Tell the UCP to get back to the bargaining table

May 1, 2020

Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA President

Dear Members:

NOTE: This letter provides an opportunity for physicians to share their views with government. The public will be invited to join very soon, but we wanted the voice of physicians to be heard first. We will, therefore, not post this President’s Letter on social media as we normally would and request that members refrain from doing so, too, until we activate the public component.

On February 20, 2020, the Minister of Health walked away from negotiations and terminated our contract. In doing so he violated the charter rights of all Alberta physicians by removing their access to independent third-party arbitration. As a result, the Alberta Medical Association launched a charter challenge against the provincial government.

The AMA’s goal throughout our discussions with government has been to negotiate an agreement that puts Patients First® by providing value for patients and fairness for physicians.

Now, as our province faces the worst public health crisis in decades, doctors are facing uncertainty due to the government’s refusal to get back to the bargaining table.

Our requests are reasonable. Physicians, like every other essential health care worker, should be given a seat at the negotiating table with access to third-party arbitration.

At this time, when physicians are supporting patients through the COVID-19 pandemic, they also have to worry about uncertainty over the viability of their practice models.

Many of you have been in contact with your MLAs in past months. Thank you for that. If you haven’t been in touch lately, or if you have never reached out to your MLA, now is the time.

Please sign up for our campaign and tell your MLA and Health Minister Tyler Shandro to put Patients First® and get back to the bargaining table.

The government’s decision to rip up our contract clearly illustrates:

  • That government failed to negotiate in good faith – they did not move from their opening position and tore up the contract with weeks still remaining.
  • The AMA was willing to negotiate – we came to the table with multiple proposals that would have reduced costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. We were willing to consider what government was proposing and offered sensible and innovative solutions toward health care challenges.
  • At this unprecedented moment in history, doctors want to be able to focus on the health of their patients – not uncertainty over their contracts.

Please take two minutes to visit our campaign website to contact your MLA and tell the government to work toward a negotiated settlement.

Make no mistake, governments come and go, but the AMA has represented doctors and patients in this province for over a century.

In your service,

Christine P. Molnar, MD, FRCPC
President, Alberta Medical Association

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