Island doctor weighs in on current negotiations

Hopes job action is not necessary to reach a fair agreement

To the Expositor:

As a doctor who cares deeply about my patients and the health-care system, I believe it is important to explain why doctors are talking about job action.

Ontario’s doctors have been without a contract for three years. And because we have been without one, the provincial government has been able to arbitrarily cut funding for the medical services me and my colleagues provide. They have also made significant changes to the health-care system without the input and expertise of doctors.

In order to solve the impasse we have with government, doctors have been asking for access to binding arbitration—a fair and independent process to which all other essential service providers have access to.

The government has repeatedly refused our request and so we began planning for job action. Only recently has the government agreed to discuss binding arbitration and while we are hopeful, we must be prepared in the event they do not follow through on this promise.

I never imagined having to contemplate job action to be treated fairly by the government. Unfortunately, job action may be necessary as a last resort. Patients should be assured that no doctor would deny urgent care to patients or act in a way that would compromise patient safety.

I hope job action is not necessary, and that we are able to achieve binding arbitration so we can reach a fair agreement and work together with government to improve care for patients.

Sincerely,

Stephen Cooper
Little Current