CMA and AMA working together

September 6, 2018

Dr. Neil D.J. Cooper, AMA President

Hello Members:

I think most of you will have heard in recent months about changes at the Canadian Medical Association. The sale of MD Financial Management is one, but the organization is evolving in other ways, too.

Since the August 22 annual meeting in Winnipeg, the CMA has communicated about bylaw changes affecting governance in terms of the size, constitution and method of election for the CMA Board of Directors. You likely also heard that there was a proposal to end General Council, but that move was not accepted at the AGM. General Council will continue as a policy instrument for the CMA. The CMA statement following the meeting can be found here.

Many members have been asking for the AMA’s perspective on these changes. We see that change is inevitable – and healthy – for any organization. As physicians, and as a profession, we need to be open to it.

For example, one of the intentions behind the governance changes was for the CMA to put more emphasis on their relationship with individual physicians across the country. This is a good direction for the CMA with great potential going forward, particularly in light of the increased resources that the CMA can bring to bear. The CMA will be better equipped to engage with all members to deliver value and that engagement has never been more important. CMA is in the process of consulting with members and developing plans for how best to use the new resources to support Canadian physicians. Our CMA Board representatives, Dr. Carl Nohr and Dr. Linda Slocombe, will attend the upcoming Representative Forum to discuss all these matters.

The CMA’s relationship with the provincial and territorial medical associations is another element of a strong future. Our health care system and our patients need advocacy and support at both the provincial and national levels. The role of the federal government in national health care issues will change from time to time, but remains important. Medical Assistance in Dying, cannabis legalization and the impact of the proposed taxation changes are recent examples where we needed a strong national voice. Now there is talk of a national pharmacare strategy. It will be extremely important for the CMA and PTMAs to work together to collectively cover the waterfront when it comes to advocacy and input.

One of the topics we will discuss at the upcoming fall RF is what form our relationship with the CMA should take as we move forward – both in terms of what we keep and what should be revised. Working together includes seeking the best ways for the AMA and CMA to combine activities and resources in the best overall interests of Alberta physicians. The issue of member dues, such as whether they should remain conjoint, is another aspect to consider.

There is a huge opportunity ahead for all of us. The AMA has always enjoyed a strong relationship with the CMA. We look forward to continuing and strengthening it.
I always appreciate your feedback. You can reach me in the following three ways:

  • Communicate with me privately and directly by email if you would like a reply:
  • Comment publicly below on this President’s Letter.
  • Share your perspectives with colleagues in our Discussion Board for members only (member login required)

At your service,

Neil D.J. Cooper, MD, FRCPC, Dip. Sport Med.


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Alberta Medical Association Mission: Advocate for and support Alberta physicians. Strengthen their leadership in the provision of sustainable quality care.