Prov­ince, doc­tors to re­sume ne­go­ti­a­tions

The Peterborough Examiner - - NATIONAL NEWS -

TORONTO — Ne­go­ti­a­tions will soon res­tart for On­tario’s doc­tors, who have been with­out a physi­cian ser­vices agree­ment for three years, with in­ter­est ar­bi­tra­tion as the first or­der of busi­ness.

Amid a lengthy and messy dis­pute, the On­tario Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion had said doc­tors wouldn’t re­turn to the ta­ble un­less the gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced bind­ing ar­bi­tra­tion, but the prov­ince said while it would be will­ing to dis­cuss it, the gov­ern­ment wouldn’t ac­cept it as a pre-con­di­tion to ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Premier Kath­leen Wynne said in a state­ment Thurs­day that the gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to that prin­ci­ple and it will be the first thing on the ta­ble when talks re­sume.

“The (health) min­is­ter and I have dis­cussed the next steps and, as a show of good faith, and to demon­strate our sin­cere com­mit­ment to try­ing to reach a pos­i­tive out­come in th­ese re­newed ne­go­ti­a­tions, our gov­ern­ment will not make any unilateral ad­just­ments to physi­cian com­pen­sa­tion or ac­count­abil­i­ties while dis­cus­sions are tak­ing place,” Wynne wrote.

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment an­gered doc­tors in 2015 by im­pos­ing fee cuts for some ser­vices, and had pre­vi­ously threat­ened to act on its own again if it couldn’t reach an agree­ment with the OMA.

Doc­tors roundly voted down a pro­posal last sum­mer that would have in­creased the ap­prox­i­mately $12-bil­lion physi­cian ser­vices bud­get by more than $1 bil­lion but set out $200 mil­lion in cer­tain fees.

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