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Concerned Ontario Doctors
The Ontario Medical Association Needs To Be Held Account

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 physicians.

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% support.

The 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.

During the 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 www.CareNotCuts.ca, Twitter: @OnCall4ON, Storify: OnCall4ON, Instagram: OnCall4ON, and Facebook: We Are Your Ontario Doctors.


Last Updated: Tuesday, 09 July 2019 15:55:56 PM EST

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