OAR President’s Message about Special OMA Council Meeting
A special meeting of OMA Council is being held this coming Sunday. There is a great deal of confusion about the purpose of the meeting, what it means for individual doctors’ involvement, and who is behind this initiative.
The meeting was organised by a splinter group of doctors who obtained the signature of 25 Council members requesting that a special OMA Council meeting be called for the purpose of obtaining the removal of the entire OMA Executive Committee, including the OMA President. The Coalition of Ontario Doctors (Coalition) or Concerned Ontario Doctors (COD) were not involved in calling for this meeting.
The OAR strongly agrees with the previous calls from both the Coalition and COD regarding the removal of the OMA Executive due to their lack of leadership and accountability to the OMA membership. The group of doctors calling for this meeting also released a report on a wide range of topics that were previously prepared and distributed by the Coalition and COD. A copy of that report is appended.
Special Council Meeting Considerations and Issues
- Historically, OMA Council decisions have been heavily influenced by a direction advocated by the OMA Board and Executive
- A vote to remove the OMA Executive requires two-thirds of the ~250 OMA delegates. There are rare instances where Council has ignored the direction advocated by OMA brass
- To date, the OMA has ignored the repeated demand that the Executive (if not the entire OMA Board) resign immediately from hundreds of individual doctors, the Coalition, and COD since the tPSA repudiation. It is hard to believe that the OMA will have a change of heart now and it is expected they will use every effort to maintain status quo in the current leadership
- Even if the vote is successful and the current OMA Executive is removed, the rules require that they be replaced by the OMA Board with another six current Board members. We are concerned that their replacements may not be or have the opportunity due to events to be open to the major changes advocated by reform-minded doctors. The net result may well be more of the same poor representation
- The more effective route is to call for a general meeting of members (GMM) as the Coalition and COD did previously to stop the OMA from ramming through a poorly thought out tPSA that would have legitimised more tyranny of Ontario doctors by the MOH
- Late last year the Coalition collected enough signatures to call another GMM to vote on the removal of the OMA Executive, the removal of Rand and other topics of considerable importance to doctors across the province
- The Coalition and COD decided to hold off calling a GMM because the OMA promised to address the many serious concerns about its leadership at the late November 2016 OMA Council meeting. Unfortunately the OMA leaders squandered this opportunity to deliver the reform, accountability and transparency they appeared to be considering. With the impending holidays, it was agreed that a public meeting should be put in abeyance until an appropriate time in the New Year. The advantage of a GMM (not provided for in a special Council meeting) is that individual doctors decide the future direction of the OMA democratically with a 50.1% majority vote
OAR Comments and Advice
- OAR members are asking what should they do with respect to Sunday’s special Council meeting
- There is very little individual physicians can do other than ask their local Council delegate(s) to ensure they vote in favour of this resolution in the hope that the necessary 2/3 vote occurs. If you are a radiologist Council delegate in your medical society or district, we strongly encourage you to attend Council and to endorse the proposed resolution
- We remain concerned that a successful resolution will only result in the replacement of the current OMA Executive with another group that share the same attitudes that got the OMA into the current mess. This would not be a real change as advocated by the Coalition and COD and leaves much work yet to be done as the profession continues to face a hostile Ontario government
We need to keep in mind the end game. Doctors need a radically changed and more effective, democratic and representative OMA that shares the principles of the Coalition and COD (or a new organization or organizations that will fill that role). The status quo OMA cannot continue. The efforts at the special Council meeting will likely fail but in order to achieve our goals we're going to need to win over the thousands of doctors that are confused, disengaged and demoralized. We want doctors to support an organization that is a unifying and visionary force seeking important reforms for all doctors. In the end, doctors want to support the fair and well thought out principles, processes and accountability advocated by the Coalition and COD as a model that will set doctors on the road to negotiate with government as equals versus the victims of the current lop-sided expediency and weakness exhibited by the OMA.
Mark Prieditis, MD, FRCPC