Arbitrator gives Ontario doctors a raise

Been waiting since 2015

Ontario doctors finally have a new deal with the province.

An arbitrator has awarded them a 3.5 percent increase spread over four years.

The Ontario Medical Association calls it fair, adding it introduces much-needed stability for doctors after years of cuts by the former Liberal government and an attempt by the current Progressive Conservative government to circumvent the arbitration process.

The doctors had been without a deal since 2015.

The Skinny

  • A four-year term
  • The establishment of a new working group to address primary care matters
  • A process to partner with the OMA to explore changes in how care is provided called an Appropriateness Working Group (AWG)
  • Average annual fee increases of 1% per year over four years
  • Restoration of the previous government’s cuts (approximately 3.5%)
  • A $10 million increase to the Academic Health Sciences innovation fund

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the government believes this award is a positive step forward; that the government is committed to a renewed and productive working relationship with the OMA and Ontario’s doctors.

The four-year agreement is retroactive to April 1, 2017.

And while the award is for 3.5 percent it doesn’t mean the annual increases to the physician services budget will be limited to the amount of the payment increases. The arbitration panel rejected a government request for a hard cap on the physician services budget. As a result, payments could increase further if a growing and aging population uses more health services.