Aug 25, 2016

By Michael Kramer

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Ontario’s doctors are being asked : if binding arbitration is so important, are you willing to form a public-sector union – and disclose your salaries?

The question is being posed by Health Minister Eric Hoskins –  because the Ontario Medical Association has asked for binding arbitration – as a condition of returning to negotiations – on a new fee agreement for doctors.

They just voted down a tentative deal, which would have raised the physician services budget by 2.5 per cent a year, to $12.9 billion by 2020 – following a concerted campaign from a group calling itself the Coalition of Ontario Doctors.

One of the group’s concerns was that the deal didn’t include binding arbitration with the government and OMA.

Instead, they agreed to allow a court challenge on it to continue.

But with the OMA now saying it wants binding arbitration in place before talks resume, Health Minister Eric Hoskins has sent the organization’s president a letter asking if that means the OMA wants to formally become a union – and “and accept all the obligations that other public sector unions have adopted –  including withdrawing objections to salary disclosure.”

Hundreds of doctors bill OHIP more than $1 million per year – but other than doctors at hospitals, their salaries are not included in the annual list of public-sector workers making over $100,000 – the so-called Sunshine List.

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