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Ontario Medical Review
December 23, 2020
OMA
Ontario Medical Association

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of the Ontario Medical Review magazine.

Historic fall council meeting

Enabling a world-class OMA

The OMA Fall Council meeting, held virtually November 28-29, marked a historic event with Delegates approving the most significant governance changes in the organization’s 138-year history. After extensive deliberation, Council Delegates voted by a strong majority to endorse new bylaws that will enable the OMA’s evolution into a world-class medical organization.  

These changes will allow the OMA to more effectively represent members on key priorities, including advocacy, policy and compensation. The new governance structure will empower OMA members through more direct connection to elected bodies and decision-making, with enhanced transparency into the OMA’s structure and function. 

The key changes in the governance structure include: 

  • the Board of Directors will become smaller, more nimble, and skills-based consisting of 11 directors, including three non-physicians, reduced from 26 members 
  • replacing the current 250-member elected Delegate Council with a leaner General Assembly (GA) composed of: 
    • an appointed Priority and Leadership Group 
    • a General Assembly Steering Committee 
    • appointed panels and working groups with clearly defined goals and objectives 
  • the General Assembly will provide more ways for members to get involved and effect change within the OMA: 
    • skills-based working groups, made up of members who are engaged to deliver on identified priorities 
    • collaboration networks made up of groups with common interests, specialties or locations 
  • members at-large will now elect board directors, have a binding vote on choosing the president (rather than an advisory referendum), and vote directly on Physician Services Agreements 

In a statement to members, Council Chair Dr. Sanjay Acharya, Council Vice-Chair and Governance Transformation 2020 (GT20) Co-Chair Dr. Paul Hacker, GT20 Co-Chair Dr. Lisa Salamon, President Dr. Samantha Hill, Board Chair Dr. Tim Nicholas, and CEO Allan O’Dette highlighted Council’s decision as a monumental step forward in aligning OMA governance with best practices in industry and not-for-profit, member-driven organizations across Canada. 

“We will continue to consult with all members to guide the next stages of this governance transformation. Thank you to all members who have contributed to this work, and for driving a shared commitment to building a higher performing, more democratic and more responsive OMA.” 

Key reports to Council included: Organizational Report from the CEO and Board, Negotiations Task Force Update, Physician Services Committee Update, Finance and Audit Committee Report, Health Policy Report, OntarioMD Update, Relativity Advisory Committee recommendations, Provincial Election Strategy, and Gender Pay Gap recommendations. All documents are available on the Council web page.

Delegates elected Dr. Zainab Abdurrahman (Section Chair, Allergy and Clinical Immunology), and Dr. Lisa Salamon (District 11 Chair), to serve on the Council Governance Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will be critical in ensuring a smooth transition from the Council structure to the new General Assembly structure. 

Council provided input to the Relativity Advisory Committee on the Fee-Adjusted Income Relativity (FAIR) model. Delegates also voted by a strong majority for the OMA to proceed with the Statistics Canada Overhead Study, subject to the review of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The study will collect only anonymous aggregate data by Section, and every legal and privacy measure will be taken to ensure no individual physician or practice would be identified.  

The OMA’s 2022 provincial election strategy was presented. The organization will be executing a three-phase plan, beginning with member, stakeholder and patient engagement to develop a health care platform, to be launched at a Spring 2021 OMA Health Care Summit. 

Delegates participated in an engaging panel discussion on the gender wage gap exploring strategies to address an OMA report that found a 13.5% gender pay gap among Ontario physicians. The discussion focused on recommendations to address the report’s findings, including a) addressing relativity, and b) strategy for the 2021 negotiations.  

Building on the OMA’s commitment to advance Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Council Delegates heard a keynote presentation from Farah Mohamed, CEO of the Malala Fund, who led an inspiring session on EDI issues through a gender equity lens. 

Visit the Council web page to view reports and presentations. Questions may be forwarded to OMA.Council@oma.org