Update on tentative agreement status

March 3, 2021

Dr. Paul Boucher, AMA President

Dear Members:

I have received comments and questions from many members regarding the tentative agreement with government. I realize everyone is eager to know what the tentative agreement contains and when they will be able to see it. The next step in the process is for the Board to bring the proposal to the Representative Forum to receive their input and advice prior to making the final decision to send to members. Preparations for that meeting are underway and it will be held in the next few days. The fact that you have not received the package is not a matter of secrecy, but one of due diligence and consistent with our usual ratification process for agreements. We have followed this same process for many years. 

This consultation will occur at a special RF meeting that will be held on Saturday, March 6. RF delegates will receive information in advance, so they have time to review it before attending the virtual meeting. There will also be presentations and ample opportunity for questions and answers.

The RF will advise the Board of Directors whether they support sending the Tentative Agreement Package to the membership for a vote. The Board will consider that advice and make a decision. If the vote goes ahead, the package will be sent to members and the voting window will open almost immediately.

We will notify you of the Board’s decision following the special RF. If the decision is to move to ratification, all the information you need will be available on our member-only, one-stop-shop ratification page. We are preparing:

  • Documents to explain the components of the Tentative Agreement Package and how they all work together.
  • The official documents on which you would actually be voting.
  • Question and answer material that will be continuously updated as we hear from members during the ratification period.
  • An overview video to augment written materials.

There will be options for posing questions directly to me, or for raising issues and discussing them with colleagues online. We will be offering webinar sessions in the following weeks and placing those recordings on the website. We also expect to post recordings of the special RF presentations early next week.

Members have told me they are relieved to reach this milestone, but we all recognize it is not an easy task to rebuild trust. The tentative agreement has the potential to be a new start to a working relationship between physicians and the provincial government, establishing clear processes for measured progress. It is intended to address the financial challenges facing Alberta in ways that maintain value for patients and fairness for physicians. There are ways to work through disputes. There are commitments to address fundamental questions in our relationship, such as those arising from the termination clause in Bill 21 and in the health care system at large. It provides some stability to physicians in what is inherently an unstable environment.

If we do move forward with ratification, it is you, the members who will make the determination on the merits of what has been negotiated. There are many positive components, but also some challenges. I am confident your wisdom will prevail.

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

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