OMA Section on Rheumatology Report

Dr. Philip Baer

OMA activity continues on many fronts.

Under our framework for binding arbitration between the OMA and the government, negotiations on a new 4-year contract covering April 2017-March 2021 began in September 2017. As Section Chair, I am receiving confidential monthly updates on the progress of these talks. Mediation will finish in Feb. 2018. We will then proceed to arbitration. The arbitration panel is chaired by William Kaplan (previously the mediator), and includes Joel Pink (OMA nominee) and Kevin Smith (Ministry of Health nominee). The time course for reaching an arbitrated agreement reaches out to October 2018 and beyond. Progress has been disappointingly slow, and the 4.45% across-the-board clawback remains in place.

The OMA has established a Relativity Review Committee, and I have made submissions on behalf of our Section. We have joined other sections in creating an OMA Income Equity Coalition to fight to improve relativity between different sections of the OMA.

We continue to be represented at all regular and special meetings of OMA Council, at all Medical Assembly meetings and teleconferences, and at all meetings and teleconferences related to OMA initiatives.

This will be my last year as OMA Section Chair, and we have worked hard on succession planning. Our new Rheumatology Section Executive was acclaimed: Chair and Delegate Julie Kovacs, Vice-Chair Nikhil Chopra and Secretary Jane Purvis. I will continue on the Section Executive as Past-Chair.

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act has been adopted by the Ontario legislature. The minimum wage rose to $14/hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and is scheduled to rise again to $15/hour on Jan. 1, 2019. Employees are now entitled to 3 weeks of paid vacation after 5 years of service with the same employer. Employees are now entitled to 10 days of Personal Emergency Leave per year, including 2 paid days.  Employers are banned from requiring an employee to provide a sick note from a qualified health practitioner when taking personal emergency leave. Many other regulatory changes are also part of this bill. You can find the details at:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/plan-fair-workplaces-and-better-jobs-bill-148

To help ensure that employers understand their obligations and employees know their rights, the Minister of Labour has prepared and published a poster entitled Employment Standards in Ontario (also known as the Employment Standards Poster). All employers covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) in the province must display this poster in the employer’s workplace. Employers must also provide all of their employees who are covered under the ESA with a copy of the poster.

Employers are required to post the most recent version (7.0) of the Employment Standards Poster published by the Minister of Labour in the workplace where it is likely to come to the attention of employees. The poster must be displayed in English.

This poster reflects the changes of Bill 148. The poster you may be displaying in your office from 2017 or before is now out-of-date. You can find the newest poster at:

https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pdf/es_poster_2018_1.pdf

You can monitor the MOHLTC website under the Health Professionals tab for new developments: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/. There are links to OHIP Physician Bulletins: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/ohip/bulletins/ and to updates regarding the OPDP formulary, including new EAP listings:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/drugs/eap_criteria.aspx

You may also keep abreast of OMA issues by reading the Ontario Medical Review (OMR), the OMA monthly magazine available in print form and on the OMA website: www.oma.org

You can find a link to OHIP Billing Resources and OMA Quick Reference Guides at www.oma.org/sections/billings-and-agreement

Online educational modules on billing, patient care, practice management and retirement planning are now available through the OMA Education Network at:

https://learn.oma.org

As well, an online Privacy and Security Training Module is now available from OntarioMD:

https://www.ontariomd.ca/products-and-services/privacy-and-training-resources

Philip A. Baer MDCM, FRCPC, FACR
Chair, OMA Section of Rheumatology