Tentative AMA-WCB agreement reached, ratification vote now open

May 28, 2020

Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA President

June 16 update:

Ratification vote now closed

Dear Members:

One of the core functions of the Alberta Medical Association is the negotiation of compensation agreements on behalf of Alberta physicians. While the spotlight these days has been on our ongoing struggle to reach a master agreement with government, at any given time we are negotiating a number of different contractual arrangements for subsets of the membership.

One of the most significant of these is our negotiations with the Workers' Compensation Board. This is an agreement for physician services provided to employees covered by the WCB. Negotiations for a new agreement between AMA and WCB commenced on June 14, 2019 and the parties reached an agreement, in principle, on March 27, 2020. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on April 6, 2020.

I am pleased to tell you that we have now reached a tentative agreement with WCB and, if ratified, the agreement will be effective from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2024.

Ratification vote now open

The proposed agreement represents successful work by the two negotiating teams to identify common interests at the table and resolve areas of concern. The MOU served as the basis for the agreement and from the AMA's WCB Negotiating Committee’s perspective, all concerns have been resolved and our main interests have been captured.

The WCB values and respects the services that physicians provide, and this is reflected in the tentative AMA-WCB agreement. Both parties were able to address their major issues at the negotiating table and issues relating to expediency, economics, reporting and quality were all resolved amicably.

The AMA Board of Directors has had oversight of the negotiations throughout the process and, I am pleased to say, fully endorses the tentative agreement that effectively establishes the relationship between the WCB and the AMA. The agreement fairly recognizes the special requirements of WCB work and demonstrates the mutual interests of the parties in caring for WCB patients.

About voting

To make a well-informed vote, we ask that you review the following documents to familiarize yourself with the proposed agreement:

  • Tentative WCB-AMA Physician Services Compensation Agreement (April 1, 2020 – December 31, 2024)
  • Highlights document

These documents and the voting link are included in the complete ratification package available on the AMA website (member login required).

Voting will close at 4 p.m. Tuesday, June 16

If you have questions about the tentative agreement, please contact Didi Wimmer-Frank, Director, Contract Negotiations at Didi.Wimmer-Frank@albertadoctors.org.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the members of AMA’s WCB Negotiating Committee for their hard work and commitment to reaching a successful tentative agreement:

  • Dr. Les Scheelar, Chair
  • Dr. Steve Cassar
  • Dr. Mark Chapelski
  • Jim Huston, AED, Health Economics
  • Didi Wimmer-Frank, Director, Contract Negotiations
  • Cherie Langlois-Klassen, Director, Negotiations
  • Norma Shipley, Consultant, Fees
  • Andrea Hagan, Economist

The Board is very pleased with the outcome of these negotiations. The mutually beneficial conclusion we were able to reach with WCB shows what can be accomplished when both parties enter negotiations in good faith and remain committed to respectful, meaningful discussions throughout the process.

In your service,

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

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