendum was independently managed and certified by Simply Voting, an experienced company in conducting elections, referendums and plebiscites. Voting in the OSA referendum was organised for each participating specialty section. Voting occurred from Sunday, November 25that 12:00AM to Tuesday, November 27 at 11:59PM.
In total, slightly more than 7,000 specialists were entitled to vote with a significantly high 54.4% turnout. Anaesthesiology and Emergency Medicine members elected, by a majority vote, to stay with the OMA. The diverse physician composition of these particular sections makes these results not entirely unexpected. Some other specialty sections resulted in tightly contested outcomes that did not achieve the OSA target at this time.
The OSA respectfully recognises the democratic wishes of those sections that wish to remain within the OMA, or where the referendum resulted in tight races, or those specialist sections that need time to ponder the significant degree of discontent within their own section towards the OMA.
The OSA looks forward to other specialty sections joining the OSA in the near future.
For more information, visit www.specialistsontario.com . To speak with OSA Board Chair, Dr. David Jacobs
Ontario Specialists Association
Be it resolved that the [________] Section of the OMA should withdraw from the OMA and join the OSA to permit the OSA to negotiate directly with the Ontario government on behalf of the section.
Attached is an article published earlier this week by former ER Section Chair, Dr. Myron Haluk.