Ratification vote will proceed: It's up to you now

March 6, 2021

Dr. Paul Boucher, AMA President

Dear Members:

As I announced in my February 26 President’s Letter, a Tentative Agreement Package has been reached with the provincial government.

A special meeting of the Representative Forum convened virtually today. There was an excellent exchange of information and input. At the conclusion, there was overwhelming support to move forward with ratification. As a result, the Board has decided to proceed with a vote.

I recognize you have all been through a lot in the last year, through the dissolution of our previous agreement and the difficulties that the pandemic has brought to your personal lives, your practices and your patients. The news of this tentative agreement has been met with mixed feelings from many. I recognize that, but feel this agreement is our best way to bring some stability to the system and re-establish physician leadership in health care, while recognizing the fiscal realities facing our province. There are elements of this package that will come as a great relief and other elements that will pose challenges for us as a profession. As you make your way through the materials it is important to weigh all that has been negotiated and evaluate it against the alternative. On balance, the Board felt strongly that this agreement is the best way forward.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Electronic voting will open Monday, March 8 and close on Tuesday, March 30 at 4 p.m. 

The Tentative Agreement Package is complex and contains a number of parts. Feedback from some of our medical leaders and the Representative Forum delegates is that it takes time to digest all the material. When you receive the voting package, please approach this task in the way that works best for you.

There is time. The vote opens Monday and will stay open for three weeks. We will provide lots of opportunities and formats to review the material and we will make sure we are available to answer all your questions. We know you will take your voting seriously.

On Monday, we will email you a link to the AMA members-only web page, where we will post everything you need to learn about the Tentative Agreement Package and cast your vote. This includes summaries and explanatory documents, videos, the legal documents (on which you will actually be voting) and the VOTE NOW button for when you are ready to do so.

Attend a virtual town hall

We will hold two virtual town halls on Wednesday, March 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. We expect to offer additional sessions, so watch for more information. We will, however, record one of the sessions and post it on the ratification web page to view at your convenience. Please mark your calendars if you would like to attend. Registration information will follow.

The Board of Directors believes the Tentative Agreement Package has potential to improve both the government-physician relationship and value for Albertans. It re-establishes structured physician leadership toward issues in the health care system. It provides some stability for physicians in what is going to continue to be an unstable environment. It includes ways to resolve disputes and secures our programs. Undoubtedly, the next few years will be challenging as we recover from COVID and address the financial aftermath on the province’s economy. The Board believes the profession, the health care system and patients will fare better in the next few years with this tentative agreement than without it. Be sure to acquaint yourself with what has been negotiated and cast your vote to tell us if you agree.

Discuss your thoughts and questions with colleagues

You can always pose questions directly to me by email to receive a direct answer, and I will endeavor to do so as quickly as possible. We will also offer a member-only Discussion Board on the AMA website so that you may see what your colleagues think, post your thoughts or initiate conversations yourself.

And lastly… Thank you.

The package that you will receive is the result of a lot of work on behalf of many. I want to express my sincere appreciation for all the hard work from our staff and the staff at Alberta Health. I also want to thank the Board and the members of the RF for their wisdom and guidance through this process. The decision is now up to you, the members.

I look forward to interacting with many of you in the weeks ahead.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please reach me in one of the following ways:

  • Communicate with me privately and directly by email if you would like a reply: president@albertadoctors.org  
  • Comment publicly on this President’s Letter on the AMA website (please be aware that comments are public, i.e., not members-only, even if you are logged in as a member). 

Sincerely,

Paul E. Boucher, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

P.S. We work hard to maintain our member distribution lists, but still every time we send, there are some members who do not receive the information because of firewalls or other technical issues. Please help spread the word that this important vote is underway. If you encounter a colleague who didn’t receive this President’s Letter or the “AMA Voting” email, or just isn’t sure how to vote, please direct them to the AMA website at www.albertadoctors.org.

2 comments

Commenting on this page is closed.

  • #1

    Allyson Cornelis

    Physician

    7:55 PM on March 06, 2021

    What does the contract mean if they still have the bill in place that says they can end Anh contract whenever they want?

  • #2

    Thomas Kerlis

    Physician

    11:24 AM on March 07, 2021

    Dear Dr Boucher,
    First of all, thank you for all your time and effort spent on this.
    It will be interesting in the weeks to come to appreciate what brought about this relatively quick, potential 'mending of fences' between the UCP government and the AMA.
    As things stand, the AMA has a court case against this government and our profession has an overwhelming sense of non confidence in the health minister i.e. the premier.
    Previous offers/attempts by government containing cutbacks seemed to place the financial burden to a great extent on Family Doctors.
    GP's especially are anxiously awaiting the details of this deal tomorrow.
    I have a suggestion and a question.
    Is the voting process to ratify things "one person , one vote" or is this voted on by speciality ?
    It would be helpful to put into context the new offer better, if you would summarize in writing (again) what ALREADY had been cut since the unilateral termination of our master agreement with government.

    Sincerely yours
    Dr Thomas Kerlis

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.