The OMA Has Lost Its Mandate to be the Voice of Ontario's Physicians
Toronto, ON, July 9, 2019 - Two years ago this week, we
resigned as Chairs of the two largest Districts of the Ontario Medical Association
(OMA), having represented approximately 20,000 physicians in the Greater Toronto
Area and beyond.
Since then, the OMA has escalated its abuse, bullying and harassment of frontline
physicians and attempted to use
heavy-handed tactics to silence its mandatory members'
free speech in an effort to prevent exposure of its unethical conduct,
culminating in the OMA losing its mandate to be the voice of Ontario's 28,000 practicing
The OMA's toxicity and
refusal to be fully transparent and accountable for hundreds of millions
of dollars in forced government-legislated dues have led to mass resignations of
physicians from Council and resignations of its most senior management, including
its CEO, CFO, Senior Legal Counsel, Chief Economist and key Departmental Directors.
The OMA has been complicit in the downfall of the medical profession and quality
healthcare: nearly 80% of physicians do not trust the OMA.
The 139-year-old bureaucracy recently enshrined its authoritarian presence through
by-law changes ensuring undemocratic representation and empowering the OMA
to act in the best interests of its corporation, not of its members. The OMA's toxic
culture and symbiotic relationship with the Ontario government led to a dismal 10%
voter turnout in its January 2019 council elections. The majority of positions went
uncontested with 267 acclaimed (many of the same physicians were acclaimed to multiple
positions) and 40 positions remain vacant.
OMA President, Dr. Sohail Gandhi, has only 3.5% support of membership. When all
attempts to control the outcome for President-Elect through a non-binding membership
vote and closed nominations failed in May, the OMA overturned the "election" result
and selected Dr. Samantha Hill as the President-Elect with an embarrassing 0.2%
root cause of this toxic, authoritarian organization is the OMA Dues Act
—passed by Bob Rae's government in 1991. This made the OMA the only medical association
in Canada with fully mandatory dues and no choice in representation. The OMA now
collects $54-Million in forced annual dues from Ontario physicians. OMA leadership
imposed the OMA Dues Act upon Ontario's physicians in lieu of fee increases. Now
the OMA again refuses to hold a referendum. Instead, without a mandate from membership,
the OMA approved plans to create a national investment firm to further profit off
the misfortunes of physicians and patients.
legislative debate for the OMA Dues Act in 1991, PC MPP Robert Runciman
(former Senator and Ontario PC Leader) argued that "this whole agreement with the
government and the OMA is not in the best interests of healthcare... My criticisms
and concerns are lodged with the OMA representing all doctors whether they like
it or not—a sweetheart deal with the socialist government that…is not in the best
interests of healthcare…or taxpayers." PC MPP Donald Cousens added, "Doctors are
now forced into (this)…I don't support that philosophy... Doctors are going to pay
the bill, but they do not have any rights under the OMA." PC MPP Ted Arnott concluded
that the OMA was "absolutely delighted that this bill...would ensure that money
would be flowing into its bank account for many years to come."
Former Liberal Health Minister Elinor Caplan echoed concerns over the violation
of physicians' freedoms quoting from the Globe and Mail: "The OMA has stripped individual
doctors of control over their earnings, their right to secret ballot, their right
to free association and ultimately their ability to determine how they practice
medicine. The OMA executive has assumed powers that no trade union executive should
enjoy…the Ontario medical workers' union, in which members do not have any union
membership rights." Liberal MPP Robert Callahan ended stating physicians will be
"paying and getting nothing in return."
The OMA is accountable to absolutely no one: not physicians, patients, the Labour
Board, the Auditor General, or the Ombudsman.
The People of Ontario must hold the OMA to account. In the midst of our escalating,
historic healthcare crisis, the Ontario government must immediately act on the will
of nearly three-quarters of physicians to repeal the OMA Dues Act and on will of
88% of physicians to undertake a fully independent forensic review of the OMA. The
Ford government must stop being complicit in the abuse of frontline physicians and
patients. — Dr. Kulvinder Gill (@dockaurG) is a GTA physician, president and co-founder
of COD and former chair of OMA District 5 (GTA, Dufferin, Muskoka, Simcoe) and Dr.
Mark D'Souza (@DrMarkDS) is a Toronto physician, COD board director and former chair
of OMA District 11 (Toronto).
More information can be found at
OnCall4ON, and Facebook:
We Are Your Ontario Doctors.