Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Doctors Vote in Favour of Framework for Binding Arbitration with Government

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Doctors Vote in Favour of Framework for Binding Arbitration with Government

Article excerpt

Doctors ratify binding arbitration deal

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TORONTO - Ontario's doctors, who have been without a physician services agreement for three years, have voted in favour of a deal that will send contract disputes with the government to binding arbitration.

The Ontario Medical Association, which has about 44,000 members, says the vote was 65 per cent in favour of the deal that determines how the doctors' next contract, and all subsequent contracts, will be settled.

First there will be an effort at negotiation, and if a deal isn't reached, they'll go to mediation and then binding arbitration.

Binding arbitration is used to set physician compensation in seven other provinces and the Northwest Territories, but Ontario's government had rejected the doctors' demand until earlier this year.

"After three years of unprecedented fee cuts and unilateral government action this agreement now provides for a fair, independent process and prevents the government from taking unilateral actions," OMA President Shawn Whatley said Saturday.

He added that after years of dispute, "Ontario's doctors can finally look to establishing a new, fair and respectful relationship with the government."

Doctors voted down a proposal last summer that would have increased the approximately $12-billion physician services budget by more than $1 billion but also included $200 million in fee cuts. …

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